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Lee Mallabar Dreamware "Battle Garegga" (North East England)

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Frozen [Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Frozen [Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Price: £18.00

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Pixar fan is blown away!, 23 Jan 2014
For me, Toy Story changed everything. I loved the Disney animations which preceded it: Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Lion King, etc. I go back and watch them now and they're still great: I especially love the musical aspects. The beginning scene from Lion King still has the hairs on the back of my neck standing up and, I'm not afraid to admit, it brings a tear to my eye. Obviously it's not a sad scene, so I think the tear is just from an overwhelming sense of wonderment and awe over the beauty of the scene and how it's so beautifully created through the visuals and music. Those things just seem to get me every time. But Toy Story just moved the game on, on so many levels. It felt like a hundred years of progress in a single leap. And Pixar kept delivering, almost without fail. All of the Toy Story movies, Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles are perhaps my favourites. They manage to just cover all bases - brilliant on every level, and magical and moving with it. It was almost sad to see Disney's own output get left behind. There have been signs of a comeback though: I was stunned by the Pincess and the Frog and Tangled, while perhaps not as visually amazing as Pixar's output, was just huge fun.

Watching the commercials for Frozen, I didn't expect it to be especially amazing. It was just something to take the kids to see around Christmas really. It looked nothing more than an amusing, lighthearted kids movie. Boy did those commercials undersell it! I don't think I've been as stunned visually by a movie since Avatar. It really is an incredible achievement and I'd recommend people do go to the cinema to see if it's still being shown and they can afford it. It's just one of those 'big screen' movies which is worth the price of admission. I'd pay to see it again, even with the imminent home release. Being shocked by the visuals (Disney out-Pixaring Pixar?) was just part of it though. It felt like an old-fasioned children's tale. By that, I mean there's a bit of seriousness and darkness to it. To be honest, there's a few scenes and overall tones in the movie which could scare some young kids who've dined on nothing but sugary-sweet animations. You can't mark it down for though, it is what it is. Just beware.

Anyway, what I wanted to say is this movie just pulls together ALL of the best aspects of Disney, 3D animation, musicals, story, atmosphere... everything. For me, it was perfect. It has that almost indefinable magical quality: it was like almost the whole movie gave me that tingly buzz I get from the first scene in the Lion King. A stunning achievement in every sense of the word, a future classic without any doubt. It's a movie which adults can and will enjoy at least as much as kids. For the first time, I felt that Disney's own output has matched the very best of Pixar, if not bettered it on some levels. I haven't been as in awe over an animation and desperate to see it again since I first watched Princess Mononoke.

Year Of The Wolf
Year Of The Wolf
Price: £7.55

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kind of a Nerina Pallot review, 12 Oct 2011
This review is from: Year Of The Wolf (Audio CD)
I think one of the many problems Nerina Pallot has had in her career is that she's very hard to fit into a single category. With someone like Duffy, we all know what type of music she makes and that seems to make it easier for success to come. Pallot though, is a true artist, with massive singing, songwriting and musical talent. One of the aspects of her genius is that all of her albums are full of diverse sounds and styles. It's nice to see that everyone has their own favourite tracks, but one of the downsides here is that literally every single media review of every one of her albums will cite different good songs and different poor songs. I have to ask why 'professional' music reviews exist, because music is such a personal thing and a reviewer's taste always comes into it. Just google some of her album reviews and you'll soon find that I'm not talking nonsense!

Another slight downside to the diversity is that in this instant gratification day and age, people are far too quick to start typing out a review and post it for posterity. Some people may be a fan of certain tracks of previous albums, take one listen to a new album and decide they don't like it because there's not enough material which matches the style of their favourites.

I wasn't madly in love with her 3rd album, The Gradiuate, at the beginning. Coming on from what is widely regarded as her best album, Fires, it was always going to be a tough act to follow, especially as it was slightly more poppy and less singer/songwritery (I'm paraphrasing Pallot, it's not just my opinion of her style). If I'd reviewed that album after one listen: 3 stars. But after a dozen or so listens, it seemed to be a definite 4 star album! I stopped listening to it for quite a while but now, 2 years after it's release, it's back in the CD player and seems better than ever: Everything's Illuminated, the first track, suddenly sounded pretty amazing and had me pumping up the volume; Cigarette simply blew my mind, the ambient sounds and arrangements are beyond amazing... one of her very best tracks.

