Music Banter

Go Back   Music Banter > The MB Reader > Album Reviews
Register Blogging Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read
Welcome to Music Banter Forum! Make sure to register - it's free and very quick! You have to register before you can post and participate in our discussions with over 70,000 other registered members. After you create your free account, you will be able to customize many options, you will have the full access to over 1,100,000 posts.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 06-19-2013, 10:07 AM   #1 (permalink)
Nobody likes my music
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: In Cognito
Posts: 21,747
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.
__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2013, 10:16 AM   #2 (permalink)
Just Keep Swimming...
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: See signature...
Posts: 4,651
Default

You sir, are a machine.
__________________
See location...
Plankton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2013, 05:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
Nobody likes my music
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: In Cognito
Posts: 21,747
Default


Artiste: Marillion
Album: Radiation
Released: 1998
Label: Castle Communications
Producer: Marillion and Stuart Every

Brief intro: Marillion's tenth album, and sixth with Steve Hogarth, continued the metamorphosis of the band from neo-progressive rock leaders to generic rock verging into pop band. The previous album, "This strange engine", had included a samba-style track but did have the requisite epic in the fifteen-minute title track, and while this has its progressive moments, it's mostly a straightahead rock album. Doesn't mean it's any worse than previous Marillion efforts, but it definitely shows a trend away from traditional prog rock, a path Marillion are now slowly coming back towards. This album is regarded as one of their weaker, but as you'll see from the number of 8s and 9s in the ratings below, I don't agree.

1. Costa del Slough

Written by: Steve Hogarth (lyric) Marillion (Music)
Length: 1:27
Style: Sort of troubador style mixed with a 20s feel and a little blues
Lyric: Forget about the dangers of the world, just enjoy yourself
Rating: 3
Main melody: Acoustic Guitar
Notes: The track is preceded by some samples from other songs on the album, most notably the ending of "Cathedral wall". It appears to be recorded in mono, or gives the effect of having been.

2. Under the sun


Written by: Steve Hogarth (lyric) Marillion (Music)
Length: 4:10
Style: Fast rocker with boogie overtones
Lyric: Ecological concerns
Rating: 5
Main melody: Rock Guitar and Keys
Notes: This track sort of continues the theme explored in the opener. It also contains the title of the album in the lyric.

3. The answering machine

Written by:
Steve Hogarth (lyric) Marillion (Music)
Length: 3:48
Style: Hard rocker
Lyric: A man comes to talk to the lover he left, but is unable to face her and leaves messages on her answering machine instead.
Rating: 6
Main melody: Rock Guitar


4. Three minute boy

Written by:
Steve Hogarth (lyric) Marillion (Music)
Length: 5:59
Style: Ballad but with an upswing later into a harder song
Lyric: How fame can destroy you when you think it holds all the answers
Rating: 8
Main melody: Acoustic Guitar and Piano
Notes: Kind of harks back to the exploration of fame on "King" and "Gazpacho", both on the album "Afraid of sunlight".

5. Now she'll never know

Written by: Steve Hogarth (lyric) Marillion (Music)
Length: 4:59
Style: Ballad
Lyric: End of a love affair; possible death
Rating: 9
Main melody: Acoustic Guitar


6. These chains

Written by: Steve Hogarth (lyric) Marillion (Music)
Length: 4:40
Style: Ballad, getting more intense as it goes on
Lyric: Lost chances, failing to seize the day
Rating: 9
Main melody: Acoustic Guitar and Piano


7. Born to run

Written by: Steve Hogarth (lyric) Marillion (Music)
Length: 5:12
Style: Ballad sort of in a slow blues style
Lyric: Life is hard and cruel
Rating: 9
Main melody: Organ and Electric Guitar


8. Cathedral wall

Written by:
Steve Hogarth (lyric) Marillion (Music)
Length: 7:12
Style: Hard rocker
Lyric: I really don't know what this is about!
Rating: 9
Main melody: Keyboards


9. A few words for the dead

Written by: Steve Hogarth (lyric) Marillion (Music)
Length: 10:32
Style: Slowburner; ballad-style for most of its run then at the end turns into a more intense song.
Lyric: Make a better world for your children
Rating: 9
Main melody: Keyboards and Guitar, though it's pretty epic and there are a lot of instruments in there, including a sitar I think!

Closing comments:

Up until "Somewhere else" came out there was not one Marillion album I didn't like, and while this is in parts weaker than some I still love it. I think the ballads in particular are very strong, and if there are any weak tracks they're in the first two or three, other than that it's quality all the way through.

