Streets of New York 00:02:59 Music •••• Sound •••½
Willie Nile is the last of a dying breed: an urban songwriter who finds romance in the promise of dirty streets. It's hard to believe that anyone feels so deeply or cares so much in this cynical age, which makes Streets of New York a refreshing anomaly. Nile's journeyman vocals recall early Bob Dylan spiked with Steve Forbert's scuffling-folkie rasp and Nils Lofgren's gritty tenor. His neo-folk/classic-rock hybrid is plenty compelling - especially in the galloping, love-struck idealism of "Whole World with You" and the jaunty bohemian phantasmagoria of "The Day I Saw Bo Diddley in Washington Square." Granted, "Back Home" sounds like Dylan's "I Want You" with new lyrics (albeit good ones), but Nile gets high marks for originality on "Welcome to My Head," which spills his colorful interior life onto the canvas of song. Streets of New York is a rousing reminder that it's a pretty thing to be alive after all.