Desert Island Singles: “No Myth” by Michael Penn (1989)

Image from wikipedia

Michael Penn was still being referred to as Sean Penn’s brother well after the first single from his debut album had made the charts. “No Myth” combines the melodic jangle of Penn’s acoustic guitar riffs with the light harmonics of his voice, all wrapped up in an extremely catchy pop-rock tune. Most of the energy comes from the song’s solid beat which acts as the perfect runway for Penn’s singing, while the chorus is a wavering gust of pure folk melody. The hooks are extremely sharp, and the tune meanders into a few different routes throughout the entire course of the song.- Mike DeGagne, allmusic.com

When most musicians emulate The Beatles, they try to cop the style of either Lennon or Sir Paul. There would not otherwise be such a thing as power-pop. Michael Penn did things differently. His first single, “No Myth,” from his first album, “March,” channels the spirit of Beatle George. And he does it admirably. Like the best of Harrison’s work, there are complexities and nuances in this track that reward repeated listenings. One of my favorite singles of all time.

See, it was just too soon to tell
and looking for some parallel
can be an endless game
We said goodbye before hello
my secrets she will never know
and if I dig a hole to China
I’ll catch the first junk to Soho

The drum break on this song’s off-ramp floors me every time. I love songs that end as interestingly as they begin.

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6 Comments on “Desert Island Singles: “No Myth” by Michael Penn (1989)”

  1. […] just featured Michael Penn in “Desert Island Singles,” so thought I would also feature his lovely spouse. […]

  2. […] The Wet Sprocket (1992) 9/16/12: “That’s Just What You Are” by Aimee Mann (1994) 9/16/12: “No Myth” by Michael Penn (1989) 9/6/12: “Happy Hour” by The Housemartins (1986) 8/30/12: “Eagle Rock” by Daddy Cool (1970) […]

  3. […] The Beatles, they’re usually styling themselves after Lennon or Sir Paul. In the early 90s a few bands and artists started to emulate George Harrison in song style and mindset. Karl Wallinger of World Party did that with the best of them. (And as […]

  4. In Praise of Men says:

    There’s a rumor floating around that George Harrison had a behind-the-scenes/anonymous hand in this. Around the time when this album was being written/demo-ed, Harrison was heavily involved with Madonna and Sean as his film company produced Shanghai Surprise. Again, it’s strictly hear-say, and Penn is certainly far more than talented enough to have penned this (forgive the pun, friend!) on his own.

    • That is amazing. If George was working on Shanghai Surprise during that timeframe, that would make sense. One of the reasons I like this song so much is that he does emulate George.

      And thanks for following, friend!

      • In Praise of Men says:

        You bet! I can’t confirm this of course, it’s just one of many Hollywood/NYC tales I’ve heard floating around. It’s a damn great song. ❤


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