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Trollheart 10-03-2013 04:48 PM

Trollheart's Psychic Album Reviews
 
I've had some pretty damn stupid ideas in my time but this must trump them all! It occurred to me that often, when listening to albums for the first time, I'll have preconceived notions or ideas about what certain tracks will sound like, what tempo they'll be at, how they'll be played and what they'll be about. Often this is based on the title but also sometimes what I know of the artiste. Of course, in more than 99 cases out of 100 (uh, that would be all of them, but you know what I mean) I'm totally wrong.

So I thought why not do this? I'm going to select an album I've never heard before, whether by an artiste I'm familiar with or not, and try to "pre-review" it. I'll be guessing what the album is going to be like, what the songs are going to sound like, and so on. Naturally, I expect to get it wrong every time.

This is NOT supposed to be serious. I'm just having fun here. I don't expect to get it right any more than 0.0001% of the time --- if I'm lucky. But at best it will be a laugh. So come with me and snigger at my inept attempts to predict what an album will sound like, giggle as I get it totally wrong, and by all means feel free to send me albums you think I might have a go at giving the Psychic Review (Patent Applied For, Trademark in process).

These won't be my usual long-drawn-out reviews of course. I'll tell you the album and who it's by, then go through it track by track saying what I think each is going to sound like, and then having listened to it, see how wrong I got it. At the end I'll score my performance and see how badly I've done. Fun, eh?

Some people probably think I take my journals too seriously. Well, yes I do. I put a lot of work and effort into them and why wouldn't I take them seriously? But we all have to take the time to laugh at ourselves once in a while, so here's one that's purely for laughs, and the joke will invariably be on me. So sit back, crack open a beer and grab some popcorn, and watch me fuck it up each and every time.

My mission statement: One hundred percent wrong, one hundred percent of the time, or your money back. ;)

I'll be back with my first album in a day or so.

Key 10-03-2013 06:21 PM

Another journal? I'm not complaining, but damn, wouldn't it be easier to compile all of these into one mass journal? I do like the idea of having themes for each, but wouldn't one journal be easier? Maybe not. I don't know.

Trollheart 10-03-2013 07:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ki (Post 1371090)
Another journal? I'm not complaining, but damn, wouldn't it be easier to compile all of these into one mass journal? I do like the idea of having themes for each, but wouldn't one journal be easier? Maybe not. I don't know.

No in fact it wouldn't. I thought about it, but it's the same with the "Classic Albums" journal. A new journal is more likely to attract attention and interest than just a new section in my old journals. This stands out, and people who don't read my other journals will see it and maybe think it might be worth looking at. I know it's a fifth journal, but it's so outside my usual thing that I thought it deserved its own.

Also, with Metal Month in full swing, I couldn't do anything like this in my current one until at least November, and I'm anxious to get this going while the idea is fresh in my head.

Trollheart 10-07-2013 03:30 PM

Okay, this is it. This is where I step off the precipice and fall, arms flailing, into the darkness as I open my fifth journal, but one which is totally different to anything that has come before. This is where I make a total fool of myself by selecting an album at random and trying to review it before hearing a note. I'm going to be basing my "predictions" on nothing more than instinct (yeah...) the titles and what little, if anything, I know of the artiste. It will of course be an exercise in futility. I'm not expecting to get it even slightly right one time in a hundred, and should I somehow accomplish this unlikely feat, it's surely going to be down to pure dumb luck than any great insight or talent on my part.

But that's not what this journal is about. It's not a case of "look at me! How clever I am!" Quite the reverse in fact. It's all about fun. It's about not taking myself so seriously and just kicking back to see how much of a mess I can make of these, ah, reviews. You can laugh at me, or with me, but I hope my efforts here will give you some sort of amusement. There may of course be albums I select that you already know, and so can see in advance how much I'm going to screw up, but then, that all adds to the fun, doesn't it?

These reviews will not be long, nor in-depth. They will simply be short impressions of each track, first my "psychic" one and then the real one, and the difference between the two. Maybe I'll come across some really good albums here that I will end up reviewing in full, and properly, in my main journal, who knows? But for now, let's see how I get on as I set sail on my maiden voyage to disaster and derision.