Year Of The Wolf. It was a bit hit & miss for me for a while. I'm no fan of Bernard Butler. Going back to Duffy for a moment, I really enjoyed her singles on the radio but when I finally bought the album and popped it into a quality hi-fi, I hated the production: samey, claustrophobic like it was made inside a box... argh! The first track and single on YOTW, Put Your Hands Up upset me quite a bit, because after about 70 seconds, it takes a huge jump in volume but not in a good way, like it's too loud for itself... typical Bernard Butler. The second track and single, Turn Me On Again, has Butler's, but it works, and I thought it was a great track. Other tracks, some I wasn't crazy about, due to their production more than anything else I think, some I loved. The ones which didn't feel they had Bernard Butler's fingers all over them, basically. Grace, History Boys, the quieter tracks, which sounded like they would at a Pallot concert. However, slowly but surely, everything grew on me. While Put Your Hands Up still doesn't sound like it's produced properly, it's a great track, very clever. Butterfly, which never did anything for me, started to grow, and I found myself singing along to it. I Do Not Want What I Do Not Have (co-written with Linda Perry), is a challenging song, but now I admire it's many qualities rather than get put off by it's slightly clashing sounds. The other tracks, well, they've just grown and grown. My kids can't get past Turn Me On again, playing it over and over again every time they're in the car, while I try desperately to persuade them to listen to the elegance and beauty of Grace and History Boys.

I'm not totally sure how well the album flows from track to track, and pretty much everything sounds very different to the next, but to me, this is verging on being a great album. Is it as good as Fires? No. If you say otherwise, I just can't figure out how you can come to that conclusion. Is it as good as Dear Frustrated Superstar? I think the highs aren't maybe quite as high (but, being a Pallot album, which songs are the highs? For me, that would be Blood Is Blood, My Last Tango, and Daphne & Apollo, to name but three) but the lows aren't as low. The media reviews seem to be more favourable than they were for The Graduate, but I think that was an underrated album... I'd say they're about equal. Both worth buying for their best tracks, whatever you feel they are.

I just have to ask myself why she used Bernard Butler. I know: she thought her previous albums were missing guitar. Would the album have been better without him producing it? Yes, for sure, I Do Not Want What I Do Not Have, and I'm pretty happy overall. I just wish she'd search her heart and make the album which feels like it's really her and not come out with crazy comments like "everyone's tired of the singer/songwriter thing" as an explanation of why she's not making another Fires. Maybe not having the success you deserve has you asking what you're doing wrong, forcing you to tweak your own niche. When sales of Amy Winehouse (RIP), Duffy and Adele go supernova and you're left wondering what you're doing wrong, it must be hard to deal with, or at least hard to get your head around. But in my opinion, Fires blows away anything they've done.

Price: £7.65

13 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sadly, "average" would be stretching the truth here..., 23 Jan 2010
This review is from: Expando (Audio CD)
I'm a huge Eagles fan and while I'll always feel that Timothy was no real replacement for Randy Meisner, I still own another of his other solo albums (Playin' It Cool) as well as all of the Poco albums he features on... I even had my name on his website so that I could be notified as soon as the album was released. I'd almost forgotten about it while I was away on holiday but I returned to the UK, switched on Radio 2 and there was Parachute playing within a couple of minutes! Pretty cool welcome home, I thought. Nice song, too. More Poco than Eagles, but there's nothing wrong with that. In my opinion, his Poco stuff had a bit more life and meat to it than his Eagles songs anyway. I guess it was a bit like when I first heard the first song from Long Road Out of Eden on the radio (How Long... the name of the song, not how long I had to wait for the album to finally be released!) and I felt like I was transported back to 1974 and the days of their On The Border Album. Anyway, the single, Parachute, made me think of a sort of mid-life Poco song.

First song on the album is nice, hints of Poco again, slightly honkey tonk perhaps. 2nd song is Parachute so that was great to hear it through the hi-fi. Sadly after that it starts to go downhill. As an Eagles fan I couldn't bring myself to use the word 'drivel' but in truth it's not many rungs above that. Another reviewer here states "If you enjoy the softer side of the Eagles, you should enjoy this one.". To me, that's unfortunately way off the mark. I think that gives off the impression that the album is going to mostly sound like "I can't tell you why" (The Long Run) or "Love Will Keep Us Alive" (Hell Freezes Over) or the two songs he sings from Long Road Out Of Eden, which means heartfelt ballads sung beautifully. Well, the album is nothing like those. To be honest, it sounds as though he's had most of these songs lying around for decades, and they weren't good enough for Poco and despite the difficulty finishing the album, weren't good enough for the Long Run, and there's no way Henley would have this stuff on Long Road Out Of Eden. I haven't bothered looking at the songwriting credits on the album yet, but I can't imagine Schmit actually paying anyone for the majority of this material, and it doesn't exactly sound like Paul Carrack has written an entire album for him! I shouldn't be all that surprised, I guess. When you think of the huge amount of time it took between Long Run and Long Road Out Of Eden and how much time Schmit had to come up with something worthwhile to add on the album. In the end, the only two songs he sang on there were written by Henley (who gave him the track because it suited Schmit's softer voice, whereas Henley thought he'd come across as preaching if he sang it) and Paul Carrack. The production values are decent, but the songs just seem to be mainly about nothing much and even though his voice will always sound nice, he's not exactly trying to stretch it: it's all very half-hearted.

