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Playing Games With the Sun
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  • Though the ambiance is strictly "Lite-FM" sort of pop, without the slightest hint of rockin' out or causing the slightest disturbance -- except the occasional Pink Floyd-guitar trill out of Dark Side of the Moon -- it's also true that Dickinson's debut doesn't try to be anything more than what it is. A middle-aged singer/songwriter guy who writes modest songs about love, adult maturation, deploring violence and war, his favorite candy, and even the inherent frustrations of having to take your car into the shop, Playing Games is the sort of very-caring but not humorless, granola-and-NY Times sort of record that obscures the fact that Dickinson actually has an ear for lyrical detail. He's at his best at addressing domestic difficulty on "Same Blood That We Bleed," a male/female duet with Kris Delmhorst, in which both complain quietly and sadly that their marriage is falling apart because neither spends enough time with the other (!) -- which we've all seen before. This may be James Taylor and Carly Simon "Haven't Got Time For the Pain"-city (only Dickinson's voice is exactly like the Cyrkle), but on those merits it's very good for that mellow-dude style. ~ Jack Rabid
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