Eels have written a few songs that seem to pay homage to the part of E that adores Randy Newman: "Son of a Bitch," "I'm Going to Stop Pretending That I Didn't Break Your Heart." But "Gentlemen's Choice," off the new album The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett, is a different sort of Newman homage. It feels like the sort of song Randy would write for a Pixar movie: sad-eyed, heart-tugging, completely sincere. In the film, a female vocalist with an indelible voice would make it pretty, but if Newman sang it himself, the song would be piercing in its vulnerability. (Especially these days when Newman's voice is little more than a croak.) That's what E brings to "Gentlemen's Choice." It's a minor but really, really affecting tune.
(I suppose here is where I should say, "Hey, you should buy my Eels biography. It's good.")