Tim Heidecker: In Glendale (Rado) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Monday, October 26th, 2020  

Tim Heidecker

In Glendale

Rado

Jun 29, 2016 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Part of Tim Heidecker's brand of humor is rooted in uncertainty. You could call it a kind of anti-comedy, but it goes a little further than that. Heidecker has spent the better part of the last 10 years establishing a brand that is aloof and confident despite his lackluster output, which is why it is kind of hard to determine the level of sincerity of his first non-comedy solo album In Glendale.

There's this comedy bit you can catch Heidecker pulling off if you watch him closely. On a few occasions in Adult Swim's Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job you can see Heidecker in the background yelling at a minor character, like a furious director complaining about an extra missing a beat. Thing is, he also does this in real lifenot onstage, but certainly at public appearances. If it is a joke, it is a long con, more of a character buildthe self-serious show-business type who can't handle the incompetence of his inferiors. He also does this in the middle of the video for In Glendale's "Work from Home," and recently in a live Facebook video on NPR promoting this record.

Not sure if any of that is relevant, but it does help understand just how surprising In Glendale can really be, because Heidecker is actually consistently genuine here. He's funny, but he doesn't ever fall back into his expected comedic habits.

Like the two albums Heidecker did with Davin Wood as Heidecker & Wood, In Glendale is a decidedly well-crafted '70s inspired soft-rock record in the vein of Warren Zevon and Randy Newman. It's moody, half-assed, and cheesy as hell. And occasionally truly transcendent for a man who is known for intentionally producing poorly made material. But now, Heidecker is straddling an uncomfortable line between snark and sincerity, and it's not exactly clear which way he's trying to lean.

In another universe, Tim Heidecker launched an impressive career as a mainstream singer/songwriter, penning earnest ballads for gen-xers who didn't care for grunge, and through his fame found an outlet for his off-kilter comedy, and became well-known as a pretty-good musician who just so happens to be really funny. That's the man we hear on this record, Heidecker's voice isn't the greatest thing you've ever heard, but it is passable and radio-friendly.

It is too bad most of this album is just skippable. "Work From Home" is damn great, and "Central Air" is also pretty good, finally addressing the need for a good ballad about air conditioning. But those gems don't represent the tacky boredom of the rest of In Glendale. But then, maybe it's just not for me. As the title track suggests, this is definitely an L.A. record, a place I've yet to really understand. This does speak to the larger question of who exactly this album was created for. Are Heidecker's typical fans of uncomfortable psychedelic humor now old enough to appreciate music that would fit into their parents' record collections? Or is he hoping to branch out entirely? Of course, the truth behind the schmaltz of In Glendale is that Heidecker is a pretty talented guy who just wants to write songs, pretentions be damned. (www.timheidecker.com

Author rating: 5.5/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10



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