A Review of the Mark Stepakoff CD
"There Goes The Neighborhood"

"There Goes The Neigborhood"
by Mark Stepakoff

Copyright 2006

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 4/06
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Wry, whimsical and with eye-in-habitual-wink mode, Mark Stepakoff has a most unique musical view of this world.

Yes, he writes and sings about relationships, the proverbial mother lode for those who make a living with wordplay, but he does it in his especially own way.

Exhibit A appears with the initial cut: rather than sing sweet praises of his newfound love in "There Goes The Neighborhood," Stepakoff words come out this way:

"...Around the corner where the troubles used to be
Well it's said that they left town quite unexpectedly
And it seems the hurts and sorrows are just nowhere to be found
They last were seen the day you came around..."

Exhibit B, the second song, employs a similar method of communication:
"I could jump out of an airplane, then realize my parachute won't operate
I could be on board a sinking ship where white sharks are known to congregate
I could be beaten, robbed and left for dead, stark naked in the middle of the barrio
But to have to live without your love, well that would be worse case sceanario..."
The trifecta is achieved with "If She Wasn't Half Bad," about the dark side of a woman being the attraction.

Staying in the same eccentric mode, Stepakoff offers sweet nothings to a trio of Hollywood actresses in the caloric-obsessed "Amanda Peet." Adding Julia Roberts and Sandra Bullock to the mix of actresses he swears by, his only complaint is that they all need a heftier girth.

"Means to an End" provides insight into the strategic planning, including measureables and timelines, involved in wooing and acquiring a new flame.

Some smart ad agency will pick up Stepakoff's "Barbeque Sauce" for a television spot as he is so head over heels with the condiment that he ends the song with: "Oh Lord I wish they made a toothpaste that tastes like barbeque sauce."

The most unique song is a tribute to a human-turned culinary delight. "General Gao" is a historical Chinese military figure whose name was somehow tranformed into a chicken delicacy. Stepakoff, at his most tongue in cheek, provides these delectables: "He used to order thousands, now thousands order him" and "fearless and courageous, but he's just chicken now."

Also appearing are this trio: an accolade to singer Mighty Sam McClain, a sad tale of never summoning the courage to express one'sattraction to an unrequitted love, and the ending of a relationship announced by what is first thought to be a robbery--an inside job as Stepkanoff calls it. He returns home to discoverhis partner's clothes closet empty and their bed stripped of linen. Columbo he isn't.

Probably the only thing that's missing here is a remake of "How can I miss you when you won't go away?"

Stepkanoff's offerings are set to a large dose of country style music, some folk, a bit of blues and a dash of Western swing. Irony on the side at no extra charge.

Track List:

All songs written by Mark Stepakoff.

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