Archive for October, 2009

Gerry Rafferty/City To City

Posted in 1 with tags , , , , , , , on 2800000010UTC 12 by marky7235

Gerry Rafferty is a Scottish Singer/Songwriter best known for the 1978 release City To City. Actually Rafferty’s third release, City To City sold a staggering 5.5 million copies upon its release and was responsible for toppling the soundtrack Saturday Night Fever from the #1 spot in the US. Still a mainstay on soft rock radio, Rafferty was never able to maintain his stay on the charts because of his reluctance to tour and/or be seen in public. Rafferty maintains a reclusive and odd lifestyle to this day, his last recorded effort was in 2000.

The Ark—-From the onset, the song has a remarkable Scottish feel to it…the bagpipe sounds are in full effect and evoke a nice folky sound….as they disappear, you are treated to a crystal clear voice that has the ability to tell a story in three minutes or less. The day of modern tales in moments seem to be forgotten….this is a remarkable reminder. At times, Rafferty almost reminds you of classic McCartney. This is a beautiful, orchestrated sounding sound that is still fresh…30 years later…..God, I feel really old!!!

Baker Street—-The best known song from Rafferty, and still a mainstay on ‘Adult Radio”, this song conjures up wonderful memories of childhood for me when I was discovering FM radio and life in general. Rafferty and Al Stewart hold a very special place in my development. This track  combines all of the elements that brought music to life in the late 70’s…the saxophone is like none other ever recorded. The slight accented vocal of Rafferty is so smooth and acceptable, even grandparents loved this song. The subtly harmonies and the layered sound of the production made the song real and made it jump from your little transistor. This is classic…YouTube this is you do not know it…it is unforgettable….just the sax alone makes it a masterpiece.

Right Down The Line—-Another single that helped to propel this release to #1 worldwide, this again contains all of the elements of music that made the late 70’s FM playlist so important. Before the mainstream onset of Punk Rock, FM radio was a breeding ground of romantic and easy listening ballads…this is no exception. The whole feel of this track is so smooth, you can not deny the various hooks and the on top melody that shines through the track. Put that on top of the ultra smooth and understandable vocal of Rafferty and you had mass appeal in a heartbeat. This is classic and alive…listening back to it now…it is still freakin’ fantastic!

City To City—-With a slight blues tinge to the song, the delivery is much more straight forward rock than previous tracks. The harmonica is at the forefront and the guitars seem to be louder…despite all of the ‘noise’, Rafferty still delivers a vocal that is clear and fun. Not the mega catchy song of the previous two tracks, this is still really awesome!

Stealin’ Time—-Heavy on the classic Rafferty sax sound, the song is more downbeat and relaxed than the previous track. Gerry sounds so relaxed and real, it is hard not to be sucked in by the gentle, breezy feel of the song. The sax gives the song a shiny, happy feel…this is wonderful!!!

Mattie’s Rag—-Wonderfully full of Beatles’ styled guitar and irresistable poppy stylings, this is brilliant. What a great huge breath of fresh air when surrounded by the Emo styled stylings of music today. this is brilliant. I love all of the instrumentation….the guitars are almost acoustic, yet poppy, the sax and horns are in your face and the vocal is crystal clear…wonderful!!!

Whatever’s Written In Your Heart—-Different is sound from the onset, the song is piano based and has a slight Gospel tinge to it that is damn near irresistable. The voice sounds bare and vulnerable…this is done in a masterful almost naked way…emotions laid bare and there for the whole world to see. Rafferty had a vocal presence that is undeniable. This is wonderful…I wonder now why I have not paid more attention to it before. Catch it if you can!!!

Home And Dry—-Containing many of the pop elements that helped Rafferty hit the top f the charts, this song did manage to break the top 30 in the US…it is apparent why…the song has a nice driving rhythm to it and the classic phrasing of Rafferty to help it along. this is wonderful…as i listen back to it, memories of it flood back to me and I wonder why I never got to the second half of this release….how slow am I???? This is wonderful…classic and slightly pompous, it all comes together in a grand chorus that will sit with you for a while.

Waiting for The Day—-With more driving guitars and a heavier bass line, the song still has the classic sound of the Rafferty band. The voice is smooth and crystal clear and the blues stylings are unmistakable. This is wonderful…..nothing cataclysmic, but just damn listenable.

