With his third and most recent album, Nightcrawler, Pete Yorn firmly established himself somewhere between Zach Braff and Bruce Springsteen on the New Jerseyan artistic continuum. A post-modern pop-rocker, Yorn makes songs that are accessible to the masses, even if they don't directly speak on their behalf. His 2001 debut, musicforthemorningafter, was a collection of catchy songs fit for soundtracks, making up for its lack of audacity with an abundance of melody-driven charm. Day I Forgot, Yorn's 2003 followup, was in all ways unremarkable -- not quite a slump, but certainly a setup for the tighter, more mature Nightcrawler, the full-circle conclusion to Yorn's metaphoric morning-day-night trilogy. Given the album's closing lyrics ("You can take my life, but I'll never die/You can tell that's the way I'll survive/Looking for the bandstand in the sky"), Nightcrawler is either a prophecy of Yorn's early death -- and the Jeff Buckley-like legendary status to follow -- or the prelude to an album with an afterlife motif. For Yorn's sake (and ours), let's hope it's the latter.
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