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Matt182 (Wales, UK)

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Symphonicities
Symphonicities
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £9.96

4.0 out of 5 stars Symphonicities soars!, 10 Feb. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Symphonicities (Audio CD)
Symphonicities was released on 13th July 2010 and features some of Stings greatest hits from throughout his career with symphonic arrangement, backed by The Royal Philharmonic concert orchestra. The songs take on new shapes and atmospheres as these pop/rock songs receive classical support. The album was produced by Rob Mathes and Sting and Rob Mathes conducts the orchestra except for 4 tracks which received conduction from Steven Mercurio.

The album's artwork is made of yellow, orange, grey and blue shapes with white bars. The booklet has a decent review for the album by Anthony DeCurtis who voices his view on the album and comments on each song with eloquent language. The name Symphonicities is an obvious take on The Police's final and most successful album Synchronicity.

Next to you kicks us off in an exciting fashion which will destroy any preconceptions you may have about classical music with a fast string section which keeps up with the original song and stays true to it. It's a great start that mixes his style and embraces the classical side which carries on throughout the album. Englishman in New York isn't a million miles away from the original and sounds very relaxed with the orchestral backdrop. Every little thing she does is magic sounds really pleasant and intensifies Sting's yearning for the woman in the song. The strings at the intro give it a heightened and sweeter sound and I'd even say it sounds more romantic than the original. The song ends with some inarticulate lyrics from Sting instead of the original lyrics. I hung my head is definitely 1 of the highlights and sounds right at home with the symphonic setting. As soon as the harmonica sounded at the intro I was sold! You will be my ain true love was a track I hadn't heard before, originally written for Alison Krauss for the movie Cold mountain. I really enjoy the war feeling with the snare drums and the minimal strings in the verses with Sting and Jo Lawry's perfect dual vocals soaring over the rhythm. It's an epic song. Roxanne takes on a much more relaxed sound that cuts out the repeated vocal at the chorus and has a really mellow sound throughout which intensifies the singer's longing. It's a change but it sounds really great. Sting comments on the Live in Berlin DVD how he's given her a different set of clothes but after 30 years she's still thriving!

When we dance is 1 of my favourite Sting songs and the original sounds almost otherworldly to me so I had high standards for this cover and it doesn't disappoint. It definitely has a more relaxed and mellow sound to the original with Jo Lawry's backing vocals giving it a slightly different feel. The end of the game was another song unbeknownst to me and it's a really great track with a brilliant sound and lively rhythm. The song is about two foxes running from the hunters and their relationship. It has a romantic feel and a strong sound and it's 1 of the best tracks here. I burn for you was another track I hadn't heard before. Written in 1982 and originally recorded at the same time as Ghost in the machine it's a really enjoyable track and works so well. It has a quite a desperate feel and a tropical flavour with Caribbean exotic sounding percussion. We work the black seam is the longest track on the album at 7:18 and stretches out the original track but not to any boredom and sounds as good as the original. I really like the horns which really give off the representation of the community standing together. If anything this version sounds more sincere and desperate than the original. She's too good for me is another fast track where the string section sounds amazingly fast but sounding perfectly slowed down and contrasted at the middle 8. It's another example which will change any negative view of boring orchestral music. The pirate's bride has to be the least exciting song and ends the album on a really mellow note. It's still a decent song and a great duet with Jo Lawry who gets to shine with her own verse.

I purchased Live in Berlin which was released on 22 November 2010 and I found watching the live concert and even just listening to the live songs to be much more invigorating and exciting than listening to this album. If you don't really enjoy this album it doesn't necessarily mean that you won't enjoy Live in Berlin which takes some of these songs and many additional tracks and are performed with a full orchestra courtesy of The Royal Philharmonic plus Sting's own select group of musicians/singers including Dominic Miller (guitar), Ira Coleman (bass), Jo Lawry (vocals) and Branford Marsalis (saxaphone). So I recommend that if you haven't bough it!

Although I do really enjoy this project and both albums from it, I don't think it's nearly as ambitious or inventive as the previous album If on a winter's night... which changed my ideas about winter. If you are a fan of Sting and enjoy the original songs on this album then you will very likely enjoy these arrangements even if you don't have an appreciation for classical music. Listening to this album gave me an appreciation for classical that I wasn't completely aware I had so it's been really influential on me. When certain music opens up new doors then you know it has to be good! It's a solid album and absolutely not just a compilation of his greatest hits so he can sell more records and make more money! It's so much better than that!


