David Bowie / Hunky Dory

 

Hunky Dory (180 Gram Vinyl)

Hunky Dory is the fourth studio album by the English musician David Bowie, released on 17 December 1971 by RCA RecordsIt was his first release through RCA, which would be his label for the next decade. Hunky Dory has been described by AllMusic‘s Stephen Thomas Erlewine as having “a kaleidoscopic array of pop styles, tied together only by Bowie’s sense of vision: a sweeping, cinematic mélange of high and low art, ambiguous sexuality, kitsch, and class”.

The album has received critical acclaim since its release, and is regarded as one of Bowie’s best works. Time chose it as part of their “100 best albums of all time” list in January 2010, with journalist Josh Tyrangiel praising Bowie’s “earthbound ambition to be a bohopoet with prodigal style”. The style of the album cover, designed by George Underwood, was influenced by a Marlene Dietrich photo book that Bowie took with him to the photo shoot.

The Analysis—-

Changes—-One of the most loved and well received tracks in the massive Bowie catalog, this track still plays so incredibly well today. The smooth and eccentric style of Bowie’s style at the time are all over this record. This was an artist becoming into his own…all the while surprising us at every turn. I loved this man….like he was a member of my family…I miss him…and this is just a small reason why. A magnificent track.

Oh! You Pretty Things—-Bowie…in his best quirky vocal style, delivers a song that is one for the history books. This is a remarkable vocal delivery….Bowie causing us to study every single line and asking ‘What Does This All Mean’? I fell so in love with this record. When the chorus opens up with that double track vocal…you can allow yourself to be taken somewhere else…somewhere you have never been. The song makes me incredibly happy for some reason…the lyrics and music…a huge joyous affair.

 

Eight-Line Poem—-Wonderfully delivered piano and blues based guitar intro that lulls you into a magical comfortable zone where you find it very easy to lose yourself. And that is before you hear a single word. Bowie enters with a croon that is so remarkable…it wraps right around the music….and amazingly…it all becomes one huge entity that lives in your brain forever. This is beautiful…experimental…erratic…and masterfully constructed. Damn, I loved this guy!

Life On Mars—-So wonderfully constructed and delivered. Bowie delivers a vocal and music that drives me to a euphoria that is hard to describe. The chorus is a fantastic joyous affair…Bowie sings his heart out….driving me to study every word…..the quaint lyrics, combined with the euphoric chorus is a moment in time I will never forget.

Kooks—-Tinny guitars and a folksy delivery introduce the track…a tribute to his new born son Zowie. The love that he feels is portrayed in the music…everything plays like a wonderful lullaby to his son. This is a wonderful and warm moment…it reeks of love and affection.

Quicksand—-Still reeking of the 70’s rock-folk movement at the time, I love how even back in those days, they managed to move the clear and wonderful vocal to the very front of the song. This is remarkably emotional and delivered in a masterful acoustic style that sounds so fresh and real to me today. This was masterful.

Fill Your Heart—-Jaunty and sounding like a show tune from long ago, this was the ability of the man. This is so light…pleasant and filled with moods and quirky musical sty lings. Perhaps my favorite Bowie release ever, this album always reminds me of why I fell in love with the persona of Bowie. This is a magic moment.

Andy Warhol—-You can’t be a Bowie fan without finding obsessions with Warhol and Lou Reed. This song produced in me, a life long obsession with every word I could ever find out about Warhol…then I found out how it all tied together. The song is fantastic…tongue in cheek and a bit hilarious. I love this moment in time. Bowie understood the genius…..as did Warhol!

Song For Bob Dylan—-Twangy and with a slight Country twinge to the whole damn affair, Bowie manages to portray the feelings about Dylan at the time. This is constructed so well…sliding back and forth between the Alt-Country feel to the more modern guitar based Bowie, this was brilliant.

The Bewlay Brothers—-Nice and rock based. this is a perfect closer to such an eclectic release. Bowie almost talk his way through this track…but with perfect pitch changes and enunciation. This is just perfect.

*****out of 5

 

 

Blondie / Pollinator

Pollinator

Blondie is an American rock band founded by singer Debbie Harry and guitarist Chris Stein. The band was a pioneer in the early American new wave and punk scenes of the mid-late 1970s. Its first two albums contained strong elements of these genres, and although successful in the United Kingdom and Australia, Blondie was regarded as an underground band in the United States until the release of Parallel Lines in 1978. Over the next three years, the band achieved several hit singles including “Heart of Glass“, “Call Me“, “Rapture” and “The Tide Is High” and became noted for its eclectic mix of musical styles incorporating elements of discopopreggae, and early rap music.

