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|05-01-2012, 12:35 PM||#1201 (permalink)|
Born to be mild
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: 404 Not Found
Maybe it's an overstatement, a simplification or a claim that can't really be supported, but I really do believe that there have been albums down through my life which have, if not actually changed that life, certainly provided important cornerstones and turning points along the path of development for me, both musically and personally. It's that point where, as a youth, you realised that there was more to music than what came out of “Top of the Pops”, or what they played on the radio. You began to see that the fact that certain music may not have been widely popular was not necessarily an indication that it was not worth listening to; in fact, as your awareness of the huge diversity of often unrecognised music out there grew, you began to understand that sometimes it's the music that isn't generally accepted, that wasn't played on the radio, that didn't get on the telly, that was more worth listening to than the lastest chart-topper.
For me, as I would say maybe a lot of people, though this is a personal account so I can only speak for myself, this realisation and diversification into certain genres or sub-genres of music around my late teens informed my later choices in music, and set me on a road towards appreciating, and for a long time, concentrating only on one genre. Well, two really: for several years I would listen to nothing else than heavy metal and progressive rock, even though before I encountered this album I was not even aware of what prog rock was. I was into Maiden, Saxon, Motorhead, Sabbath: anything loud and anything that was outside the accepted norms. I scoffed at my brother's interest in Madness, The Specials, Spandau Ballet, and my sister's often slavish devotion to the charts. I could not understand how my best friend, may he rest in peace, could be into artistes like ABBA and Barry Manilow! Ah, with age comes wisdom, eh?
But among the first albums I owned were most of the Genesis catalogue; the very first introduction I had to what I would later realise was characterised as progressive rock was their “Seconds out” live album, and though it certainly blew my mind and had me quickly collecting the rest of their albums, I have reviewed this before, in fact it was the very first album ever reviewed in this journal by me, and I think I said all I need to say about it there. But up until this album came along, and I began to read a little publication called “Kerrang!”, I thought the music Genesis made was in the past, great as it was. I believed I was listening to music that would in all likelihood never again be made --- Genesis had by now already shattered my illusions of them by releasing the dreadfully pop “Abacab” --- and had no idea that there was a whole new revival of British progressive rock about to be born.
Script for a jester's tear --- Marillion --- 1983 (EMI)
Preface: I have to be extremely careful reviewing this album. It may seem silly to some people, but this is quite literally the album that changed my life, musically. I never, ever heard a better debut. It was hyped to the hilt and by god it lived up to that hype! It set me on a road to appreciation of progressive rock and more structured, epic and intricate songs, gave me an appreciation for melody and instrumentation that I had been lacking, and showed me how even the vocal chords could be an impressive and effective instrument in their own right. This was more than just someone singing the equivalent of “baby I love you” against guitars and keys or whatever: this was serious, deep music that meant something! These lyrics were to be read, listened to, discussed and if possible understood, and they were the delicate brushstrokes that completed the canvas masterpiece the music painted on my mind, heart and soul.
So it will be a gushing review, but that's not entirely because I don't want to recognise or admit any shortcomings on the album: it's because I truly believe it has none. Though it's short in terms of tracks, every single one is a gem; nothing is out of place, nothing is too long or too short, every song tells a story and every story paints a picture, mostly bitter and regretful as per the title of the album. I can't praise this album highly enough. It started a lifelong love affair with the work and music of Marillion, and pushed me towards other great prog rock bands like Pendragon, Jadis, Arena, Rush, Pink Floyd, Mostly Autumn, Twelfth Night and many others, and opened up whole new vistas of musical appreciation for me.
I therefore want to do the very best job I can, and so the review will also be probably longer than usual. As there are only six tracks to get through that should not really be the case, but I want to spend the proper amount of time on each that they deserve, give them the respect they have earned, and pay back a little to this wonderful album which quite literally, changed my life, almost thirty years ago.
