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

*****

 

 

 

 

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

Jean-Michel Jarre / Electronica 2: The Heart Of Noise

Electronica 2: The Heart of Noise

Jean-Michel André Jarre (pronounced: [ʒɑ̃ miʃɛl ɑ̃dʁe ʒaʁ], born 24 August 1948) is a French composer, performer, and record producer. He is a pioneer in the electronic, ambient, and new-age genres, and known as an organiser of outdoor spectacles of his music featuring lights, laser displays, and fireworks.

Jarre was raised in Lyon by his mother and grandparents, and trained on the piano. From an early age, he was introduced to a variety of art forms, including those of street performers, jazz musicians, and the artist Pierre Soulages. He played guitar in a band, but his musical style was perhaps most heavily influenced by Pierre Schaeffer, a pioneer of musique concrète at the Groupe de Recherches Musicales.

His first mainstream success was the 1976 album Oxygène. Recorded in a makeshift studio at his home, the album sold an estimated 12 million copies. Oxygène was followed in 1978 by Équinoxe, and in 1979, Jarre performed to a record-breaking audience of more than a million people at the Place de la Concorde, a record he has since broken three times. More albums were to follow, but his 1979 concert served as a blueprint for his future performances around the world. Several of his albums have been released to coincide with large-scale outdoor events, and he is now perhaps as well known as a performer as he is as a musician.

As of 2004, Jarre had sold an estimated 80 million albums. He was the first Western musician officially invited to perform in the People’s Republic of China, and holds the world record for the largest-ever audience at an outdoor event.

Electronica 2: The Heart of Noise is the eighteenth studio album of French electronic musician and composer Jean Michel Jarre, released on 6 May 2016 by Columbia Records. It is the second of a two-part album (the first being Electronica 1: The Time Machine) that is based around collaborations with other electronic musicians from a wide range of decades and styles.

Electronica 1 included artists such as Vince Clarke, Gesaffelstein, M83, Armin van Buuren, John Carpenter, 3D (of Massive Attack), Pete Townshend, Tangerine Dream, and others, while Electronica 2 includes collaborations with Pet Shop Boys, Rone, Julia Holter, Primal Scream, Gary Numan, Hans Zimmer, Edward Snowden, Peaches, Sébastien Tellier, The Orb, Siriusmo, Yello, Jeff Mills, Cyndi Lauper and Christophe. In all, the two-album collaboration has some 30 collaborators, and Jarre has described it as his “most ambitious project.”

The Analysis—-

The Heart Of Noise Pt. 1 featuring Rone—-At the onset, the sound of this recording is lush and deep. The synth lines literally wrap themselves around your body…often reminding me of later enigma recordings. The beautiful and unadorned synth line creates an almost visual landscape in your brain as you listen to the progression of the song…..beautifully constructed and delivered.

The Heart Of Noise Pt. 2 featuring Rone—-Continuing in the same vein, Pt. 2 delivers a bit more of a space filled experimentation that magically lulls you into your own thoughts and allows your brain to magically wander. There is a nice break when the rhythmic bass lines enters the song and allows it to become much bigger and ambient. This is truly brilliant!

Brick England featuring The Pet Shop Boys—-Fantastic…..that about sums this track up from the very first note. This is brilliant. Tenant delivers his distinctive trademark vocal and the synth line is right out of the Lowe playbook. The arrangement is lush and filled with that underlying sad hum found in most of The Boys recordings. This is classic electronica with a brilliant atmospheric twist I can’t seem to walk away from.

These Creatures featuring Julia Holter—-Wonderfully full of computerized synth bleeps and bursts of beautiful sounds, the vocal enters with a ghostly beautiful delivery that literally transports me somewhere else as I listen. Never overdone or overblown, this has the magical element of everything needed to create a masterpiece of a song. I love this vocal!!!

As One featuring Primal Scream—-Coming out of the calm like the opening credits to a masterful movie, this song is layered and textured with an ambiance that almost lulls you into a beautiful nothing. Then the strains from Primal Scream steer the song into an almost joyous romp that encourages you to shed inhibitions and dance like no one is looking. This is fantastic…..a step right back into 90’s Dance Floor masterpieces…..I’m in love!!!

Here For You featuring Gary Numan—-It is impossible for me to find the correct words for this track. How could it possibly go wrong….combing contemporary synth lines and the current direction of the Numan sound, this is a journey that encompasses everything wonderful and right in the world of music. This is simply brilliant….Numan sounds driven and haunted…..the music fits him perfectly. Just incredible! Numan sounds literally driven with emotion and the need to be there for someone……I love this!!!