Parachute, which is a good song, is at the time of writing, on the A play list on Radio 2. Somewhere along the line, impossible though it may seem, some people will hear the song and buy this album even though they don't actually own any Eagles albums. If you were about to be one of those people, then please, hesitate before you buy this. Try to have a listen first, or buy the single or download a couple of tracks you like after previewing them. If you love his voice, go and buy some Eagles compilation album with his songs on, or buy Long Road Out Of Eden, as that has 2 songs on it. If you like Parachute as a song in it's entirety, then I recommend you try out some Poco material. If you can find it, The Forgotten Trail has loads of really great stuff on it mixed with some OK stuff. It's from their early days but there's a definite Parachute vibe in many of the songs and Tim sings on a couple of them at the very least. The Essential Collection is practically given away free on Amazon, or you could try to find some of the post-Forgotten Trail albums, all of which are better than this.

Sorry if this is a bit long-winded, but this needs to be said. I sort of think it drags the name and value of the Eagles down as a whole. He's got a very nice, pure voice, but creatively, though I have no joy in saying it, he's just a filler within the Eagles, despite how the Amazon description makes him sound. He wasn't the driving force within Poco and he only joined the Eagles for their last studio album before they broke up (... and finally got back together). Even though he has a high-pitched voice (""the ribbon on the top of the cake" as Glenn Frey puts it), he doesn't even sing Take It To The Limit o their live shows which seems very bizarre. Is he just lazy or is his range and power far more limited than it seems? If you listen to Henley's Inside Job (or Inside Job Live DVD which is simply incredible, even using the Eagles as a benchmark... if there was ever a video caption for the term "the master at work" it should be this DVD) or The End Of The Innocence albums next to this one, it's hard to argue otherwise. It's like comparing the scribblings of a six-year-old kid to the works of Shakespeare.

Sorry Tim, it's not a personal thing. After all, I was a big fan of Bernie Leadon during his stint on the first 4 Eagles albums, and his recent (well, recent in Eagles timescale) album was also cr*p.

There'll be a lot of Eagles fans with a particular fondness for Tim's voice who won't like what I've written. All I can say is listen to the track previews...
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 27, 2010 10:54 AM GMT

24: Season Six DVD Collection [DVD] [2002]
24: Season Six DVD Collection [DVD] [2002]
Dvd ~ Kiefer Sutherland
Price: £12.00

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The writers think the viewers are stupid, 13 Jan 2009
Do you ever question your ability to be critical? Do you even care? I do, but sometimes I wonder if I'm letting things slide just because I know and love something. Like 24. Man, the first season was something special, wasn't it? 24 and Six Feet Under in the same year, two absolutely groundbreaking TV shows. For me, watching 24 for the first time was a bit like watching Jurassic Park for the first time. I just looked on in amazement, unable to blink. The problem with so many TV shows is that they were designed from the outset to be just one season: the first season. That was clearly the case with 24. Same with Sleeper Cell, same with Heroes. But maybe, the show became a huge hit (Heroes) and the studios just had to make a 2nd season. Maybe it was a hit with critics (Sleeper Cell). Maybe a bit of both (24). What happens after the 1st season is anyone's guess. Sleeper Cell failed miserably and I think the writers knew it from the beginning. I do think 24 has been a bit hit-and-miss (for example in the 2nd season, you got the feeling that Jack's daughter was just filling time by getting lost in the woods and almost getting attacked by a wildcat and then being captured by some loon... the writers kept her in because she looked good but they didn't really know what to do with her) but overall, I was more than happy to suspend belief and enjoyed seasons 2, 3, and 4. But at some point during the 2nd half of season 5, something happened to me: I realised the writers had either ceased caring, just didn't read back what they'd wrote (to see how damn ridiculous it sounded) or just passed off the viewers as monkeys who wouldn't realise they were putting out implausible pap. The little niggles I'd had with other series here and there were now popping up every single episode and starting to bother me badly. I thought season 5 had really gone down a big hill increasingly quickly, a shame because there was some good stuff in there. I did wonder if I'd realised this a bit late, maybe all of season 5 was like this and I was just being a bit slow to notice.

