R.E.M.—-Part Lies Part Heart Part Truth Part Garbage 1982-2011 [Pt. 2]

Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage: 1982-2011 [Explicit]

The Analysis—-

Disc Two:

Everybody Hurts—-Continuing with a track that again brought worldwide attention to the band, Stipe sounds literally crushed in his vocal delivery. The heaviness of the song lyrics are matched perfectly with the understated style of guitar and gentle drums. A true favorite track of mine.

Man On The Moon—-Fun and a bit lighter than the previous track, I have always loved this song. he duel vocals are remarkable….raising Mills and his talents to a whole new level. This is brilliant….addictive and remarkably fresh for the time we are in now. I love this song.

Nightswimming—-Such an odd and rather ominous intro, Stipe enters with his melody heavy vocal that gives the song it’s very structure. This is a remarkable track…beautifully stark and full of an indescribable intensity and beauty. A true standout.

What’s The Frequency, Kenneth—-Such a joyous and noisy track. I remember falling in love with this the first time I heard it. The electricity from the instruments are just phenomenal. The driving guitar line is incredible….the tone of the song urgent and intense…..just fantastic.

 

New Test Leper—-Sedate and delivered with a beautiful understated acoustic guitar, Stipe sounds almost defeated and broken in his vocal delivery. This is a strong track…..truly accessible but very Indie at the same time.

Electrolite—-Really almost an extension of the previous track, this carries the same feeling over. The lyrics are intense…the music understated and the vocal delivery almost heavy with a certain sadness. he understated elements of the song make it even more powerful for me.

At My Most Beautiful—-Piano heavy and still understated in the instrumentation, this has an almost ghostly feel to it. The simple strains are powerful….the vocal pushed to the back of the mix making you feel a sadness and heavy emotional feel. This is dark but beautiful.

The Great Beyond—-I don’t really feel a familiarity with this track….it seems naked and uninspired to me….I’m left with an empty feeling from the starkness of the song. Not a throw a way……but not a favorite either.

Imitation Of Life—-Returning to a more familiar and accessible sound, this sounds like an invigorated band that decided to return to the sound the fans fell in love with. This is much more pleasant…sounds inspired and had an addictive chorus that is just brilliant.

Bad Day—-Electric and almost with a funk line in the underbelly, this sounds like a throwback to It’s The End Of The World….delivered in the same urgent feel and jerky jaunty guitar. Stipe sounds a bit hollow…like the freshness of the band really had left him.

Leaving New York—-Again sedate and delivered with an odd style vocal that really never resonated with me….like Stipe thinks he is in a stage play or something. This is not on my list of favorite tracks by any means. Only the chorus saves the song for me…..

Living Well Is The Best Revenge—-The electricity and urgency side of the band returns in a fiery display of guitars and drums. Stipe sound possessed as he delivers his lines fast as lightening and with a renewed purpose. This is a fantastic, noisy track.

Supernatural Superserious—-Perhaps one of the last truly meaningful and powerful tracks from the band before the demise, the electricity of the band is in full force. Mills returns on the backing vocals and fills out the song remarkably well. This is a huge track for me….I love Mills voice and the melodic quality of Stipe’s singing.

Uberlin—-With a nice throwback sound to the mid 90’s, this track sounds much better to me now listening back on it. The understated instrumentation seems to wrap itself around the emotional feel of the lyrics. Really a beautifully constructed song.

Oh My Heart—-This for me…..is just a mess. The attempt to deliver a Spanish style feel to the guitar falls flat. Stipe sounds like he is singing in another room. Even the addition of Mills can’t even come close to saving this song.

Alligator_Aviator_Autopilot_Antimatter—-A nice vigorous feel to the electric side of the band, the music has an urgency that is nice…but there is so much happening here that it all comes about as a musical mess full of chaos and incongruity. I really don’t like this. Even Kate could not save this.

A Month Of Saturdays—-Empty and uninspired. Naked and without form……a band that has lost direction…..Stipe sounds bored and tired.

We All Go Back To Where We Belong—-The swan song is a pretty but uninspired track that leaves me sad to see them go…but happy to know that they knew when the inspiration was gone. This is pretty…..but really does not resonate with me.

**** out of 5

 

 

 

 

R.E.M / Part Lies Part Heart Part Truth Part Garbage 1982-2011

Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage: 1982-2011 [Explicit]

R.E.M. was an American rock band from Athens, Georgia, that was formed in 1980 by drummer Bill Berry, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist/backing vocalist Mike Mills, and lead vocalist Michael Stipe. One of the first alternative rock bands, R.E.M. was noted for Buck’s ringing, arpeggiated guitar style, Stipe’s particular vocal quality and obscure lyrics, and Mills’ melodic basslines and backing vocals. R.E.M. released its first single—”Radio Free Europe“—in 1981 on the independent record label Hib-Tone. The single was followed by the Chronic Town EP in 1982, the band’s first release on I.R.S. Records. In 1983, the group released its critically acclaimed debut album, Murmur, and built its reputation over the next few years through subsequent releases, constant touring, and the support of college radio. Following years of underground success, R.E.M. achieved a mainstream hit in 1987 with the single “The One I Love“. The group signed to Warner Bros. Records in 1988, and began to espouse political and environmental concerns while playing large arenas worldwide.

