Archive for adult contemporary

Phil Collins / Hits

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


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


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

Charlie Louvin / The Battle Rages On

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on 1200000011UTC 12 by marky7235

The Battles Rage On

Charles Elzer Loudermilk (born July 7, 1927), known professionally as Charlie Louvin, is an American country music singer and songwriter. He is best known as one of the Louvin Brothers.

At age 83, Louvin has just released this, his 20th full length release!

The Analysis:

Smoke On The Water—-Louvin continues to deliver, in his weathered and remarkable voice, warnings of what the world will become if we do not all embrace the love of Jesus Christ….all the while set to a remarkable retro country delivery that calls to mind the very best of the past while still allowing room for Alternative Country listeners to still embrace…a remarkable man!!!

More Than A Name On The Wall—-Although this has a familiar Country wail to the music, this is truly accessible to Adult Contemporary listeners as well. The voice…weathered and real as anything you could ever ask for…has a charm and loneliness to it that you feel an urge to listen to over and over again…this is a remarkable man…the tales he manages to tell in just a few moments are a dying art…this is wonderful.

I Wonder If They Ever Think Of Me—-Louvin enters with this track, sounding remarkably clear and young. An ode to those who are locked up in prison and facing isolation and loneliness, Louvin manages to paint an amazing picture. He sings in an upper register that is so damn pleasant and addictive…I will be listening to this for a while!

There’s A Star Spangled Banner—-Returning to a more upbeat and crystal clear retro Country sound, this song manages to border a bit on bluegrass and brings a magical smile to my face. Louvin…steady in his patriotism and his love for America produces songs that lets you know how proud he is of his descent and his pleasure to have fought for his Country. This is great fun…and is perfect for the just passed Veterans Day.

Just Before The Battle Mother—-Gosh….I love this guy almost more than I love George Jones….who is perhaps my all time favorite. This is catchy as hell…delivered with a remarkably clear voice that does not come close to belaying this man’s age. The guitars have a slight Spanish flair to them…and the melody is Classic Country…few can touch this stuff…just amazing!!!

What We’re Fighting For—-This has an amazingly fresh sound to it…all the while the slide guitar reminds us that this is Classic Country. Louvin continues to serenade us and tell us magnificent stories in a few minutes…which is a pure form of Art. This sounds like this could have been written a tad bit of time ago, but it is again quite timely…full of patriotic references and reminders of why we are lucky yo be Americans!

Mother I Thank You For The Bible—-Louvin returns to his Bible-beating ways and delivers a classic track that only he can deliver! Charlie allows his age to shine through wonderfully well on this track as he bids his Mother goodbye as he leaves for war. This is tender and heartfelt…delivered with a true emotion that reminds you of the importance of religion, faith and belief while under pressure of life. This is fantastic!!!

A Soldier’s Last Letter—-Well, it seems like this entire release is full of those types of songs that are reflective of a soldier’s point of view. This song is so damn poingnant…this is as you would expect…a letter that is delivered with an added letter from the government…telling Mom that son has been killed in the war…the lonely fiddle only makes the message even more emotional..this is incredible!

Weapon Of Prayer—-Wow….this is pretty much my favorite on this release…just for the intermittent fiddle that allows the song to be much larger than I expected. Louvin is joined by another voice that is so steeped in Bluegrass that it is instantly contagious and remarkably accessible…you will listen to this over and over…this is damn fantastic!!!

Robe Of White—-Continuing in the stream of sad stories of boys who have gone off to war, this is remarkable just because the ability that Louvin has to tell a tale in just a few moments. There are some really nice harmonies on this song….the tale is even more heightened by those harmonies….this is sad…but magically full of pride and joy. This is incredible!

Searching For A Soldier’s Grave—-I guess the title of the song pretty much tells you about the content….this is pretty cut and dry. The harmonies that are on the song are incredible…I love the gentle delivery and the slight departure from the classic trademark Country sound…taking on a more exotic flair…all the while staying true to the Louvin sound. I love this guy!

Down By The Riverside—-Delivering the classic really Countrified version of this religious track, Louvin ends this release on a high note…allowing you to lift yourself from the slight sadness that this record leaves you with. Very nice!!!!

**** out of 5

David Archuleta / The Other Side Of Down

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on 1300000010UTC 12 by marky7235

The Other Side of Down

David James Archuleta (born December 28, 1990) is an American pop singer-songwriter.

