Customer Reviews


20 Reviews
5 star:
 (15)
4 star:
 (4)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still writing great songs
Totem and Taboo (a title lifted from Sigmund Freud) is Hugh Cornwell's latest solo album, and finds the man a little introspective and autobiographical and still penning some classic rock tunes.

The opening track, "Totem and Taboo", is belting opener with Hugh's characteristic electric guitar technique and vocal delivery, relatively sparse production...
Published 8 months ago by Martyn Davies

versus
7 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Weak
Poor old Hugh, when i listen to the latest Stranglers album which is awesome, i wonder if he thinks where did it all go wrong. This is the better of Hughs albums but it is still fairly weak particularly in the lyrics apart from Dead of night. Maybe this shows in the fact he is having to play all of No more Heroes on his tour to appeal to the old fans..... The Stranglers...
Published 21 months ago by Martin J. Clarke


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still writing great songs, 31 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Totem And Taboo (Audio CD)
Totem and Taboo (a title lifted from Sigmund Freud) is Hugh Cornwell's latest solo album, and finds the man a little introspective and autobiographical and still penning some classic rock tunes.

The opening track, "Totem and Taboo", is belting opener with Hugh's characteristic electric guitar technique and vocal delivery, relatively sparse production and arrangement (the current band incarnation is only bass and drums). Social criticism is never far away, with America the target in "Gods Guns and Gays"; "Stuck in Daily Mail Land" sticks it to Daily Mail readers (never his favourite newspaper); "I Want One of Those" goes for consumerism, and perhaps a gentle ribbing for religious types in "God is a Woman". "A Street Called Carroll" mixes film noir and personal experience in one of Los Angeles' oldest suburbs, all to a classic Stranglers-style drum/bass backing. The closer, "In the Dead of Night" surely deserves to accompany a Quentin Tarantino movie?

A vibrant, toe-tapping album, and his best for some time. Totally recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fine example of Hughe's witty pen skills - A must for fans of his work, 15 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Totem and Taboo (MP3 Download)
As a life long Stranglers fan I refused to listen to Hugh's solo stuff until a couple of years back and now I have his full catalogue. I liked this album instantly, he has shoved in a few licks of' 'psychedelic' lead guitar and the back drop rattles along at a fair pace too on a few tracks, Song 3 is brilliant! 'Window Shopping' - It is a classic example of his clever and witty writing skills. It is simple but it brings a smile to my face as does Bad Vibrations. He has made a play on the Beach Boys' Good Vibrations (I think) But why does the final track Dead of Night have to last 9 and a half minutes? There are only two songs I know of that last as long (Green Day classics)and they wrk because they are full of variety. Dead of Nightt just trundles along. Four minutes would have sufficed on that one Shuggie! Never the less a very good album.
PG
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hugh Cornwell's Totem & Taboo, 6 Oct 2012
By 
R. Kenney - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Totem And Taboo (Audio CD)
This will be the album that brings in the Stranglers' fans. No keyboards weighing things down. This is a tight power trio. The guitar work is creative and intense. The overall sound is clean and in your face. Hugh's voice has never sounded stronger. Steve and Chris's rhythm section holds it all together.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still got it, 18 Sep 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Totem And Taboo (Audio CD)
A great progression from Hooverdam with better production and more importantly much much better songs.

Unlike most previous Hugh albums there really isn't a duff track on this short and very sweet album - 10 cracking tracks with Hugh really rockin' out on a couple of them. Like all great albums it takes about 3 listens before its brilliance hits you.

And we also get an epic Richard Hawley type closer clocking in at almost 10 minutes, the chorus of which could be the long lost relation of the Stranglers' Too Precious from their 1986 album Dreamtime.

Great return to form from Hugh.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hugh's best work in 3 decades, 26 Sep 2012
By 
Adam Neil (Cheshire, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Totem And Taboo (Audio CD)
Give or take a few filler tracks from various solo + Stranglers albums I like everything Hugh Cornwell has ever released. Not 'just another artist' - one of the finest songwriters of the last 35 years. High praise indeed.

