Brand New Girlfriend

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It was beginning to seem that Steve Holy’s career would amount to one enormous hit—2002’s five-week No. 1 “Good Morning Beautiful”—surrounded by one near-miss after another. After that smash ballad rocketed him into the rarefied air at the top of the charts, every follow-up stalled midway to the promised land.

That is, until “Brand New Girlfriend,” a hilariously over-the-top, tongue-in-cheek kiss-off that has become Steve’s second chart-topper. The polar opposite of the gentle sincerity of “Beautiful,” “Brand New Girlfriend” is all smartass sass. It’s a shame that it took four years to see the lighter side of Steve, but better late than never.

Brand New Girlfriend—amazingly, Steve’s first album in six years and second overall—is a multifaceted effort that elsewhere returns to the fun, funny feel of the title track (“Men Buy the Drinks [Girls Call the Shots]”) and the straightforward emotion of “Good Morning Beautiful” (“Come On Rain,” “A Cliff in Colorado”), while spotlighting quite a few other angles along the way. A version of the Mike Curb Congregation’s “All for the Love of Sunshine” proves Steve’s deftness with old-school country, even as most of Brand New Girlfriend feels resolutely modern—in a phrase, brand-new.

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