Grant-Lee Phillips’ New Album Is Witty and Indignant

Review: “Widdershins” showcases the troubador’s eclecticism.

Album Review

Grant-Lee Phillips
Widdershins
Yep Roc

Cover of Grant-Lee Phillips Widdershins

Though he can pass for a rootsy troubadour, there’s also a poppier, more playful side to Grant-Lee Phillips—meaning he’s as likely to echo David Bowie or T. Rex as Bruce Springsteen. Widdershins beautifully encapsulates his eclectic range, offering snappy tunes that filter indignation at the state of the world through cutting wit. From growling, “When I hear of fascism/I wouldn’t put it past ‘em,” in “King of Catastrophes,” to a sardonic portrait of a clueless Marie Antoinette in “Unruly Mobs,” to a combustible mix of romance and anxiety in “Another, Another, Then Boom,” Phillips has a knack for crafting vivid vignettes, his weary yet deceptively versatile voice bringing everything to bristling life. For a quick lift to the spirits, try “History Has Their Number,” where he declares, “It means more to create than to destroy,” or “A Great Acceleration,” his sharp rejoinder to tyranny’s creeping advance.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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