Profile for S. McAusland > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by S. McAusland
Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,955,303
Helpful Votes: 18

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
S. McAusland "Snail Shell" (UK)

Page: 1
101 80s Hits
101 80s Hits

4.0 out of 5 stars Good 80s Compilation, 6 Jan 2010
This review is from: 101 80s Hits (Audio CD)
As far as compilation albums go specific to decades or genres, not everyone will agree that the track list is perfect. I'm sure there are plenty of other great 80s hits that could have made this album in place of the lesser known songs and make it even better, but also a good mix between the pop songs, a few rock songs and other songs that were really only around at the time in this case is a strong mix. This is easily one of the best 80s compilation albums out there.

The first disc is full of songs everyone will know; opening with "I Want To Break Free", "Heaven Is A Place On Earth" and "Walking On Sunshine" sets the 80s mood straight away, along with classic acts of the decade such as Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran and Ultravox to follow. After the first disc, it dies down a little, with the odd chart-topper here and there, but is still riddled with 80s classics such as "Our House" by Madness, "Ghost Town" by The Specials and "Karma Chameleon" by Culture Club and is simply great value for money.

Live at the Olympia Plus DVD
Live at the Olympia Plus DVD
Price: 17.14

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Live Collection For Fans, 6 Jan 2010
Let's start with the double CD collection. 39 songs... it says so on the album cover. These are songs spanning R.E.M.'s entire career, but not ones that casual listeners will be interested in (there's no "The One I Love", "Losing My Religion" or "Everybody Hurts" on here). A large majority of the songs are from the band's I.R.S. career from 1982-1987, back before they were considered mainstream, and many of the other songs are from the band's latest album, the rocky Accelerate, performed as "works in progress" before the record was released. The songs are performed well and sound great, and some are disputably superior to their studio equivalents ("Houston"?). Between songs feature talk by mostly Stipe to the audience explaining the songs and also explaining how "this is not a show... this is a live rehearsal". So the songs on the live rehearsal album are ones only dedicated R.E.M. fans will be familiar with or interested in, which is good for those wanting to hear the band play their oldest songs over 20 years later, but not for casual listeners. Less devoted fans will rather go for 2007's R.E.M. Live, featuring the "hits", which also demonstrates how R.E.M.'s two live albums contain completely different songs, so it's not a case of "if you have one, you have the other".

Secondly, the DVD I thought was going to be basically a live video of the performances, but it's more of an art film and features only a selection of the songs performed; some not in full and others together in a medley. The cameras show little of the band performing and more of the entire venue. It seems to be more about documenting the Olympia at that specific time; what was happening and capturing the general mood around it, rather than showing a band perform their songs to a group of people. The film is titled This Is Not A Show though, so... it is not a show, and it does seem to make it very clear for those expecting a straightforward concert like the accompanying DVD to R.E.M. Live. But to conclude, R.E.M. are a band who are just as good live as they are in the studio, so the songs performed are of course excellent, and this live album is a great collection for the R.E.M. fans.

The Beatles Box Set - Remastered in Stereo
The Beatles Box Set - Remastered in Stereo
Price: 128.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Complete Beatles, 6 Jan 2010
It's exactly what it says it is. With all 12 original studio albums along with Magical Mystery Tour and Past Masters, it includes every song released by The Beatles from 1962-1970. That's a catalogue worth five stars alone, but this is a REMASTERED box set. Nowadays, when music is remastered, you can expect a lot of compression and peak limiting, taking away the original dynamics just to make the music louder (which is what a volume control is for), but the amount of volume-increasing mastering techniques done on this release is very little, so the recordings aren't damaged.