Under the Knife
Under the Knife
Price: £14.12

4.0 out of 5 stars Early sound with raw quality, 30 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Under the Knife (Audio CD)
This EP was originally released on November 13th 1996 through Smorgasbord records and re-released several times; in 1998 by Smorgasbord, in 2000 by Smorgasbord and Victory records and in 2006 by Cortex records. The EP contains the band's first release - the song Under the knife and 7 tracks in all. This EP is basically a demo which was released for recognition before they found a decent record label. The year after this they released their debut album Satisfaction is the death of desire on Victory records. 3 out of the 5 members appearing on this EP were replaced for the debut album!

The cover art is a pretty disturbing image of a monkey with a screaming face being held down and a pin stuck into its hand.

Track listing:

1. Smash your enemies
2. Kill an addict
3. Under the knife
4. Filth
5. Not one truth
6. Severed
7. Puritan

Every track except for Under the knife has been re-recorded and included on another Hatebreed album. The newer versions have much better sound quality which is something this EP lacks. It was obviously done on a tight budget with the first 4 songs sounding like they've been recorded live in a basement! Jamie enters Smash your enemies with a huge growl and sounds as vocally rough as I've ever heard him but he still sounds pretty good! The problem with the sound quality is that you have to turn it up pretty loud to hear the vocals and they're quite drowned out by really distorted guitar and live drums with the cymbal crashes very prominent. It's not that bad that it's unlistenable or anything just don't expect album quality! The first 4 tracks are the worst quality and tracks 5 to 7 are better. This must be due to the first 4 being placed on the Vinyl records and the last 3 only featuring on the CD release. The final track Puritan is 1 of my favourites from the debut (Not one truth is probably my favourite) and is a great example showing the arrangement and production of this song here compared to the difference in quality when it was released on the album. It's got an interesting creepy, distorted backing vocal at the start of the chorus, wind and chimes at the intro and outro and the final vocal is echoed.

This is a really good EP for serious fans and completists and if you are like me you want to listen to everything this band has recorded. It's definitely worth listening to/purchasing to hear the sound of the band in the early days before getting a proper record deal, having 3 out of 5 different members before the first album and shouldn't disappoint serious fans.


RECHARGED
RECHARGED
Price: £6.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Linkin Park's batteries have run out of energy!, 29 Jan. 2014
This review is from: RECHARGED (Audio CD)
I only recently listened to Linkin Park's first remix album Reanimation which was made up of remixes of all the tracks from the debut album Hybrid theory. I thought it was good in parts but I wasn't disappointed I had left it this long to check out. This album is a remix album of every track from Living things except 2 - In my remains and Tinfoil. I love the band's debut album (it has to be 1 of the best debuts in music history) so was looking forward to hearing all the remixes. With this album I didn't particularly enjoy Living things at all and found it OK at best so was really sceptical about it, especially after reading some reviews.

I've only reviewed the following selected songs because they were worth it. The album opens with the latest single from the band A light that never comes - an electro dance mix which may just be the high point of the album for some but not for me. Mike Shinoda was quoted saying "I think it's all indicative of our band's commitment to experimentation and pushing boundaries". This may be what he calls it but this is just another step in the wrong direction for this band and once again they're moving further and further away from what they were. It's almost as if the band are embarrassed by their former success and continue to take risks to alienate even more fans. Mike remixed the next track Castle of glass which sets up the dubstep/dance sound of the rest of the record.

Roads untravelled (Rad Omen remix feat. Bun B) is the first time we hear a separate rapper do his own verses on any of the remixes. Powerless (Enferno remix) just uses the chorus (and bridge) in this rave of a remix it uses a strong dubstep beat. If it had used the verses I might've actually enjoyed this! Burn it down (Tom Swoon remix) is a bit of a missed opportunity. The original song is electro and it always had potential to make a good dance track and the first part really accentuates the original sound but the DJ decided not to include any of the verses and to just repeat the chorus. This was a bad move as this could've sounded a whole lot better with all the lyrics. Skin to bone (Nick Catchdubs remix feat. Cody B. Ware and Ryu) is the first appearance of Mike Shinoda with his own rap verse which is a refreshing surprise!

I'll be gone (Vice remix featuring Pusha T) has a few rapped verses by Pusha T and then Mike appears in his second and final appearance with his own uncensored verse. Until it breaks (Money Mark headphone remix) features all of the original vocals over a very subdued beat. A light that never comes (Rick Rubin reboot) is an improvement on the original in my opinion. It has a more simpler sound with percussion and bass in the verses. NME wrote this "Rick Rubin’s final Primal Scream-gone-hip-hop remix of "A Light That Never Comes" saves Recharged from disaster, but you might need resuscitating after this lot" - agreed! Burn it down (Paul Van Dyk remix) is a mediocre dance remix which uses all of the original vocals except for the first chorus.

