New Dan Wilson – “Baby Doll”

It’s an almost theme today, catching up with the songwriters who wrote some of the later ’90s bigger alt.rock hits. From the men who penned “Popular” to the man behind “Closing Time” and “Secret Smile,” then. Since Semisonic’s last album in ’01, Dan Wilson’s lent his songsmithery to a host of folks like Rachel Yamagata, Mike Doughty, and most successfully, Dixie Chicks (picking up a Grammy for co-writing “Not Ready To Make Nice”). Looks like he impressed industry savior Rick Rubin during his time with the Chicks, ’cause the Columbia head honcho mans the controls on Dan’s first solo LP Free Life. “Baby Doll” doesn’t try too hard to recreate any Semisonic sonics, instead riding a slowly descending, sometimes diminished chord progression through to a pretty great, yearning hook. It’s a good look and nice growth for a 46-year-old former alt dude.

Dan Wilson – “Baby Doll” (MP3)

Hear another new single, “Cry,” at MySpace. Free Life is out 10/16 on American Recordings.