Lyle Lovett | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Lyle Lovett

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Lyle Lovett's latest release, I Love Everybody, isn't really a new album; it's a time-marking collection of older songs he wrote but never recorded. While the songs contain his usual amalgam of soul, country, rock, folk, and gospel, they are easier to think about thematically; indeed, they're helpfully ladled onto the album in three distinct groups. The first, the tone of which is conjured up best by the album's original title, Creeps Like Me, comprises eight twisted songwriting miniatures, each with its own devilish pathology ("Sonja," for example, features a performer dreaming up a song to help him get a waitress into bed). Next up is a nonsense song cycle of four tunes, each with an absurdist lyric like "Penguins are so sensitive." And closing out the record are six almost straightforward love songs, gentle and unadorned. Of course, even in this last group Lovett manages to slip in a sucker punch, in the form of the title song. "I love everybody," he sings, "especially you," skewering love both humanitarian and romantic with one long pointed jab. Each part of the album contains at least one classic: the warped but beautiful chorus of "Creeps Like Me"; the antique folk of "La to the Left"; the shudderingly romantic "Just the Morning." Together they remind us that Lyle Lovett has throwaways that put most people in his profession to shame. There's no opening act. Wednesday, 8 PM, Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress; 559-1212.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Michael Wilson.

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