If you title your comedy CD Critic's Darling you have to know you are setting yourself up for critics to take a few potshots at you; it would be so easy. Well, we can't. Critic's Darling by Boston area singer songwriter Steve Mardon is, overall, a solid funny song CD by a good musician who can write a good song and a funny song or two. Usually, the funny song genre is not our forte (although one of our critics is a big Kacey Jones fan and would probably have loved this CD): few songwriters have a real sense of humor and confuse sophomoric and childish for funny. Steve Mardon does not make that mistake on Critic's Darling. Country style music is definitely not our forte: Steve Mardon has a country twang to a few of the songs on his independent release CD but damn, he's good and those are catchy tunes.
Overall, Critic's Darling by Steve Mardon is a collection of story songs with a humorous twist. Even those that are not really meant to be a funny song, like Right On Red have a hidden smile here and there (something like I killed 16 people and 15 went to heaven). Of course, since this is in many ways a funny song CD, there is a song about a cat, Tex's Tune and it is a cool bluesy number. Doctor's Today may be a weak entry on this independent comedy CD but it is still decent enough you won't skip over it. Coffee and Beer is definitely a country western song complete with twangy guitars, backbeat, and a guy getting dumped.
Steve Mardon is a good songwriter who manages to explore a few musical genres on the same CD without any song clashing overall. The production values are there with full instrumentation and excellent backup singers when necessary. Track 16 on Critic's Darling, CD Song, is a funny song and it's obvious: basically, the guy is getting over his breakup but really misses the CDs his ex has kept. It seems she liked his music more than him. You could just picture this song as a case for Judge Judy.
This independent release comedy CD with many a funny song and a country blues feel to it also includes two tracks recorded live. Crossword Puzzle Blues is a nice take on unrequited love song but it's about a crossword puzzle. It pays to listen to this funny song a couple of times to get all of the humor and writing talent behind it. I Couldn't Have Done It Without You is another quirky song. Basically, it is a credit song where Steve Mardon thanks his ex (or exes, hard to figure out how many exes this guy has because a lot of women seem to leave him in his songs) for the many songs the breakup has caused.
Steve Mardon: A good singer, a good songwriter, a solid musician, and a guy with an offbeat but real sense of humor. We really wish we could slam Critic's Darling just from its title but we honestly can't.