Stealin’ Time—-Wonderfully smooth and reeking of that classic late 70’s sound, Rafferty again delivers a pop music gem that never quite garnered the attention that it deserved…you wonder how music like this would play today? This is just magnificent is structure and mood…the music is just as important as the vocal…something that is rare in today’s musical landscape.

**** out of 5

Erasure/Erasure

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , on 2800000010UTC 12 by marky7235

Released in 1995, this self titled release was the Synth Pop duo’s 7th full length release. More experimental and introspective in sound, the release was far different from the classic shiny 3 minute pop classics that brought the group huge pop success. The songs are longer with heavy synth interludes and features appearances from both the London Community Choir and performance artist Diamanda Galas. The release mark a steady decline in chart position, Erasure has never regained the high release sales that they enjoyed from 1987-1992. Despite all of this, the release remains on of my favorite Erasure issues.

Intro: Guess I’m Into Feeling—-From the onset of the track, you know that this is a different Erasure…the sound is much more subdued and even slower to build into the magnificent sound that they create. The layers that Clarke builds into his songs have never been more apparent.The song is very slow….it builds and creates a nervous frenzy in your brain…as the vocal finally enters the fray, you know that this is the band you have always loved. The vocal overlays are magnificent. Granted, there is a shadow that falls across this entire release, I love this ability and shows everyone that Erasure are far from one-dimensional.

Rescue Me—-Although there is a certain element of sedation, the classic sound of the band remains intact. The lyrical content is much more intense, the vocal overlays and dubs are better than they have ever been. This is wonderful dance music that you can think about and dance to…I find no faults with this.

 Sono Luminus—-Without argument, this track is far different from the club Erasure we were all accustomed to…the result. however, is magnificent. The musical landscape is full of ambient sounds that make you sway and thing about the important things in life. The vocal literally soars at times and can still produce goosebumps 15 years after the initial release. The music continues to take on a fuller and fuller feel as Clarke adds sounds upon sounds…Bell delivers a voice that is full of tenderness and true emotion. This is wonderful!!!

Fingers & Thumbs [Cold Summer’s Day]—-Sandwiched between songs, this composition almost seems out-of-place to me!!! The release takes you to a certain place and then crashes that place with a party…this is the only misstep with this release. I can accept the drudgery that every pop artists feels necessary to shed in their own way…just give me a consistent release. the human brain is not built to switch from emotion to emotion at a moments notice…unless you are bi-polar. All in all, this is a dance floor classic that would have fit perfectly on any OTHER Erasure release. As a single and a nicely remixed 12″, I love it…on this release put where it is….it seems disruptive to me. Make no mistake…..this is an Erasure classic….done as well as anything they have ever released!

Rock Me Gently—-Again, the mood shift catches you off guard and makes it difficult to digest the release as a whole unit…..this song returns to much more ambient and introspective feel…not to mention he darky tinged vocal and lyric. Bell could become the ultimate Torch singer…..flamboyant, but ultimate…LOL!!!! The song from a lyrical AND musical aspect is dark and dreary…it paints an ugly picture of human nature….in it’s true form. This is wonderfully constructed…Clarke is allowed nice tangents of keyboard experimentation that has never been experienced…this is damn wonderful!!!

Grace—-By far, without a doubt my favorite track on this release…being a Methodist and understanding the concept of Grace, this song hit me over the head like a hammer. The musical landscape is a slight progressive keyboard overlay with lots of blips and beeps driving the somber mood of the track….Bell is more subdued and quiet than I have ever experienced him….his vocal pledges to try to live in Grace are heartfelt and real…combined with the musical ambience, the song was an instant winner for me.

Stay With Me—-Continuing, thankfully, in the same vein that the band has set for the past few songs, the song again is a nice ambient styled excursion that showcases the vocal of Bell in a remarkable way. This is a deeply layered and pleasant journey in the art of melancholy. Bell can be so playful, but when the inner soul Div appears, he delivers emotion like the best. the overlays are intricate and must have taken eons to record…it was worth it and well though out. This is wonderfully sublime and mellow…a nice excursion into YOUR emotions, no matter where you are in life.

