Crank It, We're Doomed is the great "lost" album from Todd Snider. And thankfully, it's been "found" and has been loaded with previously unreleased songs, recordings, and versions.
Like Neil Young, Prince and Bruce Springsteen before him, Todd Snider has also shelved albums throughout his three-decade career. Three of them, actually. While Snider might not be as famous as the aforementioned artists, he is equally dedicated to his craft, and his decision to hold these records back was driven by artistic considerations.
One such album, Crank It, We're Doomed is finally seeing the light of day some 16 years later. In 2007, when he recorded the album, Snider was in a highly creative phase, writing prolifically and experimenting with musical ideas he would explore more fully in later releases. In that year, he not only finished and recorded the 15 songs on Crank It but he also wrote and recorded seven tracks for a digital-only EP released in 2010 by his alter ego, Elmo Buzz & the Eastside Bulldogs.
During this time, Snider was overwhelmed by the sheer number of songs pouring out of him. "It was very much a blur," he recalls, "A blur not because of the party going on, but because of how many songs I was coming up with. It was probably the pinnacle of my time making up songs. Like they were really coming at me, and I didn't know what to do with them all." Initially, the album was meant to follow up the acclaimed East Nashville Skyline and The Devil You Know, but he felt it wasn't quite there yet.
Snider had originally envisioned Crank It, We're Doomed as a double album, drawing inspiration from iconic albums like Exile On Main St. and The Beatles (White Album). While it does share some musical similarities with these legendary albums, it's far less sprawling at just 49 minutes. But what a 49 minutes it is!
Despite his decision not to release it, Snider found homes for five of the tracks on his subsequent two albums, Peace Queer and The Excitement Plan, albeit with three of them receiving new titles. Additionally, he recorded new versions of six other songs from the record, which were released on The Excitement Plan and Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables. The original versions of the songs on Crank It, We're Doomed are distinct and, in some cases, substantially different. The new album also includes four tracks that have never been heard by anyone outside the musicians and Snider's inner circle, making them rare and precious recordings.