So onto season 6... I was worried. My wife didn't even bother, she was not gong to be taken for a fool by the writers. Let's not mince words here: season 6 is just ridiculous. The quality of the writing is pathetic. Seriously, no writer, producer director or main actor shouted "hang on a second, the audience aren't THAT stupid! Let's re-do this and make it a tad more plausible"? But no, nobody said anything. Jack came within a second/inch of dying about a hundred times, which is at least 90 times too many, even in a show like 24. One of my favourites was really early on where jack is chasing some terrorist (going off memory, ages since I watched it) and he goes down into the sewers in the dark looking for the guy... he might have even been unarmed, but that sounds really stupid so maybe not. On and on he goes, and finally just when the baddie is right around the corner about a foot away, pointing his gun right where Jack is about to walk, Jack gets a call and turns back. Wouldya looka dat honey, one more second and Jack would have bought it! Gimme a break! It was supposed to be tense, but it just made me question why I was even bothering to watch. This sort of thing happened time and time again, and it got far worse, and much of the plot was just done in desperation. Again, such a shame because there was some good stuff.

All in all, if you're critical, you're going to have to give this a miss, because you'll find it excruciatingly unwatchable, and any critic who says otherwise should never be trusted EVER again. Remember their names! It's far from being alone, just look at the new Indiana Jones movie for example. That really was the movie version of season 6 of 24. Utterly unbelievable and implausible, and from Spielberg and Lucas too, they should hang their heads in shame for soiling the Indiana Jones name. I expect that from Hollywood though. TV on the other hand, US TV at least, is producing some marvellous stuff. Some of the big names are wonderful, but some of the slightly lesser-known things are at least as good if not better. One of my faves was Day Break. It's bizarre, because US TV suddenly got a LOT better with the arrival of 24 and Six Feet Under. Together, they teamed up and shook up TV as we knew it, coming at it from completely different angles too. Hollywood buckled under it's own over-hyped CGI effects and watery plotlines and 'grab them hard for 90 minutes of pure adrenaline' ridiculousness. Now 24 has gone and done the same thing. It's very upsetting.

However, if you're not critical, or you hear that season 7 is good (and 24: Redemption was decent and NOT ridiculous, so fingers crossed) then I guess it has to be watched so you can know the show in it's entirety. I watched it at all, and I don't regret it, because I live in hope that with the show being off air for a while, the writers will have had time to realise their crimes and put things right with the next one. But really, despite some decent stuff lurking here and there, this season 6 is a ******* joke. A message for the creators: read what you write and watch what you film before you air it to the public.

Chuck: Season 1 [DVD] [2008]
Chuck: Season 1 [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Zachary Levi
Price: £8.49

23 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute entertainment!, 14 May 2008
This review is from: Chuck: Season 1 [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
If you've read the synopsis and think to yourself "Hmmm... that all sounds a bit unlikely, I don't think I'll bother", then please, I beg you: reconsider and just watch Chuck! Sure, it is all a bit unlikely but along with Reaper, it's as enjoyable as anything I've ever seen. My wife and I both have huge grins on our faces all through every episode. It's probably a 50/50 mix of True Lies and something like Deuce Bigalow.

It's also one of the new generation of US product that really closes the gap with Hollywood in terms of production values. You certainly don't feel like you're watching something made on a shoestring, and while there will no doubt be people who don't agree with this, the difference in terms of quality between the top US stuff and the top UK stuff like Doctor Who and it's pathetic 'adult' spin-off is embarrassing. We can do gritty but we can't approach the quality of US series like Dexter, Heroes, Reaper, 24 (well, maybe not the last season...), The Unit, E-Ring, Day Break, Huff, 1st season Sleeper Cell, Six Feet Under, etc. etc. We either don't have the budget, don't have a team of writers big enough to cope with the scale, or completely mis-allocate the budget and end up wasting it on some attention grabbing yet unrealistic special effects, the sort of which were turning people away from Hollywood action movies 5 years ago at the cinemas. If you don't agree, then look at it another way: The BBC just shelled out a hundred grand an episode for season 2 of Heroes. How much are the Americans paying for our stuff and how many of the big networks are showing anything we make at all? You can't blame cultural differences for everything! We really need to be thinking bigger and better, otherwise just like our economy, we'll end up importing everything and exporting nothing! OK, rant nearly over, but it does get to me, especially when I think of how much everyone in the UK pays the BBC for their license fee. If we thought bigger and better, then the BBC might be able to make something like Heroes and then a big US network might actually pay the BBC a hundred grand an episode for something, which when you add the licenses for TV networks in about a hundred other countries, might actually help to reduce the license fee a bit!