The whole album is a bunch of dance/dubstep remixes that bare hardly any resemblance to the original songs. Whereas Reanimation took the songs and gave them a different flavour and shape but for the most part stayed pretty true to the originals, this album's songs are all dance tracks with Linkin Park vocals! If you enjoy dance/dubstep and aren't a fan of Linkin Park then you may just enjoy this. If you enjoy those genres of music and like this band then you may enjoy this but if you don't I don't understand how you could like it. Unless you're a fan of dubstep, then you would certainly need to be a hardcore fan of LP to enjoy these remixes and you would have to love Living things too.

I haven't been a fan of Linkin Park since the release of A thousand suns and haven't bought an album since Minutes to midnight. I choose to follow their music these days just to see what they have come up with. This has definitely not converted me back into the huge fan of this band I once was and I am pretty sure it won't do that for anyone! I am happy that I didn't waste my money on this mess and feel sorry for anyone who did and hates it. With a move like this the band are sure to alienate more fans than they garner. This shocking album has continued to devastate my interest in this band and has lowered my opinion of this band to an immeasurable level. The Linkin Park from 1999-2004 would be ashamed if they could've seen what they have become! There are a good few bands which I liked for their original sound that have destroyed their original image and are a shadow of themselves but I have never known a band to continually pervert themselves as much as Linkin Park has and most likely will continue to do so. I find the album's name Recharged quite ironic because this band couldn't be less musically fired up or powerful. If this is Linkin Park 'recharged' then the first couple of studio albums must have been Linkin Park supersonic! This album comes with a strong warning - purchase at your peril!


Legends of Wimbledon: John Mcenroe [DVD] [NTSC]
Legends of Wimbledon: John Mcenroe [DVD] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ John McEnroe
Offered by Good Guys Media
Price: £12.99

4.0 out of 5 stars "It's not really that serious if you think about it"! [John McEnroe at Wimbledon], 17 Jan. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This DVD (approved by The all England lawn tennis and croquet club) created in 1998 chronicles John McEnroe's career specifically at Wimbledon. From entering as a qualifier in 1977 after playing at the Roehampton warm-up tournament he went on to have a magnificent first year at the tournament. He says on the DVD how surprised he was to make it into the main draw. Maybe it was that feeling of surprise and awe that kept him enjoying the tournament enough to take it all the way and face Jimmy Connors in the semi finals. He was 18 years old going up against a former champion. He says in his autobiography about how he tried to say 'Hi' but Connors just blanked him. This intimidation led to him losing in 4 sets but his impact that year was not taken lightly.

There are interviews with McEnroe's father, his doubles partner Peter Fleming whom he won many titles with including 4 at Wimbledon, Jimmy Connors, former umpire David Mercer who tells us if you were umpiring a McEnroe match you had to be skilled! Also BBC commentator John Barrett discusses his impressions of the teenager and the man. There are interviews with McEnroe himself speaking at a pre 9/11 New York city, sporting a goatee and earring.

In 1980 McEnroe beat Jimmy Connors in the semis reaching the final to face Bjorn Borg in his last Wimbledon win ,with McEnroe putting up an incredible fight but losing in 5 sets after winning the 4th tiebreaker 18-16. They refer to it as 'The Tiebreaker' and this was of course 1 of the greatest finals in the tournament's history. It was 1981 when he returned as the world's number 1 player and won his first Wimbledon, causing much more controversy that year after being fined $1,500 for calling an umpire "The pits of the world", swearing at the tournament's referee and screaming what became his famous catchphrase "you cannot be serious!". He defeated Bjorn Borg in 4 sets and this was the 2nd to last Grand slam Borg ever played after losing again to Mac in the US Open.

The rivalries between Bjorn Borg and Jimmy Connors are briefly discussed on this DVD, as Mac faced Connors and Borg in 2 finals each. In 1982 McEnroe came head-to-head with Connors in the final. Connors prevailed in 5 sets in what was the longest men's final at the time. "I never believed that anyone could try that hard" is McEnroe's response to Connors' dog fighting spirit to force a win that year after 8 years since his last Wimbledon championship.

In 1983 McEnroe faced Chris Lewis in what John himself calls "a mismatch" with his 2nd Wimbledon championship made by winning in straight sets, dropping just 6 games and playing perfect tennis. John also won the men's doubles that year paired with Peter Fleming. As John Barrett tells us; McEnroe hated to train and much preferred to play matches to gain experience and this is the reason why he won so many doubles tournaments.

In 1984 Mac went up against Connors again but this time it was far easier for him beating Jimmy in straight sets 6-1, 6-1, 6-2. David Mercer refers to it as "The best match he ever played"!

