Blaine Long: Honey In My Coffee

Honey In My Coffee.jpeg
Artist: Blaine Long

Title: Honey In My Coffee

Basics: Back to country this week -- thankfully it's not countrified rock about a fictional outlaw.

There is, however, a song about a dog on Blaine Long's record, but we'll get to that later. Allow Blaine's bio, compliments of blainelong.com, to help set the mood for the album: 

"Blaine grew up in Tempe, Arizona and came from a strict Christian upbringing. There's no denying that spirituality can be heard in many of his songs. Not liking high school, he left during his sophomore year only to find out what the real world is like without an education."

Nice.

Best Song: Album opener "Big Big Love" is a strong offering, but it's the next track "Put It All On Me" which really showcases just what kind of musician Blaine Long is. The song has Long's warbly, John Popper-esque vocals, complete with a light, easy acoustic chord progression that sets the country mood. It's a positive, upbeat song about how Long wants it all on him, if you will, and how he's going to try to save you while being more than a neighbor. It's a painfully simple song, but the execution is very slick.

Worst Song: "Coffee Eyes" is a befuddling little song with an equally odd chorus, "I've always been told there'll be dogs in heaven / Yeah / I've always been told I'll se my dog again." Now, I love my dog as much as the next person loves theirs, but if I were to write a song, I wouldn't necessarily make it about my dead dog. Maybe I'm too dense and I am missing the metaphor with this song, but it sounds, to me, like a song about Long's beloved -- yet dead -- dog. Oh, I guess he liked to refer to his dog as "Coffee Eyes," so that's where that name comes from.

Suggestions: No more dead animal songs. They are sweet, I suppose, at their core, but the harsh reality of it is that they are still songs about dead animals. If I catch some flack for taking such a stance against a song like "Coffe Eyes" -- "Oh, but it's such a sweet song," "How can you be so cynical about something that he loved so dearly?" -- then fine. It's still pretty off-putting, and if you can't admit that then we will just have to agree to disagree. Also, high school isn't all that bad. Long's bio says he dropped out, but it makes no mention of if he ever got his GED.

Grade: C

If you're a musician from the Phoenix metro area and would like to have your music reviewed in You Asked For It (our first-come, first-served and often harsh record review column) please send it in an envelope marked "YAFI" to:

Michael Lopez
You Asked For It
c/o Phoenix New Times
1201 E. Jefferson Street Phoenix , AZ 85034

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18 comments
disappointed
disappointed

Well it is obvious that New Times has lost touch with the real artist in this town, Blaine Long is one of the hardest working and best musicians in the valley. I'm going to have to make the assumption that Michael Lopez is a Justin Bieber fan, because if he thinks this is a country music album he must not understand music.

Illiterate
Illiterate

Dear reviewer: You're an idiot. Please stick to Lady Gaga and crappy, hipster "Indie" music from now on. This album may not have the nuanced brilliance of the latest "Girl Talk" offering, and maybe isn't as insightful as the latest Animal Collective track rocking up youtube, but some of us poor plebeians actually *enjoy* songs about dead animals.

Out of curiosity, what are your education credentials?

You graded this a "C". Could you please list an album in this genre that you would give an A?

Matthew Schafman
Matthew Schafman

I'm not sure what Blaine's educational level has to do with his music abilities. The fact that he didn't finish a formal education is a testament to his pure talent and determination.

BTW If Mr. Lopez knew Missy (Blaine's Dog) he would understand why she deserves a song.

I believe Lopez should maybe retire his position as a music critic.

Michael Lopez
Michael Lopez

Okay, I will quit my job over Blaine Long's dead dog.

Erich
Erich

No. You should quit your job because, essentially, you are a fast forward of the Peter Principle. I listened to this album, if all you got from it was a song about a "dead dog", you should be out at a gas station,offering to repair my windshield.

NEW TIMES: Please, review your qualifications for a "music critic". Your current staff makes your opinion irreverent, and the position unnecessary.

Brad
Brad

What concerns me most about Michael's attempt at being a music critic here is twofold:1. He's not purely reviewing the music, but instead trying to share his opinions about Blaine as a person from Blaine's very honest and heartfelt bio without ever really getting to know him. If you're purely wanting to review the music that Blaine writes and performs, then do just that or go to one of his shows. If this is a review of Blaine as a person, I challenge you to try meeting him before making judgement - you'll find he's one of the most charismatic and genuine people you'll come across in life. Its just lazy, sloppy journalism to pull assumptions about one's musical abilities from his background.

2. Songwriting without life experience is hollow. The things Blaine writes and sings about are genuine emotions and situations he's been through in life - thats what real music is about.

