Archive for November, 2010

Phil Collins / Hits

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 2800000011UTC 12 by marky7235

Hits

Philip David Charles Collins, LVO (born 30 January 1951)[1] is an English[2] singer-songwriter, drummer, keyboardist and actor best known as a drummer and vocalist for English progressive rock group Genesis and as a solo artist.

Collins sang the lead vocals on several chart hits in the United Kingdom and the United States between 1978 and 1994, either as a solo artist or with Genesis. His singles, often dealing with lost love, ranged from the drum-heavy “In the Air Tonight“, dance pop of “Sussudio“, piano-driven “Against All Odds“, to the political statements of “Another Day in Paradise“. His international popularity transformed Genesis from a progressive rock group to a regular on the pop charts and an early MTV mainstay.

Collins’s professional music career began as a drummer, first with obscure rock group Flaming Youth and then more famously with Genesis. In Genesis, Collins originally supplied backing vocals for front man Peter Gabriel, singing lead on only two songs: “For Absent Friends” from 1971’s Nursery Cryme album and “More Fool Me” from Selling England by the Pound, which was released in 1973. Following Gabriel’s departure in 1975, Collins became the group’s lead singer. As the decade closed, Genesis’s first international hit, “Follow You, Follow Me”, demonstrated a drastic change from the band’s early years.

His concurrent solo career, heavily influenced by his personal life, brought both him and Genesis commercial success. According to Atlantic Records, Collins’s total worldwide sales as a solo artist, as of 2002, were 150 million.[3] He has won seven Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, and two Golden Globes for his solo work. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Genesis in 2010.

Collins is one of only three recording artists (along with Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson) who have sold over 100 million albums worldwide both as solo artists and (separately) as principal members of a band.[4] According to Billboard magazine, when his work with Genesis, his work with other artists, as well as his solo career is totalled, Collins has the most top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the 1980s.[5] In 2008, Collins was ranked the 22nd most successful artist on the “The Billboard Hot 100 Top All-Time Artists”.

The Analysis:

Another Day In Paradise—-This has always been one of my favorite Collins tracks from my favorite release of his. this song is much more politically charged and current than many of his releases…giving the listener a bit of beef to really sink their teeth in. This is masterfully delivered with lyrics that are almost devestating…truly a high point in the career…even though most people were fed up by this time and ignored it.

True Colors—-Collins covers Cyndi Lauper with huge success! There is an emotional quality to this song that is even more intense than the original version, Phil sounds so lonely and isolated. This has a masterful and full arrangement…you could not ask for a better cover….and Phil maintains his spot in the mainstream eye of popular music as well.

Easy Lover—-Recorded with Phillip Bailey, this was a HUGE worldwide smash that was even further driven by a video that allowed for a much more fun side from Collins…this is catchy as hell, although the entire damn thing was so over played and run into the ground that it almost impossible to enjoy these days..despite that, it is a mainstay of popular 80’s culture.

You Can’t Hurry Love—-Who would ever think that success could be found in a funny little man covering one of the classic R n’ B songs of all time? Well, Collins takes on The Supremes and manages to make this huge cross over hit that was fueled by MTV and a blossoming FM radio to worldwide success once again. Saturating the public ear is his oft too damn pleasant voice, Collins still managed to produce a song that teenagers and desperate housewives could love equally!

Two Hearts—-Delivering another chart smash with a nice throw-back soul sound, Collins seems to be steeped in the neo-Soul sounds of the late 60’s and manages to re-dux them in a masterful way. this is so damn addictive…even though you try to hate it, it will circulate in your brain for days. Remarkable…cheesy….guilty pleasure…but damn magnificent!!!

I Wish It Would Rain Down—-With a nice quasi-Blues sound, the guitar on this song..oft ignored…is pretty fantastic! The vocal is pretty damn pleasant, but the lyrics are the thing that manages to dig a hole in your soul and bring you to a contemplative mood that allows you to really appreciate them. This is a pretty damn intense song for me…making me wonder what Collins fell out of season with so many people..this is remarkable….I have barbs in my soul!

Against All Odds [Take A Look At Me Now]—-The title track to this rather blockbuster 80’s film, how could you go wrong by having Collins perform the title track while in the very heyday and prime? This was a worldwide smash that perhaps helped to propel the film to even greater heights thanks to a video full of movie clips…it wasn’t that great of a movie. But this song…this is what Collins specialized in…that momentary emotional song that leaves holes in your soul and allows foreign emotions to seep in…remarkable!!!

Something Happened On The Way To Heaven—-This is a nice propulsive sound that serves as a reminder of the progressive rock origins of Collins and his landmark band Genesis. This is nice…piano based but with a nice dose of guitars and a huge sound that is produced by a bevy of background singers…a gentle slice of beautiful pie…enjoy this!!!

Separate Lives—-If you are ever questioning if you are less than human and suffer from a lack of empathy, put this track on and you will realize that you feel a hell of a lot more than you care to admit. this is full of every emotional cliché’ that you can imagine…accompanied by the vocal of Mary Martin, this is a tour-de-force of emotion, sadness and genuity…I’m forever damaged!!!