At ten years old he won the children’s division of the Utah Talent Competition leading to other television singing appearances.[4] When he was twelve years old, Archuleta became the Junior Vocal Champion on Star Search 2.[4] In 2007, at sixteen years old, he became one of the youngest contestants on the seventh season of American Idol.[5] In May 2008 he finished as the runner-up, receiving 44 percent of over 97 million votes.

In August 2008 Archuleta released “Crush,” the first single from his self-titled debut album.[4][6][7][8] The album, released two months later, debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 chart; it has sold over 750,000 copies in the U.S. and over 900,000 Worldwide.

The Other side Of Down is Archuleta’s Third proper release.

The Analysis:

 Other Side Of Down—-This is so nice…layered and superb acoustic guitar based R N’ B that has just enough bass to allow for a nice remix in the future. Archuleta delivers a vocal that is as pure as anything that you have ever heard from him. The nice occasional falsetto is superb..the vocals are overlayed and delivered with a practised sound that will make girls scream all over the world. The lyrics are still a bit juvenile, but have a magical quality about them. This is a wonderful excursion into the world of pop mastery.

Something ‘Bout Love—-The lead off single from this release finds David delivering that smoky kind of vocal that makes people all over the world swoon from the effect. This is laden with a nice lyric and a chorus that will set you on fire and scream for a remix. The songwriters that are behind Archuleta know the audience and know how to deliver an incredible pop hook. This is damn near perfection…with a slight maturing aspect to the whole thing…I’m still as addicted as I was from the onset.

Elevator—-Delivered with a really nice acoustic guitar, Archuleta delivers more lyrics that scream out for love and companionship. The chorus of this song is so full of magical hooks and catchy melodies that it is bound to be a huge hit with his fan base. this is simple, but delivered with an expertise that belies the age of the performer. This is so damn catchy…one of those songs you secretly listen to over and over again. Wonderful!

Stomping The Roses—-I’m still not sure why this track was not released as the first single from this release…it may have been enough to really shock and open up the artist to a whole different audience. Make no doubt, the huge catchy chorus is well intact, but the beat of the song is a bit more progressive and the lyrics seem much more grown up. This is very contagious and has a hook that is more addictive than the best cocaine…wonderful!!!

Who I Am—-For me, this sounds like a left over track from the self-titled debut. This would have fit perfectly on the first major release from David. This is so syrupy sweet and delivered with a chorus that wraps around all of synapse in your brain…you will have this in your brain for days on end…the overlayed vocal on the chorus asks the same question that you wonder every morning you wake up…how do I show the world Who I Am? Wonderful!

Falling Stars—-This is a pretty grown up song for a 20 year old…delivering lyrics that even I can relate to and get goosebumps from. This is delivered in a gentle piano based musical track…the feeling you are left with is a bit lonely and forlorn…even after the synth line kicks in. This is wonderful..the escalating rhythm line threatens to border on a sound alike line from 100’s of other songs…but the vocal keeps everything magically under control. This is fantastic.

Parachutes And Airplanes—-At the onset, this appears as a typical Archuleta track..piano based and a bit love-worn. The chorus opens up though..with a magical synth line that allows you to groove a bit with the emotion and dig yourself out of the lost and lonely feel of the intro. This is also superb in the vocal aspect…David manages to go from a deep emotional vocal to a falsetto that is almost joyous. This is…still impressed.

Look Around—-This has a really nice electronic sound to it that never really loses the R n B influence that seems to be injected in the natural vocal from Archuleta. The chorus is the thing that pulls you in..once again. It is not even so much the vocal this time around…the music on this song is pretty incredible…there are all kinds of electronic manipulations going on…I almost forgot to pay attention to the voice…this is that enchanting. This is superb…look for this to be a single!!!

Good Place—-A remarkable and emotional ballad, this really reminds me of any of the tracks on his major label debut. Once again, this has a killer hook and a huge, contagious chorus. The music is addictive as hell and there are some nice vocal overlays that are slightly manipulated giving you a nice varied sound. Very Nice!

Complain—-Sticking firmly with the successful recipe that made of the main components of the last release and that continues on this one, the song is acoustic guitar based with some nice subtle electronic sounds. Wrapped around intense lyrics and a voice that is solid, Archuleta again appeals to the screaming girls that follow him from place to place. This is tried and true…but somehow magically effective.

Things Are Gonna Get Better—-Delivering some of the best AOR music I have heard in a long time, I wonder to myself if there are actually radio stations that play this kind of stuff anymore? This is a bit too syrupy for me..delivred with a slow pace that features a subtle female background voice, this is nice but suffers a bit as it sounds too much like everything else.

My Kind Of Perfect—-Piano based and featuring a lonely but sweet vocal, this leaves me a bit empty. Perhaps this is too heartfelt…coming off as a bit contrived and forced. That is not to say that this is a bad song, it just drowns under the simplicity of the arrangement…the vocal is stellar as always.

**** out of 5

Bee Gees / One Night Only

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 700000010UTC 12 by marky7235

One Night Only

One Night Only is a live album and DVD by the Bee Gees. It features the group’s concert at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in 1997 and includes many of their greatest hits.

The CD is edited, with some songs omitted, though the DVD version of the concert is complete. The album was re-issued in 1999, and included a bonus CD with the missing songs.

The Bee Gees performed songs from every decade from the 1960s to the 1990s. They also sang a tribute song to their late brother Andy Gibb, “(Our Love) Don’t Throw It All Away”. During this song old footage of Andy is shown, including him singing the second verse of the song. The vocals from the original recording also play during that section. Celine Dion guest-starred on the Bee Gees-penned “Immortality“. Recorded vocals by Frankie Valli are featured during “Grease“, and are also taken from the original song.

The album’s title was originally meant to reflect the band’s plan that the Las Vegas concert would be their final live performance ever. Barry Gibb’s arthritis had worsened to the point where it seemed it would be impossible for him to continue playing, but he wanted to expand the tour and so they played several more shows.

The Analysis:

Intro-You Should Be Dancin’/Alone—-As the CD opens to the sound of the crowd, you can sense the palatable level of excitement in the crowd chatter. As the opening strains of You Should Be Dancin’ begins, the entire place looses control and it transfers to CD very well. This backing band and the synth programming from Maurice is perfect…like listening to all of your favorite releases compressed into one night! When Barry enters with his vocal, it is spot on perfect…still am sure how that guy can sing like that…the song quickly becomes Alone…which allows more incredible falsetto from Barry. This is polished and damn near perfect…when the Brothers harmonize…it is sugary sweet. And when Robin takes his place at the mic, it is odd as always but so damn addictive!

Massachusetts—-Rolling out one of the earliest chart classics from The Brothers career, this is greeted by an incredible crowd response. When the opening strains of this song are introduced and Robin delivers his vocal, it is something that is pure magic. Of course the highlight is when the Brothers all harmonize together and put you in a place that you had long ago forgotten. This is pure magic!!

To Love Somebody—-Another relatively early chart smash, this band that backs the singers is so perfectly polished…it is amazing. Barry still delivers a fantastic non-falsetto that is so damn pleasant and addictive. This is incredible…put together with the harmonies and the excellent band…this is spot on perfect.

Words—-with little or no in-between song banter, the band moves from smash to smash with little hesitation. Barry delivers a classic breathy vocal…the kind that makes all of the women crazy. This is perfect…quiet when it needs to be and coming alive in a huge way when it is appropriate…this is so spot on, you would be hard pressed to prove that this was really live…only the DVD proves it as a fact. This is perfect!

Closer Than Close—-Not really familiar with this song, even as it plays I wonder where it came from…come on guys, help me out. None the less, this is brilliant…delivering the more modern sounds of the Brothers release. This is obviously later in the bands career…this is polished and perfect pop music. The melody line is as addictive as hell and the vocal harmonies are perfect!!!

Islands In The Stream—-Written by the Brothers but made famous by Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton, the Brothers deliver a version that convinces me that this could have been just as big a hit for them if they had chosen to release it. The band delivers a soundtrack for the song that does have Country leanings, but this is pure pop all the way. When the Brothers harmonize together, you are elevated high enough to sit on the moon. This is fabulous!

Our Love [Don’t Throw It All Away]—-I  have in my personal collection about 700 LP’s….and about 7000 CD’s. The first purchase I ever made was when I was 14 and bought the gate-fold LP of the Brothers Greatest Hits. This was a song that was on that release and has remained a favorite of mine for 30+ years. I have a personal investment with this band…LOL!!! This is beautiful and delivered with the same mastery here as the first time I heard it…it is only escalated by the inclusion of a dedication and verse by deceased Brother Andy Gibb…this still manages to rip my heart out. Brilliant!

Night Fever/More Than A Woman—-Revisiting some of the songs that made this band a household name, the Brothers rip through this like it was never away from their lips. This is spot on perfect. The crowd goes crazy for this suite of songs and it is delivered with incredible accuracy and mastery. Just Fab!!! The Brothers warmly embrace the music that helped to stall their career….there was obviously so much more to the band than this…but this remains a part of recording history.

Lonely Days—-Another classic track that never quite got the attention that I thought it deserved. This features some remarkable harmonies and reminds you that this band started back in the very heyday of pleasant pop in the mid 60’s. This is wonderfully retro but still sounds relevant…especially when Maurice begins to really pound on the piano. This is wonderful!

New York Mining Disaster—-I believe that this was the very first chart entry for the Brothers…released around 1966….this is one the very first Greatest Hits…which I have on vinyl and was released in 1970. This is classic if only for the remarkable throw back sounds and the wonderful harmonies….just fantastic!

I Can’t See Nobody/And The Sun Will Shine/Nights On Broadway—-Compressing all of these classic songs in a three-minute suite is a bit disappointing, but the band and the Brothers manage to do a fantastic job with this quick edit. When Robin begins the song with his odd warble, the crowd nearly swoons. The movement between songs is amazing and Robin is allowed the spotlight for the most part…this is a brilliant reworking and compression of some pretty great songs…impressive.

How Can You Mend A Broken Heart—-With a nice gentle intro, the crowd, upon recognition of the song goes literally crazy. When Barry enters with his vocal on the second verse and chorus, the crowd again erupts in a mad frenzy. This is spot on…the orchestration is incredible…giving the song a huge layered feel…and when Barry delivers his classic breathy spots, the crowd just screams. This is incredible!

Heartbreaker—-Released as a single by Dionne Warwick, this is another track that could have been wonderfully and successfully recorded by the Brothers themselves. This version is well on course…sounding like the bands own song from the very beginning. this is a classic example of bands sometimes giving away their best compositions.The Brothers harmonize so well on this short version of the song…wonderful!!!

Guilty—-Originally recorded with Barbra Streisand, Barry gives a spot on rendition of this song. Delivered in an acoustic manner with the full wonder of the Brothers harmonies on display, this is a fantastic reminder of the the talent and expertise of lead Brother Barry. A wonderful moment in time.

Immortality featuring Celine Dion—-Of course, the band erupts into madness with the entrance of Dion…more important to me was the song and the delivery. Well, you would not have been disappointed…this is a masterful delivery of classic Adult Contemporary fodder. When Barry and Celine combine vocals it really is magic. I love this…yes, I admit it. This has one of the most addictive hooks I have heard in a long time.

Tragedy—-Released right after the huge success of Saturday Night Fever, this song kept up the momentum for the Brothers…again setting them on the tops of the charts and delivering one of my favorite songs from them. This song has emotional vocals…an incredible chorus and huge sounds that make your hairs on you arms stand straight up. This is a classic track…one of my favorites and delivered masterfully on this recording.

I Started A Joke—-Delving again deeper in the past and allowing Robin to again take control of the microphone. There is something so odd about his vocal but it is so different that it is fascinating. This track has huge swirls of orchestration and vocal emotions…this brings a tear to my eye and a goosebump or two…I’m so gay!!! Just fantastic!!!

Grease—-With a nice piped in vocal from Frankie Valli, the Brothers remind us that there was life besides the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack…bet you guys forgot about this song…huh? Barry delivers such an accessible vocal…he sounds as comfortable singing like a chipmunk as he does in his natural voice. This is magnificent….a wonderful end to a magical ‘evening’.

****1/2 out of 5


Peter Gabriel / Hit [2 Disc Collection] [Disc Two]

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 270000009UTC 12 by marky7235


The Analysis: Disc Two

San Jacinto—-Continuing to deliver songs with a more world music flavor later in his career, this track is no exception. Perhaps it is a xylophone or some electronic impressario of it that begins this track, but it gives the song a nice Asian sound that carries through most of the song. Gabriel sounds as sedate as ever…even when the song does pick up some steam…this is wonderful.

I Don’t Remember—-Another of my favorite tracks by Gabriel, this track has a huge drum delivery that kicks off the song right from the onset. Gabriel delivers an almost robotic vocal that is lots of fun…although the chorus of the song seems laden with a certain angst to me…this is intense…brimming with a bit of anger and lots of urgency…still love this!

The Rhythm Of The Heat—-Not really familiar with this track, although it plays very well to me. This begins in a very somber Pink Floyd kind of way…the music is minimal as Gabriel enters with an intense vocal that is slowly aided by what appears to be children’s voices. This track is so minimal and naked, that you are really able to enjoy the full glory of this man’s voice. Really nice….

Loved To Be Loved—-Full of nice exotic sounds, Gabriel ushers in his vocal in a rather sedate and quiet way. the piano that supplies the melody for the song is constant throughout and is wonderfully catchy. The lyrics are real and heartfelt…something that we can all relate to..Gabriel has a way of touching that nerve…doesn’t he?

I Grieve—-A brilliant and entirely devastating song. Gabriel delivers lyrics and vocals that will leave your heart beating outside of your body…reach down and pick it up before it becomes any more damaged. This is so full of realness and honesty…touching every single emotional nerve that a human has….this is a triumph of a song. It rarely gets better than this..perfect for a rainy afternoon.

Family Snapshot—-Beginning just as sedate, Gabriel sings line after line that is meant to provoke thought and emotion…he has been more successful than I think he ever intended to be. The lonely horn that plays in the backdrop of this song gives the track an even more funeral sound….this is just incredible.

In Your Eyes—-This is my favorite Gabriel song….EVER! Recorded with African vocalist Y’oussor D’Nour, this really was the true beginning of Gabriel’s fascination with the whole World Music movement. This is both heartbreaking and incredibly exhilarating…a true joy to listen to over and over and over. I love the vocal from D’Nour….it is not the same song without him. This is a true triumph.

The Drop—-Again, this is a piano based track that reeks of a melancholy that is all-encompassing. The mood is set from the very first notes of the song and is only heightened by the vocal that Peter delivers. This is full of mystery and a certain atmosphere that really pervades the majority of later Gabriel material…this is wonderful.

The Tower That Ate People—-A bit lighter of a song…at least a bit more fun. this is full of distorted vocals and hearkens back to the 80’s hits that helped to make Gabriel an even more household name. This is somewhat abrasive, but also fun and a much-needed break from the somber delivery of the past few tracks.

Lovetown—-This is nice….delivered with a slight funky bass guitar beat and a shuffling percussion. Gabriel enters and delivers lyrics that are just as intense as anything else you have heard on this disc though. Remarkable…despite the more upbeat tempo, the song can still devastate you…plus the slight blues lean is pretty awesome as well.

Father, Son—-Again, piano based and delivered with a very funeral tempo, this is another of those songs that forces you to hold back the tears at the very onset of the song. This is a tender ode to children and family…gabriel delivers a fantastic vocal…so emotional and as real as you could ever find from anyone…this is incredible.

Signal To Noise—-For me, this is very Genesis inspired and experimental. Peter delivers some yells and yelp that will startle you….bringing to mind some of the spectacle shows that Genesis used to perform back in the heyday of the band. This is different, but still very Peter.

Downside Up [Live]—-Not sure who the female that is singing with Peter on this song, but the delivery is very nice. This live rendition is remarkably true to the origianl…the two voices come together in perfect harmony and add just enough contrast to keep the song truly interesting. This is just wonderful!

Cloudless—-With a wonderful World Beat spine to the song, this is a rather big song as it develops. This is where gabriel sits very comfortably now and seems like a perfect place to end this compilation. The backdrop singers that add the flavor to the song are remarkable…I could listen to this stuff all day. This is just about perfect!

**** out of 5

Peter Gabriel / Hit [2 Disc Collection] [Disc One]

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 270000009UTC 12 by marky7235

HitPeter Brian Gabriel (born 13 February 1950) is an English singer, musician and songwriter who rose to fame as the lead vocalist and flautist of the progressive rock group Genesis.[1] After leaving Genesis, Gabriel went on to a successful solo career. More recently he has focused on producing and promoting world music and pioneering digital distribution methods for music. He has also been involved in various humanitarian efforts. Gabriel was awarded the Polar Music Prize in 2009. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Genesis in 2010.

The Analysis: Disc One

Solsbury Hill—-One of the most defining and pleasant songs from Gabriel’s solo career, this track features a remarkable acoustic guitar delivery that is matched perfectly by the bass beat in the back drop and the added strings. Gabriel delivers a stunning vocal and lyrics that are thought-provoking and storied. This is a remarkable example of the man’s genius!

Shock The Monkey—-One of the earlier singles from Gabriel’s solo career, this is perhaps known just as well for the video as the odder elements of the song. Even though this was an earlier single, the World Music obsession is all over this track as well…full of tribal beats and a jungle type feel. Gabriel sounds brillint….his voice doing all kinds of acrobatics as he sings the song and wraps it around all of the beats…this is fantastic!

