success of his last album, Changes in LatitudesChanges in Attitudes,
Buffett has become more than just another mellow singer/songwriter. He's become the popular spokesman for an entire mellow way of life. His is the lassitudinous appeal of the vagabond on the loose in a sun-splashed, watery playland. And with Son of a Son of a Sailor
, he's made another sun-splashed, watery LP.
Jimmy Buffett is not without talent. His voice is richly languidperfect for his materialand his gift for the seductive melody is all but unfailing. His rockers occasionally sound stilted, but easier tunes like "Mañana" and "African Friend" manage to be both catchy and languorous, and they're the ones that predominate. Norbert Putnam's meticulous production gives this record the same evocative playfulness that helped make its predecessor so successful; when Harvey Thompson's sax solo comes in on "The Last Line," you feel like you could float away on a sea of coconut milk.
Buffett's problem is his inability to transcend the limitations of his carefree environment. He can't resist the easy out. He seldom has anything to say"Cheeseburger in Paradise," his spirited defense of the forbidden meat, is a notable exceptionand when he does, it's usually to congratulate himself on his choice of lifestyles. It's nice to sail around and be creative, but it hardly places you in the position of moral superiority that a song like "Cowboy in the Jungle" presumes. And anyway, American tourists on week-long vacationsthe targets hereare mighty cheap shots for an old salt like Jimmy Buffett. (RS 268)