Love The Way You Do So—-A bit more upbeat, in this instant, the song was perfectly placed. Not overwhelmingly heavy on bass or pace, the song is a moderately paced track that brings you a little into the sunlight after the dark tunnel you have been in. the lyrical content is more positive and the harmonies are priceless. The ministrations of Clarke on the keyboards give the song a brightness that shines through the more sedate vocal. This is wonderful….placed well in the line-up and wonderfully preformed.

Angel—-The song starts with odd ambient sounds that fir in well with the other tracks on the release….Clarke is in full experimental mood with all of these odd noises. The keyboards slowly take on a life of their own…..building and building in an odd and never before heard way from this Duo. As the dance synth takes over and Bell enters into the fray, you are rewarded with a nice dance floor groove that does not overwhelm, but perfectly compliments the other songs on the release. The voice is crystal clear and not far removed from some of the solo work Bell has done. A nice placement and companion piece to the rest of the release.

I Love You—-With a very long electronic intro, the keyboards are full of classic Clarke sounds. Bell enters into the fray with a vocal that is very much in the front of the music. The delivery is perfectly clear…you are able to enjoy every single word. When Bell hits his falsetto, it is classic Erasure that could be on any release. This is woinderful….both because of the classic sound, but also because of the fresh alternative feel to the landscape. This is NICE!!!!

A Long Goodbye—-The song, without much of an intro, is full of electronic ministrations that make full use of blips and beeps. the vocal delivery is classic….evolving into a great chorus anthem that takes a place in your brain for quite sometime. The song progresses with interesting downshift and techno-like blips and beeps. This is really quite wonderful…still one of my favorite release from the band…….even if it took 5 years to get to that spot.

**** out of 5

Beyonce’/I Am ….Sasha Fierce [Disc 2]

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on 2600000010UTC 12 by marky7235

Disc 2:

Single Ladies—-Ushering in one of the most addictive songs in recent memory, the video version of the song only propelled the mass market masterpiece to even higher elements. The song is contagious and unforgettable…from the onset the musical elements and the repetitive vocal sucks you in and takes a permanent place in your cerebellum. This is wonderfully marketed…wonderfully preformed and a piece of pop history whether you wanted it to be or not.

Radio—-Falling right in line with the current push of New Millenium Disco stars like Lady GaGa, Knowles again scores another home run with this track. The song contains enough elements of shifting tempos and vocals to catch your attention and keep it. the bevy of backdrop vocals is infectious and hyperactive. This is wonderfully constructed. Kudos to Beyonce’ and her production team. They have their finger on the pulse of the mass public.

Diva—-Combining old school elements that make me think of Master P and his realm of female MC’s, Beyonce’ again displays her mass market ability. This is so damn contagious and gritty at times you find yourself confused as to who you are actually listening to. This is classic and dirty south styled R & B…a favorite of mine…I love this!!!

Sweet Dreams—-Sounding a tad bit generic to me, the song still contains some elements that will appeal to the masses. The magical hook that beyonce’ is so good at capturing appears like magic on the chorus and keeps the listener from becoming bored. The song seems to grow on you as it progresses and after a few listens it fits in the Knowles catalog just fine. not a favorite but more than acceptable.

Video Dream—-Allowing Knowles to show even more of her ghetto side, the song is again a dirty blend of southern R & B and nasty beats that make you feel sexy and slinky. The song continues to suck you in with the subtle slide of musical tempos that you cannot escape. this is subtle and sublime…masterful and well done….Beyonce’ knows what sells and she does it very well.

Hello—-Containing hyper garage infused Dance beats and a subtle ballad style, Beyonce’ again shows why she is the star and the master of her craft. This is subtle…combining all the elements that sells million of records for this Diva. The song is not quite a ballad and not quite a dance floor hit….fantastic. The vocal phrasing of Knowles is like no other song on this double disc release..it works!!!!

Ego—-With a huge clash of Jazz and Blues, the song has the classic smoky club sound and the church organ sounds running through the backdrop. This is wonderfully mixed with a background of hyper dance beats…something for everyone. Beyonce’ is the new Madonna….knowing what every portion of society wants and delivering it over and over again in new and fresh ways.