Blondie disbanded after the release of its sixth studio album The Hunter in 1982. Debbie Harry continued to pursue a solo career with varied results after taking a few years off to care for partner Chris Stein, who was diagnosed with pemphigus, a rare autoimmune disease of the skin. The band re-formed in 1997, achieving renewed success and a number one single in the United Kingdom with “Maria” in 1999, exactly 20 years after their first UK No.1 single (“Heart of Glass”).

The group toured and performed throughout the world during the following years, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. Blondie has sold 40 million records worldwide and is still active. The band’s tenth studio album Ghosts of Download, was released in 2014 and their eleventh studio album Pollinator was released on May 5, 2017.

Pollinator is the eleventh studio album by American rock band Blondie, released on May 5, 2017 by BMG Rights Management.

The Analysis—-

Doom Or Destiny—-The drums that introduce the song are classic Blondie. It is amazing at this point in life how fresh and young Debby Harry sounds…you would think this was recorded long ago. The New Wave leanings of the band are in full effect…the jaunty and pogo style of music sounds just amazing. this is brilliant….I am amazed at the fresh sound of the band.

Long Time—-Funny intro introduction that sounds like A Heart Of Glass, I guess this is Part II. This is a brilliant song…the mood is so nostalgic…the vocal is damn near perfect. Harry sounds comfortable and ageless. The driving instrumentation is timeless. I have fallen in love all over again with a band I have not paid much attention too. This is a brilliant track….a miracle for my ears.

Already Naked—-Huge wakes of guitars introduce the song…..the vocal enters with a nice reverb and echo that sounds fresh and brand new. This is brilliant….the melody of the song is so damn contagious and new…I have no idea how they keep surprising me. This is a favorite of mine from this release. The sound is remarkable…the style is consistent…the melody wakes me up at night. A pure triumph.

Fun—-I did not really care for this track upon the first listen…it took a bit for the quirky Nile Rodgers style melody to ingratiate with my brain. Even the vocal is a bit to high to make me feel comfortable with….but eventually, I guess the inner workings of the song worked a magic and became stuck in my brain. This is not the best I have heard…but the chorus and the melody is pretty damn contagious.

 

My Monster—-I like this….much more guitar and drum based…going back to the more consistent erratic style the band always had with the music. Harry delivers a deep sounding vocal that seems pushed to the back of the mix a bit more than i expected. The chorus allows a brief New Wave style synth sound that sticks in your brain. Not bad.

Best Day Ever—-A nice guitar intro…but the remarkable thing is the magical New Wave-ish vocal from Harry that sucks me in….the vocal is so clear and concise. The music never threatens to over play on the voice…even when things open up on the chorus and the music becomes more layered. This is really nice…very consistent.

Gravity—-I love the intro music for this track….reminding me of classic Devo intro music. Harry has a vocal that is delivered with a bit of unnecessary distortion…the fuzz becomes a bit annoying after a bi..I would rather have that remarkable clarity instead. This is nice…but not a favorite. The saving grace is the remarkable chorus and melody line.

When I Gave Up On You—-I loved this right from the very beginning…..Harry delivers an almost lazy sounding vocal that is sultry and aggressive at the same time. This is full of sexy, mellow sounds that lull you into a nice mood. The chorus is wonderful….never bombastic, it is pleasant and addictive none the less.

Love Level—-Much more aggressive in drum and guitar delivery, there is still a remarkable pop element to the track. Harry sounds so incredibly young with her vocal…delivering line after line of fresh sounding words. The hook seems to be missing a bit here for me…but as a whole, the song is pretty damn great. The male vocal slight rap in the break was a surprise…but still Harry is the star of the show.

Too Much—-I love, love, love the intro to this song. The instrumentation is instantly addictive. harry enters into the song with a fresh vocal that allows you to hear every single word. The chorus is a fantastic, HUGE romp through perfect pop music renderings. This is a real favorite of mine….every element of the song could fit on any Blondie release from the past. This is damn magical.

Fragments—-Hmm….this is fairly dark and plodding…taking away from the pop mastery of the previous track. Harry though, delivers such a strong and emotional vocal. This makes me think of classic 80’s band The Motels. I don’t hate this…but it has not caught my attention very much. The song does pick up magically at the mid-point…with the vocal becoming a bit more angry and full of vehemence. I can tolerate it.

The Breaks—-Really great drum based intro, this again finds that remarkable airy vocal from harry in full effect. The drums….are really the star of the show on this track…which is actually the B-Side from the single Long Time. It fits perfectly in the mood of the album.

**** 1/2 out of 5

The Killers / Wonderful Wonderful

Wonderful Wonderful

The Killers are an American rock band formed in Las VegasNevada, in 2001 by members Brandon Flowers (lead vocals, keyboards, bass) and Dave Keuning (lead guitar, backing vocals). Mark Stoermer (bass, rhythm guitar, backing vocals) and Ronnie Vannucci, Jr. (drums, percussion) would complete the current lineup of the band in 2002. The band’s name is derived from a logo on the bass drum of a fictitious band, portrayed in the music video for the New Order song “Crystal“.

