For at least a few years, David Mead’s been on my “must check-out” list: I’d just never been in the right situation to give him a chance. I remember first hearing about him via my friend Paul, who described David as the cooler alternative to John Mayer, who I love. Actually, that might have been the reason I held off on checking his music out. When you take down one of my favorites to big up someone else, I tend to ignore your suggestion. Something for you to keep in mind. OK, maybe that’s not totally true, but still: I kinda held a grudge about that. And then, as it turns out, I’m doing research to write this review and it turns out Mead is one of Mayer’s favorite singer/songwriters. Fuck me.

Truthfully, David might have again slipped my radar with his latest album, Dudes, had it not been for Mr. Jeff Giles, editor-in-chief and founder (and my boss) at Popdose. Held hostage in Jeff’s car one Sunday morning, he played the copy of Dudes he’d received early by contributing to the album’s Kickstarter campaign. I was intrigued, and waited with bated breath for the album to be released in stores (okay, so it was only like two weeks later.) Regardless of how long I waited, the album has turned out to be a mainstay of my everyday music rotation; a well-crafted song cycle about the male experience.

Truthfully, why wouldn’t I like an album called Dudes? After all, I am a dude. I like dudes (in both the “dude, let’s hang out and watch teh game” and “dude, you should totally take your clothes off right now” senses of the term “like”.) It’s almost like this entire album was tailor-made for me and my emotions! David Mead, you have infiltrated my brain! Well, not quite, ’cause there’s no songs on here about being black and/or being a nerd. But you came close, man. You came close.

There’s a lot to like on this collection of finely-crafted songs. Mead has a droll sense of lyricism that I tend to dig, and his songs are fleshed out, little mini-movies. Whether it’s the bouncy “King Of The Crosswords” or the more sentimental title track, just about every song on this album is a winner. Personal favorites include “No One Roxxx This Town No More” (a music scenester’s get-off-my-lawn rant set to a backbeat that will have Daryl Hall & John Oates wondering if this is a remake of some sort) and “Guy On Guy”, because a) most artists wouldn’t have the balls (pardon the pun) to record a song like this and b) because it’s about (and this is a bit of an oversimplification) dudes hooking up with dudes. We ‘preciate it, Mr. Mead.

So, now I’m kicking myself for not checking this guy’s stuff out before (and I plan to rectify this issue momentarily.) I could make a whole list of dudes whose music I like who fall into the same category as David Mead (Mike Doughty, Bleu, Paul Frickin’ Simon, Fountains Of Wayne-whose Adam Schlesinger produced the album), and if you dig those dudes too, then Dudes is one album you’ll be kicking yourself in the head for not having checked out before. So, thank you, David. And thank you, Jeff. And thank you, Paul. I should have listened to you all those years ago.

Grade: A-

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