In 1985 he lost in the quarter finals to South African Kevin Curren 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 and the narrator tells us the game had become much more "about power to the detriment of McEnroe". Peter Fleming tells us the reason he didn't win anymore Grand Slams after 1984 "was because he lost his step... he was fighting an uphill battle". Barrett says "he lost his flare" and Mac admits "I slowed down... there were things I couldn't do so well anymore". He was 26 years old!

The narrator tells us that his Marriage to Tatum O' Neill broke down ending in divorce and due to the distractions of stardom he never played as well again. 1992 was MacEnroe's last Wimbledon and he made himself an ultimatum - unless he won a major he was going to quit professional tennis at the age of 33. He beat Pat Cash in the second round and as the narrator explains "crushed" the Aussie former champion. He went on to face Andre Agassi in the semi final and lost explaining in the interview "I was 33 but I didn't feel anywhere near as good as when I was 25". However it wasn't all sad as he teamed up with 1991 champion Michael Stich for the men's doubles where they reached the final and won so John could hold his head high in glory and it was a great way to go out ending his Wimbledon career on a high note. Mac's closing statement on his career is "They're not going to forget how I yelled at umpires but I'd like to think they respected the way I played and what I tried to do for the sport". John Barrett proclaims "I shall always think that John McEnroe was probably the best doubles player I ever saw".

It ends with the narrator saying McEnroe now runs an art gallery, he's an accomplished musician, a family man (speech about his family) and has become a TV commentator on tennis; as the narrator puts it "ironically...a case of poacher turned game keeper"! John Barrett comments on McEnroe's ability to relate to the players, bringing "a different dimension to commentating". John is my favourite commentator because of his ability to understand the players and their position as he says "I've been there". He may have changed people's views of tennis on the court but he continues to be influential off the court too in the commentary box.

This is a really good look into McEnroe's career and if you are a keen fan of him or have taken just a casual interest in him then this DVD is definitely for you!


Reanimation
Reanimation

3.0 out of 5 stars Is there any need to Reanimate already amazing songs?, 13 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Reanimation (MP3 Download)
I have been a fan of Linkin Park for over 10 years and have slowly collected all their albums through the years. This was an album I deliberately avoided until now for a good reason - I really don't get on well with remixes. A song was made a certain way and sounds that way because that is what the band/artist believes is best and I believe it should be kept that way. When some DJ comes in and twists a track around into something different usually the result is awful and they ruin what was a great original song. This album is made up of remixes of every track on the band's debut album Hybrid theory, which together with Meteora are by far their best material. It also features a few tracks which aren't on Hybrid theory. The album was released in July 2002 and was recorded during the Hybrid theory tour of 2001.

The cover artwork is an extension of the Hybrid theory soldier with wings. It's a Transformer looking robot with wings holding a red flag.

The album opens up with a string section which I had heard before from a live DVD I watched, I believe probably Live in Texas. Pts. of athrty was released as the only single from the album. I think this has to be the best remix on the album. It's taken the original song and put a bit of an electronic sound to it, taken out the second part of the lyrics in the chorus and instead repeated the first and it works so well. The music video was also pretty cool. I remember having this ringing through my head about 6 years ago when I discovered this song and it hits just as hard as the original and is as effective. Enth e nd is a quality remix with Mike lyrically reflecting on how he felt when he wrote the original In the end. In between some of the tracks are the phone messages from different artists who remixed the songs and this is the first. Frgt_10 is pretty average but Mike does do pretty good verses. P5hng me a_wy is a decent remix with different lyrics and a strong chorus. 1 of the best although the live version is far better. This 1 has some pretty irritating quiet, distorted vocals. Plc. 4 mie haed is OK and stays semi-true to the original. X-Ecutioner style is a mish mash of samples from One step closer and Cure for the itch with new raps afterwards. It's OK. H! Vltg3 is a good remix of the original track with a strong piano backdrop. I do prefer the original remix but this 1 is good too. The original song with a different chorus appeared on the Hybid theory and this is a remix of the remix!

Wth>you has a bleeping elctro backdrop in the verses and the bridge/chorus sounds similar to the original. It's a pretty good remix. Ntr/Mssion is a very short piano track and PPr:Kut follows. It's OK as it stays pretty true to the original and has the same guitar backing but it's not my taste I much prefer the original. Rnw@y isn't that good I don't like the electro sound in the background and the chorus is just too repetitive and ruins the magic of the original. My_Dsmbr has a funny clinking sound to it and doesn't sound as good as the original but it's not bad either. It's too upbeat which ruins the original's mood. By_Myslf is pretty good and has a different, improvised chorus. Kyur4 th ich is an interesting take on the original with funny computer sounding voices and DJ scratching. 1stp Klosr is a long track and starts off really slowly with electronic zapping type sounds. Finally the chorus appears after nearly 3 minutes! Then some lyrics appear which I am familiar with as the band also used this version in the bridge of the song on the Live in Texas DVD. The latter part of the song is good but the first part is a waste of time. The Krwlng remix I am quite familiar with as the big intro they also used on the same performance which appeared on the aforementioned DVD. It has a different overall sound to it but it stays true to the original which is what makes it sound so good.

