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Imaginary Television [CD]

Graham Parker Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: 11.26 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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For over 30 years, Graham Parker has been slinging a signature sound across continents and airwaves that has rightly earned him a spot in the pantheon of truly original and influential figures in rock and roll. Since his early days with his band the Rumour (with whom he has two albums in Rolling Stone’s “Top 100 Albums of All Time”), Graham has coupled punk’s energy ... Read more in Amazon's Graham Parker Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD (15 Mar 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Bloodshot
  • ASIN: B0036BDQA6
  • Other Editions: Vinyl
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 120,162 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Weather Report
2. Broken Skin
3. It's My Party (But I Won't Cry)
4. Bring Me a Heart Again
5. Snowgun
6. Always Greener
7. See Things My Way
8. Not Where You Think
9. Head On Straight
10. More Questions Than Answers
11. First Responder

Customer Reviews

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4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Imaginary Television 29 May 2010
Format:Audio CD
In my opinion, Graham Parker's latest offering is well up to his usual high standard and indeed is even better than his last CD.
Imaginary Television is full of catchy tunes with Broken Skin being a particular highlight. His lyrics and clever use of words compare with the best of anyone else, including Mr.Dylan! Well worth a listen.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars British Rock at its best 3 April 2010
Format:Audio CD
Even if GP is by far a NYC immigrant, Imaginary Television is maybe his most british work since Heat Treatment, 1976 ac. Eleven wonderful songs, clever, brilliant, ear catching, magistrally played, make of this masterwork the perfect pair to Village Preservation Society, or Arthur, by the most british ever of rock bands: The Kinks.
Graham Parker: come back! We need you.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another masterpiece 26 Mar 2010
Format:Audio CD
Graham Parker with another brilliant album,songs written for imaginary TV shows,check out the booklet with the CD for details of the shows.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Class but why so short ! 7 April 2010
Format:Audio CD
A more commercial GP selection however each song up to the usual class we expect.
Most tracks flow into each other , then suddenly after 35 mins its over !.
I cant help feeling a little cheated especially when most cd's are 50 to 70 mins.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's Not What You Think It Is 31 Mar 2010
By Jeff Seeman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The ostensible premise behind Graham Parker's new studio release is that he created a batch of imaginary TV shows and then wrote the theme songs to accompany them. In the liner notes, he even provides a synopsis of each show rather than the song lyrics. It's an original, offbeat idea, befitting the witty Parker.

And it has absolutely nothing to do with the songs on this album. Not a damn thing. Yes, Imaginary Television is most certainly a concept album, but THAT isn't the concept. Rather than the collection of amusing novelty songs one might expect, Imaginary Television may be the most personal, vulnerable collection of songs Parker has ever released. It's a portrait of a man looking back over his life and re-evaluating everything, a man trying to come to grips with who he is---as an artist, a father, a husband, a human being.

Why the subterfuge? I suspect it's because some of these songs are so personal and cut so deeply for Parker that he felt he had to get a modicum of emotional distance from them before releasing them to the world. If I'm correct, then the entire television theme song concept is a mere fig leap to cover the emotional nakedness of the songs. Or, to borrow a phrase from the album itself, "a really cheap disguise."

And what songs they are. "Weather Report" concerns a man who feels out of step with the times; perhaps Parker's referring to his status as music industry outsider and this song is intended as his variation on John Lennon's "Watching the Wheels." "Broken Skin" is Parker reviewing the many disappointments he's experienced over the years and trying to lower his expectations ("We're all downsizing what we do with our lives"), something that must be challenging for an artist who once seemed destined to become (and, quite frankly, deserved to become) a huge rock superstar. In "It's My Party (But I Won't Cry)," he strives for resilience in the face of a broken relationship ("The wound is fatal, but I won't bleed") while "Bring Me a Heart Again" yearns for the romanticism of his youth ("I don't feel comfortable inside my own skin, it doesn't keep things in"). "Always Greener" addresses marital discontent and likens leaving a marriage to pulling the handle on a slot machine. And "1st Responder" is a refreshingly honest "tough love" song for his son, that's equal parts "I'll always be there for you" and "But try not to screw up too much, okay?"

But surely the emotional centerpiece of the album is a sequence of songs that each seems to pose the question "Who am I really?" in a different way. "See Things My Way" grapples with the impenetrable nature of personal identity, beginning with Parker's admission that, "There is more than one of me, so many I lose count," before concluding, "Everybody's head is filled with more than just one soul." That song then segues into "You're Not Where You Think You Are," in which Parker juxtaposes the physical dislocation of a musician on the road, waking up in a different city every morning, with the existential dislocation so many of us experience in our lives. Here Parker is at his most vulnerable and self-revealing: "This room got really weird, it changed before my eyes/And then I grew this beard, a really cheap disguise." And later, "The self I used to have has long since gone to waste, and in the coming years I will all be replaced/You're not who you think you are, you're not who you think you are anymore." It's a brilliant song, one of the finest Parker has even written, a poignant ode to anyone who's life didn't turn out the way he planned---in other words, just about everyone.