There's also that undeniably gripping will they/won't they get together thing between Chuck and his fake girlfriend/special agent, it's the sort of thing which adds that final few percent to things like Reaper and helped to keep Frasier and I guess Friends running for so long.

Overall, it's just huge fun. It's daft as hell yet complex at the same time. It's childish yet serious. I can enjoy serious stuff, and I can enjoy fun childish stuff. This appeals to both sides of my brain and heart I guess. I love it!
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 31, 2008 12:14 AM GMT

Price: £6.84

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The soundtrack to my summer holidays, 27 Nov 2007
This review is from: ON THE BORDER (Audio CD)
There's another customer review of this album on, where the reviewer mentions he's glad that On The Border wasn't his first experience of the Eagles, otherwise it would have been his last. I'd like to offer a flipside: this was my first experience of their music. One day in 1980, my mother came back from town with this album on cassette, which she'd picked up on special offer from WHSmith. I was five years old at the time and hadn't formed any real musical taste, other than listening to various LPs my parents owned and watching the chart music on Top Of The Pops. I'd never heard of the Eagles before, and my mother really just picked it up on a whim. She certainly didn't say anything like "Yes, this is the band that made Hotel California". After the first listen, I was utterly hooked. It's still so vivid in my mind now, listening to each side of the tape and just loving every single aspect of every single song. Four separate lead singers, all with distinct, fabulous voices. Such great musicianship and harmonies; such musical diversity. During the summer holidays, my family used to drive all the way to the former Yugoslavia with a caravan towed behind. We'd depart the ferry at Rotterdam, Holland, then drive down through Germany, through Austria, taking in some of Italy before finally reaching Yugoslavia and hitting the Mediterranean Sea. My younger brother slept through entire countries, but I always loved the scenery and counted all the different types of cars and trucks coming the other way. It was a means to get to the actual holiday but it was a part of the holiday for me. Well, On The Border was the soundtrack for every one of these cross-European slogs (and there were quite a few). I'm amazed the tape didn't completely wear itself out, because we must have listened to it a few hundred times. Sometimes, we'd change to a bit of Neil Diamond or Bobby Goldsboro, but most of the time, it was On The Border. My mother was perfectly happy to keep listening again and again, and even my dad, who doesn't listen to music much (he prefers talk radio) didn't put up much of a fight.

It was a couple of years at least before we bought our 2nd Eagles alum, which was their eponymous debut album. I've since became a complete lifelong fan. I've got all their albums, concerts, even Best Of's and Greatest Hits collections with absolutely no new songs... sad, admittedly. I've got the solo albums from all the Eagles members, not just the good stuff from Don Henley. But of all their output, this album remains my favorite. It may be part down to nostalgia, or the fact that this was my first - I can't totally discount that - but I think there was something else going on with this album too. It's no secret that there were many tensions within the band. People claim they all absolutely hated each other, plain and simple. Even after reading Don Felder's new book, I still think that it was just down to there being a group of young talented guys who had slightly different views on what they wanted to make, combined with the Wolf pack or Lion pride mentality. Everyone wanted to be the Alpha male. In the end, I guess Henley and Frey became the Alpha couple (I wouldn't want to suggest an Alpha female there) and Bernie Leadon was eventually forced out, as was Randy Meisner. Why am I even mentioning all this? Well, On The Border was really a crossroads album, and there are 3 important factors here:

1) The members who left didn't leave until later, so all of the original members were present.

2) Don Felder (Bernie's friend, and one helluva great guitarist) joined the group, knowing fine well - and being warned - that he really was entering the Lion's den.

3) With the previous two albums, there'd been a battle over musical style. Frey, Henley and I think Meisner too wanted a more rock sound. Leadon, who was the most experienced and successful individual before the band formed, wanted a more country sound. As did Glynn Johns, their famous producer. However, Desperado hadn't sold as well as their first album, many putting it down to the fact that it was too rock for country fans and too country for everyone else. So, with On The Border, the other members had their case strengthened, they sacked their producer early on and then really went for a different sound. Felder came in to strengthen this sound, even though Leadon knew that the arrival of his old friend would mean his beloved country sound was pushed further to the background.