Both Sides Of The Story—-Another very favorite song of mine, this is full of socially aware lyrics that remind you…even more so on this day…of all the suffering that is happening around you. This is Collins at his very best…far removed from his posh lifestyle, Phil reminds us of our responsibility to those who are less fortunate and need human compassion more than you could ever imagine…dig deep and care!

One More Night—-Lush and full of quasi-orchestration, this reminds me of a lot of stuff from the first Collins solo release. Despite the bevy of backdrop singers, this is delivered in a trademark Collins kind of way…full of emotional overload and feelings that seem hugely appropriate for me on this day…I try to squelch all of these emotions…where do these feelings come from.

Sussudio—–Gosh…I abhor this song…..!!!!

Dance Into The Light—-This is another of those songs that has a lot of reminiscent sounds from the very first Collins solo release. There is a nice funk element and a joyous kind of chorus that allows you a celebratory feeling that is almost all-encompassing. This has a nice World Music feel….ala Peter Gabriel. the end result is a huge sing a long that makes you feel a part of everyone else.

A Groovy Kind Of Love—-Phil re-discovers his inner 50’s with this nice quasi-Doo-Wop track that also did phenomenally well on the charts for the solo career man. This is pleasant enough…even addictive at this point, but was so overplayed that at times,  I hated this…today I appreciate it much more.

In The Air Tonight—-Perhaps the signature song from this phenomenal songwriter, as we all know there are all types of Urban Legends that go along with this track. to me, it is a really great layered track that is full of prog-rock tendencies and would have been remarkable as a Genesis single as well as by Collins alone. This is phenomenal…the vocal is cold, eerie and remarkably emotional…the drum solo is legendary and the age never shows through….truly a home run!!!

Take Me Home—-Rounding out this hits collection with another classic song that reeks of Adult Contemporary, Collins never sees to be at a lack for touching and bringing out the elements of human emotion. This is laden with a sadness that is almost overwhelming and makes me rather lonely…this is NOT a good sunday sound when you are struggling with emotion.

**** 1/2 out of 5

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Bruce Springsteen / The PromiseT

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 2600000011UTC 12 by marky7235

The PromiseThe Promise is an album by Bruce Springsteen released on November 16, 2010.[1] It is a double CD compilation of previously unreleased songs drawing from the Darkness on the Edge of Town sessions. The album is also available as part of the box set The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story.

The Analysis: Disc One

Racing In The Street—-One of the first things you notice about this release is that despite the age of the songs and the history, this is so current and fresh you would thing the incarnation was yesterday. Springsteen sounds lonelier than ever and delivers some remarkable harmonica all through this ‘story-song’ that has helped to formulate his career. If you like Nebraska era Springsteen, you will LOVE this release!

Gotta Get That Feeling—-Sounding a bit more dated but delivered with a remarkable energy, Springsteen shows us the huge plethora of songs that he must have hidden everywhere from all of his recording sessions. This is huge…the saxophone from Clarence is incredible and the voice..sounds remarkably fresh but weathered with just that right Bruce touch. This is fantastic!!!

Outside Looking In—-This particular track is one of my favorites from this release! There is a raw energy that is not to be found in the current Springsteen output…his vocal is driven and delivered with an air of anger. the music is consistent and on par with the best stuff that he and the Band have ever produced. This has a full and fresh sound…I love this!!!

Someday [We’ll Be Together]—-Returning to a much more familiar Nebraska/Tunnel Of Love sound, this song features some nice back drop female singers..rounding out the song and giving it a nice epic feel. This has a slight religious and anthemic sound to it…perhaps it is the organ and the full band sound. This is just CLASSIC stuff!!!

One Way Street—-From the onset, you are struck by the remarkable melancholy sound of this whole damn thing!!! This is a beautiful song…delivered with a poignant feel and a classic sedate Bruce style that really allows you to hear every word…feel the story and get a huge bite of Americana….one of the best storytellers of our time!!!

Because The Night—-Made much more famous by the incomparable Patti Smith, this version of the Springsteen penned masterpiece takes on even more energy and urgency than imaginable. Although Bruce performs this pretty regular;ly now, at one time this was very hard to find….this is just brilliant. Always a favorite song of mine, it is nice to have a version that is NOT live!!!

Wrong Side Of The Street—-Delivering a nice retro feel, this song is much more reminiscent of the classic Springsteen that started the career off for him. This is energetic and full of an Americana sound that just fills me with energy and nostalgia….who would have thought this brand of music would have lasted all of these years? You cannot deny the genius of the whole damn thing…just remarkable stuff…raw and energetic!!!

The Broken Hearted—-Full of quasi Alt-Country sounds….way before anyone had any idea what that was, Springsteen delivers a song that is pretty damn intense. If you listen to the words, the impact is immediate…when you add the mellow music, full of resplendent keyboards and horns, you are almost devastated. This is AMAZING!!!

Rendezvous—-Song placement is always key for me, and this CD allows for a monumental task…the place ment of songs is damn near perfect though…adding the rock-based tracks in masterfully well with the more Country felt songs. This is phenomenal…allowing for the re-entrance of the saxophone from Clarence and always really incredible drumming from Max….this is a band that was so tight…just incredible!!!