The band has released five chart topping studio albums: Hot Fuss (2004), Sam’s Town (2006), Day & Age (2008), Battle Born(2012) and Wonderful Wonderful (2017). They have also released a B-sides and rarities compilationSawdust (2007); a live album, Live from the Royal Albert Hall (2009); a greatest hits album Direct Hits (2013); and a Christmas compilation Don’t Waste Your Wishes (2016).

The Killers are seen as one of the biggest rock bands of the 21st century, and the most successful rock band to ever emerge from the state of Nevada, having sold an estimated 22 million records worldwide. They have also achieved worldwide success as a live band, performing in over 50 countries and on six continents, headlining venues such as Madison Square Garden and Wembley Stadium.

The Killers released their fifth studio album, entitled Wonderful Wonderful, on September 22, 2017. The album was produced by Jacknife Leeand lead single “The Man” was released on June 14, 2017.

Wonderful Wonderful become the band’s first album to reach the number one spot on the US Billboard 200it also claimed the top spot on the UK Album Chart making The Killers the first international act to have their first five studio albums all reach number one in the UK.

The Analysis—-

Wonderful Wonderful—-A nice almost sonic intro leads up to a strong bass line that slowly allows for the introduction of Brandon and his unmistakable vocal. The track has a nice dark one to it…leaving the poppy madness of earlier releases in the dusk. It is when the chorus hits that you understand the beauty and mastery of the track. The faux [?] horns and big sound is unmistakable…..the song slowly grows on you. I’m sure his track will generate many U2 comparisons.

The Man—-A huge intro reminds you for sure that this is indeed The Killers. Brandon delivers a vocal that shines like a million stars. the remarkable melody line runs through the entire track…delivering a quasi-dance floor track that reminds me of the glorious days of bar music. Brandon and his vocal sounds refreshed and driven with an ambition not heard recently. This is stellar.

Rut—-A surprising introduction to the song…but what follows is just pure magic to my ears. As in many past releases, Flowers seems to call on his inner Springsteen to deliver a quiet but damn powerful ode. The music swirls around your head and gives your soul a slight joy…and causes you to push the replay button more than once. For me, this is a magical track.

Life To Come—-Coming out of the silence with a low hum, Flowers enters over a sad and forlorn sound that again brings forth the Boss. The vocal is in the very front of the mix…as the music becomes even stronger, you are again reminded of classic U2 sounds that made the band so popular. When the song finally reaches it’s crescendo. you realize it is imperative to sit through the quieter moments. Just fantastic!

Run For Cover—-The intro to this track reminds me of classic Interpol so much…the atmospheric bass line and the building music. Flowers enters with an urgent vocal that drives the song along with the pace of the music. The chorus hits you and makes your brain agree…this is a classic Killers track. Huge and built for arenas, this will play so well live. I have no words for the mastery here…this is brilliant.

 

Tyson Vs Douglas—-Interesting track from the opening effects…..the music that opens the track is hyper kinetic and delivered with a nice urgency. I love the reminiscent quality of the song…this is obviously Vegas inspired. Flowers delivers that classic huge chorus that makes the band seem literally monstrous. It is a joy to know that he magic is still there….the band has never sounded better. This is a monumental track.

Some Kind Of Love—-With incredible song placement, the band returns to a more somber feel here and allows you to realize the band is so much more than Glam and Glitz. This is magically quiet and beautiful…Flowers reaching notes I didn’t think he was capable of. The ghostly and funeral feel of the song gives me goosebumps. This is fantastic…..

Out Of My Mind—-Brilliant and crisp guitars and drums open the track. Flowers sounds so much like Bono on this track, I’m almost confused. The lyrics…on every single song on this release, are meaningful and lead you somewhere. I don’t really care for the chorus here…the female singers seem to almost take the spotlight away from Flowers who is in the best voice here than in recent memory. Still a great track though…full of nostalgic lyrics.

The Calling—-Wow….politically charged and filled with lyrics that will make you sit back and think for a minute. The bluesy quality of this track came as a slight surprise to me…the classic downbeat guitar is remarkable…as well as the drums. The vocal is a bit to staccato for me…but the lyrical content is made to allow you to think. I really, if I do have a complaint about this release, do not like the female vocals all over this release. Other than that…no complaints here.

Have All The Songs Been Written?—-Ending this release on a fairly somber note, Flowers delivers such a remarkably clear and concise vocal…I have chills once again The music…a slow and low hum interrupted by short guitar notes gives the track and even lonelier feel. This is a magical track….the beats pick up and the song becomes a bit larger as it continues…but you never lose that lonely and melodramatic effect. Just masterful.