By the early 1990s, when alternative rock began to experience broad mainstream success, R.E.M. was viewed by subsequent acts such as Nirvana and Pavement as a pioneer of the genre. The band then released its two most commercially successful albums, Out of Time (1991) and Automatic for the People (1992), which veered from the band’s established sound and catapulted it to international fame. R.E.M.’s 1994 release, Monster, was a return to a more rock-oriented sound, but still continued its run of success. The band began its first tour in six years to support the album; the tour was marred by medical emergencies suffered by three of the band members.

In 1996, R.E.M. re-signed with Warner Bros. for a reported US$80 million, at the time the most expensive recording contract in history. Its 1996 release, New Adventures in Hi-Fi, though critically acclaimed, fared worse commercially than its predecessors. The following year, Bill Berry left the band, while Stipe, Buck, and Mills continued the group as a trio. Through some changes in musical style, the band continued its career into the next decade with mixed critical and commercial success, despite having sold more than 85 million records worldwide and becoming one of the world’s best-selling music artists of all time. In 2007, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in their first year of eligibility. R.E.M. disbanded amicably in September 2011, announcing the split on its website.

Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982–2011 is a 2011 greatest hits album from alternative rock band R.E.M. Intended as a coda on their career, this is the first compilation album that features their early work on independent record label I.R.S. Records in addition to their 10 studio releases through Warner Bros. Records. The double-disc retrospective was released through Warner Bros. on November 11, 2011, and was compiled by the band members. The existence of the compilation was revealed simultaneously with the group’s announcement that they were disbanding on September 21, 2011.

The Analysis—-

Disc One:

Gardening At Night—-Beginning with the trademark style of guitar twang the band was know for in the early days,  the vocal from Stipe enters displaying his unintelligible vocal style that always lest everyone guessing as to the true lyrics and meanings of the songs back in the burgeoning days of the band. The jaunty feel of the song is addictive and instantly recognizable….still filling me with a joy and reminder of the beginning of what we all called Alternative.

Radio Free Europe—-Perhaps recognized as the first proper release from the band, this was a landmark recording for me. I instantly fell in love with the band and the mystery that surrounded the meaning of the songs. The energy of these early recordings still manage to bring a smile to my face…instantly making me appreciate the genius of the band and at the same time mourn the passing of true legends. This is addictive…accessible and damn pleasant to listen to…..when Mills joins in on the chorus….the song is unstoppable.

 

Talk About The Passion—-Beginning with the unmistakable guitar sound that the band always managed to deliver, Stipe enters with a melancholy vocal that always seems to wrap itself around my very soul. here were times in my youth when I was sure the man was constructing these emotional masterpieces designed for my dark and needy moods. a true wonderful memory of youth, sadness, struggle and an underlying joy.

Sitting Still—-A song I was not really familiar with my title alone, it is one of those songs that when you hear the beginning chords you say….ah yes…that one. Again, there are times when Mills enters on the vocal and rounds out the sound of the song. I love the urgency, the pleading feel of the vocal and the remarkable jangly feel of the music.

So. Central Rain—-Tracks like this….from perhaps my favorite R.E.M. release, remind me of a care-free, employment free, alcohol filled summer of complete abandon and a deepening dive into everything Alternative and out of the mainstream. Stipe still delivered lyrics that were open to interpretation and implication and just left enough of the dial to appeal to the youth of the day. Fantastic.

[Don’t Go Back ToRockville—-full of Country inspired guitar strumming, the song opens up further upon the chorus  and becomes a frenzied romp that is even pertinent these days. I love the lazy drawl that Stipe manages to deliver throughout the entire song. There is a deep underlying tone to the song that is magical….and then Mills starts to sing with Michael on the chorus and the song becomes a masterpiece.

Driver 8—-Driving and seemingly filled with a bass driven aggression, Stipe again delivers a slurred type of vocal that seems to dissolve during what could be the most important lyric. Mills takes a bigger part on the vocal on this track and really serves as foreshadowing of how important his vocal would become later in the band. This is a driving, bass filled angst ridden journey that I still love.

Life And How To Live It—-This is a nice example of the slow but steady evolution of the sound of the band. Although much of the lyrical content is still a mystery. the sharpness and ability of the band seems to improve with every song on this compilation. These were the finest days of a classic and brilliant band.

Begin The Begin—-This release started for me a progression that the band continued until it’s demise. The music was brighter and filled with messages for the listener to grab a hold of. The lyrics were clearer and the music was filled with an aggressive delivery that seemed to help the message be conveyed to the listener. This was a brilliant track.

Fall On Me—-With an almost Alt-Country intro, the band introduces a addictive mellow sound that propels your mind to struggle with the lyrics, draw your own conclusions and fall in love with the blended vocals from Stipe and Mills. A truly shining moment from the kinds of Alternative.