Candy’s Boy—-This is much more reminiscent of some of the stuff from The River release than the Darkness sessions…this is a full on story delivered remarkably well in about 4 and a half minutes…just remarkable. Bruce sounds so lonely and dejected…the organ keyboards add huge levels of emotion to the song and the band sounds tight as hell. This is pretty damn historical!!!

Disc Two:

Save My Love—-This is good stuff….the song finds Bruce delivering a vocal that is a bit higher than his normal tone…allowing for urgency and the conclusion of the message! This just shows his willingness to stretch and work on his voice….the vocal pushed much more to the back…as the band really takes over the song…in a classic E-Street way!

Ain’t Good Enough For You—-This is a much more honky-tonk style track that at times manages to get on my nerves. as the piano takes over the song, the pounding becomes a bit to much for me. this reminds me of very early Tom Petty….really, the music produced by these two entities are pretty entwined!

Fire—-Made huge with a Disco infusion by The Pointer Sisters, I much more prefer the seductive delivery that Bruce manages to load this song with. This is fantastic stuff and still shows even further the versatility of Springsteen and his writing capabilities…the man knows a damn good melody when he writes on…this is clear!!!

Spanish Eyes—-Returning to a full on Alt-Country sound that is full of the kind of tales that only Bruce can conjure up, this is an incredible song. I love the laid back and lazy feel of the song…even though the lyrics are sexually charged and full of a seductive quality. This is just fantastic…I will be listening to this for quite sometime!!!

It’s A Shame—-Slow, sexy and delivered with a guitar sexiness that is addictive, Bruce enters with a lazy vocal that further adds to the sexiness of the song. This is just incredible stuff…allowing some nice back drop vocals from Steven, you again question how old this stuff really is…this is incredible….I can’t get enough of this!!!

Come On [Let’s Go Tonight]—-This could have very well come from The River sessions….reminding me of many of the songs from that release…one has to wonder if that release was already well ‘written’ by the time this previous release came out..these sessions seemed to have produced a huge wealth of material. This is just wonderful…melancholic, intense and full of touching lyrics…one of America’s great singer/songwriters!!!

Talk To Me—-Allowing the band to once again take the spotlight, the vocal again seems almost secondary to the song. This is full of a nice saxophone laden track that switches back and forth between the organ and the drums…delivering a huge Americana sound that is just addictive as hell. Bruce delivers a classic vocal…seductive, inquisitive and driving…this is so nice…this almost reminds me of Elvis Costello for some reason?

The Little Things [My Baby Does]—-This band works so well together…I’m sure they were just as amazed when back a while ago, Bruce decided to start recording ‘solo’ records. This has never sounded better…one of the best things Springsteen ever did was to re assemble the E-Street conglomerate. This is classic stuff…that the whole band contributes to!

Breakaway—-Returning to that much more sedate and almost acoustic sound, the remarkable thing about the quiet nature of the song is the realization that there is a huge band that is playing behind this guy. The E-Street band is not a little affair…there is about a dozen of them isn’t there? You would never know that from the quiet and restrained delivery of this song…just magnificent!!!

The Promise—-The title track to this release finds Springsteen delivering another of those huge story songs that would have fit so well on the Nebraska release I again wonder how many songs like this that this man must have up his sleeve. This is remarkable…poignant and delivered in a remarkably clear voice, this is classic stuff. I could never ask for more from this release…a cornerstone, a highlight and a favorite!!!

City Of Night—-Clocking in at over 7 minutes, this is perhaps the most ‘demo’ sounding track on this release. This really reminds me of Elvis Costello and his recurrent Country fixation. This is damn near perfect…allowing a spotlight for every member of the band..one by one you hear the emerging sounds and you are left with only the best taste in your mouth…this is fantastic…I can only hope that there is much more to come!!!

***** out of 5 [!!!!!]

My Chemical Romance / Danger Dogs: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on 2400000011UTC 12 by marky7235

Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys

Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys is the fourth studio album by American alternative rock band My Chemical Romance. The album was produced by Rob Cavallo and was released by Reprise Records on November 19, 2010.

The album’s concept is based around the lives of the “Fabulous Killjoys”, in the setting of California in the year 2019. The band’s alter-egos are the four Killjoys: “Party Poison” (Gerard Way), “Jet Star” (Ray Toro), “Fun Ghoul” (Frank Iero), and “Kobra Kid” (Mikey Way), shown in the videos for “Na Na Na” and “SING“. The Killjoys are a group of outlaws who are fighting against the evil corporation Better Living Industries (BL/ind.) and its leader Korse.[2]. Their guide is the pirate radio DJ named Dr. Death Defying who is voiced by Steve Montaño, and is also known by the stage name “Steve, Righ?” when performing with Mindless Self Indulgence.[3] A young girl named Grace is part of the Killjoys with BL/ind attempting to capture her: the two music videos show the capture and the Killjoy’s rescue mission to get her back.