On this bonus version there is One step closer (Live LP underground) which is a really great performance of the song live. The bridge uses the new 'blood is pouring' lyric from the remix. Buy Myself (Manson remix) is pretty good and has a very thudding backbeat and a repetitive bridge. It's far from the quality of the original but it's also a good remix. My December (Live Project Revolution 2002) is a quality performance of the song and sounds great live with the emotion and sincerity of the original being heightened here.

This is an album only for the big fans of the band or possibly those who prefer a more hip-hop, beat driven sound than a Nu metal sound. It isn't to everyone's tastes and it isn't to mine. This is the reason why I never purchased it back then. I am glad I have checked it out but this won't be appearing on my MP3 Player anytime soon. Some remixes are good, some mediocre and some are a waste of time (my opinion) so you must judge for yourself and make up your own mind about them.


Tone Deaf Music Single Electric Guitar Strings X 5 - 009 E
Tone Deaf Music Single Electric Guitar Strings X 5 - 009 E
Offered by Tone Deaf Music
Price: £1.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars String them up!, 6 Jan. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
There were 2 guitar shops near where I live and 1 of them has recently closed down. That is the 1 that I used to buy my strings from and they were generally good strings which would last a while. So I was forced to purchase from the other shop but unfortunately these strings must have been bought in cheaply because they were so poor and broke within a few times of playing the guitar! The E string is the thinnest and I'm a pretty heavy-handed guitarist which leads me to breaking them more than occasionaly.

I decided to look elsewhere for strings and tried this website as I know Amazon has a very wide selection of products. I came upon these strings and thought I'd give them a go. Well they are really good value for money and I'm glad I purchased them. I've played my guitar many times since putting these strings on and they work like a treat! They are a good thickness, fit really well with the guitar and they haven't broken yet. I now have 4 more strings for backup but hopefully these will last me for a while. They come recommended from yours truly!


How Can I Sleep With Your Voice in my Head
How Can I Sleep With Your Voice in my Head
Offered by Music-Finder
Price: £12.57

4.0 out of 5 stars Music is great but I hate to say this - for the first 8 tracks Morten sounds average!, 12 Dec. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've been a fan of A-ha for more than 5 years now and this live album had been on my wish list for a few years until I finally purchased it very recently. How can I sleep with your voice in my head - a lyric taken from the 1987 album's song The swing of things (which does feature on this album) is a completely live album released March 2003. It has 14 tracks from concerts recorded around Europe from September-October 2002 at Zurich; Switzerland, London; UK, Leipzig; Germany, Paris; France and Amsterdam; Holland. The album cover artwork was the idea of Magne Furuholmen which has a picture of a seal with a dozy expression on its face floating underwater; humorously reflecting the title. There are also a few more seal pics on the back of the booklet and inside the CD case. The inner artwork of the booklet has face pictures of each member as well as images of the band on stage and the arenas themselves.

The 1 issue I have with this collection is that it does not tell us where each song was recorded it only tells us that these songs were recorded in each of the aforementioned destinations. I would be very interested to know in which order they were recorded and when as this would appear very helpful for reasons I will soon mention.

Forever not yours starts us off with the crowd cheering; immediately throwing us into the live atmosphere, as well as some chiming synthesizers! We're soon into the song and by the end of the first verse I could tell that something was off. It's not hugely noticeable with this song but Morten Harket's vocals do not sound as good as I would expect. This is a good live version and the vocals are still pretty good nevertheless. Minor earth major sky is where Morten is left exposed and I never thought I would say this but Morten Harket sounds like a mediocre vocalist! There's something wrong with his voice which is especially noticeable at the bridge, just before the chorus. Maybe he was suffering with illness, maybe he was recovering from laryngitis - the boy just doesn't sound strong! By the time he utters "but it never comes out right..." you can clearly tell that something's seriously wrong with his voice. The music itself sounds fantastic just as with all the rest of the tracks but the vocals are a spoiler. Manhattan skyline follows, 1 of my personal favourites. The vocals are OK this time round and the whole song sounds quite good as a result... but it could be better. Here and there you can still hear Morten straining his voice. I've been losing you is another great 80's track with amazing rhythm and Morten sounds better this time which leads to a good sound. Crying in the rain is a duet with Norwegian singer Anneli Drecker. With the very welcome teamed female lead vocals it gives a much stronger sound and gives Morten's still pretty medicore singing a helping hand. Throughout the songs Morten's vocals are supported by backing vocals from Paul and Magne but with this lead vocal it is obviously far more noticeable that Morten needs this support and overall it's a good live version. The original The sun always shines on TV is another top 3 favourite of mine from this band. The music sounds great but the vocals still don't sound nowhere near as powerful as they do on the record. Morten sounds fine in the verses but at the chorus he's still straining his voice. It's still a good live version. Did anyone approach you and The swing of things are decent live but with the noticeably sub-par vocals they're not great. You'll also notice that the booklet features the lyrics from the bridge of the second verse ("Oh but how can I sleep with your voice in my head...") but Morten's lyrics differ, repeating a line from the first verse. At the end of this song the sound of the crowd fades and that's where everything changes!