Next comes "Head on Straight," in which Parker seems to pull himself together, almost as if he's recovering from the two previous compositions, singing, "I had my week in the news, but now I'm old news now, I'm not the news they choose/But things are looking up alright, now I got my head on straight." Finally, the sequence concludes with a cover of Johnny Nash's "More Questions Than Answers." And while Nash's song isn't nearly strong enough to hold its own against Parker's original compositions, it does carry a certain emotional resonance, it's lyrics and reggae beat recalling Parker's own "Don't Ask Me Questions," a standout track from his 1976 debut album.

Or maybe I'm completely wrong. Maybe this really is just a random bunch of songs written around a clever but silly gimmick. Maybe if GP himself read this review, he'd laugh his ass off. But let's face it, if Dylan produced an amazing collection like this, people would be scouring every semicolon looking for meaning. So listen to the album and decide for yourself what you hear. What I hear is a collection of deeply personal songs---many poignant, some even profound---from a master songwriter. And one of the finest albums of Graham Parker's obviously still vibrant career.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars another quality Graham Parker album 27 Mar 2010
By Mark Steven - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
"Imaginary Television" is a worthy addition to Graham Parker's 30 + year catalog. While it's one of Parker's more mellow and laid-back efforts -- the great hooks, great melodies, great lyrics, and great singing are still here in abundance. It's a really cool album and every song is worthwhile, including a wonderful cover of the 1972 Johnny Nash classic "There Are More Questions Than Answers". There is also a concept to the album that some may find interesting and fun if they want to play along.

Graham Parker's first album was released in 1976. While Parker has never come close to achieving the commercial success he's deserved, few have released as many quality albums over such a pro-longed period of time. All the guy does is put out one fantastic album after another that so few are aware of. That's a shame.

One of the great philosophical riddles is: "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" Here's a riddle to rival that: "If Graham Parker has continually put out great album after great album after great album that so few hear, does that mean he isn't one of the all-time greats?"
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Songs of consquence 12 Oct 2011
By J. L LaRegina - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
IMAGINARY TELEVISION, Graham Parker's 2010 C.D., is more pop and folksy than the more hard-driving R&B and rock music that first put the singer-songwriter on the musical map in the 1970s. But Parker is still rockin' for the working class and against the caste system. As if a recent C.D. title such as SONGS OF NO CONSEQUENCE were not enough of a hint that Parker would like to keep his fans guessing, its 16-page booklet presents IMAGINARY TELEVISION's eleven songs as though they are themes for television shows that don't exist.

Usually I would not write a review if previous comments either say everything I was thinking or, as is the case with Jeffrey Seeman's March 10, 2010, commentary, make keener observations than I do. But I like IMAGINARY TELEVISION so much I compose these thoughts to help promote it, especially since only seven people precede me here.

Seeman's review observes that Graham Parker only uses that T.V. show idea as a foot in the door for what are in reality autobiographical songs. So it's funny that in the age of so-called reality television, Graham Parker titles this record IMAGINARY TELEVISION. Not that I have seen more than a few reality programs, but much of what I've viewed strikes me as staged, between forced emotions and deceptive editing. But Graham Parker, pouring it all out (again, see the March 10, 2010, review), calls it imaginary.

When television host Bob Costas had his late night talk show on N.B.C. in the 1990s, he asked rock critic Dave Marsh why a recording artist such as Bruce Springsteen rose to great success in terms of record sales while one such as Graham Parker didn't. As both Parker and Springsteen's blue-collar roots showed in their music, it was an apt question; each emerged in the 1970s and took a few years to hit, but by the '90s Parker records were played less and less on the radio while a new Springsteen album was still an event. Marsh answered, "Because Springsteen wanted it more."

Perhaps Dave Marsh was right, or maybe Bruce Springsteen just had a better team of publicists behind him. Either way, what a loss for music fans who don't know Graham Parker's IMAGINARY TELEVISION.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars awesome as always but short 20 May 2010
By Lanzarishi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
My only beef is the length of the CD (hence 4 *s). This is quality GP and I completely concur with the first reviewer on every line he has written. Awesome review bro! I couldn't help but reflect that it reminded me somewhat of Another Gray Area and Steady Nerves at times but I think it might just be the recording or that the voice is up in the mix. I kept hearing "When you Do That to Me" in spots. The lead guitar is awesome as well throughout.
But only GP can take me to places in my mind that no one else can. I always end up completely absorbed in the songs and hate to come out. Thank you for another top album Graham. Never disappointed!
3.0 out of 5 stars For GP, a minor work 6 Nov 2013
By Larry Latham - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
My first GP album was Howlin' Wind, back when it first came out. I have all his studio albums and the big part of his live albums. I wouldn't call myself an expert, but I am definitely a big fan and see no reason to change that view. But after the amazing Don't Tell Columbus, this album comes off as what would be filler on one of his better albums. They are not BAD songs, just consistently tepid. With all due respect to Squeezing Out Sparks and its deserved accolades, I really prefer the contemporary GP. I think he sounds better now, his production is miles ahead of those long ago days, his lyrics more provocative and creative. I wouldn't trade Deepcut to Nowhere or Don't Tell Columbus for any of his earlier albums. It's against his work of the last ten years that Imaginary Television fails to satisfy. No one bats a thousand, and I'll take lesser GP any day over most artists. I'm glad, though, that this isn't his last album. He keeps getting better, and I'm looking forward to that.
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