Scared Of Lonely—-Incredibly moody and with a slight somber tone, Knowles can’t resist the ballad of choice on this disc as well…this works very well. the sound is much bigger than the things on Disc 1…..the elements of the dance floor shine through with ease and the sound is again infectious and irresistable. A great way to round off a masterful collection of songs…I do not hate this!!!!

**** out of 5

Diva—-

Beyonce’/I Am…Sasha Fierce [Disc 1]

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , on 2600000010UTC 12 by marky7235

Trying to encapsulate the phenomenal career of R & B Diva Beyonce’ Knowles is a singular paragraph is nearly impossible. So…just a quick run down of the facts as the occur to me. Beyonce’ Knowles better known by her singular name Beyonce’ is an American R & B Singer, Songwriter, Producer, Actress and Model. Beyonce’ is also the wife of Rap Superstar Jay-Z. Beyonce rose to fame as the lead singer of R & B girl group Destiny’s Child in the 1990’s. Collectively, Beyonce’ boasts unit sales of over 100 million units worldwide. She boasts not only amazing sales records but 5 #1 singles, 12 top 10 singles and 18 top 40 hits. I Am….Sasha Fierce, released in 2008 is Beyonce’s third solo release.

Disc 1:

If I Were A Boy—-Kicking off the ‘mellow’ disc of this release, the song enters your headphones with a gentle yet R & B inspired guitar that showcases the vocal clout of Knowles in a magnificent way. The lyrical content is on the intense side, allowing interesting insight into the mind of a true woman. The song has no special huge effects or overtones…the beauty of the track is the reliance and the delivery of Beyonce’s magnificent vocal style. A huge hit, the song rode high on the charts for many months.

Halo—-Fantastic from the opening orchestrated strains of the intro, the vocal enters with Beyonce’ delivering her trademark run of notes and vocal histrionics. The voice weaves sound up and down, back and forth, pouring emotion from every note. The song is not overly pretentious or caustic in feel..instead it maintains an acceptable range of true emotion and lyric. The music swells in a wonderfully majestic manner…this ebbs and flows so nicely…you reach for the repeat button a few times before you are prepared to let it go. Nice!!!

Disappear—-With a more R & B infused beat of musical styles, the song still remains sedate enough to allow Beyonce’ to really shine on her vocal. The double tracking and vocal overlays give the song a nice layered and textured feel that it contagious and tender. The tone of the song is built for romantic nights by the fire or cold winter nights as you bemoan a love that is no longer there. A perfect setting of mood music, tis will work every time you want elation or tears.

Broken-Hearted Girl—-More of the same…not necessarily a bad thing. The song is piano fused with nice strings and a very, very sedate feel overall. The vocal is gentle and you find yourself wanting to hear the girl really let loose with her diva inspired vocal that conveys the emotion of the words. I sit and i wait for a tirade of intense voice, but the song remains sedate and quiet…you wonder where this comes from…after all she seems a very happy person…reaching this side of yourself is not always easy. The song continues to tease with musical swells and strings that are a loud as the gentle piano….the angry outburst never really comes..but that is ok…this is masterful pop music from a master that has the recipe down pat.

Ave Maria—-The production seems to be shifting on this track…the vocal is very upfront and in your face keeping perfect synch with the wonderfully delivered piano…a nice mix of old and new, the song is a goose bump moment…the emotion and the pain seems so real and the sadness of the song overrides the warm R & B infused finger snaps and moody piano. This is wonderfully written and delivered.

Smash Into You—-At this junction of the release, to much of the same begins to wear on this listener as we are treated to one ballad after another without much variance. The feel of the song is grand…the music is orchestrated and huge in sound and the vocal again seems subdued and pushed to the back of the synth beat. This is not a throwaway by any means, but just a little to much of the same ol’ same ol’.

Satellites—-Stripped almost bare from the onset, the song seems to have primarily an acoustic guitar and wonderful string arrangements driving the emotion of Knowles voice. The song is a nice journey…it gathers musical emotion as it progresses and we are treated to the true talent of the voice…no overlays or dubs…this is pure Beyonce’ and it is a treat.