Finest Worksong—-I love the propulsive feel of the guitar on this song. The riff sounds like it is always progressing but manages to stay in one place. Again we get remarkable blended vocals and a huge masculine bass line that still sounds incredible now. I really consider this one of my favorite tracks from the band.

 

It’s The End Of The World As We Know It—-Jaunty and fun right from the onset, the song travels at an amazing pace. The lyrics come at you so fast and furious….it is hard to keep track of all he doom that is being delivered. Another track that still stands the test of time remarkably well.

The One I Love—-One of the songs responsible for propelling this beloved Indie band to world wide success, The band stayed true to their sound and message…I guess the time was just right for the band to burst from the underground, so to speak. Laid back and gentle until the heavier chorus guitar line, Stipe sounds remarkably fresh and driven…sincere and positive in delivering his message.

Stand—-For me this has always been a track that has a slight silly side to it. The lyrics and clear and simple…the guitar is basic and understated. The chorus is addictive and will live in your brain for a long time. Addictive and fun.

Pop Song 89—-Another track that for me at least, has a slight Alt-Country feel to the under belly of the melody line. The crisp clarity of the vocals are a big change from the early days. The message is quasi-political and the melody line damn pleasant.

Get Up—-Aggressive with sharp burst of guitars and great drumming, the mixed vocal brings an automatic smile to my face. Sometimes I prefer the Mills vocal over Stipe. This is a fine progression in sound and direction.

Orange Crush—-Another landmark release for me, this was a nice throwback in sound to the earlier days of the band…the duel vocals…the jangly guitar and the vocal urgency. This was also a period when I think Mills started adding vocals even more to the band’s songs…giving the sound a pleasant fuller sound. Remarkable still today.

Losing My Religion—-Another track that really pushed the band and sales into the upper reaches of the universe. The track is pleasant enough but at this pint suffers from overplay. I don’t have complaints about the song, I’m just tired of it.

Country Feedback—-Bringing the Country leanings of the band into the front of the sound, I love the talk delivery of the vocal…..it tends to give the song a haunting feel that still manages to give me goosebumps. This is wonderful to hear again.

Shiny Happy People—-The joining of vocals from Stipe and Kate Pierson was pure genius. The blend is perfect and created a magical musical moment in history. The jangly feel of the music is true to the sound of the band….but the elements of Stipe, Mills and Pierson makes this a masterpiece.

The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight—-Never a true favorite of mine, I still love the basic elements of the song. The sound is true to form,,,Stipe sings with an urgency that is nice to hear….The range of vocal styles are great…the chorus falls flat for me though

*****

 

 

 

 

Roger Waters / Is This The Life We Really Want?

Is This The Life We Really Want? [Explicit]

George Roger Waters (born 6 September 1943) is an English singer, songwriter, bassist, and composer. In 1965, he co-founded the progressive rock band Pink Floyd with drummer Nick Mason, keyboardist Rick Wright, and guitarist, singer, and songwriter Syd Barrett. Waters initially served as the group’s bassist, but following the departure of Barrett in 1968, he also became their lyricist, co-lead vocalist, and conceptual leader.

Pink Floyd achieved international success with the concept albums The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals, and The Wall. By the early 1980s, they had become one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful groups in the history of popular music; by 2013, they had sold more than 250 million albums worldwide. Amid creative differences, Waters left in 1985 and began a legal dispute with the remaining members over their use of the band’s name and material. They settled out of court in 1987, and nearly eighteen years passed before he performed with them again.

Waters’ solo work includes the studio albums The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking, Radio K.A.O.S., Amused to Death, and Is This the Life We Really Want?. In 1990, he staged one of the largest and most extravagant rock concerts in history, The Wall – Live in Berlin, with an official attendance of 200,000. As a member of Pink Floyd, he was inducted into the U.S. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. In the same year he released Ça Ira, an opera in three acts translated from Étienne and Nadine Roda-Gils’ libretto about the French Revolution. Later that year, he reunited with Pink Floyd bandmates Mason, Wright and David Gilmour for the Live 8 global awareness event; it was the group’s first appearance with Waters since 1981. He has toured extensively as a solo act since 1999 and played The Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety for his world tour of 2006–2008. In 2010, he began The Wall Live and in 2011 Gilmour and Mason appeared with him during a performance of the double-album in London. As of 2013, the tour is the highest-grossing of all time by a solo artist.

Is This the Life We Really Want? (stylised as is this the life we really want?) is the fifth studio album by English rock musician and former Pink Floyd bassist and vocalist Roger Waters, released on 2 June 2017 by Columbia Records. It is his first studio album in nearly 25 years since Amused to Death (1992), as well as his first solo album in 12 years since Ça Ira (2005). On 20 April, the single “Smell the Roses” was released.

The Analysis—-

When We Were Young—-I approached this long awaited release with trepidation, optimism and wonder. The opening strains of this track….just bits of soundbites and effects reminds me of the wonderful Radio KAOS….the words from Waters portrays perhaps the feelings of million Americans……and then we move into….

