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Ultimate Ears 300 Noise-Isolating Earphones
Ultimate Ears 300 Noise-Isolating Earphones

3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great, 14 Mar. 2012
These are very bassy, the external noise cancelling is pretty good and the lack of sound leakage is excellent. The ear loops also ensure (while running especially) that the 'phones won't pop out during activity. However, through regular use and reshaping the material on both ear loops has split - until I hear back from my seller I've had to use electrical tape to cover the small hook which has popped out of one of them so it doesn't catch on anything. This is a shame, and as it's happened on both loops I don't think it's a fluke.

My ears might just not be accepting the earbuds but I also have a tricky time keeping any of the earbuds tucked in for full appreciation of the bass they offer. Finally there's no shirt clip included - not essential but it's particularly useful (to keep wires stable) if your MP3 player is loose, in a rucksack etc. I've had to snatch a clip from another set.

Not bad but not the best I've ever owned.

Price: £8.33

7 of 26 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's such a shame, 27 May 2006
This review is from: Medulla (Audio CD)
An artist who has taken to hiding behind a banner of "meditative modern art" should take stock of her career. Let's hack away at the slabs of introspection and deep personal development to reveal the album for what it is.

I'm perplexed at the critical acclaim Medúlla has received, and someone has to draw a clear boundary, to cocoon our tendency to feel special at exposure to something completely new. Well, this sound was completely new to me at least; please drop me a line if it's considered mainstream.

I've no problem with diversions from the mainstream - indeed I am all for it - but venturing into the unknown with no clear outcome in mind is an activity reserved for children. With artistic trial and error, ridiculous pieces of work (and not necessarily mistakes) are the result of impatiently relying on your creative spark. Every once in a while, something exceptional happens; at THIS point, maybe one should make an album and perhaps change the world.

Björk should heed this and refrain from not conducting but SHARING similar "experimentation" in future. It should be left in the sound-proof studio or echoing softly in the shower. Were it not for one or two moments of my appreciation, I'd not even have considered reviewing Medúlla. It's such a shame because I'm now one notch more cynical with music than I was.

I'm reminded now of Mark Lamarr's canny allusion to a hypothetical "DVD box set of Björk's dreams" as a point of reference for absurdity. Forget dreams; this largely feels like the soundtrack to somebody's nightmare.

Approach with caution.

By the Way
By the Way
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.21

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unexpected but refreshing, 26 May 2006
This review is from: By the Way (Audio CD)
It's taken four years for this album to fully establish itself with me. I'm very glad I took my time before I wrote this review, because By the Way has made slow but assured progress to a select group of my favourite albums; older, familiar music has a way of etching itself upon a specific period in one's life, somehow making it more enduring.

It's not usually in my nature to overexpose the minutiae of particular songs in a review (as they can do the talking for themselves), but I reserve special praise for one. Perhaps if I thought about it for long enough I'd conclude that Dosed is among my twenty favourite songs of all time, but that's a very strong assumption for anyone to make about a song (as moods are transient, and hence so is favouritism in music). It is without doubt the best on the album by a long way.

Only today, by chance of a broken earphone, did I appreciate the subtle montage that makes up the melody. It manages to be soothing, rippling and deeply rich all at once. It has served as a song for my life, and completely justifies my purchase of the album by itself.

That said, the album itself is a deep trench of quality to delve into, but I won't waste your time by giving several other tracks the album boasts the recognition they deserve; I think I've said enough to convince you. It is a mainstay in my favourites collection owing to the CONSTANT quality that pervades it.

By the Way didn't feel like a trademark album from the Red Hot Chili Peppers when I bought it, but its longevity simply proves that there are strings to their bow other than what we have come to expect.

Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: £4.43

10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Veneer of talent by no means, 26 May 2006
This review is from: Veneer (Audio CD)
Perhaps we should firstly reflect on the album's name. I'm not au fait with double-meanings or artsy, introspective messages (and so you may wonder why I'm delving into this), but a Veneer of what exactly - his talent? On the contrary; González' talents run their course deeply, manifested especially in high-quality, technically proficient guitar. Had I been exposed freshly to this man and were it not for the worldwide acclaim Veneer has received over the past year, it might have sold González short to me and I might have put it back on the shelf ignorantly. Needless to say, I've put this moot point to bed - I repeat, worldwide acclaim.

Certainly, there are shades of Nick Drake in the melody, and he sticks by a winning formula here. However, one might suggest González HAS undersold himself on one count; I'd love to have seen him integrate the kind of earlier work that flaunts his Hispanic roots more (Fiesta en San Juan is a recommendation by me). "Remain" and "All You Deliver" provide us with a teasing glimpse of this. Monochromy would be an extremely harsh word to use here, so I'll say nothing of the sort, but a little more diversity wouldn't hurt. This is its only downfall in my humble opinion, but as they say, "each to their own".