Unlike some of his contemporaries Hugh has dabbled in many styles during his career many of which have gone unnoticed due to a fairly low key solo profile resulting in poor record sales in comparison to the major league success he enjoyed as frontman of The Stranglers.

The title of my review may sound slighly melodramatic but as collective body of work I have to say Totem & Taboo is overall the best thing Hugh's produced since the La Folie album. It's a shame that the likes of Hi Fi (a rather good quirky set of psychedelia inspired pop) & Beyond Elysian Fields (equally strong acoustic based MOR) failed to make any waves commercially, whilst their rich textures glowed and shimmered Totem & Taboo on the other hand just charges at you - if Hugh doesn't have your attention with this album then frankly you're listening to the wrong artist!

It would be fallacious to suggest his previous albums suffered from a lack of cohesion or appeared disjointed but there's a real unity and sense of direction on Totem & Taboo - Hugh is right on the money from the first few bars. The title track is full of urgency almost verging on boisterous and would make an excellent single if Hugh had the clout of say Weller or Morrissey.

Sticking with the T&T theme there's a great contrast in 'The Face' with the vocals coming across as detached from the music, this works a treat. We're then back up a gear with the quite brilliant 'I Want One Of Those' an amusing look at consumerism in which Hugh delivers one of if not his most accomplished guitar solo to date. Yes Hugh really is pulling out all the stops here. Steve Albini's mix on the whole album shines like a beacon coupled with the fact that Steve Fishman & Chris Bell (seasoned pro's that have played with Hugh on and off for 20 years now) really do suit this collection of songs.

The other songs that really stand out are God Is A Woman (a nod to Badge by Cream) & A Street Called Carroll - one of the catchiest songs Hugh has ever done, if only radio stations would bother to play it. All the other tracks are of a high standard with superb lyrics.

It can be hard sometimes to be subjective about something so new but if Hooverdam or previous efforts didn't quite do it for you give Totem & Taboo a go - I can't wait for the next one.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally Terrific, 28 Sep 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Totem And Taboo (Audio CD)
Sometimes albums just work, coming together as greater than the sum of the parts. This one certainly comes up trumps, with all the elements gelling into a sonically sublime musical feast. The clarity of sound marks this out as one of Hugh Cornwell's finest albums. Everything is clear as a bell, so you can hear everything that is going on, as well as appreciate the collective performance. The songs are all really good, some hitting me immediately and other growers keeping me interested. I've been listening non stop to this album in the car since I got it. Every word is audible, and with lyrics as clever and thought provoking as these, no lyric sheet is required. Hugh uses his life experience to come up with cracking lines about all sorts of subjects. It's fun trying to work out the meanings behind his one liners. The guitar sound is superb, with some fine sustained, twangy Telecaster notes and quirky solos. Drum and bass sounds are also captured really well - no kitchen sink thrown in here, just fine bass runs and resonant drum and percussion noises. Hugh's voice has always been unique and enjoyable to listen to, and his vocal chords are obviously maturing nicely. All in all, a fantastic album that I will be playing a lot more in the future. Get it!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still sounding great, 12 Sep 2012
This review is from: Totem And Taboo (Audio CD)
Hugh's back with another fine album. Thankfully this has got a far better production than the last album Hooverdam and the songs are just as good. Hugh even sounds like his old nasty self again! Highlights for me are I want one of those, A street called Carol and the epic In the dead of the night which is on a par with the Stranglers epic closing tracks like Down in the Sewer and Too Precious. Every song is excellent so it's well worth the money.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Whatever happened to.......Hugh Cornwell......he got old....and well so did we all really so what?, 26 Sep 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Totem And Taboo (Audio CD)
Can I re-review this album without mentioning The Stranglers? Damn - just did.

Ok, that's now out the way.

It's important to me that this re-review is a good one for 2 reasons. One is because Hugh is my personal hero and I would love it if everyone that was on Amazon right now bought this album and that it stormed to the top of the charts and he could have another drink from that cup that he quaffed from so deeply in better days. The other is because, actually, all nonsense aside, Hugh Cornwell is one of the best song-writers in British music history and for God's sakes we should all remember that before he bloody well dies and everyone starts saying how great he WAS.

To the album.