This groundbreaking album starts off so innocuously, so low-key it's incredible: a hushed voice declares ”So here I am once more/ In the playground of the broken hearts” while one note is sounded on the piano, a few more following it and then a short run, almost a fugue, before it stops and flute (on the synth, presumably) takes over, then bass makes its entrance before drums and guitar pound into the song, setting it finally on its way. We're now one and a half minutes into a song that runs for eight and a half, and will go through many changes before it comes to its end.
The voice, that of lead singer and frontman Derek Dick, otherwise known as Fish, gets more animated and angry now, as Mick Pointer's drums pound out the rhythm and Steve Rothery lets loose on the guitar, the whole thing charging along in a great solo until Fish comes back in and another solo, with the keyboards of Mark Kelley, who was the first musician to be heard on the album, bar Fish's almost sotto voce tones, adding to the melody and keeping everything together.
At the four minute mark, half way through, everything drops away to gentle acoustic guitar, flute and Fish's agonised vocal, bass coming in with just the barest hints of percussion and some whispering as Fish declares ”I never did write that love song/ The words just never seemed to flow”, drums thundering in as he shouts ”Promised wedding/ Now a wake!” The song then goes into what would be seen as the third part, with keys taking over the main melody, Rothery's guitar taking a little of a backseat, the faster tempo now slowing down to a dirge-like march, the guitar crying along with Fish as he sighs ”I'll hold my peace forever/ As you wear your bridal gown”, and the song drifts along sadly to its end as he asks, without any hope, ”Can you still say you love me?”
After this magnum opus, the phenomenon of Marillion well and truly launched onto my consciousness, and that of thousands of other record-buyers at the time, things get sharper and harder with “He knows you know”, opening on jangly guitar from Rothery, swirling keys from Kelley then punchy drums from Pointer as Fish lets go, giving his voice its full rein as he sings about drug addiction: ”You've got venom in your stomach/ You've got poison in your head!” Very much driven on Rothery's guitar, this song is both the antithesis of the opener and title, and could indeed be seen as a direct result or follow-on from it, as the heartbroken man turns to drugs to dull the pain.
“He knows you know” contains one of Steve Rothery's most powerful solos, as well as amazing work from Mark Kelley, and absolutely showcases in no uncertain style the often vicious, cutting, angry vocal work of Fish, as well as giving full pride of place to his incredible lyrical talent, he being the writer of all the songs, lyrics at least. It was chosen as a single, probably because it's the shortest track on the album --- just under five and a half minutes --- but though it made a decent showing in the charts it was never going to be a big hit, with its lyrical theme and its harsh vocal style. Couldn't see the sheep buying this! But then, Marillion were never about chart success, but about creating the very best music they could, for themselves and for their fans, and remaining true to their musical vision.
Nowhere is this shown better than in “The Web”, which runs for almost nine minutes, and starts powerfully, with blasting guitar chords, then settles into a sort of introspective passage, as the protagonist hides in her apartment, trying to figure out what has gone wrong with her life, afraid to move on. ”Faded photos exposing pain/ Celluloid leeches bleeding my mind” --- such lyrical genius was something I had seldom encountered before, and even then, in bands who had been doing this for years, maybe decades. Here was a band only starting out, and already showing such tremendous promise. With a clear and almost unique understanding of the human condition in one so young, Fish painted nightmare dreamscapes and lurid pictures of addiction, isolation, fear, panic and despair that just cut right to the heart, his bitter claim ”I only laughed away your tears/ But even jesters cry!” a nod back to the title track, and indeed the figure of the jester was one that would characterise Marillion for years, appearing on the cover of their first three albums.
Another powerful section where keys and guitar join to great effect, then Rothery is off on another solo, and as the song reaches its six minute mark, the character realises things must change, and after a brief laidback guitar piece as Fish declares ”Now I leave you/ The past has had its say” there's a huge upsurge and a big instrumental piece as the tempo jumps, and for the next nearly two minutes we get a keyboard solo from Mark Kelley that is a delight to the ears. Then, just when you think it's going to fade out on the keys, Fish blasts back in with a final coda and the song ends powerfully on hard guitar and swooping keys.
