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Mid-20s folkie Hayden still called his childhood stomping grounds home when he recorded Everything I Long For—just the kind of thing that passes for a great music-biz story these days. And though titles like “My Parent’s House” and “Lounging” seem cannily designed to reel in the younger sibs of those who bought Beck a couple of years ago, neither the singer/songwriter/bidding-war-vet’s monotone nor his less-than-illuminating lyrics mark him as anything special. Drawing in varying proportions on Mark Lanegan and Tom Waits, Hayden betrays his lack of an individual vision beyond pained self-pity. That emotion even infects “When This Is Over,” an overwrought ballad sung from the point of view of Susan Smith’s seat-belted oldest son. Hayden can’t even sing about his crush on a 16-year-old girl down the street without sounding like he’d rather just take a nap now, thanks. He’s certainly never as incisive or funny as “Southern California Brings Me Down,” a decades-old Neil Young parody archived on the recent Best of the National Lampoon Radio Hour box set. In fact, the most entertaining thing here is his rendition of a macaroni-and-cheese recipe at disc’s end. Despite Hayden’s current critical vogue, Everything seems unlikely to take its place alongside In Utero or Basehead’s Play With Toys as a classic statement of ’90s-guy disillusionment. Hayden should buy some amps and turn ’em up. It’s about time Mom and/or Dad kicked the bum out, anyway.—Rickey Wright