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

 

 

 

 

Gary Numan / Savage [Songs From A Broken World]

Savage (Songs from a Broken World)

Savage (Songs from a Broken World) is the twenty-first studio album by English musician Gary Numan. The album was first announced to be a part of a fan-backed Pledge Music Campaign on 12 November 2015.  As of May 2017, the campaign has reached 245% of its intended 100% goal. Gary initially intended Savage to have a 2016 release, but was delayed to the second half of 2017. As of 20 May 2017, mastering of the album has been completed as announced on Numan’s official Twitter account. The lead single, “My Name Is Ruin”, was released on 5 July 2017, followed by second single “What God Intended” on 4 August 2017 and third single “And It All Began with You” on 21 August 2017.

Savage (Songs from a Broken World) is a concept album centered around the blending of Western and Eastern cultures in a post-apocalyptic world that has become desertified as a result of global warming. “The songs are about the things that people do in such a harsh and terrifying environment,” Numan stated in an interview. “It’s about a desperate need to survive and they do awful things in order to do so, and some are haunted by what they’ve done. That desire to be forgiven, along with some discovered remnants of an old religious book, ultimately encourages religion to resurface, and it really goes downhill from there.”

The Analysis—-

Ghost Nation—-From the opening strains of the intro, I can feel my pulse race and the excitement level rise in my entire being. The layers of dark sounds hit me from every direction….although the sound is familiar it also manages to sound fresh and new with an intensity not felt in a while. Numan enters with his vocal…delivered in a slight higher pitch but still filled with the emotive whine that makes him a master of conveyance. The hook of the chorus is addictive and beautiful…threatening to live in your brain for days to come. Powerful…muscular yet incredibly beautiful.

Bed Of Thorns—-Again, familiar but fresh with added sounds and effects. The song has a nice mellow Middle Eastern flair to it that lulls you into the center of the sound of the song. Swirls of atmosphere make me feel so sad but exhilarated. Numan almost whispers his intro vocal….making everything sound more desperate and important. Then again, the hook of the chorus sweeps you up in this grand swirl of feelings and urgency. Numan delivers a stellar….emotional laden vocal that really makes you feel a desperation. This is brilliant.

My Name Is Ruin—-The lead-off single to this release offers a stellar guest vocal from Numan’s daughter Persia…..the incredible track was a brilliant choice. Much of the music is familiar territory…but it is still welcome and manages to sound fresh. Too my ears, this track has Fenton written all over it. That classic Numan whine that makes him so addictive is in fantastic form…intermixed with the croon from Persia adds up to a triumphant and incredible journey for the ears. There is not one misstep with this song….it is classic….and fresh….

 

The End Of All Things—-Atmospheric and delivered like an apocalyptic soundtrack o f doom, the sounds are fresh….full of synth strings and a sad vocal that emotes a sadness and desperation to the condition of mankind. The picture that the voice and the lyric paints is so dark and melancholy…it draws you into a whole new level of the understanding of desperation. Although the chorus is strong and contagious, it is the vocal that makes it magical….Numan has a voice that wraps around each word.

And It All Began With You—-Continuing in the full blown Soundtrack feel of the release, The higher synth tones give a brightness that rides over the dense underbelly of the song. The swirls of beautifully landscaped music bring you to a level of sadness and understanding….and when Numan sings….he delivers another wallop of intensity to the song. This is brilliantly constructed…..delivered and performed….I could never ask for anything more than this release has delivered.

When The World Comes Apart—-From the onset, the music has a slight aggression to it….but is interrupted by a string sound and then returned to an Industrial play land of driving synth. Numan enters with his vocal….fitting each word perfectly with each break in the beat and rhythm. This is spectacular. Again….we return to the incredibly addictive chorus that sucks you in and knocks you on your ass….living with the words and the tune in your cerebellum for hours after the first listen……it returns and ebbs but seems to come back to play in my brain even louder each time. This is wonderful!

Mercy—-I’ve read many people’s comments that this is a favorite track off this release. The dark and plodding intro to the song fits almost perfectly in the realm of the order of the record. The creaking and intense dark synth’s are accented by a reverberating echo to the vocal…giving the song a huge and full sound. The voice is so masterful….Numan sounds ageless with every word…making me pull out every recording he has made and allow it to become this month’s religion. There are ZERO missteps on this release.