The lyrics flag up that the Killjoys are outgunned and doomed, with an interlude from Dr. Death Defying reporting that Jet Star and Kobra Kid have been killed, but are taking action despite that (“Save Yourself, I’ll Hold Them Back” has the lyric “who gives a damn if we lose this war”); focus is placed on “the lights go[ing] out” in several songs as a result of their actions. The penultimate track is a report from Death Defying that a blow has been struck, “the lights are out and the party’s over”, but as a result he’s going to have to “start running” now and his show goes off the air. The final track, “Vampire Money”, has a bastardised version of the band singing an ode to selling out (“play the game and take the band real far”).

The Analysis:

Look Alive, Sunshine—-This 30 second spoken word intro sets up the supposed conceptual basis of this record…none the less…just give me the music…..

Na Na Na [……..]—-Gerard and Co. return in a big way after such a long abscence…delivering a huge Alternative Rock anthem that sticks in your brain and adheres to your bones. Delivered with just as much energy as the very first song ever produced by the band, it is clear that the inspiration is clear and the determination is stronger than ever!!!

Bulletproof Heart—-Beginning with a nice piano intro, Gerard enters with a vocal that is so damn addictive that even I am surprised. the harmonies are remarkable…once the guitars open up, you are wiped out by the melody of the song. This is so damn addictive and poppy that even if you tried you could not dislike this. To me, this is better than any thing that was on the last record…the intention is clear….hook you and reel you in…accomplished…already!!!!

SING—-starting off with a surprisingly Electronic sound, Way delivers a vocal that is a bit removed and processed until the chorus enters, then you are treated once again with a huge sound that is so typical and addictive that it is almost hard to stop listening to. The refrain drops back into a processed sound, but the chorus propels the band to even levels than I ever imagined….this can only be huge for this band….stadium ready and catchy as hell!!!!

Planetary [GO]—-This is a HUGE surprise!!!! This song is so electronic based you have to remind your self that this is a rock band. The sound is so pop oriented and accessible, you wonder why they put the word FUCK in the song…otherwise this is so damn radio ready that it is not funny. This deserves a remix…a redux and a relpy….this release is a huge surprise to me…remarkable, catchy and accessible as hell!!!!

The Only Hope For Me Is You—-Still, as each song merges int the other, I am surprised by the accessibility of this record!!! The chorus is huge and contagious as hell…this far surpasses the Black Parade for me…this is quality pop/rock that sets a standard for the up and coming bands. I predict you will hear a whole lot from this release in 2011….if you don’t, there is something wrong with the industry!!!

Jet Star And The Cobra Kid/Traffic Report—-This short interlude only serves to support what ever concept is involved with this record……just give me the music…no complications please!!!!

Party Poison—-This is energetic as hell and ready for party central!!!! The pace of the song is the most aggressive as anything on this release thus far…Gerard sounds driven to deliver a party friendly song that is meant to inspire hype and excitement…the result is as predicted…the guitars are much more organic and the keyboards are pushed to the back…allowing the punk origins of the band to finally surface…this is a huge dose of fun!!!!

Save Yourself, I’ll Hold the Back—-Building and building until all hell breaks loose, Gerard returns to the Na Na Na refrain…until the driving music produces a much more fuel inspired delivery. There really is a clear concept hear…although it is beyond me…but the music is remarkably all tied together. This is fantastic…allowing Way to even sound a bit deeper in tome and aggressive…this is a pretty fantastic song!!!!

S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W—-This has a huge retro sound to it that manages to make me smile through the entire damn thing. This is energetic..pure and without any preconceived notions…this is a huge moody song…full of effects…emotion and power pop musical deliveries that mange to make me addicted from the very first listen.  This was well worth the wait!!!!

Summertime—-From the onset, this reminds me of The Smashing Pumpkins….then Gerard enters with his vox and takes the song to a whole new remarkable place. This is so damn pleasant and addictive that you can’t help but back it up and listen to the whole damn thing all over again…this is much more sophisticated pop/punk music than you would ever imagine…I am really happy with this…remarkable!!!!

DESTROYA—-Again with the surprising drum and bass/dance sound as the guitars slowly enter and turn this track into some kind of huge Prodigy song that has Alternative Rock leanings…this is a phenomenal track….delivered with an aggression that is almost predictable, but a beat that surprises the hell out of you. This is fantastic!!!

The Kids From Yesterday—-This has some really nice harmonies, but the song seems to be almost filler. I really like the angst driven vocal style from Way, but I would be really surprised if this went anywhere…there is way to much melody and harmony involved to really appeal to the EMO crowd!

Goodnite, Mr. Death—-Clocking in at an almost even 2 minutes, this serves as the catalyst that allows the conceptual element of this release to come to a close……

Vampire Money—-Just freakin’ phenomenal…..perhaps one of the most punk based tracks of the entire release, this hearkens back to the very beginning sounds of the band that has now become a huge giant. this is powered by pure gasoline and energy…ephedrine and meth…handclaps and faux organ…a pure ti=our de force of energy…leaving you with only the very BEST taste in your mouth!!!!!

