Composer David Yazbek seems to lead the life of a superhero: By day, he has written the songs for such Broadway musicals as The Full Monty and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, clever entertainments that were unfairly overshadowed by more overt crowd-pleasers like The Producers and Spamalot. By night, he’s fulfilling his rock-and-roll fantasies, writing and performing an eclectic spectrum of pop music that’s as brainy, as challenging, and as rewarding as his neo–show tunes.
On his fifth non-Broadway album (out now), Yazbek takes on as many other genres as he can think of, from jazzy swing to country rock, creating catchy melodies counterbalanced by some of the zaniest lyrics ever committed to paper. (If you know of another artist whose repertoire includes a song called “Monkey Baby Hanging on Chicken Wire,” please let us know.) It’s music that’s smart but not arch, brainy but not flashy, and best of all, you don’t have to pay $200 a ticket to hear it.
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