To be clear, "A Special Acoustic Show by Clem Snide" just means Eef Barzelay
with a guitar. Publicity strategies aside, the Israel-born, Nashville-based songwriter has been blurring irony and sincerity since his band's 1998 debut, You Were a Diamond
. Bitter Honey
, Barzelay's new solo album, is exactly that: Acoustic guitar and bird chirps accompany his high, quizzical croon and tragicomedies of hip-hop booty-shakers, alkie girlfriends and other loved ones all of whom he wishes would die, just to know how it feels. When he whispers, "Nothing means anything anymore," he gives the Prozac generation a Zen koan. When he sneers, "The thing you claim to hate, you do it very well," he gives critics and fans alike a put-down they weren't expecting, even as they can't help but sing along.