Deja Vu—-The wonderful strains of Waters vocal and the familiar musical sounds belie the passage of time and put me right back in the center of the time I most cherished as a youth. Waters sounds like a young man as he sings and delivers line after biting line of fear….sadness and despair that belies the world we live in. This is magnificent…timely and incredibly rue. You go Roger!!!!

The Last Refugee—-Again with effects that are very Floyd in nature, the deep sound of the song transports you to the darkness and despair of many people in this day and age. Waters never fails to hone in on the pulse of the human race and repeat to everyone hat no one is truly saying. This is beautifully constructed and delivered in the voice of a much younger and driven man…..no disappointment here,

Picture That—-Delivered with venom and urgency, Waters reminds us what it means to truly care and be afraid of what we are facing and enduring. The sound is just classic….very Floyd, yet still pure in the waters feel as well. The effects that ride through the song are never a distraction…only adding to the intensity of the meaning and emergency of the song. Just magnificent.

Broken Bones—-So reminiscent of material from The Wall, what really amazes me is the classic and timeless quality of Waters and his voice…his song construction and his sentiment that seems to bite me to the bone. The huge swells of music and the anguished voice makes me sad and desperate to make a change. I love this release…this is pure perfection for me. Bullshit and Lies…….right Roger!

Is This The Life We Really Want?—-With a sickening Trump soundbite, there is little doubt about the density and despair of this record. The release as a whole…is a political statement we should be making…but instead a Brit is doing it? The message here is clear….the rich are feeding from all of those who are struggling and attempting to find the american Dream….because now…..the American Dream is a Nightmare.

Bird In A Gale—-Full of angry effects right from he start, the frantic tone of the music leads you on a trail of impending doom and desperation. The backdrop effects are convoluted at best but serve their purpose as it sets the tone for the world we live in.  Waters moans and pleads his way through the song…leaving you with a desperate and ghostly feel.

The Most Beautiful Girl—-With a beautiful sense of melody…..the strains of the piano usher in the track that is led off by a vocal that does indeed sound sad and a bit aged. The tone of the song leaves you feeling sad for the beautiful girl……maybe Melania…..

Smell The Roses—-I have listened t this lead off single over and over…but I can’t seem to get my mind wrapped around the feel of it. I don’t like the delivery…perhaps the too bluesy edge to it. I love the vocal…but the song is flat for me.

Wait For Her—-Gently introduced by the slow strumming of Waters and the ghostly piano, again…..another track that would fit perfectly on The Wall…the mood seems little different and not much improved. The sadness echoes through my brain and makes me want to steer clear of the news for a bit….life is desperate enough.

Oceans Apart/Part Of Me Died—-Retaining much of the melody line from the previous track, this sounds so full of sadness and despair…Waters delivering line after line of introspection and slight despair. I wallow in the dark feel of the record….it seems to fit my mood as well. This is masterful….wonderfully constructed…beautifully intricate….and magnificently dark.

*****out of 5

Bleachers / Gone Now

Gone Now

Bleachers is an American pop act based in New York City. It is the official stage name of songwriter and record producer Jack Antonoff, who is also part of the bands Steel Train and Fun. Bleachers’ pop music was heavily influenced by the late ’80s, early ’90s and the high school-based films of John Hughes while still using modern production techniques.

Gone Now is the second album by American indie pop act Bleachers, released on June 2, 2017.

The Analysis—-

Dream Of Mickey Mantle—-Drenched in a slight distortion and reverb, the promise of a huge track is there from the first note. When the track finally opens up, your ears are drenched in a quasi-80’s style synth line and a Springsteen like vocal delivery that is steeped with an Americana feel. This is a huge track….sounds coming at you from every direction…..sometimes very chaotic and exhausting.

Goodmorning—-Seeming to repeat the same melody line from the previous track, the chaos is settled somewhat. The vocal distortion and reverb is a bit distracting for me….the sounds taking away from the magical throwback sounds of the 80’s synth line. The vocal has just a perfect sound of angst and ire…..I like this.

Hate That You Know Me—-This is much more in the vein of 90’s pop sounds…..but again, I could do without the excessive use of reverb and distortion…it is very difficult to follow the melody line of the track with this going on. This is like a throwaway Sugar Ray track.

Don’t Take The Money—-Right from the first note, this track wrapped itself around my brain and took up residence for quite sometime. This has a huge sound….a classic throwback sound to days of yore…a vocal that is so damn pleasant. All of the makings of a standout track…this is MAGNIFICENT!!!

Everybody Lost Somebody—-Returning to sound effect heavy music, the song reaches a clarity with the chorus. The horns on the melodic sing a long chorus are damn addictive and bright. The song has a dark edge to the story….but the jaunty feel of the music and the highly addictive chorus creates, with the previous track, a centerpiece to the release.

All My Heroes—-Coming out of the silence with a Berlin style synth line, the vocal is high in tone and full of a melancholy feel. The chorus erupts and grows and grows….making it another unforgettable track. The driving synth line that runs underneath of the track makes this as wonderful as it is. A classic sound…..and an addictive unforgettable melody/chorus.