What God Intended—-Seeming to meld right from the previous track, the swirls of synth lines and slight Eastern sounds draw me in right from the start. Numan almost begs as he seems to sing from the perspective of the Earth to the listener. This is music for a generation of believers and new styled Numanoids. The desperation in the music and the vocal is delivered in a fantastic manner……I just love this man!

Pray For The Pain You Serve—-I love the slight swirl of musical flavor that introduces the track…..then being hit with the escalating synth line that stays in one place even though it strains to rise up. Numan delivers his whine better than I have heard in years…..urgent and in need of attention. This is bright…new and different…..a favorite track of mine from this release.

Broken—-Ending way too soon, this track ushers out the journey with the same poignancy as it all began with. Delivered musically in pure Soundtrack style, the music literally wraps itself around your head and leaves you sad and yearning for more from the genius that is Numan. You can almost see the demise of the world through the swirls of music and the beautifully delivered string qualities of the song. The Industrial leaning become heavier mid song…..but the sadness pervades even accentuated with the intro of the vocal…..a delivered line after line of regret and warning to anyone who will listen. This is a literal masterpiece of a record!

***** out of 5

 

KMFDM / HELL YEAH

Hell Yeah

KMFDM (originally Kein Mehrheit Für Die Mitleid, “loosely” translated by the band as “no pity for the majority”) is an industrial band led by German multi-instrumentalist Sascha Konietzko, who founded the group in 1984 as a performance art project.

The group’s earliest incarnation included German drummer En Esch and British vocalist Raymond Watts, the latter of whom left and rejoined the group several times over its history. The trio recorded the band’s earliest albums in Germany before Konietzko and Esch moved to the United States, where they found much greater success with seminal industrial record label Wax Trax!. German guitarist Günter Schulz joined in 1990; both he and Esch continued with the band until KMFDM broke up in 1999. Konietzko resurrected KMFDM in 2002 (Esch and Schulz declined to rejoin) on Metropolis Records, and by 2005 he had assembled a consistent line-up that included American singer Lucia Cifarelli, British guitarists Jules Hodgson and Steve White, and British drummer Andy Selway. Konietzko and Cifarelli moved back to Germany in 2007, while the rest of the band stayed in the U.S. In addition to these core members, dozens of other musicians have worked with the group across its nineteen studio albums and two dozen singles, with sales totaling in excess of two million records worldwide.

Critics consider KMFDM to be one of the first bands to bring industrial music to mainstream audiences, though Konietzko refers to the band’s music as “The Ultra-Heavy Beat”. The band incorporates heavy metal guitar riffs, electronic music, samples, and both male and female vocals in its music, which encompasses a variety of styles including industrial rock and electronic body music. The band is fiercely political, with many of its lyrics taking stands against violence, war, and oppression. KMFDM normally tours at least once after every major release, and band members are known for their accessibility to and interaction with fans, both online and at concerts. Members, singly or working together and with other musicians, have recorded under many other names, primarily Watts’ Pig, Konietzko’s Excessive Force, and Esch and Schulz’s Slick Idiot.

Hell Yeah is the twentieth album by KMFDM, it was released on August 18, 2017, on earMUSIC and KMFDM Records.

The Analysis—-

Hell Yeah—-A contagious and remarkable dance beat opens this track. The sound transports me back to the awakening of the Industrial sounds and movement of the 90’s. This is a bit tame to me though….not quite as aggressive as usual….but catchy as hell….it seems like the creative juices are still in flow on album number 20!

Freak Flag—-Again, this is full of the 90’s style beats and direction that defined the band in it’s heyday….the step backwards, with all of the available technology available today, is a bit disappointing. As always, the chorus of the song…steered by the ever present female vocal shapes the direction of the song. This is nostalgic in sound…..and offers little new in sound.

Oppression 1/2 /Total State Machine/Oppression 2/2—–I don’t dislike this record…..but with everything that is going on in the world today, I expected more anger and ire. After the mundane intro, the music does open up into a fantastic gallop of noise that makes me inwardly smile. The words fascist and hate appear throughout…..perhaps they got the message….this shaped up to be a great track. A single for sure!!!!

Murder My Heart—-The lead off single from this release, this is a but tame and generic at the onset. I’m amazed at the lack of aggression and anger on this release. This is a’love song’ that leaves me less than impressed and inspired.

