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Music Review - 'The Waiting Game' by Buford Pope (dm)

Buford Pope  - The Waiting Game  (Click to watch the video)

12 January 2020



Swedish singer/songwriter, Buford Pope, cites Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and Bruce Springsteen as influences. The standard is a staggering apex, and while Pope’s heartfelt effort has it moments of effectuality, “The Waiting Game” slips more than it surmounts.

The subject matter of the lyrics ranges from Pope’s own struggles as a troubadour to nostalgic descriptions of past love affairs and childhood adventures. Lacking the specificity and urgency of Dylan and Springsteen’s lyrics, and absent the infectious choruses of Petty’s compositions, Pope’s lyrics feel flimsy. It is difficult to identify or connect with the stakes of Pope’s stories, especially considering that, even at his most serious, his songs contain unfortunate infelicities. For example, the song “First Blood” has an earnest sonic quality, as Pope reminisces about the victories and defeats of his early years, but the phrase, “I was as busy as a dog with a juicy bone,” undermines the solemnity that Pope is attempting to evoke.

Pope strikes a somber note throughout the record, but the emotional consistency soon becomes redundancy – a fatal flaw given that in many of the songs it is difficult to distinguish between the verses and choruses.

There are sings of first draft potential with a few of the songs, such as “A Hundred,” a blues-inflected confession about financial desperation, but the performance is so restrained that it lacks the energy and muscularity of the best blues music, including Dylan and Petty’s forays into the traditional genre.

Having released his first record in 2003, Pope is already a veteran of roots music. He will need to continue to cultivate his craft as he aspires to join the ranks of his musical heroes.


 David Masciotra



David Masciotra ( is the author of four books, including Barack Obama: Invisible Man (Eyewear Publishing, 2017) and Mellencamp: American Troubadour (University Press of Kentucky, 2015).

To read all of David's reviews, click here 






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