Obviously the next track Lifelines was recorded at a different venue at a different date because the change in Morten's vocal ability is astounding! It's the Morten Harket from the first 8 tracks beaten 100%! His vocals soar to the heavens with the beautiful, rich voice that I wanted to hear all along. This is what I'm talking about! I believe if you want to listen to 1 A-ha song to hear Morten's vocal talents which proves he's 1 of the greatest singers ever then Stay on these roads is the song. He sounds as good as he does on the original and his voice in the chorus gives goosebumps it's that powerful. This is the voice I know and love! Hunting high and low is another extremely impressive performance and the crowd sing the chorus alone near the end. Take on me is good but not as great. Maybe years of singing this song has dampened Morten's enthusiasm because he sounds a bit flat in the verses. The living daylights sounds really good, with reggae being channelled near the end as the crowd sings the chorus repeatedly. Summer moved on is a fantastic tranquil ending and sounds brilliant with Morten sounding very impressive with the record breaking "stay" vocal - he's got a big pair of lungs on him! With the last 6 songs sounding so great it balances out the mediocrity of Morten's singing for the first 8 tracks.

The album's length is 1h 13 with most songs being around 5 minutes and The living daylights clocking in at 7:32! The version of this album I have is the 14 track 1 CD version and unless you're a mahoosive fan of this band live then I'd recommend this version because it's quite a bit cheaper and better value for money.


Elvis '56 [DVD]
Elvis '56 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Elvis Presley
Price: £5.97

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hit for fifty six!, 30 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Elvis '56 [DVD] (DVD)
I received this DVD as part of a boxset collection entitled 'Elvis' which also included the book 'Elvis: In words and pictures'. This DVD released in 2006 celebrates Elvis Presley's early years documenting his recordings and success with Sam Smith at Sun studios in Memphis with his band Scotty Moore on guitar, Bill Black on bass and D.J Fontana on drums. Elvis went on to be noticed by the notorious Colonel Tom Parker who signed him up with RCA records and told him "Son right now you have a million dollars worth of talent, by the time we're through you'll have a million dollars!". Interestingly Elvis' mother Agnes warned against the deal but Elvis and his father were all for it!

The DVD has this 1 documentary which is just over an hour long and is narrated by a Southern fella called Levon Helm.

The DVD has amazing footage of his performances, personal adventures with rare pictures like a trip home to see his family and girlfriend and footage of his appearances on TV shows such as the Dorsey Brothers show and Ed Sullivan's show where he was only filmed from the waist up! He appears on the Steve Allen show in a tuxedo with tails and sings Hound dog to a dog equally as smartly dressed! Steve Allen obviously sensed people's unease of this man and he was made to smarten up and act more proper. Elvis broke through in mid-50's conservative America where many were listening to the swing of Frank Sinatra and people were outraged not just at the music but by how Elvis performed the music with his 'gyrating' and sensual moves. Elvis is interviewed saying how he didn't mean to cause any trouble and he's just moving to the music and can't keep still.

Hilariously all of these suggestive moves led to a city even taking out an injunction against Elvis so that by law he couldn't move the way he did and instead was left waggling his finger! It seems ridiculous to us now with the current music scene where it's hard not to turn on the radio and hear a song with sexual lyrics or see a music video which isn't provocative but at the time people were stunned by this man's passion and couldn't handle it. They said he was 'out of control'! Meanwhile the younger generation were loving all the excitement and Elvis received 5 Gold records that year - Heartbreak hotel, I want you I need you I love you, Don't be cruel, Hound dog and Love me tender. His first Las Vegas performance was that year and he didn't return there to perform for 14 years. The film also discusses his early movie career and gives you a sense of Elvis' ambition to become a serious actor which never really happened and the movies became more about the songs which was something Elvis decided he didn't want to do in his movies at the start.