Let’s Get Married—-With a clear throwback sound to the 80’s bombast, the vocal is phenomenal on this track. The chorus of voices that are all entwined make the song so large and addictive….this is by far my favorite track on this release. Full of every ingredient that creates a perfect pop song, the recipe is mixed with expertise and finesse. Wonderful!

Goodbye—-Returning to what I call the Sugar Ray 90’s feel, I could take or leave this track. without a proper chorus that catches my ear, this leaves me a bit empty and wishing for that addictive big sound to return.

I Miss Those Days—-From the onset, the jangly pleasant feel of this track settles in with me and makes me smile. There seems to be just the right amount of angst to the voice to match the lyric and the sentiment. The song literally explodes into a bright sunny romp of E-Street style revelry that pleases me to no end. This is fantastic!

Nothing Is U—-Sedate and filled with an intricate lyric and melody line, the stark piano allows a slow synth line that gives the song an even deeper feel. This is beautifully sad and intense…..full of an emotional call of understanding and thanks for love given. this is beautifully constructed….the song seems to grow and grow as it progresses….becoming this huge incredible ode to love. I am addicted as hell to this.

I’m Ready To Move On/Mickey Mantle Reprise—-Not much different in offering than the opening track, I do love the play of the speakers in headphones. The style of this song does not serve the band well….the pop construction is missing and leaves me hollow.

Foreign Girls—-Ending the release with an odd track, the intro leaves me desperate for a return to the centerpiece sound of the record. The vocal is very high in tone and a bit annoying to the ear. The chorus enters and the track becomes a nice sing a long track that is addictive and catchy. I like this….but as an ending….I just want to return to the center of the release.

**** out of 5

The Jesus And Mary Chain / Damage And Joy

Damage And Joy

The Jesus and Mary Chain are a Scottish alternative rock band formed in East Kilbride in 1983. The band revolves around the songwriting partnership of brothers Jim and William Reid. After signing to independent label Creation Records, they released their first single “Upside Down” in 1984. Their debut album Psychocandy was released to critical acclaim in 1985 on major label WEA. The band went on to release five more studio albums before disbanding in 1999.

Damage and Joy is the seventh studio album by Scottish alternative rock band The Jesus and Mary Chain. It was released on 24 March 2017 by ADA and Warner Music Group. It is the group’s first album in 19 years, and marks their first collaboration with producer Youth.

Some of the songs had appeared previously in a different form – “Song For A Secret” and “Amputation” had been released by Jim Reid – the latter as a solo single in 2007 under the title “Dead End Kids”, “Can’t Stop The Rock” was previously released by Jim and William Reid’s sister Linda under the stage name Sister Vanilla, and “The Two Of Us”, “Get On Home” and “Facing Up To The Facts” were previously released in a different form by Freeheat, a band which Jim Reid formed during the band’s hiatus, following the split after the release of the album Munki in 1998.

The Analysis—-

Amputation—-It seems almost impossible that at this point in my life I am privileged to be awarded the release of one more JAMC release. How wonderful to hear the conjoined sounds of the Reid Brothers coming together again…like they had never left me. This is not aggressive as many previous tracks…but the familiarity of it all is remarkable and distinctive. This is brilliant!

War On Peace—-Wonderfully brilliant from the very first strains of the song. This would have fir perfectly on the Stoned And Dethroned release…..you can almost hear Mazzy singing in the backdrop. This has an underlying fuzziness that is so comforting…and over the top the ageless Reid vocal. This is stark and quite simply beautiful. The end of the song is a triumph as the mayhem threatens you with sounds of days past….but remains remarkably in control.

All Things Pass—-Fuzzy and filled with a nice sense of static, the deep bass line sounds right off of an early New Order release. The melody line enters….masterful drums and that incredible voice follows. The pace of the song is so 80’s inspired and pleasant….I just want to wring my hands with sheer joy. This is a huge, addictive track…..I love this.

Always Sad—-Jingly and remarkable in the ability to sound both new and throwback at the same time. this is so addictive….it will urge you to replay over and over….the female vocal that joins in incredible…..and you will have this is your head for a long time after just one listen. This is straight out of the 90’s Lollapalooza era…….just fuckin; brilliant!!!!

Song For A Secret—-Again…..stepping right off the mood of Stoned And Dethroned, the female vocal sounds just like Mazzy…..making me want to dig that release from the crates for another grand listen. This is so fresh…..yet so retro and familiar…so new….but incredibly comfortable. This is just a truly fantastic record!!!

The Two Of Us—-With a nice feedback filled intro like the old days, the song erupts into an almost sunny feeling track that makes you smile inwardly with the sheer pleasure and pleasantness of the whole damn thing. the constant female vocal that runs through the songs adds so much more depth to the feel of the record. I love this as much as Stoned And Dethroned…this is a brilliant return.