**** out of 5

 

 

Marilyn Manson / Heaven Upside Down

Heaven Upside Down [Explicit]

Brian Hugh Warner (born January 5, 1969), known professionally as Marilyn Manson, is an American singer, songwriter, musician, composer, actor, painter, author and former music journalist. He is known for his controversial stage personality and image as the lead singer of the band Marilyn Manson, which he co-founded with guitarist Daisy Berkowitz and of which he remains the only constant member. His stage name was formed by combining and juxtaposing the names of two American pop cultural icons: actress Marilyn Monroe and cult leader Charles Manson.

Manson is best known for his band’s records released in the 1990s, most notably Antichrist Superstar and Mechanical Animals, which, along with his public image, earned him a reputation in the mainstream media as a controversial figure and a negative influence on young people. In the U.S. alone, three of the band’s albums have been awarded platinum status and three more went gold, and the band has had eight releases debut in the top ten, including two number-one albums. Manson has been ranked number 44 in the Top 100 Heavy Metal Vocalists by Hit Parader, and has been nominated for four Grammy Awards.

Manson made his film debut in 1997 as an actor in David Lynch‘s Lost Highway. Since then he has appeared in a variety of minor roles and cameos. He was interviewed in Michael Moore‘s political documentary Bowling for Columbine, discussing possible motivations for the 1999 Columbine massacre and allegations that his music was a contributory factor. On September 13–14, 2002, his first art show, The Golden Age of Grotesque, was held at the Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions center. He revealed a series of 20 paintings in 2010 entitled Genealogies of Pain, an exhibition showcased at Kunsthalle gallery in Vienna, Austria, on which he collaborated with David Lynch.

Heaven Upside Down is the tenth studio album by American rock band Marilyn Manson, released on October 6, 2017 by Loma Vista Recordings and Caroline International. The record was originally due for release on Valentine’s Day, and had a working title of Say10. However, its release was delayed, principally due to the eponymous vocalist being unhappy with the quality of the record by that date, and also because of the band’s touring commitments and producer Tyler Bates‘ schedule scoring films, as well as the death of Manson’s father during production, to whom the album was later dedicated.

The album was recorded by many of the same musicians who performed on The Pale Emperor, including Bates and Gil Sharone. The band’s longtime bassist Twiggy Ramirez did not take part in recording sessions, despite Manson initially suggesting otherwise. Twiggy was dismissed from the band soon after the record’s release, following sexual assault allegations made against him by a former girlfriend. He was replaced on subsequent tour dates by Juan Alderete. The Heaven Upside Down Tour has seen the band’s vocalist injured on multiple occasions, namely fracturing his ankle after jumping off a stage, and then being crushed by a large stage prop. The latter incident resulted in the rescheduling of an entire leg of the tour.

We Know Where You Fucking Live” was released as the lead single on September 11. This was followed on September 20 by “Kill4Me“, which went on to become the band’s highest peaking single ever on BillboardMainstream Rock Chart. Three music videos have been released to promote the album: the two aforementioned singles, as well as “Say10“. The music videos for the two latter songs featured actor Johnny Depp.

The Analysis—-

Revelation #12—-The long awaited return of Manson is ushered in by this quasi-punk rock track that is noisy and full of a throwback sound that makes me so excited and energized I almost lose my mind. the vocal is full of effects…but true to the feeling we have all become accustomed to. This is noisy and full of an underground sound that fills me with energy and a magical joy. I love this!!!

Tattooed In Reverse—-Sound effects and a draw out intro ushers in a slight blues tinged track that allows Manson to really shine on vocals. The voice is still so strong…the energy seems to be magically energized and delivered with a vehemence and energy not displayed in recent years. Marilyn sounds like the driven young man he was when this Manson-movement began…I’m entranced by the energy and the detail in the songs….this is magical. The king of mayhem returns!!!

We Know Where You Fucking Live—-The contagious bass line that begins this track threatens to over take your brain cells as it leads the song down the rabbit hole. Manson comes in with that unique and classic style full of wordplay and a contagious chorus that makes you literally lose your mind. The Industrial/Rock sound is in full effect….this is literally like a step back 10 years in time…the sound and material sounds re-energized and delivered with a remarkable vehemence. This is incredible…..I love this record!!!

 

Say10—-Kicking off with a nice genuine Industrial sound, this reminds me of something I have heard already…but none the less…my ears perk up with interest and anticipation. Manson has an undeniable energy that you can’t escape. the sound is so genuine and throwback, if you will, this is perhaps the best Manson release inn 10 or 12 years. The creaks and the escalating musical urgency is damn magical. This stays true to the Manson message…and it sounds fresh and electric…not old and beaten down. a magical musical moment for me.

 

Kill4Me—-Perhaps the greatest single Manson has released in recent history, I even hear this on area radio stations…which usually only plays classic rock. Manson can construct a magical chorus that no matter how perverse will stick in your brain no matter what. This is a huge track…the chorus sucks you in and gives you an energy that is unmatched by anything recently released….this is fantastic. I love this man…so happy to see his return.