Jessica Rabbit
Jessica Rabbit

I have known Blaine for 25 years and cannot begin to tell you what an amazing person, friend and musician he is. Education would not change the fact that he is a talented artist with a message to share. His music has a way of calming me down, remembering the past, and being with friends and family. I highly recommend you checking out one of his shows or all. He does not disappoint. This critique however does disappoint. I am always amazed at a persons willingness to put someone else down and as seen by the postings he did not do his job. He threw this together last minute and zeroed in on one song. Never judge a book, person or song by the package that is presented or you will miss out on finding something truely outstanding. Go to his show. Buy his albums. Visit his website.

Aguyker
Aguyker

Blaine's music is great and this review of his album is not fair. When reviewing an album or any other art piece you don't attack or bash an inspiration of a piece. That's straight rude. Blaine keep the song writing rolling.

Burton Clark
Burton Clark

Blaine's music stands alone in it's ability to weave well thought out lyrics with soulful melodies. I have followed Blaine's singer songwriter career since "South of Jarvis" was released. Each album showcases the artists depth of lyrical genius. To take this review as having even a shred of judgement credibility would be a mistake for any reader. I highly recommend seeing him in concert, and checking out his album for yourself.

Tuffgrrl99
Tuffgrrl99

It's obvious from this review that Blaine's sound really isn't this guy's cup o tea. Not much substance in this critique. I mean really, when the reviewer spends more time commenting on the musicians HS education than on the music itself, it just seems petty. I've heard Blaine's music evolve over the last decade or more -from garage band rock to folky acoustic singer/songwriter and although the latter isn't really my cup o tea either, I can appreciate talent in any form. Blaine's got it- but don't don't take my word for it, check him out yourself.

Deeeez Nutz
Deeeez Nutz

Well, first off, my thumbs up is for Blaine's album and NOT the review (as I'm sure was the case with the rest of the comments below).

For the record, Blaine's music is soulful, authentic, soothing, solid songwriting. What the reviewer calls "simple" I feel is a calculated effort to let the songs as a whole stand on their own and not distract the listener from the story with self-indulgent, unnecessary musicality. That is a tactic used by bush league songwriters to hide their inability to do what Blaine does best, which singing and storytelling. A case-in-point is the song Coffee Eyes. Yes, the song does talk about the death of a dog, but a dog that shared so much of his life and experiences. And beyond that, he talks about self reflection and growth. The death isn't a metaphor, it's more of a catalyst.

Anyway, keep doing what you're doing Blaine. And for those who aren't familiar with Blaine's music, have a listen and decide for yourself. You owe it to yourself to head out and see one of his shows, you won't regret it.

Gostate2001
Gostate2001

I think the album is quite good. Education has nothing to do with art. Overall, the I enjoy all of Blaine's music. It continues to grow and develop. Its a progression and something I truly enjoy.

Brenda
Brenda

I feel it is unfortunate that the only thing reviewed here for the most part, is the reviewer's own opinion about a songwriter singing about his lost pet. There is a very generic mention of a song with "John Popper-esque vocals and a light easy chord progression" ...what exactly does that mean? It is such a broad, generalized statement. There are, as I said,many opinions about the "dead dog song" and even mention of the artist's educational background taken from the artist's own bio which I could have read myself on Mr. Long's website. Really doesn't tell me a thing about the actual music. Is it mostly accoustic? Any electric? Are they all Blaine's own songs or a few covers? What mix of instruments will I hear? How do the songs flow, .....and so many other questions. This review feels like a breezy, not well thought out opinion and not at all a professional or even remotely useful review. I am disappointed.

Jleece01
Jleece01

God, I love music and movie critics... (sarcasm) this critic needs to turn off the computer, stop playing dungeons an dragons and W.O.W. and get out to a show. How can you critique someones art anyway? We don't need art, movie, music or food critics anymore... We have the Internet. And besides... Some of the best movies, music etc, get bad reviews. Who the hell are you and why should we respect your opinion? Where is your resume' mr. reviewer? Oh, and I love how you take a personal stab at Blaines education level. That is very unprofessional. Which is why your working for the New Times instead of a REAL publication. Blaine, you music is awesome... Ok, I'm done.

Michael Lopez
Michael Lopez

But Dungeons and Dragons is my entire life! If you think I never go to shows, then you're painfully mistaken. Don't flip some misguided comment in my direction without at least having looked at what it is I do for this blog.

Speaking of which, sorry I made my "resume" so difficult to find with my various weekly posts on this blog -- not to mention the other YAFI reviews which are painfully easily found by clicking the red "You Asked For It" at the top of this very post.

Olson
Olson

The album's first 5 songs are excellent. Blaine has a great voice and it is showcased on the album and even better live. I'd take heart, soul and acoustic guitar (which doesn't make a record "country") even in a song about a dead dog, over a reviewer's opinion whose column is a license to rip an album.

Blaine's record is great, looking forward to the next one due soon!

DS
DS

I have been following and playing with Blaine for a couple of years now. This reviewer is unfortunately not a musician, and, if he is one, is not a very good musician. Perhaps the reviewer would benefit from going to one of Blaine's shows.

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