Music Reviews: Squint Steve Taylor: Warner Alliance

[Image: Music Reviews: Squint - Cornerstone Magazine, Q1(?) 1994 Page 77 Thumbnail]
Page 77

[Image: Music Reviews: Squint - Cornerstone Magazine, Q1(?) 1994 Page 79 Thumbnail]
Page 79

Cornerstone Magazine
Q1(?) 1994, Volume 22, Issues 102/103
© 1994 Cornerstone Communications, Inc.
Pages 77, 79

Steve Taylor's absence from CCM left a noticeable void. His biting humor and quirky mix of rock, new wave, and pop, not to mention dynamic (an overused worse used correctly here) stage presence, were a hard act to follow. To Steve's credit, I don't think anyone even tried.

And why would anyone bother? Taylor's intellectual antics made him a sort of musical Chesterton, defending the Christian faith while taking on any number of sacred and secular "cash cows" and dragons: nary a windmill in the bunch, and his lance seldom missed the mark.

Well, guess who's back with tongue firmly in cheek? Steve Taylor would like you to know, "The news of my impending death came at a really bad time for me." Squint finds him little removed from what his fans have always loved best about his stomping grounds. The attitude is half the fun, and in one of my favorite tunes it's everything. Without quoting the whole song, "Smug" takes a good, hard look at the attitude that seems to be everybody's (right, left, saved, unsaved) nineties fashion statement. Both Madame Streisand and Master Limbaugh "love to be politically Koreshed," while the Church often ministers to the "smug-starved millions" encouraging them to "strike the proud pose of our country club brethren / friendly as a tomb." And about as elitist; only the dead need apply.

A variety of music styles are brushed by Taylor's fun-loving pop sensibility; alternative art rock on "The Finish Line" (no, it's not about a boundary dispute in Finland), reggae in "Easy Listening," and good old pop in Taylor's take on the "Bannerman," the late twentieth century's answer to "The Praying Hands." If the biting wit has gotten sharper then surely it is tempered with love. "Jesus Is for Losers" finds Taylor and his humility firmly locked in a bear hug.

Indeed, lyrics this telling would probably break the back of a lot of CCM's so-called artistes. "If I was groping, groping around for some ladder to fame / I am ashamed / if I was hoping, hoping respect would make a stury footstool / I am a fool. . . . / Just as I am / I am needy and dry / Jesus is for losers / The self-made need not apply." Steve Taylor has never been a self-made man, but maybe that's part of his appeal--for all his incredible talent, biting wit, and chuckles of admonishment, he's never pretended to be anything more than a part of our family. To the post-Chagall king of the Clone-Clock Cleaners, we say not, Welcome back, but simply, Heigh-ho Rocinante!!

--Dave Canfield