Electrees featuring Hans Zimmer—-How could this brilliant pairing of two incredible talents possibly go wrong. This has wonderful stamped on it from the very first notes. Atmospheric and laden with dense beautiful sound effects, this takes me out of my very body every time I listen to it. Lush and wonderfully constructed…..this can make you happy as fuck or sleepy as hell…..wonderful!

Exit featuring Edward Snowden—-Perhaps the most interesting collaboration on this release, the music that is delivered here has the urgency that you would expect….making you lean forward on your chair as you are driven into the spy like element of the music. The Snowden vocal overlays are incredibly fascinating and a fantastic concept. This is yet another standout track…..I have to think Jarre is a pure genius.

What You Want featuring Peaches—- Combining a bass heavy sexy synth with the vocal of one of the ‘queens or sleaze’ is a magnificent journey though a trail of seductive vocals and electronics that seem to add to the sexy nature of the track….another brilliant collaboration…in both content and delivery.

Gisele featuring Sebastien Tellier—-Moving at an incredibly nice pace, the song has a Kraftwerk element for me….the feel of the mainstream type electronics are interspersed with a blip filled fun turn. The vocal enters and you are right back in the beginning era of electronica……filled with the best elements of Kraftwerk….with a modern contagious twist.

Switch On Leon featuring The Orb—-Bright and poppy with just the right elements of ambiance and experimentation, you would expect nothing less from this pairing. The effects and the heavy laden synth lines that combine background vocal effects and noises from all directions make you a little crazy……but it is incredible none the less.

Circus featuring Siriusmo—-Dense and epic in sound right from the onset, the music builds and builds and becomes a surprising romp through dance-land. This is full of jaunty dance synths and breaks in the music that keep you guessing where everything is going. Then a magical synth line enters and makes the track even larger….just fantastic.

Why This Why That And Why featuring Yello—-Beautifully constructed and filled with atmosphere, the vocal on this track reminds me so much of Leonard Cohen…..it just all comes together like a magnificent musical poem. I am in heaven with this experience…..I really need to investigate more of this man’s music…I am stunned by the beauty and genius of it all.

The Architect featuring Jeff Mills—-A bit eccentric and muted in delivery, it takes a bit for this song to take any shape or form. The bass keeps creeping on you…promising to explode but leaves me exhausted with the anticipation of joyous abandon. A weak track for me….but still nice.

Swipe To The Right featuring Cyndi Lauper —-Wonderfully full and energy filled from the first strains of the song, Lauper delivers a vocal that belies age and allows you to climb right back into the 80’s heyday. This is energy filled and upbeat with huge crashing synths and crashing timbres. Just fantastic….I am in love with this man. This is the best I have heard Cyndi sound since Bring Me To The Brink release.

Walking The Mile featuring Christope—-A bi dense and dark, the vocal enters and sounds muted and in a tunnel. The delivery is odd….trying to sound psychedelic over a rather bright synth line. Not a favorite…..but it seems to fit in the entire picture well.

Falling Down—-Filled with an undeniable melody line that runs underneath the synth line, the song is so well constructed and is contagious as hell. This has every right element included in it…you can’t escape the tune…it will live in your head…with a bit of throw back to the 80’s fun sound….but still modern, this is fantastic.

The Heart Of Noise [The Origin]—-A bit mundane and filled with much of the sound and melody we have heard thus far, it is a throwback to the opening strains of this release. I would have preferred another collab rather than a redux of something heard before. This is pleasant but tried.

Conquistador [JMJ RMX] featuring Gesaffelstein—-Nicely delivered with an urgent synth line, this song has a pace to it that begs you to pay attention. I like the higer pitched synth lines and the split second breaks that keep everything incredibly interesting before it all dives back into a bass heavy sea, Magnificent!

***** out of 5

 

 

Erasure / World Be Gone

World Be Gone

Erasure (/ˈrʒər/) are an English synthpop duo, consisting of singer and songwriter Andy Bell and songwriter and keyboardist Vince Clarke. They formed in London, and entered the music scene in 1985 with their debut single “Who Needs Love Like That“. Following the release of their fourth single “Sometimes“, the duo established itself on the UK Singles Chart and became one of the most successful artists of the late 1980s to mid-1990s.

From 1986 to 2007, Erasure achieved 24 consecutive Top 40 hits in the UK, while having three Top 20 hits in the US (on the Billboard Hot 100): “A Little Respect“, “Chains of Love“, and “Always“. By 2009, 34 of their 45 singles and EPs (of which 8 out of the 45 were not chart eligible in the UK) had made the UK Top 40, with 17 climbing into the Top 10. At the 1989 Brit Awards, Erasure won the Brit Award for Best British Group.