***** out of 5 [!!!!!]

Nine Inch Nails / Pretty Hate Machine [2010 Remaster]

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 2400000011UTC 12 by marky7235

Pretty Hate Machine [2010 Remaster]

Pretty Hate Machine is the debut album by American industrial rock act Nine Inch Nails, released October 20, 1989, on TVT Records. The album was out of print from around 1997 to 2005 due to the much publicized falling out between Nine Inch Nails’ sole member, Trent Reznor, and the original publishing label of the album, TVT Records. Rykodisc remastered the album and re-released it around the world in 2005, effectively putting the album back into print. Pretty Hate Machine is compiled of tracks from the Purest Feeling demo, as well as tracks recorded after the Purest Feeling recording. The album spawned three singles, the most successful being “Head Like a Hole“, which has become a staple in Nine Inch Nails live performances.

On March 29th 2010, the master recording rights of Pretty Hate Machine were acquired by The Bicycle Music Company and on October 22nd 2010, Trent Reznor announced on nin.com that on November 22nd 2010, a remastered re-issue of the album would be released by UMe and Bicycle Music Group. The rerelease includes new cover art by Rob Sheridan and the bonus track “Get Down, Make Love”, a Queen cover originally found on the “Sin” single.

The Analysis:

Head Like A Hole—-Really one of the Albums and one of the songs that really opened up the United states to the whole Industrial Rock Movement, this song sounds even better in this remastered version than you could possibly imagine. There were very few of us who at the time were really aware of this magnificent machine-made music…this was a whole new world that expanded even further on bands like The Jesus And Mary Chain. For me, Nitzer Ebb came first but this was running the 50 yard dash right up behind them. this still sounds as powerful and intense, as angry and as driven as the very first time I heard it!

Terrible Lie—-Melding wonderfully from one song to the next, this track has an even more sinister and angry edge than the first track. Reznor has never sounded better, more driven and more pissed off than he did on this first release. This was incredibly relatable music that emerged in a sea of dance tracks and top 40 trash…rescuing the very first Indie Kids from a wasteland of intolerable euro-trash. The clarity on this remaster is remarkable…you hear every word, every nuance and damn near every little noise!!! Stellar!

Down In It—-This has always been my favorite track from this release. this remastered version amplifies the bass to incredible levels…allows for a full vocal distortion and still manages to deliver a melody that will stick in your brain for days. This is literally fantastic…Reznor delivers his vocal fully removed from the music and sounds almost alien at times…just freakin’ remarkable. I could never ask for more…this is a masterpiece of a song!

Sanctified—-Beginning with a nice almost ambient dance beat, there is a ton of atmosphere that goes along with this track…and deservedly so. The vocal is delivered with a level of emotion that allows you to pause and really appreciate the vocal tone from Trent…the slight echo in the recording only adding to the power of the track. There are tons of little noises and lots on lyrical innuendo..all delivered with a angst that is so damn relateable…even today. this is fantastic!

Something I Can Never Have—-Steeped in a beautiful piano laden delivery, Reznor sounds literally beautiful as he continues to lay his emotions bare for everyone to get a glimpse of. The backdrop noises reverberate throughout the song…but never lose the beauty of the original delivery of the song….even when the violence opens up and swallows you inside the sounds that he creates with his magic machines…this is just goose-bump inspiring stuff…I could NEVER ask for more!!!

Kinda I Want To—-Switching gears like a pair of underwear, Reznor returns with an almost funk filled track that makes you step back and take a pause as it is introduced. This is bass driven, but still includes a nice level of noise and sounds that only expert machination can produce. The vocal has more body and echo than the original version…producing one smile after the other from me when i sit here listening…as the memories come flooding back to me. Remarkable!!!

Sin—-Another very favorite song of mine, this track has a nice level of violence that you just have to embrace..once you do, you fall in love with the whole idea of Industrial style music. The vocal is so much better on this remaster…the voice is so clear and the enunciation is remarkable. The energy of the song is even more powerful than imaginable…even though there is nothing like my old vinyl version of this release, this is pretty damn impressive!!!!

That’s What I Get—-The remarkable thing about this first release from Reznor is the clear-cut and bare emotional lyrical quality of the songs. Later releases became really laden in the quagmire of lyric speak where you had to interpret everything based on an idea…here on this release, everything is clear-cut and laid bare for you to experience first hand. This song is no exeption…the meaning of the songs are clear…the mood in bare and the meaning is easily relateable…this is how we all feel!!!

The Only Time—-An Industrialized love song that is delivered with a nice deep sleazy beat, finds Reznor delivering his most intense lyrics in the last few songs..this is raw emotion..true feelings put into a delivery that is understandable by every single human being on the planet…combine that with the blips and beeps of the music..all the little sounds and the remarkable bass, and you have an unforgettable track that is hidden deep in this masterpiece of a record.

Ringfinger—-At the onset, this is a bit of a surprise…the beats that are delivered are so damn pleasant and danceable you take a quick glance at the cover. The vocal begins and you know that you are in the right place…even though the delivery is damn pleasant. Reznor manages to deliver line after line of intense lyrics with a slight sense of humor in his tone…all the while the dance urges you to join in and get involved. This is stellar…I had almost forgotten about this song…really a stellar piece of music!!!

Get Down, Make Love—-This was originally found as a B-side on the Sin CD-5 I believe. to me, this is pretty unremarkable…although I love the noise level of the song and the intensity that all of the added effects manage to produce. I much prefered the cover of Adam Ant over this song, but the sound is really enhanced on this remastered version…so I really can’t complain…I’m sure Freddie would smile!!!