Elvis returned home to Tupelo, Mississippi where he was born to perform a concert at the state fair in September of that year to 22,000 people! Millions of miles away from his humble beginnings in a small wooden shack his fame had exploded. The documentary ends with a bittersweet feel expressing how with Elvis fame growing by 1957 (the following year) the fans couldn't get anywhere near him and stadiums were packed, leading to a distancing between himself and his fans. The original band broke up and things were changing rapidly for him. The year 1956 represented his development into a national sensation where he was being recognised across America when he became famous. After that everything changed and nothing would ever be the same again.
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Memorial Beach
Memorial Beach
Price: £6.63

4.0 out of 5 stars A moody blues, guitar led grower, 14 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Memorial Beach (Audio CD)
This is A-ha's fifth studio album released in 1993 and was their last album up until their reunion with the album Minor earth, major sky. The band changed their sound from their trademark synth-pop with the last album East of the sun, west of the moon, which was a more mature effort where they relied far more on actual instruments like acoustic guitar, real drums and bass and avoided synthesizers and keyboards altogether. The songs were mostly more relaxed and mellow sounding with the band making the effort to step into a more modern sound with the hey day of synth pop behind them. This album is quite a different sound again from that one with haunting, atmospheric songs, most of them having little melodies and dark sounds. The band obviously knew that they were coming to an end at the time and the songs represent those feelings of anxiety and negativity. Morten says this album marked "A rather dark and heavy period for the band", although Magne has said, "I dig Memorial Beach, and 'Dark is the Night for All' is the high point, the best thing on the disc." The album's title 'Memorial beach' signifies the record as being a symbol of a memory of the band with the best years behind them. This was the end, or at least that's what everyone believed at the time.

The album's artwork features a very boyband looking trio on the cover with the guys standing on the beach next to the shore, having their shirts open and looking on moodily. The inner artwork is all in black and white with a strange picture of what appears to be a pregnant woman on a bed, the members 3 faces shown in halves and a decent band photo in the centre of the booklet. On the back of the booklet is a cool picture of a locust in red and oranges with a black background. The band's name is also emblazoned in orange and red letters possibly depictive of fiery attitudes/tempers. The booklet does feature all the lyrics as opposed to a review I've just read on here.

All of the songs were written by Paul except for Move to Memphis which was co-written with Magne and Lamb to the slaughter written solely by Magne. The album did not do well commercially with Dark is the night being the only single to officially chart outside Norway, which peaked at number 19 in the U.K. It was also the last album the band ever released in the U.S. Whereas the last album East of the sun, west of the moon was the first album to feature more than 10 tracks this goes back to the 10 track format of the earlier albums. The album was produced by David Z and A-ha which was what helped them to have such a removed sound from their previous material.

The albums kick-starts with Dark is the night for all which is definitely one if not the best track off the album. It is very appealing and attractive with great melodies and an effective chorus "Oh don't you feel so small? Dark is the night for all" and still has a very moody melancholy feel to it. The song actually begins with the lyrics "It's time we said goodbye, time now to decide... It's time we moved out West, this time would be the best" clearly showing their intentions to move away from this band, although of course it could also be interpreted about a relationship. Move to Memphis I was shocked to learn was not a single! I can't understand why as this is obviously THE catchiest song on the whole album. The song still fits in well with the sullen tones of the album but gives us something to move to which a lot of the album doesn't have. It's a rock 'n' roll track amongst all this alternative indie/rock. Cold as stone has a very different sound to it, beginning with rattling and high pitched guitar notes. Afterwards it sounds very bluesy with Morten using droning, low vocals and there is no melody present. The electric guitar is very much at the front throughout the song. The song has an interlude halfway through and then a long outro which is a bit of a shock to listeners of previous A-ha. It's the longest song on the album at 8:12! Angel in the snow was a song Paul wrote for his bride Lauren as a wedding gift - the old romantic! It's led by acoustic guitar and is easier listening with a romantic sound and a good chorus. Morten's husky vocals give this a very different feel. Locust is another epic 5:08 track with bluesy bass and an extremely melancholy mood. The bridge features Morten talking about a dream he had which is eerie. Lie down in darkness is a highlight and easily the most upbeat since track 2 with a blues sound and electric guitar at the forefront. It's definitely 1 of the best with great rhythm and a quality chorus with female backing vocals. How sweet it was has a deep bass with a pretty upbeat sound and an enjoyable chorus. Lamb to the slaughter is a good mid-tempo number with lyrics evoking regret and a memorable chorus. Between your mama and yourself is pretty good and has a good chorus with another steadily upbeat guitar sound. Memorial beach is a very moody and slow piano led track with lyrics about moving on; "My bags are packed, guess I'm leaving the womb...So we walk down to memorial beach where things began". The song seems to speak about their relationship as band mates and it's a thoughtful and deep ending.

