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4.6 out of 5 stars14
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 6 January 2002
Kristin Hersh's Throwing Muses were one of the few great bands to come out of the USA in the 1980's. Their eponymous debut was doubtless one of the most striking and original records of the decade. That the Muses split after 10 consistently great records was a great shame.
Reassuring then that Hersh came back with a solo debut that proved to be one of the half dozen stand-out records of the 90's. Hersh's uniquely raw and emotive vocals, by turn delicate and vulnerable, then fierce and fiery, plus her great lyrics (a rarity for most "rock" albums) make this a memorable listen.
Accoustic throughout, with intricate guitar and piano rythms and a wonderful opening duet with REM's Michael Stipe on "Your Ghost", every track here is wonderful. Hersh stands unmatched lyrically, sounding more akin to poetry set to music.
Hersh has yet to release a weak record, see last year's Sunny Border Blue for evidence of her still great output, but this is and will remain her finest record. A great place to start on probably the most consistently special back catalogue. Get this, then work through the Throwing Muses work too. Nothing comes close.
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VINE VOICEon 26 February 2006
I can´t help adding my voice to the long list of praise that so many people have given this record.
This was without doubt one of the finest recordings of the nineties and probably didn´t reach a wider audience only because of the vogue for male-dominated guitar bands at the time.
I was never a fan of Hersh´s band Throwing Muses. It wasn´t that I didn´t like them, I just found them harmless and unremarkable. Then I remember her previewing tracks for this album on the radio one night. Alone she was suddenly a completely different prospect. Her songwriting was richer and she learned how to be spiteful and sing with malice, something that I´d never seen her do before.
This collection of bare, haunting songs continue to captivate me. Michael Stipe serves as a perfect foil on the bewitching,"Your Ghost." My favourite track has to be the bullish,towerng "Me and my Charms." This blends excellently with sweet melodies like,"Velvet Days."
Kristin Hersh has a fantastic vocal range and on this record she also shows herself to be a very able guitarist. She doesn´t need anyone playing along with her, solo she finds the bare emotion that mark this out as truly something special.
If you want to get your hands on a little piece of lost magic, discover this.
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on 10 April 2009
I'm not going to contest each and every song with the review that gave this two stars (I'm pretty sure there will ever only be one!), but in my opinion Your Ghost is the weakest song on the album (good as it is).

The fact that it's mainly just Kristin and a guitar for considerable parts of the album make it all the more breathtaking that she manages to make each song sound unique! It's the best acoustic album in my collection of almost two decades of music, and one of the best albums I'll ever listen to. Buy it/download it/whatever, and only if you're tonedeaf or heartless will it fail to move you.
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on 10 January 2006
I was surprised to see a couple of reviews down here with less than five stars. It's a classic, and it stands the test of time. Yes this album is mainly acoustic guitars and vocals. Therein lies its strength and unity. And I would not compare this to Tori Amos. Kristin Kersh is in a completely different league. I cannot recommend this album highly enough.
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on 25 November 2005
i bought the album on its release in 1993 & it still gets played at least once a month but just caught her live this month & i cant stop playing it,i can quite honestly say its 1 of the most beautiful albums i have ever heard its so haunting but sexy at the same time.....my girlfriend who is a few years younger than me heard ut for the first time last month & absolutely loves it as well.......if you ever get the chance to catch her live JUST DO IT....once again INCREDIBLE
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on 10 February 2006
I had this album back in the early 90's and loved it and then for some unknown reason it disappeared from my life. Having found it again I don't know how I could not have missed this stunningly haunting album. Hersh's lyrics take you to another place, a solitary yet warm place, I'm not one for blubbing but this album brings a tear to my eye along with a shed load of memories. It's just a great album!
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on 17 November 2001
This will always be Kristin Hersh's greatest achievement. On this album, Kristin put every aspect of her life on display. Not in a lame look-at-me confessional sense, but in an honest, powerfully human and moving sense. This is an album that seems to provoke so many different feelings in people. Astute music listeners recognise it as an extraordinary masterpiece; others dismiss it as a mad woman ranting. The fact is, there is not another album like this; none of Kristin's other albums are remotely like it either - this is a once in a lifetime recording. Every note bleeds; every note carries the torment and disappointment of life. Any person who has suffered in this life, will take this album to their heart. Everything is here, in the same way that everything is in Proust's literary masterpiece. They are both completely different in almost every way, and are seemingly bizarre bedfellows, but they are both masterworks of humanity. In a sense, Proust took the high road; Kristin has got down and dirty on the low road. These songs are full of dirt, broken glass, twisted beauty. 'A Loon' is full of paranoia; 'Houdini Blues' is full of defiance in the face of adversity; 'Beestung' possesses a beautiful but damaging fragility; 'Me And My Charms' blazes with a combination of despair and ironic pride. On 'Tuesday Night' she has resorted to the bottle to deal with the strain of living.
Whereas the most recent album, 'Sunny Border Blue', is all about letting it all out, a kind of primal scream album for the twenty first century, a brilliantly pulverising rollercoaster of despair, 'Hips And Makers', only lets the despair leak out in little rivulets. It's only on 'The Letter', with its devastating stream-of-consciousness lyric, that we get a real sense of the despair, only then do we too get sucked into the hurricane of her personal turmoil. On this song, she sings: 'My hands are shaking; don't you love me anymore?' She's looking for some kind of clemency, but cannot find it. Perhaps the only clemency that can be found is in medication or the bottle. The album finishes on the jolting, disjointed rhythm of the title track, a kind of dark nursery rhyme ('I married a brewer to keep me from drinking; I married a boxer to keep me from fighting'). The kind of strange logic that has always defined Kristin's lyrics. It brings a kind of disturbing calm to proceedings, the false calmness of medication, a numbness that masks all the pain. It's like Kristin is rocking on a ship where all the crew have died and turned to skeletons. There are no tears left to be cried; she can only stare at the horizon.
This album is an odyssey of human experience. Every note has been wrought by life; every note is pungent and poignant, unbearably vivid and moving. This album is life itself.
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on 1 January 2016
Probably my favourite album bought over the last ten years. Or at least, that's what I think after each time I listen to it. This album has long-lived listenability for its playing, its vocals and lyrics. You can get something different each time you hear it.
also, this vinyl is a great pressing with clear sound, low distortion and surface noise. Expensive but worth every penny.
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on 22 October 2014
One of the ten albums I can never tire of. Every song on it means something to me, and I have probably bought and given a dozen copies away to others who now love it as I do.
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on 22 October 2012
Hersh's absolute masterpiece, doing away with the rest of the Muses, using just acoustic guitar, piano & classical string instruments "Hips & Makers" is a strip-down, stark revelation.
The simple sound, give the fascinating lyrics the chance to come to the forefront & breathe, If she had used a band to create a Grungy rock sound, the words may have been lost in the mix. The music also sounds a lot heavier with the production of the instruments given a raw & live feel, you can even hear Hersh's fingers changing chords.
Then the Lyrics, which are mostly about doomed relationships, but are abstract & imaginative (on one of the tracks Hersh tells her partner that she will be sitting on a step, awaiting the time when he will return to her).
Unfortunately Hersh has not as far released another record of this quality, 1998's "Strange Angles" & 2001's "Sunny Border Blue" were other attempts at acoustic records, but fall a little flat.
She also released a 4-track EP called "Strings", consisting of A loon, Sundrops, Me & my Charms & Velvet Days, re-recording the strings, higher up in the mix.
Other recommendations are Aimee Mann's 1993 "Whatever" & Tori Amos 1994 "Under the Pink", which are of a similar bent.
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