There's little joyful about this album, in terms of lyrical content --- though it's a true joy to listen to it --- with themes from broken love affairs, loneliness and addiction to war and suicide, but if there's a light-hearted song on it, it's “Garden party”, where Fish pokes not-so-gentle fun at the glitterati, the high society, those who live for rubbing shoulders with the rich, the famous, and the royal. Starting with a hard guitar and swirling keys intro, Fish gleefully describes the scene as ”Champagne corks are firing at the sun again/ Swooping swallows chased by violin again” and those who believe themselves the cream of society “have a really jolly time”.
“Garden party” rocks along on a really upbeat, happy melody, which mirrors the insincerity of these people who declare ”Punting on the “cam” is jolly fun!” and live their lives in a constant state of vying for position and prestige among their fellows, always trying to prove themselves better than everyone else. Great keyboard solo from Mark Kelley, and a hilarious change of lyric from Fish, where he originally grins ”I'm wining, reclining/ I'm rucking, I'm ****ing” but the word had to be changed when this too was released as a single. Great fun, and Fish's savage satire comes across really well.
Bringing everything back to earth then with a jolt is the dour, bitter “Chelsea Monday”, which tells the tale of a young girl desperate to be an actress but who is afraid to take the steps she needs to make her dream come true. Carried on a beautiful bassline from Peter Trewavas, the song conjures up images of dark, grey streets, rain-lashed bus-stops and yellowed windows, smoke from factories curling up into the ash-choked sky. Rothery's guitar whines in the background as Fish relates the tale of the ”Catalogue princess, apprentice seductress/ Hiding in her cellophane world in glittertown” who waits for fame to find her. The first part of the song is carried on Trewavas' silky bass rhythm, with splashes of colour thrown in by Kelley on the keys, and Fish's keening voice presiding over all like a dark storyteller who knows how this will end.
This is also a long song (as most of the six tracks on the album are), over eight minutes, and at the two minute mark Steve Rothery pulls off a beautiful and agonising solo which takes us really into what would again be categorised as part two of the song. This is carried on a more restrained guitar part, sparkling keys and Fish tells of how the girl would ”Perform to scattered shadows/ On the shattered cobbled aisles”, Pointer's drums pealing out like the march of Fate. Another powerful solo by Rothery takes the song to its climax, as the parent promises ”Patience my tinsel angel/ Patience my perfumed child/ One day they'll really love you/ You'll charm them with your smile/ But for now/ It's just another Chelsea Monday.”
As the song comes to its end, Fish speaks as if to a mate, not singing, talking about the tragedy of the young girl's death at such a young age. ”What a waste!” he sighs. And Rothery's guitar takes the song to its sad conclusion, cutting off suddenly as we hit the closer, and indeed standout of the album.
Fast, powerful, savagely satirical, angry, brilliant, “Forgotten sons” must surely go down as one of the best anti-war songs to have come out in the last few decades. Expressly addressing the conflict in Northern Ireland (”He'll maim you, he'll wound you/ He'll kill you for a long-forgotten cause/ On not-so-foreign shores”) it became one of Marillion's best-known and loved songs, with its acid rejection of war and hatred, its graphic depiction of life on the streets of Belfast and other Northern Irish cities, and humanising the conflict through the eyes of those who suffered through it.