I've gone on a bit here, but the Eagles are a huge band, and I think this album deserves more than some people give it. For me, it feels like the old Eagles, plus a bit more. But it also feels much more related to their later albums like Hotel California than their first two albums. It seems that not so many people are happy with this compromise, but for me, it's perfect. I love every song, and I honestly think any of them could have been released as singles. People will always have their favorites, but if you have a balanced and diverse taste in music, I think you'll see the true beauty in each song. Lyrically simpler than the later stuff and I guess more innocent. It's not a rock album. It's not a country album. It's not a pop album. It's not bluegrass, R&B or any one thing, but it is a perfect, radio-friendly mixture of all of these genres in my opinion. I know it better than the back of my hand, and it hasn't aged a bit.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 5, 2010 11:31 AM GMT

Long Road Out Of Eden
Long Road Out Of Eden
Offered by Formats
Price: £22.99

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't judge after only one listen!, 2 Nov 2007
This review is from: Long Road Out Of Eden (Audio CD)
This album has a lot to live up to. Despite the hordes of Eagles-haters (mostly for reasons other than their music if they were to be honest) - many of them within the press - who've done their futile utmost over the decades to bring the Eagles crashing down, this is a timeless band with many timeless classics. Their music has, if anything, actually become more popular over the years. The best selling album of all-time (selling over 29 million copies in ONE country alone), reforming after a 14 year break-up, only to have what was, at the time, the highest-grossing world tour ever. Then on the back of that tour, releasing what may well be the most popular music DVD ever, and recently with their Farewell 1 tour, coming back with another massive tour despite having almost no new songs. Oh, and they get played on Radio 2, the UK's biggest station, every single day! I don't have figures, but I wouldn't be surprised if they get more plays on R2 than The Beatles or Elvis, all the more amazing for a band with only 6 studio albums to their name. There are people who say the Eagles are only loved by people who don't like music, but that statement is so clearly ridiculed by the above facts.

So what do these legion fans actually want from the first new album in 28 years? Maybe that's the problem, because there's no single answer. From the real fans, there's no true consensus of what is even the best album (yes, Hotel California gets the critical acclaim), and if you were to compare the first 3 albums to the last 3, the difference in their sound is immense. Then there are fans of Frey's solo career, there are many more fans of Henley's solo career, probably closest in many ways to how the Eagles would sound if they'd continued without in-fighting and allowed Henley to become the absolute creative leader. Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon are gone, and with that, the real old Eagles sound can never be recreated. When I first heard How Long, I was so happy because - not knowing that this was actually an old JD Souther song - I thought that they'd somehow magically replicated the sounds from the On The Border, and that's how the whole album would sound. In hindsight, that was pretty naïve, but it was a nice dream.

However, the Eagles have delivered a fine album. Superb vocals, harmonies, musicianship, arrangements, mostly fine songs. And a couple of absolute gems. Comprising of a couple of Timothy B. Schmidt songs (nice to know if/when they go touring again, he'll have a couple more to sing). I Don't Want To Hear It Anymore is probably the best Timothy song yet, with more lyrics than usual (hurrah!) and a bit of bite to go with the soft beauty. There's a couple of oddball Walsh songs, good enjoyable stuff. A few Frey songs, some of which sound like his `crooning' solo stuff, only `Eagled' with better harmonies and instrumentation. I really enjoyed What To Do With My Heart - it sounds typical Frey solo + an extra 20% but towards the end, Henley comes in and duets with Frey, which elevates the song so much.

For me though, the Henley and Henley/Frey songs are the best. Maybe not so many obvious choices for singles, and the title track will probably never make it as a single, as much down to it's length as it's political aiming and lack of a simple sonic hook. Initially I was indifferent to the song, but a few listens drew me in to what I consider to be one of the Eagles' finest. It's magnificent, truly a modern classic. Critics who malign the Eagles for being political, I ask this: why mock and criticise them for their political inclusions when in your very magazines and newspapers, you're offering up the very same political criticisms? It's as if it's OK to say these things, just not in music, and especially not when the Eagles are singing about it. Besides, there's so much more to this song than first appears. Criticising this song for being anti-war is like writing off South Park because of it's bad language: there's really much more to it than that, you just have to look deeper.

Fantastic though the title track is, for me Waiting In The Weeds is unquestionably the finest song on the album. It has EVERYTHING which makes the Eagles great. It's really a 70% Henley song; the remaining 30% compromising of Eagles Fairy Dust (tm). Lyrically one of the best songs I've ever heard, with that same multi-layered meaning within the lines which helped to make Boys Of Summer such an incredible song. Of all the really big bands - Eagles, Beatles, Stones, Mac, Zep, etc., I think Boys Of Summer is the finest solo artist single of any of these artists. Waiting In the Weeds is just as good, as deep, timeless and emotional. I've read so many quotes from fans saying this song has brought tears to their eyes. I just with they'd be bold enough to release it as a single. Nearly 8 minutes of quiet emotion doesn't sound like a good bet for a Christmas no. 1, but like Nerina Pallot's "Sophia" proves, sometimes a single can serve a greater purpose in the long run than it's chart position suggests.

