Who is Rusty Anderson? Unless you live under a rock, you have probably heard him, even if you haven't heard of him. His lengthy résumé includes artists from Regina Spektor to Willie Nelson, but his most notable claim to fame is his position as Paul McCartney's lead guitarist.
Born on Earth, Anderson's second solo album, is a solid, if not fairly standard, rock record. Title track immediately grabs your attention as it opens with a quick, dramatic string section before falling back on some electric guitars. The change was, admittedly, a bit of a disappointment to someone who was hoping for something beyond just another rock album.
Born on Earth downshifts with "Julia Roberts," a tune that is dreamy in every way possible. Anderson describes an imagined date with his idea of the perfect woman, singing gently over a softly swinging, drifting melody. Anderson's song is nearly as pretty as the actress herself.
The lowest point on the album comes with "Funky Birthday Cake," which, fortunately, isn't until the end of the album. Musically, it's interesting, but lyrically, it falls completely flat. For example, Anderson starts the song with "One year for my birthday, I got a funky cake./It looked exactly ordinary, but it had fallen in the lake." You can't help but ask, "What the hell is this?" as Anderson continues for another three minutes.
Born on Earth may not be anything spectacular, but Anderson's songwriting skills are certainly noteworthy. With "Funky Birthday Cake" as the lone exception, all of the songs on Born on Earth are good enough to keep a listener's interest. Even if you don't rush out to buy it now, Born on Earth still merits at least a listen or two.
Anderson released Born on Earth on August 3 for what may or may not be the first time. Amazon.com lists the release date as October 2009, while iTunes dates it back to last July.