Mostly carried on Kelley's deceptively upbeat keyboard melody, it's peppered throughout with stabs of sharp and angry guitar from Rothery, and a great solo about a third of the way through, where his guitar seems to be crying with the massed voices of all those who have lost loved ones over the thirty-odd years of "The Troubles". Then, everything drops away to leave only Trewavas' lonely, insistent bass, standing like a sentry on duty, for a few seconds as the tension builds. Then Rothery and Pointer hammer the point home as Fish spits out his modified Lord's Prayer, which really needs to be reproduced in full. And here it is:
”Minister, minister, care for your children!/ Order them not into damnation/ To eliminate those who / Would trespass against you/ For whose is the kingdom, the power, the glory/ For ever and ever amen!” Just to underline the point, all instrumentation stops then, and we hear a voice cry shakily ”Halt! Who goes there?” to which the creepy, hissing reply comes, ”Death!” and the soldier then breathes ”Approach, friend.” Hard-hitting is not the word. But that's nothing compared to the litany Fish unleashes as Rothery and Pointer smash back in, the song reaching its powerful climax with Kelly's organ blasting out like the accusing voices of the dead, and Fish sings ”From the dole queue to the regiment/ A profession in a flash/ But remember Monday signings/ When from door to door you dash!”
Having been so impressed with the lead single (which isn't on this album) “Market square heroes”, I was eager to see if the album could live up to its promise. I remember having listened to it the first time, and I was so gobsmacked, my breath was literally robbed from me and I lay on my bed, just completely dumbfounded, unable to speak or breathe, just static in time. I was frozen like an insect in amber, and it actually took me several long minutes before I could move or do anything. What I ended up doing was flipping the record over, putting the needle down and playing the whole album through again, the entire thing. And then a third time. I have never done that with any album, before or since.
It might seem facetious to be saying this now, in a world where such opuses are perhaps a little commonplace, where people can record their own music in their bedrooms today and be on YouTube tomorrow, perhaps seeing a successful music career in a very short time. But back then, and even now, I think such genius --- and yes, it was genius, and nothing less --- was and is in short supply. There are of course great prog rock bands now, new and old, but I still believe no one album has ever truly affected me the way “Script for a jester's tear” did, that day in March 1983, when I realised for the first time that there was the pop chart stuff I had been listening to mostly up to then, and then there was real music.
There's no way I could ever deny that this album changed my life, in ways I could never even have begun to imagine. If it wasn't for Marillion and the discovery through them of progressive rock and other genres outside that, I might never have developed the true love for music that I have to this day, and I truly believe I would be a very different person in many ways. I owe those five guys a huge debt of gratitude, one which I will never be properly ever able to repay. I hope that in some way, this review will go a little of the way towards giving them back what they gave to me, the priceless gift of appreciation of true music.
1. Script for a jester's tear
2. He knows you know
3. The Web
4. Garden party
5. Chelsea Monday
6. Forgotten sons
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
Last edited by Trollheart; 07-01-2015 at 02:34 PM.
|05-02-2012, 12:36 PM||#1204 (permalink)|
Born to be mild
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: 404 Not Found
Usually in this section I've broken down an album cover into various parts, examining aspects of its makeup and commenting on how they reflect on the recording, or how they contribute to the overall picture created by the sleeve. These writeups have on occasion been quite extensive. But not every great album cover can be so dissected, nor need it be. Sometimes the greatest effect can be achieved with the simplest of images. Consider the cover of Pink Floyd's “Dark side of the moon”. Iconic as it is, it's at its heart a simple graphic, and yet is instantly recognisable for what it is, and what it represents. Or take as another example the Beatles' “Abbey Road”. Or Springsteen's “Born in the USA”. Nirvana's “Nevermind”. There are a whole host of albums that make use of the simplest ideas to convey their message, and manage to stick in our minds as forever identifiable.
No. 6: “Famous last words” by Supertramp
The cover I want to look at here is not only one of my favourite Supertramp albums, but it tells a tale, through the medium of the artwork, that is both simple and informative, telling us a lot more about the album than we would otherwise know. Of course, for that to work properly, we do have to realise the changing dynamic of the band, the upheaval about to take placeat the time.
This was the last album to feature founder member Roger Hodgson. He and Rick Davies had been the principle songwriters in the band, and each had taken a turn at singing, Hodgson usually on the more upbeat, happy-style songs like “It's raining again”, “Breakfast in America” and “The logical song”: typically, the ones that became hits and therefore would be most recognisable to anyone outside of their fanbase. Essentially, Hodgson was the voice of Supertramp on the radio, and in the charts. Davies tackled the more “serious” songs, the likes of “Bloody well right”, “Crime of the century”, “Ain't nobody but me”, “From now on”; songs like those, that would probably be unknown to a non-Supertramp fan.
