- Audio CD (17 May 2010)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: CD
- Label: Strange Feeling
- ASIN: B003CP12GG
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 35,909 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Love And Its Opposite CD
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The quote accompanying Love and Its Opposite is mildly terrifying. "When I was young, I imagined middle age to be a kind of comfort zone," says Thorn, "but in fact, having got here, I feel it's more of a war zone. The songs are where I dump all that s*** so that I can get on with my life without jumping off a bridge." And though this hardly qualifies as an inducement to listen, there's something delightfully honest about it. It's almost anti-press.
Such painfully spare sentiment is echoed in both the lyrics and the pared-down arrangements on Thorn's latest, on which she's worked with musicians as disparate as Hot Chip's Al Doyle, Swedish alt-pop's Jens Lekman and Nashville singer-songwriter Cortney Tidwell. But the Ewan Pearson-produced, back-to-basics approach does mean those honest lyrics stand out more, and seem even starker. On Singles Bar she asks, "Can you guess my age in this light?" over a simple, swaying twang, before revealing how she "laid on her back for a Hollywood wax". It might be that it's simply too honest for some.
But that's not to say Love and Its Opposite is all over-share. Lee Hazelwood cover Come on Home to Me has swirling atmospherics; there's a sort of triumphant sweetness to Long White Dress's acoustic melancholy; 60s handclaps inform the giddier Hormones; and there's even some bare electro-pop in the pulsing Why Does the Wind. Swimming proves to be the highlight, though, with its provocation to "go on" over a building accompaniment that swirls like the water Thorn's determined to wade through.
And through it all, there's That Voice–nobody else sounds like Thorn. When you're blessed with an instrument this pure, and this suited to melancholy, it's easy to see how the ex-Marine Girl might be headed for Pop Treasure status. Her enviable clarity of tone and the disarming beauty of her vocals lend Love and Its Opposite a dreamy, if uncomfortable, sort of truth. But blithe, sunny romantics are advised to keep a stiff drink (and a hanky) within very easy reach. --Wendy Roby
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Top Customer Reviews
This album is sparse and haunting in tone, allowing her wonderful voice to shine through, rather like the earlier EBTG (I was never a fan of the 90's electro-dance stuff)albums, but with a more mature depth nowadays. I have played it through about five times now, each time it gets a little better, after three listens, I would have said four stars.....but now, 'I'll give it five!'.
In reality, these tracks (concerned with growing older, reflecting on relationships) are delicate and touching. There have been a few sniffy reviews in the press which seem unable to believe that an adult woman should be writing about what it's like to be a mother, to see friend's relationships break up or to worry about their own future. Yet it's this specificity that makes the album so affecting; the details of other people's lives that say something about our own.
I particularly enjoyed 'Late in the afternoon', which contemplates the passing of time and wonders whether it's possible to keep a long term relationship fresh when there's little new to discover about each other. Alongside 'Long White Dress' and first single 'Oh! The Divorces' this is Tracey at her best: direct lyrics, haunting vocals and a sensitive acoustic production.
There are some faster and more production heavy tracks - 'Hormones' is a handclappy, amusing look at a mother/child realtionship whilst 'Singles Bar' is a brutally honest look at dating again after the end of a relationship. 'Swimming' is a brilliant track that builds and builds.
If you've loved Tracey Thorn's voice in the past, then you should enjoy this album immensely. I do miss the electronica but there's no doubt that these starker backdrops allow the lyrics to really stand out and also enable the vocals to sit right in front of the mix. It's a beautiful album that moved me in its honesty but also made me smile at its sharp observations.
The album opens with two heartfelt ballads, both different in styles but equally meaningful. The beautiful piano and string led "Oh, The Divorces!" tells the story of the torment that couples go through when they split up and how this ruptured relationship affects all of those around them. The gentle and soothing "Long White Dress" talks about the propect of marriage and the turmoil of indecision that this may bring. The tempo elevates with the infectious "Hormones", an uptempo yet suave pop song, which discusses moods swings caused by the chemical imbalances we all suffer at different points in our life. The other songs on this release are just as poignant and true to life. "Kentish Town" is a dreamy ballad which focuses on Tracey's childhood memories. "Why Does The Wind?" is another upbeat track with a strong 80's feel to it and a catchy rhythm. "You Are A Lover" is another magical and subtle Folk influenced ballad. "Singles Bar" has an addictive Blues inspired melody and "Come On Home To Me" has very plaintive and dark vocal harmonies and arrangements. "Late In The Afternoon" is a melodic mid-tempo track with a very nice choice in rhythym and guitar chords. "Swimming" ends the album on an atmospheric note with dreamy vocals and arrangements.
"Love And Its Opposite" is a very well crafted third album with some very inspiring lyrics and interesting choices in musical arrangements. This album is her most subtle to date, but the softer nature of her music does not compromise on its quality and draws on her abilities as an experienced and talented songwriter to create another beautiful collection of songs.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A brilliant album from Tracey Thorn, if you like EBTG you will love thisPublished 3 days ago by Cannybuyer
Tracey Thorn has long been a musical companion to me over the years, often when I needed some relaxed quality tunes, vastly underrated in my opinion as an artist. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Mike Middleton
Music is always extremely personal so most times I shy away from reviewing albums. All I can say is that if you are a fan of Everything But The Girl's earlier works you should like... Read morePublished on 16 Dec. 2013 by Mr Glenn M Brand