Los Feliz [Blues And Greens]—-Lush and melancholy right from the onset, this track is stripped and bare. Reid enters with his vocal….sounding like a ghost whispering from the dark of feelings never expressed before. The slight jaunt to the guitar gives the song just the right needed touch of life……even riding over the sometimes sarcastic nature of the chorus……just fantastic…….like they were never gone.

Mood Rider—-Dense and layered with a sense of darkness at the onset, the guitar truly enters into the fray and lightens the track a bit. Reid slowly sings with a sadness and the fuzz in the underbelly gives this an almost staid funeral feel to the march of the music. This is just brilliant….my God I love this record!

Presidici [Et Chapaquiditch]—-Addictive and filled with a guitar jangle at the onset, the sunny feel of the song belies the rather dark lyrics that form the track. This is a petty ironic American story from a bunch of Scots….but it is filled with irony and almost gets a grin out of me. The music is so addictive and pleasant…this is so wonderful…..I freak in feel like I’m in heaven!!!

Get On Home—-Again, filled with a sound that is very 90’s Alternative music, you can tell that this has been kicked around for a time. The Reid Brothers seem to have found a sense of humor and a talent for irony….but this is still a great song…..stacks up perfectly with the catalog. Without a doubt……musically the noisiest song on the release thus far.

Facing Up To The Facts—-Magnificent in construction and delivery, the lyrics are fantastic……”I hate my brother and he hates me……that’s the way it’s supposed to be.” Just brilliant…..the Reid Brothers facing up to the facts!!!!

Simian Split—-The oddest musical introduction and the most disturbing lyrics of the record. I understand this is all about irony and sarcasm…..but some things you leave alone. This is my least favorite track on the record….but musically one of the most diverse and experimental.

Black And Blues—-Acoustic in nature and accompanied by a damn pleasant vocal…..again with the female vocal that adds and rounds out the sound so incredibly well. I am hopelessly in love with this record…I can’t describe the joy…elation and pleasure at hearing this……I will return easily over and over and over.

Can’t Stop The Rock—-Rounding out the release without ever losing integrity or grit, this will be a release I re-visit on a regular basis…..filled with memories…a fresh perspective and a vigor that sounds like it was never displaced by anger, I truly hope there is more still to come. A Brilliant Release!!!!

***** out of 5

 

 

 

Ryan Adams / Prisoner

Prisoner [Explicit]

Ryan Adams (born David Ryan Adams; November 5, 1974) is an American singer-songwriter, musician, record producer, and poet. He is best known for his prolific solo career, during which he has released fifteen albums, and as a former member of alternative country band Whiskeytown, with whom he recorded three studio albums.

In 2000, Adams left Whiskeytown and released his debut solo album, Heartbreaker, to critical acclaim. The album was nominated for the Shortlist Music Prize. The following year, his profile increased with the release of the UK certified-gold Gold, which included the hit single, “New York, New York“. During this time, Adams worked on several unreleased albums, which were consolidated into a third solo release, Demolition (2002). Working at a prolific rate, Adams released the classic rock-influenced Rock N Roll (2003), after a planned album, Love Is Hell, was rejected by his label Lost Highway. As a compromise, Love Is Hell was released as two EPs and eventually released in its full-length state in 2004.

After breaking his wrist during a live performance, Adams took a short-lived break, and formed The Cardinals, a backing band that would accompany him on four of his next studio albums. In 2009, following the release of Cardinology (2009), Adams disbanded The Cardinals and announced an extended break from music due to complications from Ménière’s disease. The following year, however, Adams resumed performing and released his Glyn Johns-produced thirteenth studio album, Ashes & Fire, in 2011. The album peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard 200. In September 2014, Adams released his fourteenth album, Ryan Adams, on his own PAX AM label, and formed a new backing band, The Shining, to support the release.

In 2015, Adams released 1989 a song-for-song cover of Taylor Swift‘s album of the same name, and worked on up to eighty songs for an album influenced by his divorce from his wife Mandy Moore. The release, Prisoner, was announced in late 2016.

Prisoner is the sixteenth studio album by American singer-songwriter Ryan Adams. It was released on February 17, 2017. The album is Adams’ first album of original material since his 2014 album, Ryan Adams, and was preceded by the singles “Do You Still Love Me?”, “To Be Without You”, and “Doomsday”.

The Analysis—-

Do You Still Love Me?—-From the very opening strains that greet you with this release, the melancholy almost bristles. Adams enters with a bit of an aggressive vocal that is almost in contrast with the mellow feel of the music underneath the slight bombast of the guitars and drums. The message is clear and fills me with a slight ache….incredible songwriting and delivery. I could totally hear Tom Petty singing this song!

Prisoner—-Jaunty and damn pleasant from the first note….the vocal is so distinctive…welcome and familiar. I smile with the irony of the lyrics and the gentle delivery that is somewhat surrounded by biting words. The Springsteen strains are unmistakable…..a damn good track.

Doomsday—-With the harmonica playing and the lazy guitar strumming, again you can understand the Bruce comparisons. This is a huge song…despite the lack of volume and energy. There is a really nice ghostly edge to the song. I love this….really need to investigate more of the albums he has released…..16 so far…..WOW!!!