The duo are most popular in their native UK and mainland Europe (especially Germany, Denmark and Sweden) and also in South America (especially Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Peru). The band is also popular within the LGBT community, for whom the openly gay Bell has become a gay icon. To date, they have penned over 200 songs and have sold over 25 million albums worldwide.

World Be Gone is the seventeenth studio album by English synthpop duo Erasure. The album was released through Mute Records on 19 May 2017 in the UK, and 20 May 2017 in North America.

The Analysis—-

Love You To The Sky—-With a nice pulsating bass synth line to introduce the track, Bell enters with his vocal…finely tuned and filled with wonderful emotion. This is nice and upbeat…even though the lyrics and the constant repetition seem a bit tired. I love the wizardry of Clarke and his synth….a well practiced delivery here. I love the familiar sounds of Clarke and his machines.

Be Careful What You Wish For!—- With a slower introduction, swirling slow synth lines and a melancholy vocal, I am transported back to the Erasure CD. This is sedate….the vocal layered in delivery and stacked on top of a sedate slow tempo ed synth that makes the track dark and powerful. This is brilliant….the slight echoes….the in control vocal…..the instrumentation…..come together to create a perfect storm.

World Be Gone—-Continuing in the sedate synth delivery and heavy laden lyrics, the band seems very reflective and slightly melancholy on this release. Perhaps they also feel the weight of the world we live in these days. Andy Bell has not delivered such controlled and beautifully structured vocals on an Erasure release in quite sometime. This is brilliant!

A Bitter Parting—-Opening with a rather familiar Clarke synth line, the jaunty and speedy musical delivery is almost void on this release. This continues in the same sedate and reflective vein…wondering what each of these songs mean to the duo. The vocal is very upfront in the mix…the synth taking a back seat as the spotlight shines on the crafted and damn near perfect vocal of Bell.

Still It’s Not Over—-Deep an morose at the onset, the reverb from the dense sound in overwhelming. Bell delivers tales of lost lives and loves….making you wonder what has brought about all this introspection. He references Harvey Milk….The Castro…..the years of the plague. This is a brilliant track….sad and haunting. Just incredible. The melody line of this track is wonderful…..rather addictive despite the heaviness of the song.

Take Me Out Of Myself—-  With a slight higher synth tone, the pace of the song remains much as the majority of this release….dark and plodding. Bell delivers line after line of desperate words that make me inwardly sad. The control in his voice is amazing on this record…..you actually feel every word he sings…the voice overlays gives a nice texture to the song. Brilliant!

Sweet Summer Loving—-Brighter Yaz styled synth introduces the track….nice blips and beeps are dancing around on the song. the track is still slow and mellow…but the feel and the melody line gives me a happier feel….I can almost hear Alison sing this track. This is really nice…beautiful in construction and sentiment…a brighter spot to break things up a bit.

Oh What A World—-A huge hum through my headphones usher in this track…the deep bass is amazing. The vocal enters and for the first time in a long time I am very disappointed with the band. This is mundane and monotonous…..insane in lyrics and lacking a true energy.

Lousy Sum Of Nothing—-With a sight funeral introduction, the synth in more of a hum rather than fully constructed notes. Bell delivers line after line bemoaning the lack of humanity in the world today. The lack of optimism is rather wearing at this point…but it is Erasure…and it is new material. As a life long fan I appreciate the new direction and welcome the ensuing explanation that I am sure is to come.

Just A Little Love—-Ending the release on a refreshing bright and poppy note, the synth lines is faster and the vocal is delivered in a higher more jaunty style. The positive message of the track almost wipes away the dense feel of previous tracks. Bell sounds energized and happy hear and the synth line wraps right around his vocal. A nice ending.

**** 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

 

 

 

Best Coast / California Nights

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Best Coast is an American rock duo formed in Los Angeles, California in 2009. The band consists of songwriter, guitarist and vocalist Bethany Cosentino and guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno. Cosentino, a former child actress, began writing music as a teenager and was formerly a member of the experimentalist drone group Pocahaunted. After a brief tenure at college in New York City, Cosentino returned to the West Coast and began recording lo-fi demos with Bruno, whom she met in the Los Angeles music scene.

After a string of 7-inch and cassette-only singles, the band signed to Mexican Summer, who issued the band’s debut, Crazy for You, in 2010. Crazy for You became an unexpected commercial success following Internet buzz surrounding the duo. Lewis Pesacov of Fool’s Gold and Foreign Born -produced, engineered and mixed the album. Best Coast added a touring drummer, Ali Koehler of Vivian Girls, and spent much of 2011 on the road for festival appearances and tour dates. Best Coast’s sophomore effort, The Only Place, was released in 2012 and featured a cleaner sound than their previous releases. In 2013, the duo released an EP, Fade Away, and their third studio album, California Nights, was released on May 4, 2015.