***** out of 5 [!!!!!]

Joe Jackson / Night And Day

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on 1900000011UTC 12 by marky7235

Night And Day

Night and Day is Joe Jackson‘s fifth album, released in June 1982.[1] The title is from a Cole Porter song, and the album reflects a transition to a more sophisticated level of songwriting.

Night and Day paid tribute to the wit and style of Cole Porter (and indirectly to New York).[1] Night and Day was Jackson’s only studio album to reach the Top 5 in both the UK and U.S.[1] Night and Day sold over one million copies, earning gold disc status.[1] The tracks “Real Men” and “A Slow Song” pointed obliquely to the city’s early 1980s gay culture.[2] A&M put considerable promotional muscle behind the album, and the resultant single “Steppin’ Out” became a multi-format hit, eventually earning Grammy nominations for Record of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male.[3] The album also spawned a second Top 20 U.S. hit single in “Breaking Us in Two”.[3] Jackson finished his Night and Day touring in May 1983.[3]

While “Steppin’ Out” was a Top 10 in both the UK and the U.S. (UK #6, U.S. #6); “Breaking Us in Two” was a Top 20 hit in the U.S. (#18), but charted lower in the UK (#59).[1][4] This was a rare occurrence in which one of his singles charted higher in the U.S. than the UK.

The Analysis:

Another World—-This remains, to this day, one of those stellar and defining releases in the career of the artist behind it. This was a nice mix of New Wave, Jazz and great Piano based tracks that allowed Jackson to really showcase his unique and addictive vocal. This is just fantastic…it wasn’t until years later that I really paid attention to ALL of the songs on this release and chastised myself for being so close minded to the material on it. This is an energetic and emotionally charged track that reeks of New York…just fantastic!!!

Chinatown—-Melding right from the previous track, this has a slight New Wave sound that is also full of slight asian Musical sounds…all capped off by the magnificent vocal from Jackson. I love his voice…although later releases seemed to move away from the lazy delivery that is so prominent on this CD. This is incredible…producing one smile after another from this listener. This is energetic…addictive and produced with an irresistible melody!!!

T.V. Age—-As if Jackson had a magic crystal ball, this track of course spoke of the emerging cable TV age, but was also a fortune-telling of the nation that we would become in the next 25 years…fascinated with everything on TV and coming to ignore the world that was around us. This is an incredibly insightful track…delivered with a mock urgency that would be rather relevant if released today!!! This reminds me much more of Thomas Dolby than Jackson!!!

Target—-This is one of the few tracks on this release that really did not find a place with me. the track is too piano based and a bit to erratic to fit in with the rest of the album. The piano becomes rather annoying after the first minute or so…the one saving grace is the remarkable vocal for Jackson.

Steppin’ Out—-Truly one of the defining moments of Jackson’s career, this track as well as the next made 1982 a very good year for Jackson. Propelled by a great video and a remarkable sense of melody, this captured my heart and ears from the very first listen. This has a rather fantastic retro sound…but still plays incredibly well today…the piano is much more relaxed, the added synth lines add a huge sense of mood and the voice is lonely and welcoming at the same time. Just classic!!!!

Breaking Us Into—-The career highlight for Jackson, it all paled in comparison after this track. This is heartfelt, emotional and devastating if listened to in the right frame of mind. Followed up, again, by a great video, this song never left the airwaves during the early to mid 80’s. This was a defining moment…and one that still has a huge heart beat to this very day. Just fantastic!!!

Cancer—-Beginning with a slight island feel, you would not expect that a song with such a title would be such an up kind of song. Jackson laments throughout the song that ‘everything’ gives you cancer….such was the thought back in the day….and such is the thought of this day as well…again that remarkable seer ability is almost scary. Jackson in a great songwriter, a remarkable visionary and a fantastic vocalist. This is just great stuff!!!

Real Men—-Another of those songs from this release that never quite got the attention that it deserved,  Jackson delivers lyrics and a vocal that will put your mind in motion and make you think about the whole gender identity situation that the world faces today. Again with the whole ‘forward thinking’ thing…this is a remarkable song…immediatly accessible…catchy as hell and addictive as heroin…this is remarkable and really speaks of ‘that’ time and speaks of THIS time as well.

Sad Song—-Perhaps the favorite Joe Jackson song ever produced, I never paid attention to this track until years later when I came across it on a live release from Joe. This is perhaps one of the most poignant, emotional and personal songs that I have ever heard. At the right time, this can bring me to instant tears…at other times it energizes me and helps me to feel invincible. the piano base to the song is heart tugging, the vocal is full of every human emotion ever felt and the sentiment is relatable to everyone..unless you dwell in the socio-pathic world!!! Just incredible, phenomenal and magnificent!!!

**** 1/2 out of 5

Black Box / Dreamland

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 1700000011UTC 12 by marky7235

Dreamland

Black Box (later Blackbox) was a house music group popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The members of the group included a trio made up of a club DJ (Daniele Davoli), a classically trained clarinet teacher (Valerio Semplici), and a keyboard and electronic music “wiz” (Mirko Limoni). The three had previously joined to form a group called Groove Groove Melody, producing dance music under names such as Starlight (who had a UK Top 10 hit in August 1989 with “Numero Uno”[1]) and Wood Allen. They went on to record music under many other aliases, most notably the alias Mixmaster, which scored a UK #9 hit in November 1989 with the song “Grand Piano”.

