Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes
Released: January 1977
Chart Peak: #12
Weeks Charted: 42
Certified Platinum: 12/14/77
The wry humor and carefully etched scenes that made Jimmy Buffett's A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean so endearing have been slowly evaporating. What remains three albums later are the occasional clever line and a lot of self-pitying drinking songs. The only notable exception is the desperately sad "In the Shelter," the tale of a very lost young woman.
The drinking tunes, it should be added, probably work in live performance. One can get away with one-liner songs if the picking and mood are right. Here, however, Norbert Putnam's overwrought production and arrangements milk each number of its potential charm, emotion or, for that matter, shit-kicking impact. A few loose country licks would have been more in order than the strings and flutes provided.
- Ira Mayer, Rolling Stone, 4/7/77.
I guess the point to make here is that Buffett in transition is still more satisfying than most people snuggled in on a comfortable plateau. The old Buffett swagger is muted here, though there's not much in the words or tunes to suggest why. The arrangements put a little more emphasis on the Caribbean aspect of his peculiar Nashville-Caribbean mix, but they hardly do anything radical. Buffett just sounds a little less sure of himself. Still, he sings well -- doesn't even to badly by Jesse Winchester's "Biloxi," considering that the unbeatable Tom Rush version is called up in my mind and calmly stares down this and other upstart versions. And Buffett has come up with some good songs of his own. A couple are very good: "(Wastin' Away in) Margaritaville," a wry Buffett special of a downer, and "Miss You So Badly," a sort of rhapsody on the theme of "Come Monday." I wouldn't give Buffett a gold star for this one, but he's in solid in the "acquits himself nicely" column.
- Noel Coppage, Stereo Review, 6/77.
Buffett, purveyor of the nautical/Caribbean mystique, is in full bloom here with his fifth LP, possibly his most mature work to date. The themes are provocative enough, exploring maturation, loneliness, boredom, identity searching, expatriatism, human relationships, all done against travel as metaphor for living. Vocals and lyrics are sensitive and there is definite crossover pop and country appeal. Best cuts: "Changes In Latitudes, Changes In Attitudes," "Banana Republics," "Lovely Cruise," "In The Shelter," "Miss You So Badly."
- Billboard, 1977.
- Playboy, 4/77.
Buffett's certainly more likable than the average professional rakehell -- he's complex, he's honest, he takes good care of his sense of humor, and above all he doesn't come on like hot shit. This is his most reflective album, and though I'm nothing like him -- "Wonder Why We Ever Go Home" is hardly my take on aging -- I find myself interested whenever he stops and thinks, which happens mostly on side one. "Banana Republics," about expatriates reaping the wages (and pleasures) of imperialism even if Buffett would never put it that way, is my favorite, but I also love this breakthrough insight from his breakthrough single: "Some people claim that there's a woman to blame/But I know it's my own damn fault." B+
- Robert Christgau, Christgau's Record Guide, 1981.
Buffett's biggest selling regular release contains his biggest hit single, "Margaritaville." It's also a peak in terms of songwriting, both for the artist himself and in his covers of the work of Steve Goodman and Jesse Winchester, among others. Funny, wistful, and celebratory, the album is the definitive statement of Buffett's world view. * * * *
- William Ruhlmann, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.
Buffett's breakthrough album, Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes is a perfect sampler of feel-good folk-rockers (the title track, "Margaritaville") and pensive ballads ("Biloxi," "Wonder Why We Ever Go Home"). * * * *
- David Yonke, Musichound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, 1996.
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