That’s Why You’re Beautiful—-Rounding out the first disc with a song that sounds like it could be any R & B singer on the market today, Beyonce’ perhaps takes a little misstep with this song but it does not take away from all of the quality of the other tracks on the release. This is nice, but seems to generic and predictable to me.

***1/2 out of 5

Type O Negative/The Best Of [Roadrunner Records]

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on 2500000010UTC 12 by marky7235

This release is a collection of songs centered around the band’s involvement with Roadrunner Records. This release was reportedly released without the band’s involvement or knowledge. This CD contains no material from the debut release Origin Of The Feces or the Greatest Hits compilation released by new band label SPV Records.

Unsuccessfully Coping With The Natural Beauty Of Infidelity—-An opus in the true nature of the word, this song has numerous moods and feelings.The song, clocking in at a whopping 12 minutes, finds the band covering the goth grounds that it is masterful at as well as delving into a punkier Misfits sound all in one song. The mood shifts and music swells take over the song and become almost as important as the lyrical content itself. The voice is in fine form, as Steele maintains his goth persona to a tee….the vocal tirades ranging from hurt and distrust to anger and murderous rage. Truly masterful!!!

Christian Woman—-Searching to find that the definition of ‘Corpus Christi’ actually means ‘Body Of Christ’…I realize just how seriously the band takes this whole goth sound and lifestyle. Overall, the track is a masterful introduction to the sound and emotion of the band to the newbie. This is dark, scary, somewhat humorous and always entertaining. The tradeoff of voices and the harmonious swell of the backdrop gives the track a full sound that begs to be listened to time and time again. Like the best ‘grindcore’ bands, you take the lyrical content differently at any given time. that is the beauty of music..it serves it purpose at the right time in your life. This is fantastic.

Black No. 1—-One of the tracks that broke the band to the bigger metal mainstream, the intro to the song encompasses everything that drives this genre of music. The voice is at sometimes laughable, but never looses the intensity that makes the dark even darker. The music is a deep reverberating tirade against the sunshine.,….this is masterfully driven with a hook that is so damn undeniable it will live forever. The chorus of voices that join Steele are so huge and orchestrated…just as quickly the sound dies out to become yet another funeral march into darkness. This is crafted Goth Metal like no one else has been able to orchestrate. Wonderful…right down to the cheesy fingersnaps!!!

Too Late: Frozen—-With an odd intro, you listen for the masterful sound that will draw you in as this band always does. Steele seems a tad bit more relaxed in vocal style as he delivers yet another dark tale of mistrust and ire. The music has a melody that almost overrides the dark feel of the song. The keyboards are more apparent in this track…something that was to be continued on further releases, but did not subtract from the darkness of the band. The guitars still seem tinny and set in the background…this band is all about darkness and bass…it works for them and has for about the last 15 years without fail.

Love You To Death—-You would be hard pressed to find a more Goth-Rock inspired song title anywhere. The title fits the mood and lyrical content of the song without fail. The deep, deep baritone of Steele only adds and makes the song more majestic and masterful. When Steele twirls his ‘R’s”, it gives the song a dark scary element that sucks you in. The music is a deep swirling, melodic excursion that shows the band’s growth and technical ability. In the headphones, you can hear the complicated keyboard sound that would otherwise leave the song naked and lacking substance. When the band joins together on the vocal refrain, it becomes an orchestrated march of monks in the graveyard…this is damn near perfect. The song is a rather simple trip into the emotional landmine of human emotion…..as you struggle for acceptance, you smother your partner. When Steele moans…”Am I good enough for you….” the whole song comes full circle.

My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend—-Every man’s dream, the song takes on a humorous and at times murderous tale of why such things never work. the keyboard delivery is stronger on this song than ever before and the track has a huf=ge full sound. Steele digs even deeper into the cellar of his baritone….he is darker and more menacing than ever. The song sometimes can be funny, at times scarier as the relationship continues and deteriorates. the story is well woven in the short time span that is allowed and the playing is tight and orchestrated. This is damn near perfect pop goth Metal. Never gets old for me.