In 1989, the trio teamed up with model Catherine Quinol (a.k.a. Katrin) and formed Black Box. By early 1990, Martha Wash was engaged to perform vocals on a number of tracks which, Ms. Wash was apparently told, were for club consumption and were not for mass-release. One would be “Everybody Everybody” which would become one of their two top-ten hits in North America. The album Dreamland was released.

The first single “Ride on Time” was an international hit, making Top 10 in many countries and No. 1 in the UK, soon becoming the UK’s best-selling single of 1989. The song heavily sampled “Love Sensation” by Loleatta Holloway, a 1980 disco hit. The Black Box title is derived from a misunderstanding of the lyrics “Cause you’re right on time”.[2]

Dan Hartman, writer and producer of “Love Sensation”, was not sought for permission to sample his song, and soon after the international success of “Ride on Time,” questions arose as to the true vocalist on the song. Legal proceedings ruled that Loleatta Holloway was the actual singer on “Ride on Time” (albeit by means of the “Love Sensation” vocal samples) and Black Box surrendered a large percentage of the royalties from the song to Hartman and Holloway. The song eventually did make it onto the Dreamland album when it was released later in 1990 as well as the Hits and Mixes compilation, and numerous other compilations. A new version of the track with vocals by Heather Small appeared solely as a single. Subsequent releases, as well as the album tracks, also featured a then-uncredited Martha Wash as vocalist. Quinol lip-synched the vocals in “live” performances and in music videos. Martha Wash sued Black Box, RCA and then C+C Music Factory for performing vocals on their respective songs and not receiving due credit. These legal actions led to the legal recognition of vocalists who perform songs for other artists, including samplings. Wash received full vocal credit upon the single release of “Strike It Up“, but the music video still featured Quinol lip synching the lyrics.

The Analysis:

Everybody Everybody—-Just let me say, that anyone who is even a bit familiar with Martha Wash could tell from the onset that this was her vocal. this was a HUGE freakin’ radio, club and disco hit in the early 90’s…delivering a fresh sound that still sounds pretty damn remarkable today. the energy is palatable and you can walk into any club on any weekend and feel this reverberate from the speakers…this is a moment caught in time…a literal piece of history!!!

I Don’t Know Anybody Else—-This is just fantastic…full of every Italian House sound that literally swept up the US in 1990. This is dance floor ready…no remix required and the result is a huge deep bass delivery that calls you to the floor even if you have to crawl…and the vocal…is freakin’ amazing!!! Wash is a Diva in the true sense of the word…just magnificent!!!

Open Your Eyes—-Although this really never achieved much chart success in the US, this has always been a favorite track of mine from this release. The vocal is powerful as hell…the Italian House Piano is addictive as hell and takes me back to days when all I was having was FUN!!! This is a classic piece of modern-day Disco….and a huge dose of fun!!!

Fantasy—-This is a great cover of the classic Earth, Wind & Fire song….and one of my favorites from them as well. This is a slowed down, funk filled and piano based track that makes me smile from ear to ear every time I hear it!!! The groove is so damn addictive…you have to have great love for the genuity of the whole damn thing. I’m not sure who is one vocals on this track..it might be Martha…the voice is so strong…this is just brilliant stuff…never heard by enough people!!!

Dreamland—-Although this has some great energetic parts to the song, this largely missed the mark for me…the great Italian piano sound is very well intact as the song develops and the mood  is very nice, but this is a difficult adjustment from all of the Hi-NRG sounds of the previous songs….this is my definition of filler!!!

Ride On Time—-Returning to full on Italian House disco, the vocal on this song will still make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. This is remarkable stuff…the loops that play over and over again as well as the chorus of back drop vocals add to the huge party atmosphere of the song…this is a huge classic 90’s extravaganza of Gay house that still is alive and well today!!! And Loletta…sing girl…DAMN!!!

Hold On—-With a great shifting piano sound that adds to the funkiness of the track, the song is another great dance track that showcases Martha and her vocal very well…she must have been suspicious recording all of these vocals…wondering where the hell they were going. This is a bit lackluster in substance but stellar in energy!!!

Ghost Box—-The piano line that opens up this track is surprisingly bright and pleasant…with an almost melancholy feel…surprising me after all of these years of not listening to this release. the saxophone rises above the slow and sedate track…giving you a feel of the AOR slop that was crowding the airwaves at the moment. This is nice…but a bit too Kenny G. for me….

Strike It Up—-Ending the release with perhaps the biggest hit that this ‘group’ ever enjoyed, this is a tour de force of classic 90’s dance floor sounds that started a movement all of it’s own…spawning bands like C+C Music Factory, La Bouche and The Real McCoy. This again features a vocal from Wash that is so powerful and addictive that it is still played and relished to this day…this is musical history…whether you would like to admit it or not….love it or leave it…it is in the books!!!