Rip The System V. 2.0—-This is more like it…..the song opens up with more aggressive beats, the female vocal disappears and Sasha delivers line after line of everything that is wrong in the world today. This is accessible….but meaningful enough to restore some of my faith in the band. This reminds me of Nitzer Ebb.

Shock—-Returning to a mundane and predictable sound, the music that plays underneath is the songs saving grace. The beats give off an urgency that steers the song despite the female love tale that ensues in the song. I love the sharp and direct beats.

Fake News—-Everything  I hoped this song would be and more. Fantastic lyrics that are timely and important…..a beat that drives the song to a pinnacle of excitement. A chorus that will live in the front of your brain for days….send this to that Trump guy will ya!!! This is fantastic.

Rx 4 The Damned—-I don’t embrace the female vocal of the song right away…but it really grows on you. This is the aggression and anger that I have been hungry for. When the voices join together for the chorus, the song becomes literally magnificent. I really like this…….all the noise I needed and more.

Burning Brain—-Continuing is the same vein as the previous track, the second half of this release far outweighs the beginning. Sasha delivers a vocal that borders on angry dementia that brings a huge smile to my face. This is the KMFDM I wanted from the very onset. Incredible!!!

Only Lovers—-Ugh…..not at all what I wanted…..this sounds like a dated Motels song. I hate the mood shifts…..just when the band finds a groove…..than this!!!????? Just crap….

Glam, Glitz. Guts & Gore—-Ending the release much better than it started, the band delivers a scathing and blistering musical backdrop that literally blows your head off. This is aggressive….driving……forceful and full of biting vocal. I freakin’ love this song. A masterpiece this one. Leaves a great taste in my mouth.

***3/4 out of 5

 

Nine Inch Nails / Add Violence [EP]

Add Violence [Explicit]

Add Violence is an extended play by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails. It was released digitally on July 19, 2017, two days ahead of its scheduled release date, under Trent Reznor‘s label The Null Corporation. It will be followed by the release of a physical component the week of August 8 and a CD release on September 1. A vinyl release was also announced with no release date set. This marks the second EP in a proposed trilogy following the 2016 release of Not the Actual Events. The final EP of the series is expected to be released before the end of 2017.

The album was announced on July 13, 2017, and the lead single “Less Than” and an accompanying music video directed by Brook Linder were released online. On July 18, “This Isn’t the Place” was released with an accompanying music video directed by Alex Lieu.

The Analysis—-

Less Than—-Right from the opening notes, this plays as one of the most accessible NIN tracks in recent memory.  The music is reminiscent of the early days of the band….the remarkable melody is addictive as hell. Reznor still maintains an edge an an anger, this is remarkable all the way around.

The Lovers—-Melding directly from the previous track, the blips and beeps are accompanied by a whispered, distant vocal. This track is markedly darker and sparse. Reznor sings with a tortured voice that leaves me a bit sad and introspective. The emotions displayed are remarkable. A really great track.

This Isn’t The Place—-Again, a moody and dark atmospheric intro. The sparse music plays like a movie soundtrack song. The slow plodding music fills you with some anticipation as you wonder where this is all going. The tortured vocal finally enters at the two minute mark and leaves me somewhat uninspired and unimpressed.

Not Anymore—-A bit more of a jaunty intro dissolves into a pleasant static noise that reminds me of the old days. Reznor delivers a vocal that lies underneath all of the noise. The music is super aggressive and still manages to be pretty accessible and pleasant to listen to. A favorite track of mine….layer of sound stacked on layer of sound…..fantastic!

The Background World—-Clocking in a over 11 minutes in length, this takes you on a journey all of its own. Trent sounds like a youngster…..his voice has not aged a bit. The level of emotion is as strong as the first note on the debut album….none of the purpose has been lost. The strains of slight orchestration that rides underneath the machines give the song a very full sound. The melody line is addictive and pleasant…..adding to the listening pleasure. The vocal comes in and out….fading behind the beats than stepping forward again. As I said…this is a journey in its own right. The track eventually dissolves into an unsustainable wall of white noise and distortion that leaves a sour taste in your mouth…..but you know to expect this from Trent.

**** out of 5

 

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

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

The Analysis—-

Disc Two:

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

**** out of 5

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Analysis—-

Disc One:

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

 

 

 

 

Roger Waters / Is This The Life We Really Want?

Is This The Life We Really Want? [Explicit]

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

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

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

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

The Analysis—-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****out of 5