Cinnamon Girl—-A cover of the Neil Young classic, I have yet to discover anyone besides myself that like this song….I think this song is a freakin’ masterpiece. This is driving, dark and just as masterful as the classic original. The added bass gives the song a life and the keyboard swirls only make me jump up and down with energy and excitement. I like this song BETTER than the original….consider me shallow and ignorant…this is freakin’ perfection.

Everyone I Love Is Dead—-A classic Type O song title, the song lives up to the anticipation just fine. Steele balances a nice vocal mixture between sedate and insane in a masterful way. As does the band…the music rises and ebbs in a way that keeps you at the edge of your seat. When Steele lets loose with his ‘Goddamnit’, you just want to punch something and let the pain engulf you. This is masterful…heavily layered with sound and driven with an in your face drum track, this is classic…the band at one of the many high points of their career.

Everything Dies—-Without a doubt, my favorite Type O song and one in my top 20 catalog of songs I can not live without. the song is filtered with pseudo-violence and extreme emotion…all in 4 minutes or less!!! This is an achievement and another really high point in the band’s output. The track has a huge layered sound that dies just as quickly to allow an intro vocal that you strain to hear…the edge of the song is sad and morose…this band, despite it’s reputation has emotion and feeling that shines through on gems such as this. This is classic…dark yet somehow uplifting……sad yet exhilarating. Fan-freakin’-tastic!!!

Evening Star—-A nice, acceptable cover of the Deep Purple classic, this song never really did anything for me. I don’t love it, nor do I dislike it. It just seems to be an almost lazy retread of the things of the past and we know that the band is capable of so much more. It is nice to hear Steele allow the other members of the band show and stretch the vocal capabilities of the band. The intensity of the musical landscape is a nice change as the guitar histrionics remain stellar throughout.

I Don’t Wanna Be Me—-A thought I have every morning when the alarm clock rings, I have learned to live with this feeling. Steele has the courage to pronounce it to the world and in a loud way. The courage to change the thought has never occurred to me until now. Steele describes his frustration in a masterful way….without a doubt, it is not a feeling that only one or two people encounter, rather than a feeling of a nation. Powerful stuff…no matter who is reminding us.

Life Is Killing Me—-Rounding out the release with a dark and futuristic sounding track, the music quickly delves into a dirge of masterful goth metal that never lets up. The bass is so heavy, it makes my eardrums clean themselves. At the minute and a half mark, the song settles into a spooky feel that calls on Jews and Christ in an unapologetic way…Steele weaves a story that is frightening and boisterous. He hits some notes i though to be impossible…the song is a classic Type O masterpiece…nothing on this track leaves me disappointed. Powerful stuff!!!!

****1/2 out of 5

Rob Thomas/Cradlesong

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews on 2500000010UTC 12 by marky7235

Rob Thomas, best known as the frontman for Rock band Matchbox Twenty,  is also a Grammy award-winning songwriter and solo artist in his own right. Thomas won 3 Grammys for his work on the Carlos Santana super-selling release Supernatural. Thomas continues to record with his band while also enjoying a successful and rewarding solo career. Cradlesong, released in June 2009, is the second solo release from Thomas.

Her Diamonds—-The first radio release from this effort, the song finds Thomas not far removed from anything that he has released jointly or singularly in the past. The song contains all of the majestic hooks that Thomas tends to run into the ground. The song s a pleasant-sounding opus…but in a rather bored housewife kind of way. The audience is picked and chosen and catered to. Not bad, but predictable.

Gasoline—-With a bit more of an electronic feel, it is not long before Rob falls into familiar territory…revamping songs that we have heard many times before. Without a doubt, this song will be a huge hit on AOR radio…it follows the recipe to the tee. The sound of the song is a tad bit fuller…adopting more rhythms and sounds than just the run of the mill power rock he is known for. Just remember that when this song hits MTV in a huge way..I called it.

Give Me the Meltdown—-With a slight country tinge feel sound to it, this song again contains all of the elements that are required to sell millions of release…that is the problem. this is predictable…3 songs into the release and I am ready for it to be over. This is predictable and mundane…where is the risk and the passion. If you wanted to make lots of money Rob…you all ready did…now stop it!!!