**** 1/2 out of 5

Iron Maiden / Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 1700000011UTC 12 by marky7235

Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son

Seventh Son of a Seventh Son is a studio album by heavy metal band Iron Maiden, released in 1988 as the band’s seventh studio album on EMI in Europe and its sister label Capitol Records in the US (it was re-released by Sanctuary/Columbia Records in the US in 2002). It is the second Iron Maiden album ever to have keyboards which is played by Michael Kenney. Along with The Number of the Beast and later Fear of the Dark and The Final Frontier the album charted no.1 on the UK charts.

Seventh Son of a Seventh Son was the last Iron Maiden album to feature guitarist Adrian Smith until the album Brave New World in 2000 (he did write a song that Bruce Dickinson finished for the next album, No Prayer for the Dying, titled “Hooks in You”, a loose tie-in to the Charlotte the Harlot saga).

“The Clairvoyant” was the first song written for the album. According to Steve Harris, the song’s lyrics were inspired by the death of psychic Doris Stokes, saying “if she were really clairvoyant, if she were really able to see the future, wouldn’t she have been able to foresee her own death?”

At least five of the album’s songs (“Moonchild”, “Infinite Dreams”, “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son”, “The Prophecy” and “The Clairvoyant”) can be directly related to a main lyrical storyline inspired by the folklore concept.

Lyrically, the album centers around some main philosophical ideas: good vs. evil, mysticism, prophetic vision, reincarnation and afterlife. Almost all the album includes direct or indirect references to questions regarding to these concepts and poetically refers the answers.

Stylistically, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son develops the sounds first heard on Somewhere in Time (1986), and continues the band’s lyrical exploration of topics related to mysticism, power, and the occult.

The album debuted at #1 in UK charts (their first since The Number of the Beast) as well as #12 in the U.S, while the singles “Can I Play with Madness“, “The Evil That Men Do“, “The Clairvoyant (live)” and “Infinite Dreams (live)” reached #3, #5, #6 and #6 positions, respectively. Of all the songs in the album, “The Evil That Men Do”, “The Clairvoyant” and “Can I Play with Madness” remained on the set lists of nearly all of the band’s concert tours subsequently following the 7th Tour of a 7th Tour.

The Analysis:

Moonchild—-This is really one of the last releases where I can remember Bruce delivering stellar vocals in a less than forced manner. The keyboards included on this release was a surprise to many long time fans…but rest assured, they take nothing away from the trademark Harris metal sound. This song…even though it takes a bit to really get started, once it does, delivers classic Maiden sounds and a stellar vocal!!!

Infinite Dreams—-I have a special 12 inch pressing of this single with laser etched autographs on the b-side of the disc….another of those prized possessions of mine. From the very first notes of the song, you are able to easily recognize the Maiden sound…this is an incredible track…full of emotion, musical movements and a tremendous galloping bass from Harris..this was the beginning of the end for this era Maiden, but we have this as a result. Incredible and still sounding fresh all of these years later.

Can I Play With Madness—-Still a trademark of the live Maiden experience, this has always been a favorite track of mine. I love the mood of the song, the energy and the remarkable inferences. Bruce delivers a vocal that shines from beginning to end and Harris layers the song with equal parts of Keys and Bass…and as always…the drums are fantastic!!!

The Evil That Men Do—-This is another of those tracks that stayed in the live Maiden set for many years…this is typical, predictable and freakin’ delicious for fans and new comers as well. Beginning with that slow introduction that only serves to amp up your energy level as you wait for everything to let loose, this becomes a trademark Maiden classic by the second bar. Dickinson delivers a bit of an odd vocal at times, but his clarity and tone are remarkable. Although this has never been a huge favorite of mine, listening back i realize what a great track this is.

Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son—-The cornerstone of this release, this is another of those songs I NEVER get tired of listening to. With a nice dose of synth and guitars, this is another track that has a bit of something for everyone. The ever-present bass line is incredible…setting the mood of the song and allowing you without a doubt to know this band even before Bruce opens his mouth. This is a huge and epic sounding track…delivered with passion and energy…full of manic mood swings and an energy that causes you to back up the damn thing and listen to it a few more times in a row…classic stuff!!!

The Prophecy—-Beginning much like everything else on this release…with a moody guitar line and a bit too much atmosphere. It takes a bit for this track to get started, but when the bass heavy mechanics really kick in, the vocal is right behind and the epic sound ensues. this is nice, but falls a bit flat for me…even though i really like the evil references and the double tracked vocal…a bit of something new. This is nice!

The Clairvoyant—-Harris begins the track in his typical ego-centric manner and the song seems to build around his heavy bass delivery. The remarkable thing about this song for me is the wonderful melody that lies underneath the whole damn thing. This is stellar…delivering a huge drum track…a great vocal and some remarkable lead guitars that for once are allowed to rise above the bass. Nice…I have missed this track!

Only The Good Die Young—-Beginning rather melodic and less bass heavy right from the onset, Bruce delivers a vocal that at times seems to be dipped and steeped in an evil menace. This is full of all kinds of dark references and some remarkable vocal harmonies courtesy of Adrian Smith…this is classic stuff….still after all of the passing of time…one of my favorite Maiden releases!!!

****1/2 out of 5