Saturnalla—-Coming out of a sonic fog, this track builds and builds…giving me goosebumps of anticipation. The layers of sound build upon layers of sound….making the anticipation almost too much to bear. The song finally emerges….an odd sound at the onset….but fills in line with the rest of the release as it progresses. The rough vocal from Manson makes this masterful and mysterious..I love this…the energy…the bursts of musical genius….the almost vocal growls….a perfect landscape. As this progresses….it becomes damn contagious…this track has something for everyone.

Je$u$ CriSi$—-This is what I have come to expect from Manson…constant rails against all that seems to be the modern day reality. Take the reality and twist it into a giant Manson pretzel and lay it on the altar of the believers and let them feast of the results. This is a spectacular track…full of effects….drama….energy and everything that you need from the mastermind of the band. This is brutal….driving and delivered with an energy you can’t escape. I can’t imagine the crowd during a live delivery of this song.

Blood Honey—-An almost Church organ sound ushers in this track….Manson creaks a vocal that is eerie and filled with an evil sound. the music becomes huge…and the melody line that runs underneath of the song is addictive as hell. This is a fantastic track…redeeming in the ability of the man to deliver the sound and material the fans crave. Just fantastic.

Heaven Upside Down—-An odd almost acoustic guitar sound….following a really melodic guitar driven song that sucks you right into the melody. Even Manson delivers a nice modern sound that makes you shake your head and wonder where all of this stuff as been for the past few releases. Truly a safe bet for a 4th single release…this is really accessible and playable for everyone.

Threats Of Romance—-Ending the release as powerful and masterful as it began, this again has a slight blues sound to it that sucks you into the guitar based instrumentation. I love the drawl that Manson delivers his lines with…the chorus is a huge affair…..calling on the audience for lighters and mosh pits combined. This is a masterful. triumphant release. A true return to form…..all hail Manson…..Fantastic.

***** out of 5

Morrissey / Low In High School

Low In High School

Steven Patrick Morrissey (born 22 May 1959), known mononymously as Morrissey, is an English singer, songwriter and author. He rose to prominence as the frontman of the Smiths, who were active from 1982 to 1987. Since then, Morrissey has had a solo career, making the top ten of the UK Singles Chart on ten occasions and reaching number one on the UK Albums Chart three times.

Born in DavyhulmeLancashire, to a working-class Irish family, Morrissey grew up in Manchester. As a child he developed a love of literature, kitchen sink realism and popular music. Involved in Manchester’s punk rock scene during the late 1970s, he fronted the Nosebleeds, with little success. Beginning a career in music journalism, he authored a number of books on music and film in the early 1980s. With Johnny Marr he established the Smiths in 1982, soon attracting national recognition for their self-titled debut album. As the band’s frontman, Morrissey attracted attention both for his witty and sardonic lyrics and his idiosyncratic appearance; deliberately avoiding rock machismo, he cultivated the aesthetic of a social outsider who eschewed drugs and embraced celibacy. The Smiths released three further albums—including the critically acclaimed Meat Is Murder and The Queen Is Dead—and had a string of hit singles. Personal differences between Morrissey and Marr resulted in the Smiths’ separation in 1987.

In 1988, Morrissey launched his solo career with Viva Hate. This album and its follow-ups—Kill UncleYour Arsenal, and Vauxhall and I—all did well in the UK Albums Chart and spawned a number of hit singles. During this time his image began to shift into that of a more burly figure, who toyed with patriotic imagery and working-class masculinity. In the mid-to-late 1990s, his subsequent albums, Southpaw Grammar and Maladjusted, also charted but were less well received. Relocating to Los Angeles, he embarked on a hiatus between 1998 and 2003 before releasing a successful comeback album, You Are the Quarry, in 2004. Ensuing years saw the release of albums Ringleader of the TormentorsYears of Refusal, and World Peace Is None of Your Business. He released his autobiography in 2013, followed by his first novel in 2015. His eleventh solo album, Low in High School, was released in November 2017.

Highly influential, Morrissey has been credited as a seminal figure in the emergence of indie rock and Britpop. Acclaimed as one of the greatest lyricists in British history, his lyrics have become the subject of academic study. He has courted controversy with his forthright opinions—endorsing vegetarianism and animal rights, condemning royalty and prominent politicians, and promoting a vision of English national identity and Britishness. In a 2006 poll held by the BBC’s Culture Show, Morrissey was voted the second greatest living British cultural icon, behind only David Attenborough.

Low in High School is the eleventh solo studio album by English singer Morrissey, released on 17 November 2017 through BMGIt was produced by Joe Chiccarelli, and recorded at La Fabrique Studios in France and at Ennio Morricone‘s Forum Studios in Italy.

