Life must be pretty surreal for singer-songwriter and former swimming pool-pump repairman Jack Logan. Plucked from Athens, Georgia, bar band obscurity by members of R.E.M., Logan’s critically hailed 1994 debut Bulk chronicled the best of some 600+ home recordings he’d leisurely assembled while still a nobody. Now — three albums and as many record deals later — the prolific Logan has, as they say in the biz, arrived. But Buzz Me In, Logan’s major label debut for Capricorn Records (311, Cake), sounds more like someone fidgeting in their seat and waiting to go home than an artist who’s strutting over to join the in crowd. Sure, the rockers ("All Grown Up," "Weren’t Gone Long") rock hard, and the country twangers ("Anytime," "Pearl of Them All") sparkle and chime. But somewhere in the glossy Tom Petty-meets-the Eagles production of Buzz Me In, Logan’s sloppy brilliance gives way to a safe, predictable sound that could almost pass for classic rock. It sounds professional, but with Logan this fancy shoe doesn’t fit. The saving grace comes from Logan’s revealing wordplay. When he testifies, "Had so many more friends back then/Didn’t have little boxes that I tried to put them in" on "Worldly Possessions," it’s almost as if he’s admitting he misses the freedom and anonymity of his salad days before the record deals. Perhaps most telling is the album closer, "Ordinary Person," Buzz Me In’s standout track. Logan confesses, "Under the surface he was changing into an ordinary person." Maybe if Buzz Me In doesn’t sell, he’ll get his wish.
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