Overall, I'd give this album a 4 or 4 ½ rating (although it's still growing on me), but there's always people who'll jump to their keyboards after a single listen and write something premature or people who maybe make more than should be made about the fact that there are a few songs which are less good than others. So, I gave it 5 to balance the books. Take 20 songs, remove 5, you're left with 15 classy songs.

Me, I'm a happy Eagles fan.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 5, 2007 2:47 PM GMT

Farewell 1 Tour - Live From Melbourne [2005] [DVD]
Farewell 1 Tour - Live From Melbourne [2005] [DVD]
Dvd ~ The Eagles
Price: £23.68

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much more enjoyable to watch than Hell Freezes Over, 2 Sep 2007
Isn't it funny to see different opinions? Well, I have the exact opposite opinion of this DVD to Mr. S. Hammond. He's one of the many 'premature reviewers' - people who experience something for about half an hour, and then rush to their keyboards to write their review, which then stays on the internet for eternity. I'd like to think that since writing his review, he's watched this DVD many times and has since changed his mind, but I guess we'll never know.

When I first watched this DVD, I wasn't completely convinced. I must have watched Hell Freezes Over about a thousand times, and before this DVD came out, I completely got into Don Henley's Inside Job Live DVD, which is simply fabulous. What shocked me initially is how much they'd aged since `HFO'. Glen Frey in particular seemed a bit haggard, at least during the first song. Henley didn't look so old, but in comparison to his own live DVD, taken just a couple of years prior to this, the change was pretty shocking. Watching him at his own concert, the man looked amazing. Trim, young-looking even, his voice was incredibly much better even than on HFO (you'll have to listen to believe that I guess), and he seemed so alive, the master of his own music. Here, he looks easily 10 years older, is a little puffy, sounds rough (rough but still great), as though he has a bad throat: in the interviews his voice is almost so low that only whales can hear him! Most of what I've just written shouldn't matter much and ultimately, it doesn't, but it just seems a bit of a shock, watching your heroes growing older...

Trying to be a little more constructive now: Henley's voice is a minor let-down, but we're still only talking minor degrees: he does still sound fantastic. To counter this, Frey is better than he's ever been. The absolute purity of the overall sound isn't quite up there with HFO. It probably won't be the sonic yardstick, as seen in about 10000 hi-fi stores all over the world every day. But ultimately, we're still talking about a DVD with superb audio quality, which will give any hi-fi a serious workout. After 3 or 4 listens, I think I started to prefer it to Hell Freezes Over, because it's just so much warmer than HFO. True, they don't talk to the audience quite as much, but they're so obviously having a much better time here than they were on HFO. The tension of being back finally after 14 years with the world watching isn't present, and it's great to see them really letting go and enjoying themselves for once. They're actually smiling a lot at each other, they're dancing about, there's just a good vibe here. Maybe with Don Felder out of the picture, they're finally in their natural lineup, the one which will see them to the end. Steuart Smith, who plays Felder's parts is great but he's not QUITE as good. I miss Felder, but I miss Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon too, and I've got over the fact that they'll almost certainly never return. I'm not sure if this backs up my claim that they're more relaxed and having a good time, but the song lineup is much less tense too. Out go slow greats like New York Minute and The Last Resort (lyrically amazing ballads, basically) and in come a ton of upbeat songs like One Of These Nights (amazing, better than the original), Already Gone, Lyin' Eyes, New Kid In Town, to name just a few. Henley still has a good few of his own songs in there like Boys Of Summer, All She Wants To Do Is Dance (more upbeat than Heart of the Matter and New York Minute). Of the four new songs from HFO the only one played here its Love Will Keep Us Alive, but Timothy B. Schmidt only sings one other song, so I guess they had to keep that in. There's a couple of new songs (Hole In The World and No More Cloudy Days) which are good and work well live, a great song from one of Frey's solo albums, called You Belong To The City, which is just gorgeous. Walsh takes over quite a bit later on, which for me is another sign that The Eagles have become more relaxed again, Henley relinquishing control a bit, Frey singing more songs and letting Walsh entertain the audience. Looking back at HFO, it seems more of a Don Henley concert by comparison. This one is much more even, in terms of who gets to sing and which songs get played from their back catalogue.