There's no question that the sound and indeed appeal of the band changed once Hodgson jumped ship, and Supertramp's next few albums were, to be honest, not the best. There was something missing from the overall makeup of the band, and it was obvious what it was. But despite what might be thought, there was no acrimony, either between himself and Davies or any of the rest of the band. Hodgson just reached a point where he wanted to stay where he was, the band were somewhere else and he did not wish to uproot his family to go back working with Supertramp. And so he left, to pursue a solo career.
The album sleeve then can be interpreted thus: the man on the tightrope can be Hodgson, striking out on his own and “working without a net”, aware of the yawning abyss should he fall, with the spotlight representing the pressures of fame, recording, touring and perhaps the entire band. The scissors about to cut the rope would then be his own decision taking charge, or the events overtaking him and forcing him into this decision. He could be seen as trying to perform a delicate and difficult balancing act, trying to keep his family and his career both uppermost in his priorities, but acutely aware that he must choose one over the other.
Or you can see the man on the highwire as being Davies, trying to carry out the same balancing act as Hodgson, with the scissors in this case representing his departing bandmate, who is quite literally about to cut his lifeline, and Davies worrying about how he will continue to entertain and please the crowd below him, who demand new output and more and better music, and perhaps even --- erroneously --- hold him responsible for the departure of the co-founder of the band.
Either way you look at it, the album cover presents a snapshot in time, with one man balanced precariously above a chasm that waits to swallow him. The scissors, whether they represent Davies or Hodgson, or a more, abstract force acting on one or both of them, are the focal point of the crisis (what crisis? Sorry... ) unfolding, and the soon-to-be-completed act of cutting the rope is unavoidable and inevitable.
Indeed, the back cover, simplicity itself, puts time back in motion and the man, whichever of the Supertramp members you choose to see him as, or even just a representation or metaphor, falls, the falling hat showing this clearly and unequivocally.
It's a perfect cover, a perfect moment in time captured, a snapshot of a critical moment that, although it could not be changed or avoided, irrevocably altered Supertramp and led to the end of an era, if not the end of the actual band. Supertramp were never the same after this, nor I suspect will they ever be.
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
|05-03-2012, 11:41 AM||#1207 (permalink)|
Born to be mild
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: 404 Not Found
Three hearts in the happy ending machine --- Daryl Hall --- 1986 (RCA)
I always admire a solo artiste who takes charge of their project, though of course conversely that can work against them, if they take on too much and aren't equal to the task. This is by no means a brilliant album, and I don't say that simply because I'm not a huge fan of Hall and Oates: this has its moments, but overall it is a little too much filler for my tastes. It was an album I took a chance on, and in fairness, there are enough decent tracks there that I never felt my money was wasted, but on the basis of this, Daryl Hall's second solo album, I never felt compelled to search any further, either forward or backward through his catalogue.
But there's no denying that on this album he gave his all, not only writing or co-writing every track and singing on the album (obviously), but also playing guitar, keyboards, mandolin (!) and even programming drum patterns, not to mention producing the album, with assistance from some other luminaries like Dave Stewart. I always found Hall to be the “face” of the Hall and Oates duo; not surprising really, as he sang lead vocals and was essentially the frontman of the band, if a duo can have a frontman. John Oates always seemed more the workhorse, toiling away industriously at his guitar and adding those indispensible backing vocals. Definitely integral to the band, but you couldn't really see him without his “white soul boy”.
So perhaps Daryl Hall had less to prove than his bandmate, as he would not be “stepping out from the shadow” of anyone, being as it were the dominant force in Hall and Oates. However, this was not his first solo album; his debut, released six years previously, had been dogged by the label's refusal to release it as it was not seen as commercial enough, leading to a three-year delay, after which the album sold okay but did not hit any real chart positions and largely passed unnoticed. There was greater fanfare for the release of this, which RCA no doubt would prefer people to think was his first effort. As many people, including me at first, certainly did.