I believe this was another progression for the band with mostly a blues/guitar feel which reflected the atmosphere for the band at the time - moody and sullen. I didn't enjoy it much immediately but given time it's a decent album and really unique.


Analogue
Analogue
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £4.98

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars (4.5*!) Smells like smoke, sounds like bliss!, 12 Nov. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Analogue (Audio CD)
The title of this review is based on the second-hand CD I bought from Amazon that had obviously come from a smoker because the booklet wreaked of tobacco. This album was released in November 2005 and is the band's 8th studio album following 2002's Lifelines. The first time I ever heard this band was on CD:UK back in 2006 when the song Analogue was number 1 on their list and they played the video for it. I was 16 at the time and was into mostly pop, pop/rock and Nu metal and was struck by this different sounding music which immediately grabbed my attention and stuck with me. I then went on to buy the CD single released on 23rd January 2006. This is the standout song on the album and the reason why is that it was originally produced by Martin Terefe and mixed by Flood just as with the rest of the album's songs but was re-written and re-recorded and Max Martin (producer of songs for artists such as Backstreet boys, Kelly Clarkson and Britney Spears) stepped in to produce it. It is the album's most successful single and it became the band's first top 10 hit in the UK since the single Stay on these roads reached number 2 in 1988. The band came nowhere near to reaching that success since.

The album's artwork features black and white pictures of the members with flowers and leaves in colours of greys, whites and reds. On the back of the booklet is an image of a heart. It is quite solemn, representative of the sound.

Celice begins the album with strings followed by someone counting the song in, which is followed by upbeat drums and guitar - 1 of the few times we hear outright electric guitar from Paul. The song although beginning very upbeat and that rhythm continuing throughout most of the song, is mellow and thought provoking. It reached number 1 in both Norway and Belarus. Don't do me any favours follows as another mellow sounding track, which is indicative of the rest of the sound of this album. The song features plenty of acoustic guitar and a bitter chorus "Don't offer me no credit cos I do not want the blame, don't do me any favours I don't want to play that game". Cosy prisons is 1 of the best tracks. The song is about concealing yourself with what you feel is comfortable and never removing yourself from that comfort zone, essentially creating your own prison. The song features a brilliant, uplifting and equally moody piano riff and great lyrics which make you think. Analogue follows with a more upbeat sound than anything else and cleaner production. Definitely the best. Birthright takes us back to the more predominant mellow, relaxed sound. It was released as a promo single in Norway. Morten's vocals sound amazing next to the piano backdrop. The verses are slow and cool and it builds up to a more dramatic bridge/chorus. The song is 1 of 4 on the album written by Magne. Holy ground is another mid-tempo track this time being written by Morten Harket and fits in really well with the repetoire. It's also a chance for Morten to show off his vocal talents. Over the treetops is an acoustic guitar based track with a cool rhythm and effective strings just before and at the chorus, also at the very end. It features impressive high picthed vocals from Morten.

Halfway through the tour is the longest track at 7:26. The song depicts a man touring and as much as he enjoys it, wishing to get back home. It's a big song with strings that lead to an instrumental interlude halfway through the song, slowing the rhythm down dramatically. This interlude finishes the song out and leaves a sombre mood. A fine blue line is another acoustic guitar based track with varying vocals by Morten and a sweet sounding chorus. The song ends with a big outro with violins and other strings. Keeper of the flame has a very moody, thoughtful sound, backed by piano, it features real drums and a folk/rock 'n' roll sound. It also features alliteration lyrics and is pretty nostalgic with a strong sense of melancholy. Make it soon is another Morten Harket penned track with a cool rhythm and is very enjoyable. The middle 8 is big and dramatic with distorted sounds and is a contrast to the earlier part. White Dwarf is 1 of the best and 1 of my top 3 favourites. It has this amazing twisted sounding acoustic guitar riff which is the highlight but the whole song sounds so atmospheric, melancholic and just amazing. I like the metaphor used for the feelings of loneliness and absence from what he desires. It's a smart song. Summers of our youth is another of the best tracks, written by Magne Furuholmen it has a beautiful sound with the main theme being nostalgia. Magne does the lead vocal at the verse and Morten sings at the bridge/chorus which mixes things up and what helps it stand out so much. The song is piano led with discreet percussion and keyboard effects at the interlude. It's a great way to end this album.

A strong album with moving and effective songs that should not disappoint. Just don't expect them to all sound like Analogue (all I want) because this isn't just a pop record with catchy songs. A-ha don't need to be compared with more modern bands like Coldplay and Keane because they are credible and prominent artists in their own right and proclamation.


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