After more than half a dozen listens, what hit me most of all is that the technical perfection and orchestration of HFO have been replaced by the sheer brilliance of the new arrangements of the songs. The orchestra has been replaced by a 2nd drummer, Scott Crago (same guy from HFO, but this time he and Henley often drum together on different types of drums - it's a sight and sound to behold!), more keyboards and an amazing horn section. These extras as so well integrated here with the new arrangements, that many of the songs do sound better than the originals. In particular, In The City and Lyin' Eyes stand out: they blow away the original studio recordings. Long Run is better too, but nowhere near as good as Henley's own Live DVD performance.

HFO, I admire massively: there's nothing else quite like it. But this DVD, well watching it makes me happy. For all the people who watched HFO and weren't Eagles Fans and didn't like it because it was 'dull', please try this. It has life and sparkle, and I love it. A cash-in? Nah, they're doing it now because they enjoy it!
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 26, 2013 10:13 AM BST

The Complete Greatest Hits
The Complete Greatest Hits
Price: £19.29

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, but..., 13 July 2007
Well, yes, it's fantastic of course. How could it not be with so many great songs, which still get played every day on radio stations the world over? I do have reservations, though. The Eagles have released more compilation albums than studio albums, and I don't think any other band has a greater ratio... it's quite bizarre if you tot up their collections and count them against the 6 full studio albums.

My main problem here is that there are such a high proportion of songs from their last albums: Hotel California, and The Long Run. One could argue that this is because those two albums were the biggest sellers at the time of release (well, Hotel California obviously was, perhaps One Of These Nights sold as well as The Long Run, I'm not sure). Call me cynical, but I believe it's because, by creating a 'definitive' collection which will over the years become their best seller, they're shaping the royalties so that the current band members (founders Henley and Frey, plus Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmidt) rake in a much as possible while attempting to gently ease out the other two founding members, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner. Henley and Frey were always going to do just fine, but there's a definite attempt here to bring Walsh (effectively replaced Leadon and changed the band's sound forever) and late boy Schmidt (replaced Meisner for the last Album) as much of the royalties as possible. I'm not saying all of this because I'm bitter. In fact, The Eagles are my favourite band, even in their current lineup, but I'm certain there's truth to my allegations. Six tracks from The Long Run? No way is that appropriate, and I back that up from the common knowledge that The Eagles had a total nightmare recording and writing that album, and The Long Run (on Henley's Inside Job Live DVD), In The City (from their Farewell I DVD), and Those Shoes (from their Millennium Concert CD from their Selected Works box set) all absolutely blow away the original studio versions of the songs, proving that the band weren't all truly happy with them. You'll never get everyone to agree which songs to release on a compilation, but for me, there's a hint of favouritism over quality here.

Most 'true' fans of the band - and by that, I mean people who own and have really listened to all of their studio albums - enjoy their first three albums at least as much as their last three. Those last 3 albums generally had greater critical acclaim, were more experimental, progressive and definitely had better lyrics as Henley found his place at the top of the songwriting tree, but there's something about the first 3 albums which to me is just the essence of The Eagles. The later albums and songs, even Hotel California, and what I consider to be the perfect pop song, New Kid In Town, just don't have quite that purity of Eagleness to them. If I was to pick one album which perfectly encapsulates The Eagles sound, it probably wouldn't be Hotel California. This might sound like a weird thing to say, but in my opinion, while the last 3 albums had better individual songs, only their first 3 albums were perfect. One Of These Nights, Hotel California and The Long Run (especially The Long Run) all had one or more songs which felt obviously inferior to the others, whereas the first 3 albums were just so even the whole way through. I don't think any of the songs on those first albums were inferior to Take It Easy or Desperado, it's just that those songs got released at the right time with the right hype, did well and then became classics. It could have been one of a number of other songs from these albums instead. If alternate universes exist, there may well be millions of people listening to You Never Cry Like A Lover on their radio right now, rather than Desperado.

What I guess I'm alluding to here, is that I just wish people would buy all of their albums instead of JUST this compilation. If it's a question of money, I'd be happier to see somebody go out and buy The Eagles (first album) or On The Border than this. However, it is a fantastic compilation album, there's a lot of great songs on here, but personally, I'd only buy it for the digital remastering and the handful of songs which weren't on their studio albums. Buy this and you gain stuff like Love Will Keep Us Alive, Hole In The World, and Get Over It. Buy On The Border, and you get stuff like You Never Cry Like A Lover, My Man, and Good Day In Hell. For me, I'd go for On The Border in a heartbeat - those aforementioned songs are a hundred times better than the new ones, but I guess the big question is, if you buy this compilation and you love it, will you then go back and buy their old studio albums? If yes, then be my guest, and enjoy this great compilation. If not, then I beg you to start from the beginning
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 4, 2012 1:55 PM BST

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