REVIEW: Derrick Anderson's "A World of My Own"

Publish date:

Derrick Anderson - "A World of My Own" (Omnivore Recordings)

As a member of the much beloved Andersons from 1995-2004, Derrick Anderson was a major player in the Los Angeles pop scene that spawned plenty of memorable music and seemed poised to be a springboard to take some artists to the next level. (Unfortunately it didn’t quite work out that way; that story is a book just waiting to be written.) Anderson eventually moved on to become the touring bassist with the Bangles, and now he’s stepping into the spotlight with his first-ever solo release, A World of My Own – and it’s pretty darn fantastic.

Anderson’s tunes with his former band---he was one of three songwriters, along with Wil O’Brien and Robbie Rist---tended to lean towards muscular, melodic, Smithereens-like guitar-pop. There’s plenty of that here; as a matter of fact, the Smithereens themselves guest on “Waiting For You.” But there are plenty more primo moments that find Anderson touching on other musical genres as well: there’s the funk-dipped “You Don’t Have to Hurt No More,” the punky shouter “Stop Messin’ About” (a bit of a Little Richard vibe on this one), an atmospheric slow one called “Spring” (which finds Derrick reuniting with his Anderson “brothers”), the garage-rockin’ guitar riffs that power “Phyllis and Sharon,” and the sweet, jangly “My Prediction,” which features some cool ‘70s keyboard flourishes and Beatles-influenced backing vocals (think “You Won’t See Me”).

Speaking of the Beatles, A World of My Own closes out with a raucous cover of the Fab Four’s “Norwegian Wood,” which can best be described as a Hendrixian stomp. Anderson takes a few liberties with the lyrics (“…I noticed there wasn’t a chair nowhere…nowhere to sit”), throws in a James Brown-ish “Hey!” for good measure and transforms the folky, sitar-laden original into something completely different and completely cool. And as an aside, the power popping “Happiness” is the catchiest 1:42 you’ll hear this year.

Most reviews of A World of My Own will no doubt focus on the contributions of the array of guest stars – and there are a slew of them, including Matthew Sweet, Tommy Keene, the Bangles, a couple of Muffs, a few Cowsills and others – but rest assured, this is clearly Derrick Anderson’s show from start to finish. It’s a collection of wonderfully timeless pop songs played and sung by Anderson with a little help from his friends, and it also serves as proof that nice guys – of which Derrick Anderson certainly is one – don’t always finish last. A year-end top-ten contender, for sure. Grade: A

Weekly Showcase

The Loyal Seas - Band Photo - for Teaser page

THE LOYAL SEAS – Strange Mornings In The Garden

Tanya Donelly (Throwing Muses, Breeders, Belly) and Brian Sullivan (Dylan in the Movies) have teamed up as The Loyal Seas. Their debut 7" is limited to 500 copies and features two original songs on beautiful white vinyl. Available exclusively from American Laundromat Records.