California Nights is the third studio album by American indie rock duo Best Coast, released on May 1, 2015 by Harvest Records.It was produced by Wally Gagel, who also produced the duo’s 2013 EP Fade Away.

The band announced the album along with tour dates and the release of a “dreamlike” video directed by Adam Harding for the title track, which also served as the lead single.[On the band’s official website, singer-songwriter Bethany Cosentino described the band’s approach to the making of the album, stating: “In LA, there’s a real darkness that you don’t see unless you know where to look. That’s a theme we very consciously decided to explore and play with when making this record. We related to the idea that things may look or sound fun and upbeat, but they may not actually always be that way.

The Analysis—-

Feeling OK—-Underneath the guitar fuzz, there is a remarkable brightness to be found in the music delivered by Best Coast. Perhaps it is all in the voice…but the musical mood delivers the sunny relaxed West Coast feel as well. This music helps me to fight the Daylight Savings doldrums and look forward to warm beachy days filled with warmth….beer and fun….wonderful.

Fine Without You—-Beginning with a nice fuzzy sound, the sun and the fun permeates the sound despite it all. Bethany has such a pleasant and throwback tone to her voice. You will find it hard sometimes to realize this album was recorded in modern times and not during the beach craze of the 50’s and 60’s. This is exactly what you need on a cold and wintry day.

Heaven Sent—-A warm and huge guitar sound begins the track…the drums kick in and the song is off t a Ramones speed track. The entire feel of the song is so consistent with the rest of the release….despite the songs contents, the sound is always bright and sun drenched. Making me want to bop along in a convertible on a California freeway. Wonderful!

In My Eyes—-Again, fuzzy guitars enter with a remarkable melody playing underneath the sometimes noisy delivery. The guitar lines are bright and shiny…while the underlying bass line makes everything a bit layered in sound. The tambourine and the voice come together to make a fresh and bright sound. I truly love this band…the ability to make you feel good despite tales of lost love and hurt is remarkable.

So Unaware—-A darker sound begins this track but gives way to the lighter feel like the rest of the record. Bethany sing….”it’s always dark by 5 p.m.” Boy, can I relate. The drums on this track are huge…the guitars sharp and crisp….while the bass line gives you that underlying feel that all is not well. What a magical combination this band has built.

When Will I Change—-This song has such a familiar melody line, but I struggle to place it. The vocal is fantastic…with slight overlays and a little echo makes it sound huge. I can feel the urge to be-bop around the room with joy and happiness. I relate to the lyrics….as one who seems stuck in one place…..but the song is not a downer. Despite some intense lyrics…the sound remains sunny and bright.

Jealousy—-This entire release makes me want to listen to Josie Cotton! This track, fairly well known and have had some air play is a bit more sedate and layered in sound. The content is not happy….but somehow you feel happy…with all the ‘sha-la la’s’ going on in the background. How can you not love this?

California Nights—-Swirling in a dark atmospheric way at the onset, the vocals are pushed to the back of the mix and sound a bit processed. Giving me a feel of classic ‘shoe-gaze’ music of the 90’s the pace of this track is slow and drawn out. This is a masterpiece of a song….I love the references to the nights in California….making me want to move TODAY! This is wonderfully constructed…and delivers a feel different than anything thus far on the record.

Fading Fast—-Returning to a brighter feel hat has a slight rock=a-billy feel to it, the vocal enters and the slight voice overlays makes her voice sound so much larger. I wonder how all of this plays live? I love the throwback feel to the song…making me want to bask in the sun and swim in the ocean without a care about cold…bills…love or life. That is why music matters!

Run Through My Head—-Deep in sound and bass driven right from the onset, the sharp tuned guitars enter to brighten things up a bit…but underneath of it all, the bass carries a feeling all of its own. The chorus is contagious and catchy…..the bright guitars never hiding the deeper feel of the song. A nice mix of feelings….I love the brilliance of this band.

Sleep Won’t Ever Come—-With a remarkably familiar melody running through the track as soon as it begins, this is so sedate and sunny. The voice is pure perfection…..you catch every word….reminding you this is not happy joyous music…but you can’t help but feel happy. This is a remarkable achievement.

Wasted Time—-Ending the release with a layered and melancholy track, the hum that runs through the underbelly of the song leaves you a bit wanting and sad. The deep sound of the song is intense…the almost acoustic guitar leads you on a different path than the majority of the record….but it leaves a wonderful taste in my mouth…it makes me sit back and think.

**** out of 5