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UMass football selected to finish fourth in MAC East preseason poll -

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Legislature overrides Baker’s UMass budget cut -

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Report: UMass football’s Todd Stafford arrested Saturday morning in Stamford, Connecticut -

Monday, July 20, 2015

UMass names Molly O’Mara newly-created associate director of athletics for communications and PR -

Monday, July 20, 2015

Baker approves state budget, UMass to receive $5.25 million less than legislature’s proposed figure -

Friday, July 17, 2015

UMass bathroom policy to provide comfort, safety for transgender and non-gender conforming students -

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Long-time UMass professor Normand Berlin, 83, dies -

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

UMass professor and poet James Tate dies at 71 -

Thursday, July 9, 2015

State legislators propose budget, UMass could receive almost $532 million -

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Cause of death determined for UMass student Chloe Malast -

Monday, July 6, 2015

Nick Mariano, Zach Oliveri transferring from UMass men’s lacrosse program -

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Four months after banning Iranian students from certain graduate programs, UMass announces new measures to ensure compliance with U.S. law -

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Justin King sentenced to eight to 12 years in prison -

Monday, June 29, 2015

Two future UMass hockey players selected in 2015 NHL Draft -

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Supreme Court ruling clears way for same-sex marriage nationwide -

Friday, June 26, 2015

Former UMass center Cady Lalanne taken 55th overall by Spurs in 2015 NBA Draft -

Friday, June 26, 2015

Second of four men found guilty on three counts of aggravated rape in 2012 UMass gang rape case -

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Boston bomber speaks out for first time: ‘I am sorry for the lives I have taken’ -

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

King claims sex with woman was consensual during alleged 2012 gang rape -

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Wrongful death suit filed in death of UMass student -

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Stephen Lynch releases two-disc comedy album

Among the most well-known figures in the musical comedy community, Stephen Lynch has recently put out his seventh release, a two-disc effort of his signature brand of acoustic guitar-driven hilarity.

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Titled “Lion,” the album includes one disc of studio recordings and another of a live show in which he performs each of the new songs.

Among the funniest aspects of the album is how unexpectedly beautiful the music actually sounds; if “Lion” was playing in a bookstore or other quiet setting, listeners may completely overlook the lyrical content, lost in the finely-crafted vocal harmonies by Lynch and guest vocalist Courtney Jaye.

It’s crucial to maintain a sense of humor when listening to much of Lynch’s work. Those who are easily offended may find it considerably less enjoyable as Lynch humorously sings about subjects like sex and dysfunctional relationships, and, though it is obviously not meant to offend, he occasionally lacks political correctness.

In past releases, Lynch’s recordings have been far less well-produced; they included primarily his voice and guitar with few added effects, bare bones when compared to the production value “Lion” boasts.

The album opens with “Tattoo,” a quiet yet upbeat-sounding song about the various types of common embarrassing tattoos. Jaye’s harmonies add a lot of humor to the song; her voice is made for alternative-pop and is undeniably pretty, yet she is using it to harmonize with lines like “Your child’s name with the words ‘be strong’ would be beautiful, but they spelled ‘strong’ wrong.”

A few songs later, “Lorelai,” a piano-driven tune about a few women with defects such as a lazy eye and unusual body odor, turns into a ballad of sorts. An organ makes a subtle entrance, giving it a subtle blues feel. While musically the song is enjoyable, it falls short lyrically as Lynch’s humor falls flat.

One highlight on the album is the title track, a musical duel between two men for the heart of a woman. Lynch has done a similar duet in the past; “Best Friend Song” featured Lynch’s friend Mark Teich and also highlighted differences between the two singers, ending with Lynch scream-singing that he wanted to sleep with Teich’s young sister. “Lion” has a poppy, sing-along feel to it.

Most songs on the album are slow-and-sleepy, sung in an almost lullaby-like voice to little more than Lynch’s own acoustic guitar. The song “The Night I Laid You Down” is another duet, again featuring Jaye.

The rest of the album flows in a similar fashion and is peppered with banjos, harmonicas and cello, to name a few added musical elements.

While “Lion” is a perfectly enjoyable album, it is comically disappointing when compared to Lynch’s previous work. To put it simply, it doesn’t hit the mark that Lynch has set for himself, and isn’t on the same level as releases like “Superhero,” a live album released by the artist in 2003.

“Lion” noticeably lacks the fast-paced zingers that Lynch fans often find stuck in their heads, and while the jokes are funny to a certain degree, they are seldom laugh-out-loud funny.

The songs on which Jaye are featured are definite highlights on “Lion” as she is an unexpected addition to Lynch’s blend of musical comedy. She and Lynch are equally funny on these songs and complement each other tremendously.

Overall, “Lion” is only a good album. Lynch’s sense of humor remains the same, but he doesn’t seem to have quite as much fun as he has in the past. It is musically beautiful, but falls flat comically.

Ellie Rulon-Miller can be reached at ellie@dailycollegian.com.

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