The album debuted at number 5 on the UK Albums Chart. It received mixed reviews from critics.

The Analysis—-

My Love, I’d Do Anything For You—-Ok, the requisite odd beginning you generally find on a Morrissey release, the music is very masculine in sound and sounds very big. Morrissey delivers that comfortable and trademark vocal that makes me so comfortable and happy. The music seems a bit too boisterous for the voice here…but the chorus displays a slight falsetto that shows Morrissey still ha that remarkable range. I just don’t care for the music here…The noise is a bit overwhelming.

I Wish You Lonely—-Immediate love rushes from my senses with the onset of this track. The familiar croon makes me smile inside of myself as Morrissey delvers lie after line of irony and sardonic humor. the music…although still very loud and in the fore front of the mix is a bit calmer..allowing for a full showcase of the remarkable and welcoming vocal from Morrissey. This is classic in sound..it makes me happy and nostalgic at the same time. Just wonderful and just as important in message.

Jacky’s Only Happy When She’s Up On The Stage—-From the very first note and vocal utterance, this reeks of classic Morrissey compositions from every year he has released music. The voice is so strong and emotive…delivering exquisite lines..the music is much more understated and has a slight orchestration. This track could fir perfectly o any Morrissey release from the last 15 years. The song makes me feel warm…welcoming and nostalgic. Morrissey has a controlled vocal delivery…he knows just how to wrap himself around the music…and it is always a magnificent result when he does it. This song….to me…may very well be auto-biographical.

Home Is A Question Mark—-Jangly bells and a strong guitar line….powerful upfront drums and the the vocal entrance Sounding fresh ad ageless. Morrissey has the remarkable ability to make me feel joyous inside. The chorus on this track is fantastic…it wraps around your cerebellum and threatens to never let go. This is addictive…one of the best songs I’ve heard from Moz in the last few years…just fantastic!

 

Spent The Day In Bed—-In my opinion, the wrong choice as the lead off single from this release, the previous track would have been a better choice. This is classic in a Morrissey way…full of political references and an underlying rail against Trump without really coming right out and say it. The voice is remarkable here…the melody line of the song a bit addictive and catchy. Morrissey sounds so vocally strong…and his band at this time is practiced around his voice and vocal style. a great track.

I Bury The Living—-A long and tedious introduction ushers in another very masculine and driving musical landscape that suddenly dies away to allow for the vocal entrance. This is pleasant enough….the lyrics are pointed and a bit American…but the track kind of falls flat for me. There is no hook so to speak of that sucks you into the track. The melody is missing here…the music just does not wrap around the voice the way I would expect. I hate to say this…but I don’t really care for this song.

In Your Lap—-This is very odd for me…at one point sounding rather political then becoming a bit ironically sexual, this piano driven track is dark in sound and still manages to deliver an empty feel to my ears that are longing for that one special magic Morrissey moment i have yet to find on this release. This is decent….would I listen to this song tomorrow…..ummm…no.

The Girl From Tel-Aviv Who Wouldn’t Kneel—-Seeming to meld from the previous track, Morrissey has a vocal that is very in the front of the mix…but does not contain the magic that i have been begging for. This is almost like a show tune that has no show, Not sure what is going on here…this is already a record that will lose itself in the catalog of Morrissey releases that is adequate but not great in any ways…I’m at this point…very under-whelmed.

All The Young People Must Fall In Love—-A bit more accessible to my un-practiced ear, this falls a bit more in line to the Morrissey I love. The melody line is wonderfully catchy and inspired. The vocal message a clear indictment to the american political scene. The music is still a bit odd to me…all of the off sounds that are going on serve as a massive distraction from the melody and the lyrical message. This is nice…but still manages to miss the magic that I have become accustomed to.

When You Open Your Legs—-This is really nice at the onset….Morrissey delivers lyrics that are remarkably relate able somehow. I just don’t like the music on this release…where is the power of the guitars and the percussion. All the horns that appear on this release is distracting and takes away from the beautiful crooning from Moz. I like it….but I don’t love anything on this release.

Who Will Protect Us From The Police?—–Musically powerfully, lyrically flat….full of lines that are repetitive at times. I’m sure the message is clear from the title…but it never seems to quite follow through. This release, as a whole is very disappointing to me. I still love you Morrissey…but this is not the best you have done.

Israel—-The end to this less than magnificent release finds me breathing a slight breath of relief. And hear at the end is a remarkable song that sucks me right back into the magical world of Morrissey…I fall in love wit the beautiful piano and the voice that sounds so strong and emotive…magical and intent on delivering a subtle message. The end of the record leaves me with a breath of fresh air and hope for the future….skip the middle of the record…the first three tracks and the last….should and would have been a magnificent EP release.