Hugh has spent all his money, that much is apparent because he had to drum up the finance ro make this record from pledges from the HC faithful. Well, this was no great surprise to me because the last album, Hoover Dam, was perhaps the most horrible record I had heard ever. It had sounded like a bad jamming session. Now, those of you that are trolling Amazon may delight in me saying this because it verifies that Hugh should never have defected from The Stranglers. OK. But the albums BEFORE that - well Hi Fi, Beyond Elysian Fields and Guilty certainly - are some of the best you could hope to own. Hugh blew his ex-bandmates away with those 3 records. And so Hoover Dam was a monumental dip in hitherto amazing form.

This album...

Well.....

It opens with the title track which sees Hugh almost seem to admit that quitting the Stranglers was, in terms of bad decisions, a bit like opting to take a wee on an electric fence whilst holding a big metal spike in lightning storm. He seems to be admitting that, yeah, it was pretty dumb. He cut his willy off to spite him bellybutton so to speak. Lesson learned.

Next is....a song about Madonna? Um.... What? Yeah apparently so. And although this should get most people excited, this is the absolute turkey of the album. A flat and bland song with a horribly flat and awful vocal. To add to this is - the WORST guitar solo of all time. Ok so Shuglet may not be any David Gilmour but for God's SAKES man. Did he REALLY hear this and think "yep - job done"?

Following this is a song about.....buying stuff. Um.... And it also has a painful guitar solo in which Hugh plays like he isn't hearing the rest of the song. And a chorus which is a total dirge...

Not going well is it?

Let's forget it shall we?

Oh wait....

Track 4 sees the album EXPLODE back into form. Trapped In Daily Mail Land is witty, sharp, lovely and drags you back into wanting to love this album. It reminds me of XTC and is Hugh on MEGA top form!

BAM! Here comes track 5 - Bad Vibrations and Hugh is rocking out big style. This will get you going. Awesome! And THANK YOU! But here is a solo befitting of the great man. This will get you air-guitaring big time!

Just when you thought it couldn't get better, track 6 God Is A woman will sit you down and make you realize that this is the same man that wrote all those songs you loved from the glory days. A truly wonderful classic. The only thing I don't like about this song is that most people won't hear it. It. Is. Brilliant. This is Hugh at his sexiest, his best and his most....Hugh!

Track 7 is Love Me Slender and bugger me if Hugh doesn't court some of that old controversy by basically saying that fat women are ugly. Whooooah! Easy now Hugh!!

Track 8 is the joint best track on the album with God is a Woman and it reminds anyone instantly that THIS MAN was the man that wrote all those songs from The Stranglers we all love. Listen to this and imagine a bit of Greenfield keyboards and it could easily have been a comeback Stranglers single.

Track 9 is Hugh at full throttle with his best vocal on the album on a song which is just brilliant.

It closes with In the Dead of Night which is a song which will divide the listeners. For me it's a bit of a let down after a glut in the middle of the album of truly great songs.

In essence, this album has some of the best songs Hugh has EVER written - but it is sullied with some bland tracks and some lifeless guitar and vocal work from Hugh. He could have done so much better. If he'd asked me I would have made an infinitely better album for him and I'd have done it for free. But hey - I offered in 2008 but he just thought I was a pissed Stranglers fan post-gig.

Would I recommend this album? Hell yeah. I've warned you that there are duds here - but when it works it is some of the best music you'll enjoy this lifetime.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hugh at his very best, 22 Oct 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Totem and Taboo (MP3 Download)
This is a great album. Clever, witty and perceptive and showcasing Hugh's magnificent vocals. Not as angry or snarling as I like, but I guess it's not 1977 anymore and it's great nontheless! All of the songs are different but each one is more catchy than the previous one. I'm going to have to stop listening to this album as I can't get it out of my head (now I'm singing Kylie...)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant back to basics, 16 Dec 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Totem And Taboo (Audio CD)
Great album,basic guitar,bass and drums but sounds fresh.Best solo album by far.Like any great album I've had it on repeat for the last month
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Totem And Taboo
Totem And Taboo by Hugh Cornwell (Audio CD - 2012)
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews