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Old 06-19-2013, 10:07 AM   #1 (permalink)
Trollheart
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Default Trollheart's Micro-Reviews Thread

Thought I'd try my hand at a few reviews outside of the journal format, mostly because not everyone surely reads my journals but also because once in a while it's nice to shake things up nad try something different. Given that I have four journals to look after you'll understand that these will be much shorter reviews (hence the title) and you'll get none of my usual ten-thousand-words-plus waffle here (stop that cheering!); in fact they're almost going to be less reviews and more a general idea of what's on each album.

Some may be albums I've already done in my journal but most I hope to be new efforts; that is not to say they'll all be new albums --- though many will --- but they'll be the first reviews I've written of the particular album. Though not as I say always. I've set up my own little system and here's how it will work. It'll be a track-by-track analysis but a short one; I'll be rating the tracks from 1 to 10 to show how much I like or don't like them, I'll be indicating what type of song each is (ballad, rocker, blues, gospel etc) and what the primary instrument is, what the lyric is about and so on. If anyone of note contributes to the track I'll mention that too.

The main aim here is to foster debate and interest, so if you want to comment go right ahead. I'll try to update this thread as often as I can, hopefully at least once a week. You know the kind of thing to expect from me, so here's the first choice:

Artiste: Rod Stewart
Album: Time
Released: 2013
Label: Capitol/Decca
Producer: Rod Stewart and Kevin Savigar

Brief intro: When I saw this come up on my usual album vendor site I was intrigued, once I realised it wasn't yet another collection of greatest hits. Bowie had already come back from the wilderness with a powerful album, was it possible The Bod could too? I'm no fan I must admit, but this album amazed me. Here's how it breaks down:

1. She makes me happy

Written by:
Rod, Chuck Kentis, Don Kirkpatrick, Conrad Korsch, David Palmer, Paul Warren
Length: 3:44
Style: Uptempo pop; breezy, happy
Lyric: As the title: found the girl who makes my world better
Rating: 5
Main melody: Jangly Guitar

2. Can't stop me now

Written by: Rod, Kevin Savigar
Length: 4:26
Style: Uptempo pop with a reflective twist
Lyric: Rod remembering how he struggled to become famous
Rating: 5
Main melody: Rock Guitar
Notes: In the lyric, Rod gives thanks to his fans for putting him where he is today.

3. It's over

Written by:
Rod, Kevin Savigar, John 5
Length: 4:19
Style: Ballad
Lyric: The breakup of a relationship and the hope that the couple can face it like adults
Rating: 9
Main melody: Strings and Guitar

4. Brighton Beach

Written by: Rod, Jim Cregan
Length: 4:25
Style: Ballad
Lyric: Another reflective one, remembering a past relationship and wondering where she is now.
Rating: 4
Main melody: Guitar, Violin
Notes: I find this a little dreary and maudlin

5. Beautiful morning

Written by: Rod, Kevin Savigar
Length: 3:58
Style: Uptempo pop, joyful
Lyric: A simple song about the pure joy of living
Rating: 8
Main melody: Rock Guitar


6. Live the life

Written by: Rod, Chuck Kentis, Don Kirkpatrick, Jessica Rousseau
Length: 4:26
Style: Mid-paced, uptempo, empowering
Lyric: Advice for the young at heart?
Rating: 6 (would be higher but see notes)
Main melody: Guitar and fiddle?
Notes: Total rip off of the melody from Albert Hammond's "It never rains in Southern California"! And the bridge is total Carol Bayer Sagar...

7. Finest woman


Written by: Rod, Kevin Savigar, Emerson Swinford
Length: 3:54
Style: Uptempo, dancy with a touch of gospel
Lyric: Basic praising the woman in his life
Rating: 4
Main melody: Rock Guitar and Brass
Notes: Whether this is the same woman who "makes him happy" in the opener or not I don't know: you know our Rod's propensity for the ladies!

8. Time

Written by: Rod, Kevin Savigar, Emerson Swinford
Length: 4:26
Style: Ballad with slight gospel touches
Lyric: Time to realise this isn't working and move on
Rating: 10
Main melody: Guitar and Organ
Notes: Guitar solo ripped from Bon Jovi's "All I want is you"...

9. Picture in a frame

Written by: Tom Waits, Kathleen Brennan
Length: 2:53
Style: Ballad, sort of country-ish
Lyric: Devotion and love, realising you're in love
Rating: 9
Main melody: Piano
Notes: Rod seems to have a great respect for Waits, this being the third or fourth of his songs he's covered. And he does a good job with a little track taken off "Mule variations".

10. Sexual religion

Written by: Rod, Kevin Savigar
Length: 4:45
Style: Uptempo, dancy
Lyric: Wonder at the power of a woman's hold over you
Rating: 5
Main melody: Synth and drum machine


11. Make love to me tonight

Written by: Rod, Chuck Kentis, Don Fitzpatrick, Conrad Korsch, David Palmer, Paul Warren
Length: 3:44
Style: Uptempo, sort of celtic
Lyric: Similar to Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a prayer" --- we'll get through this if we stick together
Rating: 5
Main melody: Jangly Guitar


12. Pure love

Written by: Rod, Kevin Savigar
Length: 5:10
Style: Ballad
Lyric: I'm fairly sure this is written for his daughter; the pride he has in her shines through. Advice from a parent who's seen it all to his child who has yet to experience much of the world.
Rating: 9
Main melody: Piano and Strings
Notes: The main melody sound exactly like that old song "You belong to me". You know the one: "See the pyramids across the Nile..." Seriously, it's exactly the same other than the final line.

Closing comments:

There's another Waits song in the extended version, also from "Mule variations" and it's a great version of "Cold water", however as per my usual preferences I'm not including bonus tracks. I find this to be an extremely personal album, littered with stories of Rod's rise to fame, his mistakes and his lost loves, and often a yearning for the past, though with the acceptance that what's gone is gone, and as the title track says "time waits for no-one". Extremely impressed that he can still put out an album of this maturity and quality after all these years.

No real surprise this went to number one, even though it has been twelve years since we've had a proper album from Rod. Glad to see there's no "Do ya think I'm sexy" or songs about going out boozing. Rod's happier to come home to the little woman and a glass of wine than hitting the clubs. A man realising he's reached a certain age in his life and acting accordingly; compare this to Robbie William's pathetic attempt to stay forever young on "Take the crown". Learn from the greats, Robbie, learn from the greats.

Final rating: 9/10.
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