*** out of 5

 

Queensryche / Condition Human

Condition Hüman

Condition Hüman is the fifteenth studio album by American progressive heavy metal band Queensrÿche. It was released on October 2, 2015 through Century Media. It is the second studio album recorded with vocalist Todd La Torre, after Geoff Tate was fired from the band and gave up the rights to the name after a two-year lawsuit regarding the rights to the Queensrÿche brand was amicably settled.

The album’s first single, “Arrow of Time,” became available for streaming on July 20, 2015, the day the album’s title and release date were announced. It was recorded in early 2015 at Uberbeatz Studios in Washington and produced by Chris “Zeuss” Harris.

The Analysis—-

Arrow Of Time—-Everything about this opening track including the vocal reeks of classic Queensryche. It is amazing how much Todd sounds like Geoff Tate. The song is catchy as hell…reminds me of the classic sound the band started to develop around the Rage For Order time. The vocal is extraordinary….the music this band is making is just not much in demand anymore…it is glad to see bands still trying to keep this sound alive. This is a fantastic start.

Guardian—-I like the speedier guitar on the opening of this track…the guitar is very reminiscent of stuff off of Operation: Mindcrime and Rage…with vocal effects added in the backdrop. The double track vocal gives a nice full sound…and make no doubt…this dude can scream with the best of them. This is really nice. This has such a ‘classic’ Queensryche sound to it.

Hellfire—-Delivering the requisite ‘Hair Metal’ ballad, the band stays true to the recipe that cemented so many metal bands in history. This is such classic in sound…you will think you stepped back in time and listened to a ‘lost’ Queensryche record. I’m not sure if this is purposeful or not. Scott must get a lot of Tate comparisons…you can’t deny it. Even the vocal phrasing is the same…none the less…it is nice to see the band still plugging along. Really not a ballad s it progresses.

Toxic Remedy—-A nice huge guitar intro…..a landscape of sound followed by the trademark drums. The vocal at the onset of the song is a bit weak for me and uninspired…I love the double tracking though. It makes the song so large. The music is really the star of the show on this track for me. The band sounds better than ever.

Selfish Lives—-From the onset, this is like stepping back in time and listening to a track that would fit perfectly on Mindcrime. I wonder if some of these tracks were actually leftovers….the sound is perfect and the lyrics seem to cover the same subject manner. Add the vocal style and you feel like you have discovered old gems from a time long ago.

Eye9—-Beginning with a seldom heard awesome bass line, the song is a bit convoluted at the onset…but the muddled feel clears up as it progresses. The sharp guitar blasts give me a sense of energy. The vocal and the lyrics are pure Progressive Metal…this is a great track…no wonder it was released as a single…perhaps the highlight of the release.

Bulletproof—-Intricate guitar kicks off the track….the classic ballad sounds in full effect here. The vocal literally soars on the chorus…making this a huge addictive song. the guitar delivery delivers emotion and the drums…understated but very present are key to the feel of the song. This guy can really sing!

Hourglass—-Powerful and with a huge wall of sound from the very first note, the music dies away a bit to allow for the vocal. Again, the double track voice gives a fullness to the song. The chorus is huge..a sing a long chorus that does tend to stick with you a bit. This is classic in sound…but fresh enough to keep my attention.

Just Us—-In full ballad form for this track, the vocal is right in your face as the song begins. The gentle sounds of the band allow for the voice to be the star of the show. The lyrical content…a bit juvenile is classic required ballad material on every record. I could do without this…nothing really new here.

All There Was—-Great guitar effects and drums open up this track. There is an aggression and urgency to the music that catches me attention right at the onset. The vocal is pretty predictable…for me, the drums….really in the front of the mix, and the guitars keep the track interesting. I rather like this.

The Aftermath—-An odd little snippet that could have been a great song…..

Condition Human—-Ending the release less than aggressive, I would have preferred a huge galloping track that was designed to leave me hungry for more from this new entity of a classic band. Instead I am left with a feeling of relief that it is over. The saving grace for this track is the huge chorus…the guitars seem to float over my head. For me…it full form. this is a bit of a disappointing release.

*** out of 5

 

 

 

 

 

The National / Sleep Well Beast

Sleep Well Beast

The National is an American indie rock band from CincinnatiOhio, formed in 1999. The band consists of Matt Berninger (vocals), Aaron Dessner (guitar, keyboards), Bryce Dessner (guitar), Scott Devendorf (bass) and Bryan Devendorf (drums).

Founded by Berninger, Aaron Dessner, and Scott and Bryan Devendorf, The National released their self-titled debut album, The National (2001), on Brassland Records, an independent record label founded by Dessner and his twin brother, Bryce Dessner. Bryce, who had assisted in recording the album, soon joined the band, participating as a full member in the recording of its follow-up, Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers (2003).