Why have I chosen this album? No idea. It looked interesting and it's obviously a debut, since the artiste and title are the same. Also, with it being this year's offering it's possible few if any of you know who this is or what they sound like. I certainly don't. But having a quick glance down the tracklist I think I can make a few hamfisted attempts at what they might sound like, all of which will no doubt turn out to be completely wrong and so far off the mark the arrow is still flying.

But as I say, it's fun, and you gotta start somewhere, so I'm starting here.

Heather Maloney --- Heather Maloney --- 2013 (Signature Sounds)
http://megaboon.com/images/release/4...33092645303626
So who is Heather Maloney? Dunno. Where does she come from? Uh, dunno. Let's see if I can find out anything about her before I dive in. Okay, seems she's from the US of A. Oh, and I'm wrong. This is not her debut, but her third album. Don't you just hate when people do that? Anyway she's a singer/songwriter and being compared to the likes of Aimee Mann and Ani DiFranco. So now I know a little about her, but I'm not digging any further in case I find out something that gives me a clue as to the sort of songs she might sing. No cheating here, hombre!

So then, tracks, tracks, tracks, let's see....

1. Great impostor: okay, for some reason I hear a big brass band in this, a marching sound and a sort of carnival/soul atmosphere. Big drums, horns and maybe even fiddles and violins (yes I know they're the same instrument!) --- a bouncy, uptempo song that opens for some reason with the horn blast from Bad English's "Best of what I got". Which of course it will not.

2. Hey broken: Slow, acoustic number with just guita --- no, piano, definitely piano. A lovelorn ballad where the singer tries to help the heartbroken person in the song see the bright side.

3. Fire for you: Another uptempo number, guitar (acoustic?) and a lot of energy and passion. A love song, a declaration of love, strong and determined.

4. Dirt and stardust: Mid-paced acoustic number, most likely on guitar, maybe some mandolin too. A song about how fragile humans are, and yet how eternal: "we are all made of dirt and stardust".

5. Flutter: Soft acoustic ballad, maybe with some nature sounds in it (birdsong, soft wind, maybe babbling brook), sung gently and low-key. Title may refer to the fluttering of a heart. Another love song?

6. Iron bull: Song about the old railroad. Bouncy, strong, powerful. Lots of organ and electric guitar with a scorching electric guitar solo in the middle, or somewhere. Punchy uptempo country/folk song.

7. Turn yourself around: Another punchy song, a "get a hold of yourself" type deal, with strong acoustic guitar and maybe electric, possibly honky-tonk piano too. Could be a duet. Ah sure why not? Let's go the whole hog!

8. Miss Mary Mack: Country mid-paced, no wait, bluegrass uptempo song with tons of banjo, jews harp, fiddle and maybe pedal steel. Oh, and accordion. Got to be some accordion in it. Real toe-tapper.

9. Grace: Difficult, as the next song is also a woman's name. Gonna take a chance (sure why not?) and say the grace here is the grace of God, and so a slow, acoustic number with some haunting organ, praising the Lord in some way --- "Lord give me the grace to make it through" or somesuch. Possibly gospel overtones. Could involve a choir.

10. Darlene:
Another uptempo hillbilly number. More fiddles and accordions, slap bass and maybe a piano this time as well. A good old fashioned love song, but not a ballad. Or could be about an outlaw.

11. Flying on helium
: Slow, organ or keyboard-driven song with an ethereal sense of flying (duh!), kind of atmospheric and ambient, with a soft acoustic guitar solo and a piano ending.

Now, they're my not-so-educated guesses. I'm now going to play the album and see how wrong I was. That's all coming up in the next post. Stay chooned! ;)

Trollheart 10-08-2013 09:54 AM

Okay, so now I'm actually playing the album. Let's see, as Brucey says, how wrong I am...

1. Great imposter: Well, no big horns start the song off. How disappointing. :( In fact, it's a bouncy uptempo acoustic guitar number. So far. No mardi gras here pal! No brass band, although I think I do hear a banjo. Maybe. Well it's uptempo, just not as much as I had thought, and the whole makeup of the song is not quite what I had envisioned.