Sledgehammer—-This was another of those songs that Gabriel released in his 80’s hey day that was combined with a brilliant conceptual video…finding a place in people’s memories for ever more. This, taken from the blockbuster So, was a huge worldwide smash for Peter. With great bass and percussion, the song is also delivered with a nice healthy dose of horns. Gabriel delivers a vocal that is slightly hoarse in sound…making it even more appealing for me…this is great to hear after such a long absence.

Don’t Give Up featuring Kate Bush—-Also taken from So, one would never think of pairing these two singers together…but it worked and the result was nothing less than pure beauty. The instrumentation is fantastic…a stark and beautifully layered delivery of guitar and slight World sounds….Gabriel matches his vocal with Bush perfectly…leaving you feeling lonely and desolate…just what music is meant to do…make you really feel.

Games Without Frontiers—-Another of those early solo singles that has a huge life. This song can still be heard on classic radio on any given day…although the sound of the song was much more progressive and new wavish for me. Again, this track includes some nice exotic noises, but it is the vocal that allows this song to live on and on. This hearkens back to the odder days of Genesis…reminding you of some of the odd costumes and characters that Gabriel managed to conjure up. The remarkable  thing is how timeless and fresh this still sounds….incredible.

Big Time—-This is another of those songs that was elevated to whole other level because of the remarkable video that accompanied it. Gabriel has an incredible mind and imagination and it shows in his videos. This is nice, but was a bit too overplayed for it to ever be a real favorite of mine…none the less, it is a pretty great single.

Burn You Up, Burn You Down—-With huge tribal drums and a vocal that seems layed over the top of everything, this has quite a nice instrumentation. The vocal at times is rather serious, but the chorus is a nice chant of voices that beefs up the track quite a bit. This is not a favorite, but part of Gabriel’s evolution.

Growing Up [Tom Lord-Alge Mix]—-Another of my very favorite tracks, this mix is sedate and even more serious than the original. The remixer gives the track a very swirly feel but as it progresses adds some nice heavy bass hits that allows for a bit of a livelier delivery. Gabriel delivers a wonderful vocal…singing in a most natural tone but still brimming over with emotion….just remarkable.

Digging In The Dirt—-With a nice shuffling beat and a fair bit of drums, Gabriel enters a delivers a vocal that is full of drama and flair. This is a pretty serious song…lyrically speaking, but Peter manages to entertain with his voice as it goes up and down…in and out and delivers all kinds of emotions in 4 minutes…nice!

Blood Of Eden [Radio Edit]—-This is very heavy on the World Music vibe…Gabriel delivers a vocal that is simply devestating..leaving you desolate and dripping in melancholy. The chorus is full of additional singers…delivering a nice flourish of a capella style African chanting that just adds to the overwhelming sadness of the song. This is just fantastic!

More Than This [Radio Edit]—-One of Gabriel’s treasures that never really got the attention that it my humble opinion. This could be so remixed and made into a huge dance single as well as being slowed and quieted some to become a tender and much more poignant track. This is just wonderful all the way around….

Biko—-A huge track, I believe this was written for the motion picture Biko…this tells a story and is really a piece of history in the whole Apartheid struggle. Gabriel delivers a vocal that leaves you exhausted by the end of the song…it is that emotional and raw. This is real and a subject that is dear to the heart of Gabriel….the man is a sheer genius. This remains one track that I can never get enough of! I love the line….”You can blow out a candle, but you can’t blow out a fire.”…powerful stuff!

Steam [Radio Edit]—-et another song where perhaps the video was as popular as the song itself…Gabriel continued to show his genius and versatility with songs like these mixed in between some pretty sedate and serious tracks. This has a wonderful instrumentation and shows the true range of Peters voice as he hits some really nice falsetto notes. Very nice!

Red Rain—-Returning to a more socially aware state of mind, Gabriel again delivers a track that will stick in your brain and drain your emotions all at the same time. This is an ode to the environment…when people could barely spell the word. Well, at least that is what the song means for me. This is remarkable…the instrumentation is huge…the sounds are incredible…but the vocal remains even and urgent.

Here Comes The Flood—-Stark and piano based, Gabriel again delivers a song that rips at your emotions and leaves you soaking wet on the floor…trying to come to terms with the heavy dose of lyrics that accompany the lone piano. This is remarkably beautiful…Gabriel sings in an unaffected and emotional way…that gets in your bones and leaves you with your head hanging…just fantastic.

****3/4 out of 5