Someday—-On heavy rotation at MTV and AOR radio, the second single from this release finds Thomas taking o risk or taking any steps away from the recipe fueled slop that has made him a millionaire. I get disappointed when an artist falls into a constant rhythm that never deviates or alters from the model of success. This is a disappointment for me…the only redeeming quality is the gentle female backdrop singers that add depth and substance to a rather mundane top 40 recipe.

Mockingbird—-Taking on a slight 80’s feel to the song, musically..it is a welcome change…until Thomas begins to sing and it is more of the safe vocal range delivery of everything else he is a part of. This song will be huge…..I guarantee it….the markings are all in place. Despite the promise from the onset, it falls into the driven and worn out sound of modern pop/rock drivel.

Real World ’09—-Was this really necessary? I think not….the song gives you nothing new and no new dimension. This has all become tiresome to me….next……

Fire On The Mountain—-Instrumentally, the song begins with a nice sound…the swirls and the bass drum give the track a life on its own that seems to grow and grow. Thomas delivers a vocal that is a tad bit more gruff and worn…sounding tired and worn..it works for me really well until the chorus opens up in a contrived top huge sound that makes you think the whole thing is made up with no real emotion involved. The song does have a huge emotional sound that appeals to me.

Hard On You—-Combining some interesting World Music sounds, the song losses most of its integrity once Thomas begins to emit more lyrics that have been played out, stamped on and over done. The saving grace, again, is te addition of background vocals that give the song some layers and texture. This is acceptable…but only as an occasional listen.

Still Ain’t Over You—-Make no doubt, from the onset, the song has a huge sound….but it quiets unexpectedly to allow the vocal to take the spotlight…big mistake. This is again a retread, sounding like a track from the mega hit Santana release….I remain unimpressed and disappointed!!!

Natural—-What could have been an emotional fanfare of sound falls flat with the mundane and predictable vocal from Thomas. Why does a release such as this remain acceptable to the public…where is the chance and the passion, the zest and the desire to provide the public with something new. Where is the vigor and the hunger to reach and explore new horizons…the wallet is fat and the emotion is flat. It makes me mad…and sad.

Snowblind—-At least this song gives us an intro that is pleasant despite the predictability. This again reeks of the kind of AOR mainstream mega sales that Thomas seems to concerned with. The melody of the song is damn near irresistable….unforgettable and ingrained on your brain. Despite this, the recipe is overdone and cooked too well. I anxiously await the end and hope to move onto unchartered territory, knowing that it will just be more of the same…I’m not jaded…..just honest.

Wonderful—-This begins with a very nice feel…the horns and uplifting sound to the music is nice…it all crashes to an end as the band allows Thomas to take the spotlight…this is unfortunate, because the voice is not nearly as special as the grand feel of the song. I remain disappointed with this release….only the small moments of majesty save this from the bargain bin at my house.

Cradlesong—-Indeed, one would expect that the title track to the release would be an outstanding excursion into a wonderful realm of unchartered territory….sadly, this is not the case. The song is an almost silent acoustic excursion from the onset, reminding me of classic Nebraska styled Springsteen without the talent and emotion. This is bound to be a huge radio hit…remind me to turn it off.

Getting Late—-I must admit….it has been quite sometime since i have been so anxious for an album to end….but the end is a welcome deep breath after emerging from deep water for too long. the end of the release is not nearly as irritating as most of the music on the rest of this CD. The track has a nice quality of Alt-Country styled sounding balladeering that Thomas should investigate further…still the taste in my mouth is very sour.

** out of 5

The Smiths/Strangeways, Here We Come

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on 2500000010UTC 12 by marky7235

Taking its name from the Manchester prison, Strangeways was the 4th and final studio release from the influential and lauded British quartet. Released in 1987, the band split between the recording of the release and the actual release date. Named by most of the band and many of it;s fans as the best and favorite Smiths record, it features the only song on which Morrissey actually plays an instrument. Death Of A Disco Dancer features Moz performing a spastic and experimental piano.

A Rush And A Push—-Beginning with typical Smiths fanfare, the song is piano laden and clouded with a vocal that comes from the dark. The song enters into the clear fray with a sound less jangly and more straight forward. As Morrissey warms his vocal on the track you anticipate the oncoming songs and lament that the band is no more. For a swan song, the recording is held together with cohesive bass lines and a fantastic guitar from Marr. Wonderful even 22 years later!!