Haunted House—-Really conjuring up a nice mix between Petty/Dylan and Springsteen, this has an incredible lonely and ghostly feel to the music and vocal. The overblown music of today should take notice that more is not necessarily better. The chorus of this track tends to live in your brain even after one simple listen. This is remarkable songwriting and musicianship.

Shiver & Shake—-Beautiful and stark…a nice ‘story song’ that sounds right off of Nebraska. The lyrics are so vivid…it is easy to put yourself right inside of the song. Adams delivers his finest vocal on this release so far on this track. Sadness and loneliness are easy to find here. It is impossible not to feel every word.

To Be Without You—-A bit more upbeat and country tinged, the vocal enters and puts you right back in the place Adams must have been when he recorded this set of songs. The track has a welcoming familiar sound to it….it is easy to imagine it playing constantly during the rough days we all have from time to time. This is exquisite music…delivered with mastery and emotion.

Anything I Say To You Now—-A bit more raucous and energetic, the guitar is more electric and filled with a nice energy. I like the melody line that runs through the bottom of the song. The vocal seems a little buried to me….the music …loud over the top of it. But still fantastic and intense.

Breakdown—-Returning to the acoustic feel of much of the record, the vocal is once again back in front of the mix and filled with angst and sadness as Adams almost pleads for help in stifling his overwhelming emotion. This is intensely personal and beautiful….you can’t escape the beautifully personal nature of this release.

Outbound Train—-Returning to full on Springsteen mode, this would fit perfectly on any of his releases. The comparison becomes tiresome…I know…but it is not just the music and/or vocal…it is the exquisite ability to tell a story in just over 3 minutes that is also a common denominator. Just a fantastic release…all the way through.

Broken Anyway—-Slight whispery music plays underneath the simple guitar chords that usher in the vocal. The song opens up wider with the onset of the chorus…leaving you wondering if this is the point when Adams finally accepted the defeat that a divorce brings. We are so much the better that he is willing to share such personal things with us.

Tightrope—-The slight echo that runs with the vocal over the scant and naked musical landscape paints a wintry picture of sadness and loneliness for me. Line after line of pain and angst makes you take pause and try to digest all of the hurt and the disdain for day to day life that you have to face despite whatever personal is happening in your life. This is intense….and damn beautiful.

We Disappear—-Wow……I  almost though I was listening to Petty again as this song opened up….closing out this release with a song that makes you wonder if the bad memories are slowly fading….and the idea of moving on is more possible…..I hope for more optimism in the future…..this will forever live with me as a great journey though. Thanks Ryan!!!

***** out of 5

 

 

Depeche Mode / Spirit [Deluxe Edition]

Spirit [Explicit]

Depeche Mode /dˌpɛʃˈmd/ are an English electronic band that formed in 1980 in Basildon, Essex. The group consists of founders Dave Gahan (lead vocals, occasional songwriter since 2005), Martin Gore (guitar, keyboards, vocals, main songwriter since 1982), and Andy Fletcher (keyboards, bass guitar). Depeche Mode released their debut album Speak & Spell in 1981, bringing the band onto the British new wave scene. Original band member Vince Clarke (keyboards, guitar, main songwriter from 1980 to 1981), left the band after the release of the album, leaving the band as a trio to record A Broken Frame, released the following year. Gore took over the lead songwriting duties and, later in 1982, Alan Wilder (keyboards, drums, bass guitar, occasional songwriter) officially joined the band to fill Clarke’s spot, establishing a line up that would continue for the next 13 years. Depeche Mode have been a trio again since 1995, when Wilder left.

The band’s last albums of the 1980s, Black Celebration and Music for the Masses, established them as a dominant force on the mainstream electronic music scene. A highlight of this era was the band’s concert at the Pasadena Rose Bowl, where they drew a crowd in excess of 70,000 people. In the new decade, Depeche Mode released Violator, a mainstream success. The subsequent album, Songs of Faith and Devotion, and the supporting Devotional Tour exacerbated tensions within the band to the point where Alan Wilder quit in 1995, leading to intense media and fan speculation that the band would split. Now a trio once again, the band released Ultra in 1997, recorded at the height of Gahan’s near-fatal drug abuse, Gore’s alcoholism and seizures, and Fletcher’s depression. The release of Exciter confirmed Depeche Mode’s willingness to remain together, the subsequent, and very successful, Exciter Tour being their first tour in support of an original album in eight years since the Devotional Tour, although the band had toured in 1998 to support The Singles 86–98 compilation album.

Depeche Mode have had 50 songs in the UK Singles Chart and thirteen top 10 albums in the UK chart; they have sold over 100 million records worldwide.

Spirit is the fourteenth studio album by the English electronic music band Depeche Mode, released on 17 March 2017 through Columbia Records. It was preceded by the single “Where’s the Revolution“.  Spirit is the band’s second album released under Columbia. Depeche Mode recorded it with new producer James Ford.

