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T. Edwards "topcate"
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Through A Glass Darkly, 24 Jun 2014
The clues to what this album is like lie in the latter stages of the Paradise Edition of Born To Die - dropping the trip hop pop in favour of heavily atmospheric and cinematic music scenes with downright dark lyrics. It's a daring move - nothing here has the commercial appeal of a song like Video Games. That said there is more range here thanks to Auerbach's production which slows the pace, inflects bouts of rasping guitar, and even male backing vocals. Of course much depends on how you react to Lizzie Grant's working of the Lana Del Rey persona. What's so beguiling is the way she evokes the world of the drippy self-destructive high class girl mooning over bad boys whilst gently mocking what she sets up - like cinema you are forced to both engage with it and stand back and look at it. Much of it is both beautiful and mesmerising and it does have its more up moments in the form of West Coast, Brooklyn Baby and the like. Things do go a bit off rails in the second half when the relentless slow paced evocation of the pains of the female heart gets repetitive. That said, I have to hit the edit button far less here than on Born to Die where the kooky girlie pop got clichéd. The bonus tracks are worth checking out particularly the (very dark) dance comedy of Florida Kilos.


Rocket
Rocket

6 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Selling Out?, 24 Feb 2010
This review is from: Rocket (Audio CD)
Goldfrapp have produced four very different and very distinctive albums yet managed to weld this to a formula that works and appeals to a largeish audience. This lacks anything unique or distinctive and could be any other attempt at producing 80s inspired disco, I do hope this is not a sign of an impending sell out.


Celebration (2 CD)
Celebration (2 CD)
Price: 17.54

16 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unnecessary, 10 Sep 2009
This review is from: Celebration (2 CD) (Audio CD)
It's worth remembering that there have been two Madonna Greatest Hits collections already - The Immaculate Collection which covered her early career and GHV2 which covered Erotica through to Music. There have been three albums since - the generally panned American Life, the successful Confessions, and the lukewarm Hard Candy all of which get a scant two nods a piece. This is hardly exhaustive - a triple CD collection would have worked far better in that respect - and what it also shows is a marked skew towards re-issuing early material, particularly off the first album. Coverage of the acclaimed Music and Ray of Light albums is particularly woeful. There are two new tracks which no doubt people will struggle to download without the rest. Overall this seems to chime in with Madonna's wider attempt to re-assert herself as an 80s disco queen and will probably please those who see her that way. For those who wanted something a bit less superficial and a bit less of an obvious cash in nostalgia this is an unnecessary disappointment and you can probably buy or download the first two collections and or your own playlist for far less and get far more.


The Album
The Album
Price: 7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE Abba record?, 1 Oct 2007
This review is from: The Album (Audio CD)
Following the immense success of Arrival, The Album - their fifth - both consolidated what they were already doing and broke new ground. It's also very much a record of two sides. The first four tracks develop their pop writing ability to slightly more epic proportions - Eagle being a highly evocative near six minutes and the single Name of the Game being a complex, and nuanced, tale of sexual awakening while One Man, One Woman has so much polish you can practically walk into it. The latter stages are altogether more experimental - and darker - Move On is a melodic roller once it gets going, showing massively high production standards, Hole in Your Soul is strangely harsh leading the way for the scenes from their tour's mini-musical The Girl With Golden Hair - the story of a girl who seeks success as a singer but finds herself lost and out of control. Thank You for the Music and I Wonder are lavish forerunners of their Lloyd-Weber collaborations whilst I'm A Marionette is so raw, so furious and so "un"Abba you begin to wonder what's what, the story of what came after - know well known - answers the question.


Arrival
Arrival
Price: 5.81

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Template, 1 Oct 2007
This review is from: Arrival (Audio CD)
...for almost every pop record ever since...

Minus the bonus tracks, this is a mere 31 minutes long but utter perfection from the well-known singles to the lesser known tracks. The up moments are riotous confection (Dum Dum Diddle, the tender moments show new depths (My Love, My Life) and the closer, the instrumental Arrival, in some weird way hints at that slightly unfathomable Swedishness that the rest of the world could never get enough of. Whether for nostalgia, new discovery, or a lesson in how to write a pop song, this is quite simply the best a pop record can be.


The Hissing Of Summer Lawns
The Hissing Of Summer Lawns
Price: 6.49

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Career Defining, 1 Oct 2007
Along with the more obvious Blue, this is Joni's most career defining record. Whilst the former perfected her internal, almost confessional work, The Hissing of Summer Lawns epitomises her role as observer, or even satirist, and her musicianship. Broadly speaking it is a concept album that juxtaposes the human, the animal, and the spiritual in a dense series of portraits of - mostly - Californian life. Think of David Lynch movies and you get a little bit of an idea - the title refers to the hiss of sprinklers on grass, the keeping up of appearances, repressing of darker desires... you get the picture. Elsewhere she explores drug cultures and exploitation (The Jungle Line and Edith & The Kingpin), suburban desperation (the title track, Harry's House) and ruminates on what it all means (the two closers). Throughout her lyricism, once sparse and raw, is lush and layered with imagery - Shades of Scarlett Conquering (a sharp look at a young socialite) both sounds like something from Hollywood's golden age and looks/reads like it e.g. "with her impossibly gentle hands and her blood red fingernails". The depth of playing with a small team of musicians and engineer Henry Lewy never falters - varyingly paced with layers of latin, jazz, and african influences co-existing alongside Joni's own keyboard and guitar work. It's an album that rewards almost constant playing year on year, never failing to reveal more light, more shade. Not only important for Mitchell but a landmark in modern music.