Right away there's a shock, a total change from the smooth soul/pop of “I can't go for that” or “Maneater”, with a heavy rock AOR song surely more suited to John Parr than Daryl Hall? “Dreamtime” is a great little track, and indeed gave Daryl his first, and only, hit single, getting to number five. Of course, great an achievement as that is, it has to be accepted that much of those sales would have been thanks to Hall and Oates fans; whether they liked what they heard after purchasing the single is debatable, but once the record was paid for it wasn't going back, and the sales pushed it up the charts.
There's a great utilisation of a string section in the song, which seems something of an anachronism, as it should not fit an upbeat, rocking tune like this, but somehow it works. Hall's voice is instantly recognisable of course, and there's nothing wrong with his pipes, even if you do sort of expect the lush tones of Oates to come chiming in on the chorus. Great guitar work from Dave Stewart helps give this opener a harder edge than we would have expected from this master of soul and smooth, and sets the album up nicely. Unfortunately, that quality is not maintained throughout, and takes something of a dive with the more soul/disco-infused “Only a vision”. Much more in the way of drum machines, no searing guitar from Stewart, a much more restrained track, and not anywhere near as enjoyable.
This continues into “I wasn't born yesterday” which, despite an interesting sax intro, quickly runs out of ideas and ends up being too repetitive for me. Nice digital piano, decent synth sounds, but definitely lacking something. The first ballad comes in the very Cars-like “Someone like you”, complete with chirping keyboards and Hall even sounding a little like Ocasek, but it's a nice little song, and certainly re-establishes the high bar set by the opening track. Some really nice blues style guitar from ex-Pretender Robbie McIntosh, and this is a song into which Daryl can really get his soul teeth, if you'll excuse the somewhat mixed metaphor; quite similar to his work with John Oates, and you could in fact see the two of them singing this later onstage together.
Great guitar outro, very impressive, but again sadly it doesn't last. This album is almost like panning for gold: occasionally you'll come across real nuggets in the dirty water, but most of the time it's just hard work for little reward. “Next step” is another example of the latter, a more upbeat bopper but ultimately empty. Sort of not really sure what it's trying to be, as it veers between rock soul and disco, gets confused and ends in a bit of a muddle. Perhaps it's the influence of hip-hop DJ supremo Arthur Baker that makes this sound more like something New Order or Afrika Bambaata would be comfortable singing, but it just jars too much, at least for me.
Then we hit gold! “For you” is a powerful, insightful love song that isn't a ballad. Driven on fine strong guitar, almost Johnny Marr-like in places, and lush keyboards with reverb and echo effects, then an almost Genesis bridge, circa “Invisible touch” into a hooky chorus that just grabs at you and stays in your head. I'm probably being harsher on this album than I should be: it's only really the first few tracks (bar the opener) that fall flat in a row, after that you're basically looking at every second track being good, which is okay but still frustrating: you love track four, for instance, then track five is not great, you like track six, track seven's a yawn, and so on. So you sort of feel like you're constantly building up your hopes only to have them dashed, then realised, then dashed, all of which is more than a little unsettling.
This pattern continues unabated. “Foolish pride” is another “meh” track, and I would be happy, or at least prepared, to say that it's on the ones penned by Hall alone that the album falls down, but whereas this is often the case, the last two good tracks on the album are his own solo efforts, and they're quite excellent. You can't even say that it's when he reverts back to more “Hall-and-Oatesish” songs that the formula breaks down, because although that's essentially what happens with this track, he manages quite successfully to meld the two styles on “Someone like you”. This, however, sounds way too close to “I can't go for that”, just sped up a little, and I feel it's a very weak track.