The Analysis—-

Going Backwards—-With trepidation and excitement, I hit the play button on a long awaited release. The opening strains are very guitar based….little in the way of swirls and synths until the song progresses. Dave Gahan enters with his trademark baritone and gives the song a very bleak feel….aided by the darker than dark lyrics and general lack of optimism. The song speaks vividly to the current times wonderfully well….a nice beginning.

Where’s The Revolution?—-The first proper release from the album, this lead off single is not much brighter in terms of musical landscape or lyrical content. The familiar Depeche Mode synth sounds are here…the gentle ‘creaking’ found in many of their songs. Gahan spreads his words out in long wails……then the song opens up with a huge anthemic chorus that inspires and begs people to pay attention to the things going on around them. This is fantastic…..the train is coming…..get on board!!!

The Worst Crime—-Keyboard based with a gentle and sad vocal at the onset, the musical landscape sounds bleak and naked. The feeling of the song is so stark and lacking any defining synth line…instead the music produces a thick, dark and lonely fog for you to dig your way out of…..not a favorite track…the plodding goes on a bit to long.

Scum—-With a bit of a livelier synth line, Dave enters with a distorted almost Industrial style vocal that is run through a processor. the lyrical content on this entire release is very dark and intense. I wonder who this song could be directed to….this entire album has huge political overtones.

You Move—-Continuing in the same vein as the rest of this release, the strains of this song lack any real musical bright spots…the sound is very layered and dark. The chorus enters and the strains of the synth are a bit livelier…and Gahan has moved into the upper register of his voice….as the track continues it does have bright poppy moments….much needed at this point.

Cover Me—-Filled with a bleak edge to it at the onset, this is airy despite the dark feeling of the lyrics. The synth effects give off a gentle puff of fog as it enters the landscape of the song…Gahan sounds sad and tortured here. The song left me feeling sad and lonely…but somehow hopeful. Really nice.

Eternal—-This comes from the fog with an almost Church like synth line…Gahan sings almost in acapella fashion as the music is so stark and naked. The sadness and intensity of the lyrics and vocals leave me in a less than bright place in my own psyche…Not a favorite track…..a bit too intense.

Poison Heart—-I like this right from the onset…..although the music is full of plodding beats and mundane synth lines, the vocal…delivered at that higher tone gives the song a brighter feel. at some points in the song, the synth lines threaten to become a bit noisy…..how magical. A really great effort from the Kings Of Gloom!

So Much Love—-Jaunty and noisy, this is a nice surprise right out of the gate, Gahan almost struts with his vocal…I can see him now! This is a fantastic track…I predict this could be the second single. The synth lines are excellent…little blips and beeps appear from nowhere and what sounds like a female vocal on the chorus gives the song a nice body. This is a favorite…really great effort.

Poorman—-This has a nice intro sound that hearkens back to the earlier days of the band. Gahan enters again with a vocal that seem a bit manipulated as do the guitars that are heard. This speaks to poverty…the daily grind of street people and the battles they face on a regular basis. This is social awareness put to music. Brilliant.

No More [This Is The Last Time]—-Although this has a dark tone to it, the airy synth line and the big chorus line gives a remarkable life to the song…this is in contention as another single I think. Gahan sounds rested and in the best voice I have heard him in a very long time. This is a truly brilliant, classic Depeche Mode track,

Fail—-Rounding out the proper release with another stark and almost naked rack, Gahan sings in a pleasant croon that tries to belie the meaning and feel of the song. This is dark and leaves you a bit hopeless….question as you do everyday the meaning of our lives…where we have been and where we might end up, Sometimes the ‘croon’ on the vocal makes me think of classic Bowie.

Cover Me [Alt Out]—-A bit more jaunty and synth laden, this is nice. The blips and the beeps that ride over the top of the foggy synth line are really nice…gives the song a much fuller body than the original. with just wisps of the vocal on the song….this is a phenomenal instrumental journey….EXCELLENT!!!

Scum [Frenetic Mix]—-again, this track becomes much livelier in a remixed form. The synth lines like quick, sharp snaps of a whip at your backside. There are times where everything falls away and the song sounds completely naked…but over-all…I love the sound of this…stark yet powerful.

Poison Heart [Tripped Mix]—-Ominous and dense with toy piano sounds introduce the song….Gahan is back with a vocal on this remix,,,sounding even more manipulated and dense then ever. This is layered with coat after coat of the blackest paint you can find. Not a favorite track…but it is pretty true to form.

Fail [Cinematic Mix]—-Full of static and magnificent darkness, the song has these little slivers of light that magically shine through the trees in the deep woods…giving direction and hope. This is wonderfully thick with sound and reverb. A masterful remix.

So Much Love [Machine Mix]—-Again, a bit of a livelier introduction than the original…the song seems stuck on a never ending loop that takes forever to begin. slowly new sounds and wisps of vocal are introduced…but overall…the song is dense in effects and lacks a true brightness. I don’t hate this…but I would pass over it during a casual listen.

**** out of 5