Download: Tim Finn, "People Like Us" (2012)

Inspirational without feeling like a too-easy bromide, Tim Finn’s free download “People Like Us” urges us, gently but insistently, toward contentment with what’s left in our lives.

It’s a big message, but compressed into a magisterial, piano-driven storyline, rather than ballooned into your average 21st century anthem-rocker. The temptation on “People Like Us” — available at Finn’s Web site ahead of his forthcoming ninth solo album — might have been to ratchet things up, as he unspooled a series of detailed vignettes, but Finn (as per usual) stays away from the expected here.

In other words, “People Like Us” couldn’t be a tastier pop hors d’oeuvre to get you ready for The View is Worth the Club, due August 26, 2012 through ABC-Universal Music Australia.

Finn, though he found some measure of fame alongside sibling Neil in Split Endz, Crowded House and the Finn Brothers, has always suffered a bit in the public consciousness for having this sense of off-beat creativity. He’s never quite played it straight, never quite settled for the easy way, never completely fit in.

[DOWNLOAD IT HERE!: A free download of “People Like Us,” featured on Tim Finn’s forthcoming solo album ‘The View is Worth the Climb,’ is available by clicking here.]

That’s what I’ve always loved about Tim Finn, and why I’ve thought over the years that his solo records were every bit the equal — and sometimes a good deal better — than the more famous ones issued by Neil Finn with Crowded House.

“People Like Us,” as it ends on a kaleidoscopic whirlwind of emotion, tells me nothing’s changed.

“I worked on the songs for a long time, so I’d kind of dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s and I knew that they were ready to sing,” Finn says, in pre-release materials. “The lyrics? I’d honed them so that I felt completely confident. Then it was a matter of the pure excitement of playing them with great musicians and only having two weeks and capturing all that: it’s all very live and some of the vocals are live vocals with very little overdubbing. I think that’s partly why it sounds so fresh.”

Guest on The View is Worth the Climb include Joey Waronker (Beck, REM, Thom Yorke), Zac Rae (Macy Gray, Fiona Apple, Cold War Kids), Brett Adams (The Bads), Tony Buchen (Andy Bull) and Mara TK (Electric Wire Hustle). The title track was co-written by the Aria Award-winning Megan Washington.

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Nick DeRiso

Over a 30-year career, Nick DeRiso has also explored music for USA Today, All About Jazz, Ultimate Classic Rock and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the nation by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Contact him at nderiso@somethingelsereviews.com.