Course, I would say that as a fanatical Marillion head, wouldn't I?

Final Rating: 9/10
__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2013, 05:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
I sleep in your hat
 
Stephen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Melbourne, Vic. Aus.
Posts: 1,675
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trollheart View Post
...here's the first choice:

Artiste: Rod Stewart
Album: Time
Released: 2013
Label: Capitol/Decca
Producer: Rod Stewart and Kevin Savigar
The first thing I thought of when I saw the album title in your post was the Tom Waits song Time on Rain Dogs. Seeing he had already covered Downtown Train I guess there was an unconscious connection there. Still don't like Rod Stewart much but two Tom Waits covers on the album impresses me.
Stephen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2013, 04:47 AM   #5 (permalink)
Nobody likes my music
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: In Cognito
Posts: 21,747
Default


Artiste: The Maccabees
Album: Given to the wild
Released: 2012
Label: Fiction
Producer: Tim Goldsworthy, Bruno Ellingham, Jag Jago

Brief intro: I knew nothing about this band until I took a chance on this album. It seemed to have received some hype, and usually albums of that nature tend to let me down, but this one was a real revelation, and I enjoyed it start to finish.

1. Given to the wild (intro)

Written by: The Maccabees
Length: 2:11
Style: Ambient, almost instrumental
Lyric: None really, more a chant
Rating: 5
Main melody: Keys


2. Child

Written by: The Maccabees
Length: 4:31
Style: Slow half-ballad
Lyric: Loss of childhood innocence? (I'm guessing here)
Rating: 7
Main melody: Keys and Guitar


3. Feel to follow

Written by: The Maccabees
Length: 3:29
Style: Mid-paced turning to fast rocker
Lyric: Not sure
Rating: 9
Main melody: Rock Guitar and Piano


4. Ayla

Written by: The Maccabees
Length: 3:47
Style: Fastish rocker
Lyric: Could be a love song. Hard to tell.
Rating: 8
Main melody: Synth and Guitar


5. Glimmer

Written by: The Maccabees
Length: 4:03
Style: Half-ballad
Lyric: Still no clue
Rating: 6
Main melody: Piano and Guitar


6. Forever I've known

Written by: The Maccabees
Length: 5:21
Style: Very U2 in style I'd say; slow to mid-paced, getting faster in the second half of the song
Lyric: Trying to repair a broken relationship?
Rating: 8
Main melody: Rock Guitar


7. Heave

Written by: The Maccabees
Length: 4:24
Style: Slow and atmospheric, almost folk in parts
Lyric: Um. dunno. Again.
Rating: 7
Main melody: Synth


8. Pelican

Written by: The Maccabees
Length: 3:44
Style: Rocky, almost rockabilly in ways...
Lyric: Maybe, the circle of life? Man, who knows?
Rating: 9
Main melody: Rock Guitar


9. Went away

Written by: The Maccabees
Length: 3:38
Style: Fast rocker
Lyric: No entender senor...
Rating: 7
Main melody: Keys and Rock Guitar


10. Go

Written by: The Maccabees
Length: 4:12
Style: Sort of anthemic really
Lyric: Um...
Rating: 7
Main melody: Synth and Guitar


11. Unknow

Written by: The Maccabees
Length: 5:07
Style: Fast rocker
Lyric: Well...
Rating: 5
Main melody: Bass and Synth


12. Slowly one


Written by: The Maccabees
Length: 4:17
Style: Ballad
Lyric: Way I see it is...
Rating: 6
Main melody: Synth and Guitar


13. Grew up at midnight

Written by: The Maccabees
Length: 4:00
Style: Slow and relaxed for half, then kicks in for the last part much faster.
Lyric: First love?
Rating: 8
Main melody: Guitar and Keys


Closing Comments:

For a band I'd never heard of before I'm really impressed with this album. As you can see from the track-by-track above, I have very little clue what any of the songs are about --- the lyrics are all pretty obscure but seem to deal with growing up, forming relationships and yadda yadda yadda --- but that in no way spoiled my enjoyment of the album. Definitely be seeking out more of their material.

Final rating: 8/10
__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2013, 11:40 AM   #6 (permalink)
Nobody likes my music
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: In Cognito
Posts: 21,747
Default


Artiste: Blue Sky Riders
Album: Finally home
Released: 2013
Label: 3Dream
Producer: Unsure, but I wouldn't be surprised if it weren't the three of them...

