Home
Album
Reviews
Music
Yes, I still call music releases "albums" despite the fact that I purchase most my music on
cd. If I do in fact own the album reviewed here on vinyl I'll try and reference that fact,
otherwise the review will refer to the cd version.  Though I enjoy all types of different
music, I do have my favorites, as you'll see here,  I often have strong opinions about
music. I like music of all genres, but only like "quality" music within a given genre.

The reviews you'll find here are rarely in depth, and are not intended to resemble those
of professional critics and publications. Instead, you'll usually find a couple of paragraphs
giving an overview of the album and some personal feelings about the work. If you would
like more in depth info on a particular album or artist I usually provide links to related
sites from the individual artist site.

There's not necessarily any order, rhyme, or reason to the reviews here other than I felt
like mentioning something about the album at the time. I'd love to know your opinions
on music, so please feel free to give me your feedback!
"Chutes Too Narrow"
-The Shins
I suppose if you are looking for ground breaking sound and loud, heavy
energy you're going to have to keep looking. But the fact that this
album is none of those things is one of the reasons I really like it. That
is to say that so much of what is out there amongst the new millennium
bands is a never-ending line of Linkin Park/Blink 182/Limp Bizkit
wannabes. Wow is that BORING! With this album one actually gets to
experience the long lost art of SONGWRITING (a novel concept, I know).
Sure, you can still find songwriters in the country and mainstream rock
genres, but to find it a central element in the alt rock/garage band
world is a rarity nowadays. This album is full of great hooks, great lyrics,
varied styles, and very low levels of pretense. How refreshing!
"Angels With Dirty Faces"
-Tricky
If you can't deal with boundries being pushed, styles twisted, genres
mashed, or your auditory senses challenged, you'll HATE this album.
Fortunately I love being challenged, especially in this age of souless,
prefab pop. Only a small handful of artists of any note have enough
integrity and true creativity to break new ground and smash
convention. Along with Radiohead, Ryuichi Sakamoto, David Sylivian,
Audio Active and a few others, Tricky is solidly in this category. His soul
is in each track. From dark mumbling to funky rhyming Tricky is
speaking HIS language "It means we'll manage." Each of his works
offers something completely different from the others. While I enjoy all
of them, "Angels" is my favorite; dark when dark, funky when funky,
strange when strange and neurotic throughout. One might listen to
this cd regularly for years and still be discovering subtlties tomorrow
.
Having given up on the Bunnymen after (perhaps upon release of) what the
band now refers to as the "Grey album," I had only recently become curious as
to what the new line of albums might have to offer. I was a bit more than
skeptical, having been such a big fan of the music from the "Heaven Up
Here"/"Porcupine" era. I picked up a used copy of "What Are You Going To
Do..." about a year and a half ago, and listened with an intentionally open
mind. It's been many years after all. Wow. I was actually impressed. This is not
the Bunnymen of the 80's, no doubt. But, the emotion and quality of simple
songwriting was undeniably solid. After a couple of weeks of occasional
listening I was surprised by how much this album took hold of me.

I purposefully put off buying another "new era" Bunnymen release in order to
"cleanse the palette." I decided to purchase "Evergreen," and again tried to
remain open minded about where the Bunnymen might have been coming
from in 1997. In all honesty I was expecting to be disappointed (as I was with
WAYGTDWYL), but once again I was very much taken with this album. While
there should be no doubt that the Bunnymen are a very different band than
they were years before, this more reflective, sedate Bunnymen was still
entirely capable of producing meaningful, soulful, and yes, rockin' tunes. Like
many others, I would like to see a bit more "noise" from Will, and perhaps
more "funk" from Les, but on the whole the transformation/maturation of this
legendary band makes a lot of sense to me. There is no escaping growing
older, and the way in which the Bunnymen reflect their maturity in no way
denies the past and at the same time readily embraces the present/future in
the form of beautiful composition, deliberate intention, and a general lack of
concern for fulfilling others expectations.

I rarely consider an album worthy of 5 stars, but given the pressure of
unrealistic expectations these guys must have faced in making this album I
feel obligated.
"Evergreen"
-Echo and The Bunnymen
"Stranded"
-Roxy Music
Although I've been familiar with several cuts from this album for over
20 years, I only recently purchased it. To hear the album in it's
entirety is a wonderful thing, and serves to confirm the fact that this
band was consistantly creating pioneering and ingenious music that
was unrivaled in it's time. Things began to really click for the band at
the time of this album's release. Though the first two Roxy albums
were ingenious in their own right, this album demonstrates cohesion
and vision that had yet to be fully realized previously. And although
I'm a huge Eno fan, I must admit that he is not missed at all here.
Music, vocals, lyrics, emotion, and style are in almost perfect balance.
"Country Life" still remains my all time favorite Roxy album, but this is
a VERY close second, and in some ways feels like a companion piece.
I came to this album by having purchased the ROIR label production
"Come Again Dub," in 1993 which is the dub version of Call Me Collect.
Despite listening to that album intensely over a number of years I never
purchased this original. Finally I got my hands on Call Me Collect earlier
this year and WOW! am I happy I did. While I knew the music by heart
thanks to the dub album, I was really surprised how great the cuts were
with Gregory's full vocals. This truly is a great album and I'm amazed at
how little attention it seems to get. This recording is as satisfying an
album as Cool Ruler, Number 1, Night Nurse, or Soon Forward in my
opinion. In addition, this is a later recording (1990 I believe), and thus has
a more modern and diverse sound. Both electronic and organic sounds
make up the music, while Gregory's voice is solid, smooth, and strong. The
cuts vary in style but there isn't a bad cut throughout. I highly
recommend this for anyone from old fan to newcomer. Also, this cd
appears to often be difficult to get your hands on, so get it while you can!
"Call Me Collect"
-Gregory Isaacs
Having been a loyal fan of REM since Reckoning first came out I'll always
give them the benefit of the doubt. In the past there have certainly been
several releases I initially didn't like but which soon become solid favorites
when given time (Document, Green). So, maybe I'll feel better about this
album in a few months time.(?)

My opinion after a handful of listenings is that this is actually a solid,
enjoyable album. And if this were a band with lesser expectations I suppose
people would be impressed by it on several levels. It's just that for some of us
this just isn't enough to "get bloody satisfaction." There are some beautiful,
standout numbers including Boy in the Well, Leaving New York, and the
title track Around the Sun. In fact, I notice that when reviewers here list
their favorite tracks they vary a lot. This obviously speaks well for the album,
and in fact I remember the same thing happening here when Up was first
out.

However, I can't help but feeling left wanting for a few more high energy,
rocked-out tunes. Listening to this album I have an image of Michael cooly
crooning while not once breaking a sweat. I don't know about you, but I like
to think of Michael occassionally charged up, howling, and sweating! I'm
certainly not looking for Monster II, but if they don't start showing a little
more energy I'm afraid the idea of REM loosing their edge with age is a
legitimate issue.

I thought Reveal was a wonderful album which gave me renewed hope that
REM was far from being irrelevant, and I was surprised by it's low sales
numbers. This album may actually sell better, but I don't think it's quite as
interesting. In fact it sounds very "safe" and over produced despite it's
stripped-down feel.

Also, my standard line applies here: "Put your egos aside, cut the 3 weakest
tracks, and release a 10 track album!" If REM had done that here we may be
talking 4 1/2 stars instead of 3 1/2.
"Around The Sun"
-R.E.M.
Page 2
_______________________________