Leaving behind their day jobs, the National signed with Beggars Banquet Records and released their third studio album, Alligator(2005), to widespread critical acclaim. The band’s fourth and fifth studio albums, Boxer (2007) and High Violet (2010), increased their exposure significantly. In 2013, the band released its sixth studio album, Trouble Will Find Me, which was nominated for Best Alternative Music Album at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards. In 2017 the band released the album Sleep Well Beast.

Four of the band’s albums were included on NMEs 2013 list of the 500 greatest albums of all time

On May 11, 2017, the single, “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness” was released after two days of mysterious teasers. At the same time, a new album was announced, titled Sleep Well Beast, which was released September 8, 2017. The album’s second single, “Guilty Party” was released on June 28, 2017. The band released “Carin at the Liquor Store”, the third single from the album, on August 8, 2017. On August 29, 2017, they released the four single, “Day I Die”.

The band scheduled a worldwide tour in support of the album, which began in September 2017. In August 2017, “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness” became the band’s first song to reach number one on a Billboard songs chart, reaching number one on the Adult Alternative Songs chart.

The Analysis—-

Nobody Else Will Be There—-Coming out of a darkness, the gentle intro to the song carries a heavy and forlorn sound. The vocal enters…the familiar torment of the voice very present. The whispers of gentle music seems to transport you into the deep and melancholy feel of the mood. The double track vocal is exquisite….the whispers of pain stab your heart.

Day I Die—-Delivered with a bit more urgency and Indie like feel, the vocal is just incredible. This reminds me of the best of the bands I loved in the 90’s that no one else had ever heard of. This is a much larger song in scope and sound….the instrumentation more aggressive. The drums…so important to the pace of the track are clear and up front in the mix of the song. This is exquisite.

Walk It Back—-Returning to a bit more of a plodding feel musically, the vocal enters and brings classic Leonard Cohen to my mind as it is spoken/sung all the way through like a personal poem. This is stark and naked….full of mellow feel…that at times is interspersed with a building sound from the band that magically dissolves when the vocal returns. Wonderful.

The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness—-Delivered with brilliant instrumentation, the vocal is deeper in tone…but still as lonely and forlorn as anything you will find on this release. The tones of the guitars seem brighter…and the ever present drums are again forward in the mix of the song. I love the vocal style…switching between a deep incantation to a higher addictive soar on the ‘chorus’. A magical track.

Born To Beg—-Switching to a beautiful piano introduction, the vocal begins almost immediately….sounding as lonely and haunted as ever. The premise of the song…begging for love…is portrayed immaculately well in the vocal delivery and the stark and beautiful music. This is Indie Rock at it;s best…it just does not get any better.

Turtleneck—–I have always said that song placement is everything on a record…it adds to the cohesiveness and keeps the listener from becoming bored. This track….much more aggressive and noisy is right in place…breaking up the intense mood of the record and giving you some respite from the ‘darkness’ The guitars are louder…aggressive and the vocal actually has a magical angry edge to it. Perfect.

Empire Line—-Low guitar hums and the ever present drums create a dark and solemn feel to this track as it develops. The vocal enters…..sounding morose…but somehow brighter than in earlier songs. This is a quiet introspective affair…but solid in the musicianship….the lyrics cause me to sit back and ponder meanings…but this band, as usual, is elusive in a firm song meaning.

I’ll Still Destroy You—-Right from the onset, this has an entirely different musical feel. The vocal enters and again is an almost spoken word affair…but the music never quite quits….an almost quasi-dance track in the backdrop. This is remarkable….obviously the quaint synth line is necessary here…the surprise for me is the quite proper chorus that has an addictive quality that is hard to forget. This is fantastic….one of my favorite tracks.

Guilty Party—-A staccato synth line in the back drop….entwined with a somber dark feel that overlaps everything allows for another journey into the mind of what must be a true genius. The voice is remarkable….never veering from what we expect…no histrionics….no tone changes…but somehow comforting and familiar. The entire thing is like visiting with an old friend.

Carin At The Liquor Store—-Wonderful, right from the onset. The introduction piano is just beautiful…..almost taking my breath away. The song opens up a bit by the second bar…the vocal seeming to move to the back of the music…sounding almost faint and resolute. this is beautifully constructed and delivered. Another favorite track of mine.

Dark Side Of The Gym—-Again, although stark and beautiful, the track has a hopeful feel to me. Not nearly as dense and down trodden for me, this almost sparkles to my ears. The promise to stay in love means love has been found…and that is a positive sound to me. This is remarkable. Truly a fantastic band.

Sleep Well Beast—-Rounding out the release with a return to the synth sound of a few earlier tracks, the vocal enters and just reeks of Leonard Cohen and the magical way he told stories in his vocal delivery. This is brilliant….the song….the longest on the release, is an ode to all of the bands heroes I’m sure. I wish I could understand all of the brilliance that is in the lyrics from this band….but perhaps it is all left better to interpretation. This is magical….this release is yet another triumph.

****3/4 out of 5