Brief intro: I played this album and loved it from the start, then was surprised to find it is from what I guess would be termed a "Country supergroup", though the only name I know is that of Kenny Loggins, and Blue Sky Riders are more or less seen as his project. Personally I think that this is the record that could change your mind about Country music in the same way Nanci Griffith and Steve Earle did for me, a long time ago. One thing that really shines here is the quality of the vocal harmonies on the songs. You can hear a lot of rock and Country influences on this album, such as Springsteen, Earle, Mellencamp, Seger and Heart. This is Country, but not as we know it. Really.

Note: I haven't been able to find information on who wrote the songs, so have left that field off this micro-review.

1. I''m a rider (Finally home)

Length: 3:03
Style: Rock
Lyric: Coming home
Rating: 8
Main melody: Guitar, Organ


2. How's that workin' for ya?

Length: 3:53
Style: Country ballad
Lyric: Has it been worth what you've lost to have gained what you wanted?
Rating: 9
Main melody: Piano, Guitar


3. Little victories

Length: 4:05
Style: Slow acoustic
Lyric: Little things get you through the day
Rating: 9
Main melody: Acoustic guitar, violin
Notes: Georgia on lead vocal; some really nice vocal harmonies too. A very Nanci Griffith-ish song.

4. Just say yes

Length: 3:34
Style: Mid-paced country rock
Lyric: Keep hoping and dreaming
Rating: 8
Main melody: Guitar, Organ


5. Feelin' brave


Length: 4:40
Style: Uptempo rock
Lyric: Take your chances while they're there
Rating: 8
Main melody: Guitar


6. You're not the boss of me

Length: 3:50
Style: Uptempo sort of bar-rock/Country
Lyric: Ain't gonna bow down (You couldn't have figured that out from the title?)
Rating: 6
Main melody: Piano, Organ


7. Another spring

Length: 3:28
Style: Soft Country ballad
Lyric: Waiting for better times
Rating: 8
Main melody: Acoustic guitar


8. Dream

Length: 3:31
Style: Hard rocky (sorta), almost AOR
Lyric: The things I hope to achieve in my life
Rating: 9
Main melody: Guitar
Notes: Very reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac/Heart

9. A thousand wild horses

Length: 2:58
Style: Slow ballad
Lyric: Dangerous to fall in love again
Rating: 10
Main melody: Acoustic guitar, Accordion
Notes: I just love the imagery in this song. If you only listen to one track on this album, listen to this one.

10. I get it

Length: 4:00
Style: Uptempo Rock
Lyric: Basic love song
Rating: 6
Main melody: Guitar, Harmonica
Notes: Not a bad song, but the album starts to take a serious dive in quality here. Just a little generic for my tastes.

11. Say I like it

Length: 3:28
Style: Uptempo rock
Lyric: Bah, basic lovey-dovey stuff
Rating: 5
Main melody: Guitar
Notes: Georgia on vocals again


12. Windeer woman


Length: 4:43
Style: Slow acoustic ballad with folk elements
Lyric: Rekindling love and marriage vows
Rating: 7
Main melody: Acoustic guitar
Notes: No, I don't know what a Windeer woman is...

13. As luck would have it

Length: 3:55
Style: Uptempo rock somewhat in the style of early Springsteen
Lyric: The vagaries of fate that throw two people together
Rating: 6
Main melody: Guitar, piano


14. You took the words (Right outta my mouth)

Length: 2:36
Style: Uptempo rock with a sort of acoustic leaning
Lyric: You can guess surely?
Rating: 7
Main melody: Guitar, Organ
Notes: NOT a cover of the Meat Loaf classic...

15. How about now

Length: 4:05
Style: Uptempo country
Lyric: Waiting for better days
Rating: 6
Main melody: Guitar, Fiddle


Closing comments: Laugh all you want, and some people will. The Country tag will put some off, while the involvement of Kenny "Footloose" Loggins will be another reason others will not listen to this album, but it will be to their detriment. This is Country Rock raised to a fine art, and deserves to be listened to. It's a pity it loses its way near the end and devolves into something really generic and typical of the genre, but even given that, the first eight or nine songs are strong enough to qualify this album as a success in my eyes, and definitely one I'll be listening to quite regularly.

Final Rating: 8/10 (loses points for the last three or four tracks)
__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Similar Threads



2003-2019 Advameg, Inc.

SEO by vBSEO 3.5.2 ©2010, Crawlability, Inc.