Pop music has changed a little since Rolling Stone named Freedy Johnston Songwriter of the Year in 1994. Rain on the City proves the sometimes-Madison-based Johnston hasn't.
The nostalgic folk-pop Johnston mastered when he penned "Bad Reputation" returns perfectly intact, if mellowed and matured. On songs like "Venus Is Her Name," the tempo is turned down a notch, suggesting the weariness of a lot more life experience.
The album was recorded in Nashville, and the production has an expensive-studio, session-player feel. That's clear as samba guitar, pedal steel and acoustic and electric piano parts blend together on "The Kind of Love We're In."
But the success of this CD isn't grounded in slick equipment. It's built on Johnston's enduring skill as a songwriter and his knack for giving voice to the angst of love gone wrong.