I Started Something—-With a much more trademark Smiths sound, this track could have been on any of the bands stellar recordings…this is recipe Alt-Rock at its finest. Morrissey delivers a vocal that is so clear and ironic you cannot help but smile at the subtle sarcasm…when he growls it is sexy and stimulating, while Marr supplies the body oil with his languid guitar. This is wonderful…a band that seems to be at the beginning of their career rather than at the end. I weep still…..

Death Of A Disco Dancer—-The song, ushered in with a funeral march tempo, takes on a more layered and textured sound from the onset. Morrissey is in the best voice of his career as he moans and utters his way through the lines….building to a orgasmic barrage of noise and walls of sound. The guitars are understated, yet the bass and the drum are very much in the front of your face. This only reminds us that Joyce and Rourke deserved all the back money owed to them…sorry Moz!!! The song is a long and experimental sounding journey through morose yet sarcastic sounds and hearing Morrissey go crazy on the piano only serves to make the song more important.

Girlfriend In A Coma—-With a pleasant almost playful musical track, this finds Morrissey at his most humorous and ironic in years. The song has a short life, only lasting a few minutes, but the joy and fun of the tempo in inescapable. Morrissey sings with such a sarcastic and ironic tone, there is no mistaking his country of origin. A true gem, one that i still love after all of these years if only for the humor!!

Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before—–The trademark sound of the introduction is like a warm blanket on a frigid night. Morrissey displays a pleasant overlayed vocal that is peppered with humor and sarcasm. The musical backdrop of the track finds Marr at his best. Incorporating a fresh angle without deserting the sound that made the band huge, it only goes to prove the genius of the guitar hero. The lyrics are sardonic and intense…Morrissey delivers them with a unique and fresh delivery that seems to never grow old…this is darn near a masterpiece!!!

Last Night I Dreamt Somebody Loved Me—-It is obvious who came up with the title and lyrics to the song…this is classic Morrissey X’s 1000. The odd intro full of noise and piano sets the tone….lulling you down from the high of the previous two songs. The atmosphere is heavy with a morose and funeral feel….when Morrissey finally does enter the fray, you have steeled yourself to deal with the deep and meaningful thoughts he has been keeping up his sleeve. The attitude of the song defines what The Smiths had become…you only wonder what if…..but we as humans do that many times everyday. Morrissey seems to buy into every word that he utters and this only makes the song more realistic and morose. My love affair with the genius continues…..

Unhappy Birthday—–Yet another classic Smiths title, the song has a surprisingly upbeat musical landscape. From the onset, the Marr sound seems almost acoustic as the drums take the spotlight away from many of the instruments at times on the song. Morrissey is crystal clear in his vocal and the song , despite the acoustic sound, never quite escapes the jangly reputation of the band. This is exquisite..simply for the relaxed delivery of thesong…which never takes away from the intense message of the king of pain. Wonderful.

Paint A Vulgar Picture—-With a huge British sounding musical landscape, the song ushers in a wry and ironic sounding Morrissey. The band has not altogether escaped the jangly sound of the Manchester sound that Marr claimed would be absent on this release, but the acceptability and familiarity of the song is welcome and necessary. as Morrissey sings of the rush of music execs to gather and release material from an artist after their demise is ironic and telling….he just didn’t listen. Even as Morrissey quotes from his own past, we should have seen it all coming. I still rue the day of the split and wish for the great things that could have been. All water under the bridge, we take everything else we can get.

Death At One’s Elbow—-Taking a cue from the future world of Morrissey, the song has a classic rock-a-billy sound that drives the song at an alarming yet welcome pace. Morrissey seems so comfortable with the pace and the realm, we should not be surprised…the song is both a look back at the past and a glimpse of the future. I seem to even hear some wonderful harmonica on the song…successfully escaping the late 80’s British sound with ease and mastery.

I Won’t Share You—-The song delivers us back into the comfortable mope driven world of Morrissey and Marr. The guitar is almost acoustic, yet surprisingly forceful and melodic. Morrissey allows his voice to soar, creating emotion and a feeling of sadness and overwhelming emotion. A wonderful round out to the release, we never knew this would be the last……

**** out of 5