Shine
Shine
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 8.68

21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If... only, 1 Oct 2007
This review is from: Shine (Audio CD)
I have been a monumental fan of Joni Mitchell's since the 1970s but I have to say this, whilst not a bad album, is disappointing. Musically it is sparsely arranged and very beautiful in many places. It's also overly familiar to any Joni Mitchell fan by now - clicking rhythm boxes, layers of acoustic guitar and what seems like an unhealthy obsession with clarinet and saxophone flourishes. The real let down though is the lyrics - Joni Mitchell has been one of the best musical poets of all time, able to nail a feeling or an observation in a single phrase - yet here she preaches with little sophistication on topics that are overly laboured already - global warming, the Bush administration, wars, etc. Things do improve in the closing stages - Night of the Iguana is as colourful as its title musically and the prayer-like mantras of Shine and If add much needed emotional depth. It does grow on you and Joni is never one to just churn out rubbish but this is rather slight and she has done much the same much better before.


American Doll Posse [CD + DVD]
American Doll Posse [CD + DVD]
Price: 22.59

7 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tori purrleeease..., 3 May 2007
Tori Amos is blessed with a great imagination, a half way decent voice and classical training on keyboards to boot. She also has one very big Achilles Heel - a total lack of objectivity or an ability to edit her own work. Whilst there is little wrong with the singing, the playing, or any of the individual elements this is one over long, sprawling, out of focus mess. What should keep it together - but doesn't - are the different Tori voices/personas but they end up muddying in together. Her other great weakness is that she can never write out of her own box - no matter how angry at the world she gets she still sounds self-absorbed. It all starts well enough but after half an hour (well under half the album) the listener has been confused, battered and bewildered into not wanting to hear any more. This has become an increasing problem with her work ever since Pele - a beautiful but still over long album. The Beekeeper was far more focused than this, and far more melodic, and that was also way too long. Unlike her most obvious sister, Kate Bush, who is maddeningly unproductive and over selective in her work, Tori Amos is hopelessly keen on the sound of her own voice with no sense of what should end up on the cutting room floor and what shouldn't. If she keeps going like this she'll only end up fading into obscurity. Time to get a grip Tori please...


The Grace Jones Story
The Grace Jones Story

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Still Short Of The Mark, 11 Jun 2006
This review is from: The Grace Jones Story (Audio CD)
Why can no-one get a Grace Jones compilation right? Despite it's 2CD length this is still short of that mark. CD1 does its best to put most of her early career in one place but, as is well known, the vast majority of this material is substandard gay disco Donna Summer rejects. The only real exception is her high melodrama version of La Vie En Rose - other covers are almost laughable given her appalling vocals. Of course things were to improve stratospherically with Warm Leatherette and Private Life - missing though is the soft and feathery French love song Pars. Nightclubbing is the only album to be done full justice here - although criminally Pull Up To The Bumper is abbreviated. The first side of Living My Life is here but nothing from the second nor the still yet to find its way onto CD full length version of the title track. Where this compilation could have excelled but doesn't is in selecting her material after that. Slave to the Rhythm is missed out (no idea why at all) and the underrated Inside Story album gets one mention with I'm Not Perfect (the other singles Party Girl and Crush should be here) whilst the frankly mediocre Bulletproof Heart album gets a fuller mention but again the wrong songs, Amado Mio should be here not Someone To Love. So overall it's worth it if you don't have the stuff already or need a sample of her early career but for those looking for the great Grace Jones - the Millenium collection and the Private Life double Island CD remain the best. One final point, the packaging is good here, plenty of pictures and a decent write up.


Confessions on a Dance Floor
Confessions on a Dance Floor
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: 4.49

5 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Over Hyped, 29 Nov 2005
This is not so much a bad album as a not overwhelmingly good one and to be clear not worthy of the endless hype and promotion by Mrs Ritchie herself. We all know American Life was a disaster so she gets back to basics here and does what she is generally good at - catchy disco pop. But what is lacking is any ideas or wider vision or indeed anything to say whatever. The vague references to fame, and hints of life beyond for the material girl, are both corny and repetitive. As always, Madonna is only ever as good as her collaborators and here Stuart Price does his level best to elevate the ordinary into the extraordinary with a lot of knob twiddling and mock disco effects (the sequencing being the most obvious). If Madonna had more (one could be harsh and say any) artistic integrity she would take a career break, get off the treadmill and return truly reinvented rather than churning out another one for the sake of it. To sum up if you want something to sling on before getting plastered on Friday night this is fine, but if you want the likes of Like A Prayer and Ray Of Light, or even Music (where, on all three, she did much of what is here much better) move on...


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