2. Hey broken: I notice just now that this is less than two minutes long, so hold out hopes of my gentle acoustic ballad being right on the money ... Ah. But it starts off with handclap percussion and a sort of folky uptempo feel with some nice backing vocals and really no instrument other than drums I can hear at the moment. Not a ballad then. Not an acoustic one, though there is a piano breaking in so that's something I guess.

3. Fire for you: Not as hard-hitting as I thought, sort of a shuffle with a kind of twenties feel, piano mostly, but it is a love song and that's what fire for you means, so I at least got that much right. Little touch of ELO about it if I'm honest.

4. Dirt and stardust: Surely this is the ballad? Well yes, it starts on slow acoustic guitar, so that's good. Mind you, I said it would be mid-paced and it certainly is not. Bad guess on my part. Oh well. Got the subject right though: "I am made of all the same stuff/ That makes the seasons what they are/ I am made of dirt and stardust/ My daddy's dreams, my mother's heart". Woo-hoo! Pedal steel rather than mandolin, but not too bad a guess. First one I've come close to getting reasonably right. Yay for me! Sort of.

5. Flutter: Never mentioned what I expected to be the main instrument here, so no points for that, but given that I said it would be acoustic I probably meant piano or guitar. Too late now though. I hear guitar now but mostly flute, and although it started as a possible ballad, nah it ain't. Tempo picking up now on the back of the guitar, nice electric piano (Fender Rhodes?) and sort of marching drums. Flutter seems to refer to the flutter of wings, so minus several zillion points for that one. Ooh wait: she just said "Flutter like a heartbeat"! Yes! But generally I got this wrong. Again.

6. Iron bull: Why do I feel I totally, absolutely got this bang on the head wrong? Maybe because I was so stupid as to equate the iron horse with an iron bull and think the song would be about trains? It's an uptempo song anyway, so there's that; quite rock, driven mostly on guitar though I do hear organ, which I mentioned. Talking about riding on an iron bull, but I don't think it's anything to do with the railroad... Hey, there's the guitar solo I was talking about! Not scorching, but, you know, I'll take it!

7. Turn yourself around:
And this one I got so wrong! Not an uptempo, affirmative song at all, but a slow, very slow, acoustic ballad on guitar with some nice vocal harmonies. I was struggling at the time with whether this was how it might sound, but decided to go the other way. What? You don't believe me? I swear! Anyway it don't matter cos I made a total hash of this. Wrong on just about every front. Okay, it gets punchier as it goes on, but that's no salvation for me.

8. Miss Mary Mack: I really had no idea what this song would be like. Some of my guesses here have been at least based on some sort of an idea; this one I had no clue. And so it proves. Nothing of bluegrass or any other sort of grass in this. Sort of mid-paced semi-ballad with piano and guitar.

Grace: Well in some ways yeah I was right: it is to do with gospel, in fact it seems to be a version of "Amazing grace", which I did not catch at all. Okay, that was just the opening. But then it's uptempo with fast acoustic guitar and seems to be about welfare fraud? Pulling in the phrase amazing grace but referring it to a girl called Grace, so struck pretty much out on this one.

Darlene: And this one. Where are all the hillbilly songs? :confused: A soft, almost lullaby-like ballad with guitar and piano.

11. Flying on helium: And finally, not so much atmospheric or ambient, just a slow acoustic guitar number. Nice vocal harmonies and some sweet pedal steel. Nothing much like what I had expected really. Story of this album, and, probably, this journal.

So that's the guesses and the reality. Next I'll be scoring this album, after explaining my rating system (yeah, there's one: this is me, after all!) and see what I come up with for this first effort.

Trollheart 10-11-2013 06:19 AM

Right then: the scoring system. Well it goes like this:

For every point I get right, if any, I award myself a percentage of the total score, as below:
Guessing the correct main instrument used = 20%
Guessing the tempo correctly, or mostly correctly = 30%
Guessing the subject, more or less correctly = 20%
Guesing anything specific, like a guitar solo, horn intro, piano outro etc = 20%

It's almost impossible I would guess every feature of the song correctly, but if by some chance I got it spot-on then I'll add the extra 10 percent.

Obviously, at the end then the totals are added and I get an average of how well --- or more likely, badly --- I did. That's the final score for the album.

