With An Extraordinary Ordinary Life, rock and roll veteran John Mr. Batdorf enters the arena with an unashamed, pop sensibility and does not apologize or half-step. All songs self-produced and co-written with songwriter Michael McLean, the crystal clear production and sheen is hard to dismiss outright if you’re a sucker for a pop hook like me. Prepare for sunshine and set the controls for the sky.
The opening track “I Wanna Know” delivers the listener somewhere into the sonic arena and feel of Del Amitri’s “Roll to Me” and I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all considering today’s climate. In fact, there’s a refreshing burst of 90’s sun throughout the EP, especially in tracks like “She’s So Lonely” and “Why Don’t You Move Home” with its minor-to-major leaps from dark to light. This particular track really stands out the way it contrasts from verses to choruses with a most delightful Liverpoolian melodic tinge.
“Tone Deaf and Two Left Feet” makes a great soundtrack to Sunday morning pancakes and coffee or a road trip anthem as the sun comes up.
Perfectly pronounced words and sung melodies complement and walk through a meadow or a hike along a ridgetop. Don’t let the sunshine fool you however, John’s journey into making this EP was fraught with danger when his entire family came down with Covid 19 right alongside McLean’s heart attack. Thankfully everyone survived just in time to finish it, making this is one of those records that surprises you when your tracks are on shuffle. Or like a neighbor stopping by with a loaf of fresh raisin bread. Overall, it’s just so damn easy to listen to that it keeps growing on me like a 3-day stubble. I’m not ready to shave yet.
An Extraordinary Life was produced and arranged by John Batdorf, mastered by Kevin Bartley with cover design by Jessica Agg, and features photos by Arlene Kole, Melanie Batdorf, Robin Smith, Rob Roach, John Batdorf, Tom Leatherwood, Gina Viscomi and Barry Aronson.
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