It's followed though, by another nugget, in fact one of the standouts, the beautiful ballad “Right as rain”, with the legendary Joni Mitchell providing backing vocals. It's soft, slow, relaxed, almost a lullaby with sparkling, tinkling keys and a beautiful little miramba-like percussion line, Daryl exercising those soul pipes as only he can. Some chiming guitar, very Police-like, adds to rather than destroys the gentle balance created here, and even when the proper drums crash in it's at exactly the right moment, and sounds expected rather than sudden or invasive.
The peaceful, almost hushed atmosphere is then blown apart by “Let it out”, which I could definitely have done without. Elements of the Clash in here, maybe more Big Audio Dynamite really, and a healthy dose of John Cougar Mellencamp, but even with that pedigree it manages to be a very average track, and we go panning again. Luckily though, we do find some more gold, before we have to pack up and go home.
The closer is another ballad, and vies with “Right as rain” as the standout, though I still plump for “For you” personally. “What's gonna happen to us” is another solo Hall number, and the weak tracks on this album notwithstanding, if there was any doubt about his songwriting ability, this removes them for all time. With gentle percussion reminscent of Peter Gabriel, some soft guitar and an echoey double-tracked vocal from Hall, it's a plea for sanity as the world hurtles towards its destruction. Sure, the subject has been tackled before --- and better --- but there's something very personal and passionate about Daryl Hall's take on the theme.
The instrumentation is kept very low-key and minimalist right through the song, Hall's yearning vocal carrying the sort of emotion few singers can adequately convey, a sort of African chant coming in on about the third minute and keeping pace with the music, the guitar adding a few licks, a few keyboard runs, but essentially maintaining the same melody throughout the song. It's an interesting end to the album, both downbeat and powerful, emotional and relevant even today.
Like I said, this is not a great album. But it's not a terrible album. Neither does it qualify for the “Meh” section, as it definitely is not meh. It's got enough good tracks to keep you listening, just a shame that it's let down so consistently by songs that really don't deserve to be on it. If Hall had perhaps written some other songs of the calibre of “For you” or “Right as rain”, or perhaps included some that didn't make the cut and left some of the weaker ones here off the album, I could be hailing this as a great effort from an already established vocal and lyrical talent, stepping out on his own.
As it is, it's not quite the happy ending I had hoped for, but it's not a horror story either.
2. Only a vision
3. Wasn't born yesterday
4. Someone like you
5. Next step
6. For you
7. Foolish pride
8. Right as rain
9. Let it out
10. What's gonna happen to us
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
|05-03-2012, 04:50 PM||#1208 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: London, The Big Smoke
Page 44 to 58
Balance of Power: I liked the concept of your "Get to Know the Band Idea" I still think their best album is Book of Secrets but I've still yet to hear their later stuff.
Styx: I saw you featured a song of theirs, which was followed by the comment that you don't know the band that well, I'm shocked! Not only are they one of my very fav bands, but are without doubt one of the finest bands of their era. They took aspects of the Queen sound without the excesses and fused them with prog rock better than Queen ever did. What made Styx great, is that they had 3 strong vocalists who all sounded very different and all three brought something different to the table. The main two Dennis De Young and Tommy Shaw were usually at loggerheads over the direction of the band and its this tension which gave their albums that special feel. Their mix of prog/pomp rock is something special. The albums The Grand Illusion and Pieces of Eight are essential, I'm sure you'd love em based on your music tastes.
Bad English: One of the late great AOR albums of the 1980s, it came out in 1989 when AOR had died but this was one of the best. It was a Journey meets The Baby's reunion, not sure if you know the Baby's but they were a really great hard rock act of the 1970s that featured John Waite as lead singer and bassist, Jonathan Cain was with them for a while as well. I absolutely love the below song of the Baby's and the video as well.
The Babys - Dying Man - YouTube
Trevor Rabin: I've never decided what I really think about him, he often gets a lot of credit for putting Yes back on the map with the 90125 album, I've not heard the solo album you've put up, so will give it a listen.
Pounding Decibels- A Hard and Heavy History