Despite being arguably inferior to their mono counterparts, the first four albums in stereo (for the first time on CD) sound amazing, and the rest are simply improved masters of their 1980s CD releases. Along with the great sound quality, the albums are packaged in sleek cases replicating the original LP artwork (front, back and inside), and include notes on production and recording in the booklets to each album along with the original liner notes and the CD labels that replicate their original 1960s LP releases, with Parlophone and Apple designs, and the Capitol Records rainbow design for Magical Mystery Tour. The DVD extra is a brief film running through the production and recording of each album with voiceovers from John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and George Martin. Great value for money for the entire Beatles catalogue sounding its best and packaged beautifully.

Ocean's Eleven
Ocean's Eleven
Offered by MasterDVD
Price: 3.75

3.0 out of 5 stars Great Songs, But..., 5 Jan 2010
This review is from: Ocean's Eleven (Audio CD)
David Holmes' music for the Ocean's trilogy is without a doubt exceptional and a lot of his great compositions are on here, along with other songs featured in the movie by other artists such as "Papa Loves Mambo" by Perry Como and "A Little Less Conversation" by Elvis Presley. So what could go wrong? To begin, although movie dialogue isn't uncommon on soundtrack albums, this one in particular is overloaded with speeches from virtually every actor in the film, quite often unnecessarily. It's as if it's trying to tell the story between songs, which is what the movie itself is for, not its soundtrack. Even once or twice some dialog has been remixed INTO the songs as "vocals". Furthermore, the gapless playback segues certain tracks into each other disruptively. There is a long drone from the previous track leading into "Papa Loves Mambo" and the strings to the next track begin early at the end of "A Little Less Conversation", which is already a rare song to come by in this recorded version without another song beginning as it fades out, and both these disruptions take away the "legitimacy" of these classic recordings. This can also make these songs sound awkward and out of place when they come up on shuffle on a computer media player or on an MP3 player, although at the time the album was produced (2001), portable music players weren't nearly as common as today so this shuffle issue wasn't seen as something that would become a problem. Of course it's not the music that's bad at all; the excellent music is what's outstanding about this collection, it's simply the unnecessary production techniques that seem to be there only to "show off" by today's standards that let it down, and it would have been better if each song began and ended without gaplessly crossing over, nor for remixing extensive dialogue from the film into the tracks.

Good Evening New York City [2CDs + DVD]
Good Evening New York City [2CDs + DVD]
Offered by RFH Global
Price: 7.23

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Spectacular, 5 Jan 2010
The great thing about a joint CD/DVD music release is that you can watch the show, then if you still haven't had enough, listen to it in your car, on your stereo system or on your iPod. It works better with some releases but for Good Evening New York City, it's impeccable, with each of the 30+ songs being performed to perfection by Paul and his exceptional band. You can expect a great collection of performances on any live show by Sir Paul, but this one in particular is truly spectacular. All the songs are in there that you'll need; a great mix of Beatles classics along with solo work, Wings and The Fireman material.

The show begins with "Drive My Car", immediately getting you hooked, followed by the Band On The Run classic "Jet", and it's on from there. Though the first half is mostly of non-Beatles songs and arguably lesser known songs to certain fans, they are all still great songs performed brilliantly that keep you watching in awe regardless. An outstanding revival of "Got To Get You Into My Life", showing how the man can still sing just as great years on, followed by "Let Me Roll It" confirms you're in for a great show. At the end of the first CD and towards the middle of the show on the DVD, "Band On The Run" is played before Paul delves into his Beatles classics, including "Back In The U.S.S.R.", "Paperback Writer" and "Hey Jude", as well as Paul's tribute to his former bandmate George Harrison with "Something", and his tribute to John Lennon with "A Day In The Life"/"Give Peace A Chance".

Along with clips from the 1965 Shea Stadium performance during one song, a special guest performing with Paul and the band in another and astonishing pyrotechnic effects for "Live And Let Die", it is the perfect opening concert for New York's new Citi Field stadium that you just don't want to end. Who else should open this new stadium other than the man who was here with The Beatles on the site 40 years before, for that memorable performance at the former Shea Stadium? An unforgettable classic and the perfect live album for Paul McCartney and Beatles fans alike.

Page: 1