Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Danielson: Best Of Gloucester County

“My counselor, she says I gotta grow up now, whatever that means.” So sings—or yelps, actually—Daniel Smith during “Grow Up,” and judging from the way he’s smoothed out most of his famously rough edges on Best Of Gloucester County, it seems he took the advice to mean it was time for him to try to go normal with his off-kilter folk-pop. Of course, nothing Smith touches will ever seem commonplace as long as his cartoonishly unhinged voice is involved. Things get playfully weird in songs like “People’s Partay” and “Lil Norge,” the latter featuring Jens Lekman, Smith, and Smith’s wife having an international conversation about Norwegian oil money and America’s love of fried food, among other things. But in general, Best Of Gloucester County—named for the core local players who helped make the record, none of whom were part of Smith’s original Family/Famile—is what happens when one of underground music’s quirkiest players graduates from songwriting to songcraft, and the results find much of the strange sucked out of a guy known for being the curious Christian indie-rocker whose music was just too interesting for secular folks to blow off. So while chants of “I love my Lord!” were deemed acceptable by listeners not used to listening to such things, Smith has finally offered something that might be a bit too unsettling: straightforward pop songs.


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