So

1. Great imposter: Main Instrument --- 0%
Tempo --- 30%
Subject --- 0% (I never guessed at that)
Specifics --- 0%
TOTAL --- 30%

2. Hey broken: Main Instrument --- 0%
Tempo --- 0%
Subject --- 0%
Specifics --- 0%
TOTAL --- 0%

3. Fire for you: Main Instrument --- 0%
Tempo --- 0%
Subject --- 20%
Specifics --- 0%
TOTAL --- 20%

4. Dirt and stardust:
Main Instrument --- 20%
Tempo --- 0%
Subject --- 20%
Specifics --- 0%
TOTAL --- 40%

5. Flutter: Main Instrument --- 0%
Tempo --- 0%
Subject --- 20%
Specifics --- 0%
TOTAL --- 0%

6. Iron bull: Main Instrument --- 20%
Tempo --- 30%
Subject --- 0%
Specifics --- 20%
TOTAL --- 70%

7. Turn yourself around: Main Instrument --- 0%
Tempo --- 0%
Subject --- 0%
Specifics --- 0%
TOTAL --- 0%

8. Miss Mary Mack: Main Instrument --- 0%
Tempo --- 0%
Subject --- 0%
Specifics --- 0%
TOTAL --- 0%

9. Grace: Main Instrument --- 0%
Tempo --- 0%
Subject --- 0%
Specifics --- 0%
TOTAL --- 0%

10. Darlene: Main Instrument --- 0%
Tempo --- 0%
Subject --- 0%
Specifics --- 0%
TOTAL --- 0%

11. Flying on helium: Main Instrument --- 0%
Tempo --- 0%
Subject --- 0%
Specifics --- 0%
TOTAL --- 0%

So that's in total 160% over 11 tracks, so divide 160 by 11 and we end up with...
FINAL SCORE 14.5%

Yeah. Not great. Very little I got right about this album, but to be fair, I never expected to. In fact, I'm surprised any of my guesses were right. As for the album itself? Meh, it was okay but not really my thing: kind of a cross between acoustic folk and Country, and though there were one or two songs I liked ("Dirt and stardust", "Flying on helium") there wasn't generally that much to appeal to me. For my money, a cross between Nanci Griffith and Suzanne Vega, but pretty generic really and I don't see why everyone's getting so excited about Heather Maloney.

Unlikely ever to merit a full review.

Still, hope you enjoyed this first psychic review! Probably be a while before I attempt another, but hey, it sure was fun! But for now...

Powerstars 10-16-2013 11:32 PM

Will you take requests? :)

Trollheart 10-17-2013 05:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Powerstars (Post 1374426)
Will you take requests? :)

and by all means feel free to send me albums you think I might have a go at giving the Psychic Review

So in answer to your question, yes I certainly will, though do be advised this will not be anything like a high priority journal. If I do one or two albums a month that will be a lot. It's as I say just for fun, so doesn't in my mind have to be updated as often as my other journals do.

That said, yes, send away. Though I do of course reserve the right to turn down a request I don't feel is within my preferred genres, I don't like the look of or for any other reason. Terms and conditions apply. Copy on request. ;)

And sorry to hear about your computer man: hope you get it sorted and are back soon... This place needs you! :thumb:

Plankton 10-17-2013 11:23 AM

Cool idea T to the H. I do something similar when playing along with a tune I've never heard. Not so much psychic, but more of a reading ahead type of thing.

Powerstars 10-18-2013 09:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Trollheart (Post 1374454)
and by all means feel free to send me albums you think I might have a go at giving the Psychic Review

So in answer to your question, yes I certainly will, though do be advised this will not be anything like a high priority journal. If I do one or two albums a month that will be a lot. It's as I say just for fun, so doesn't in my mind have to be updated as often as my other journals do.

That said, yes, send away. Though I do of course reserve the right to turn down a request I don't feel is within my preferred genres, I don't like the look of or for any other reason. Terms and conditions apply. Copy on request. ;)

And sorry to hear about your computer man: hope you get it sorted and are back soon... This place needs you! :thumb:

xD Thanks. I can't send it, but Radiohead's "The King Of Limbs" should be on Spotify. Not at all metal, BTW. Seeing you tackle that would be fun.

(Stupid TH, taking all the good journal ideas before I get to them...)


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