These reservations are swiftly sidetracked as the technical quality I speak of is literally shoe-horned into the eleven tracks. The often racey, dynamic tempo doesn't detract from the purity of the sound, and if anything emphasises the melody; it seems to make it more entrancing. If the Bravia/media whirlwind hasn't swept you up with the pure and beautiful "Heartbeats" yet, take a few moments to listen.

This is what I'd call "reflective" music. When you feel wistful driving home in the crimson evening sun, you'll be looking for this CD.

Blood On The Tracks
Blood On The Tracks
Price: £4.10

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Storybook songwriting, 22 May 2006
This review is from: Blood On The Tracks (Audio CD)
This album teeters between four and five stars. The only fault is that of my own; had I been born nearer the time of release, it may not have fallen on deaf ears all this time. (I can safely say it certainly isn't doing now, and indeed it is exponentially growing on me. If you drop me a line in twenty years asking how on earth I had the audacity to tarnish the album with my puerile, lacking SUGGESTION of an imperfect rating, I will probably apologise profusely.)

This was another shot in the dark on my part, so forgive me if I'm not loaded with knowledge. Up until my purchase of it, I'd heard several stories of the legend of Dylan - where he played, who he influenced, political motivations, et cetera - so really it's a wonder I've waited until recently to discover his music. There had been a burgeoning kernel of curiosity and anticipation inside me, and it finally burst.

I was by no means let down by the man.

Poetic lyrics combine brilliantly with melody, and seemingly the by-product of singing his way through a story (in which one is completely engaged) is an album brimming over with attitude, feeling, comedy and wit. It's a superb blend.

Since my first exposure to Dylan I've bought some more of his work, yet this is the one I home in on time after time. To the fans of folk who love the pangs of nostalgia devoted to good songwriting: it is automatic that you own this album. To all others: it is automatic that you should own this album.

Recurring Dream: the Very Best of Crowded House
Recurring Dream: the Very Best of Crowded House
Price: £3.42

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An album crowded with hits, 28 April 2006
This is a very good "best of" in my books.

Let's get some things into perspective. I'm twenty years of age, and an avid fan of popular rock. So you won't be surprised to hear that music that has branded itself on my life includes bands like the Foo Fighters, Coldplay, Oasis and so on.

I was familiar with some of Crowded House's work before now, but I only had limited knowledge (I knew they were a popular band and wasn't completely unaware of them while growing up), and as far as this album is concerned I'm honest enough to say I took a fair old stab in the dark with it. I deduced that even though summative compilations aren't always the best, this was probably a safe bet. I was listening to it in the garden this afternoon. It's been a pleasant, sunny day, complimented by some superb music. I stayed out there on my own all afternoon and listened to the album from start to finish; bliss.

What struck me as odd was that as I was listening to it, even though it felt like a bit of a memory test (having only listened to several songs once or twice before, and many years ago), I felt the pangs of nostalgia - most peculiar given the circumstances. Almost every track had the feel of a classic to it, and I felt like an old fan of the band who'd lost his cassette player.

To the all those die-hard fans of Crowded House: I'm afraid I'm not the one who will give as balanced and considered an opinion as you could, but given the cavernous expanse of time between the album's release and now, I'm sure you've formed your own views on it. To the compilation skeptics amongst you: the quality here is obvious and hard to resist.


Come Away With Me
Come Away With Me
Price: £3.50

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars She melts my cold, cold heart, 23 Oct. 2005
This review is from: Come Away With Me (Audio CD)
Norah Jones provides a leading example here in a new wave of country music.
Her voice sold the album to me. It speaks of wistfulness and wisdom, yet also of youth and vitality. Accompanied by excellent instrumentals, her hypnotic vocal tones are captivating; competently and dutifully employed at every turn.
This is a well-executed album. Two years after I bought it, I still listen in semi-comatose rapture and delight.

Leaders Of The Free World
Leaders Of The Free World
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spitfire thin, but vocally corpulent., 23 Oct. 2005
This is entrenched quality from a Great British act.
It brims with diversity and attitude. Their spirited and upbeat rock is skilfully complimented by smooth, surging and arresting tones; harmonic or haunting, but never dull. Elbow show their resourcefulness instrumentally, and deliver genuine feeling vocally. Their efforts have paid off.
I'm unfamiliar with most of Elbow's work, but I'm glad I trusted the word-of-mouth in this case. I've no doubt that they are a tremendous live act.

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