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Let No One Live Rent Import
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Top Customer Reviews
Listeners expecting the relatively easy ride of Massive Attack are in for a shock - whilst there are some pretty chilled-out tracks, the majority of the album is quirky, bass heavy and very, very uncommercial. Nicolette's unique, breathy vocal are similar to some of the old jazz chanteuses she so obviosuly admires (especially Billie Holiday), but the music is far from jazz. If a parallel can be drawn it is with 'Post' and 'Homogenic' era Bjork, the eclectic nature of some of the songs here rivals the more bonkers moments on those two records.
Of t he aforementioned highlights, 'No Government' had the potential to be a massive single, but somehow flopped. The eerie, dischordant intro is quickly replaced by a mahoosive stomping bass and a diatribe about modern politics which wouldn't sound out of place on a Billy Bragg album.
Of the other two, Don't Be Afraid' is a superb opener - Equivalent to 'Kid A' era Radiohead with its electronic buffoonery and menacing vocals, whilst 'We'll Never Know' is a well-crafted bit of agit-pop with some percussion production that sounds similar to Plaid's best work.
However, the album is not without its faults. Some of the tracks are sparse in the extreme and appear to be little more than attempts to pad the album out. This is foolish, because it ends up turning what could be a classic into simply a very good album.
and dustier corners I stumbled over this. I'd forgotten
that I had ever heard (let alone owned) it! Welcome back.
Nicolette is Nicolette Swinton and her album 'Let No-One
Live Rent Free In your Head' was released in 1996.
I am amazed, having rediscovered it, just how fresh and
challenging it still sounds.
The album isn't always an easy listen and is equally
difficuly to pigeonhole. Broadly speaking she has
invested in a brand of electronica which is unafraid
of experiment and innovation. Her collaborators, are
happy to accompany her to the edge of sonic reason to
bring her musical visions to life.
'Nervous', for example, is a killer-track. Produced by
Alec Empire it is an edgy piece of distorted drum and bass
brimming over with tooth-jarring electricity.
Nicolette's fragile voice weaves in and out of the complex
arrangement with cool confidence. The contrast is riveting!
That it is followed by a haunting re-working of Pete Seger's
great anti-war song 'Where Have All The Flowers Gone?' is
an ambiguous and moving side-step. It's place in these
troubled times still has enormous resonance and relevance.
'Beautiful Day' is a pared-down piece of slick jazzy sensuality.
Nicolette delivers a stunning vocal performance within the
parameters of Plaid's minimal hot-night-in-the-city production.
She shows-off the rich lower-reaches of her range as well as
the more familiar stratospheric upper register.
It is a wonderfully limber and nicely loopy instrument!
Some of the lyrical ideas seems to have arisen from a deep
and painful place.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Like billie holiday,(who nicolette eerily sounds like and has been compared to) nicolette sings songs full of love and loss backed by pounding drum and bass, lush trip-hop and sonic soundscapes. she CAN be a bit artsy fartsy for her own good but that's not a bad thing. it adds an extra dimension to the songs. for some, this can be a difficult listen at first. it's definitely music that grows on you and demands that you not only listen to the music but also pay attention to the lyrics. nicolette has a lot to say. with exception of the two slow tracks ('where have all the flowers gone' and 'judgment day', her two moments of artsy fartsiness) each track is pure production perfection. the first three songs are the best, although ALL the plaid tracks are pure genius.
'don't be afraid' is nicolette only accompanied by electronic bleeps. a quick minute long number that showcases her billie holiday-esque vocal talents.
'we never know' is the first plaid produced track. nicolette sings ambiguous lyrics ("what do we know now? who do we know? what do we mean when we say so?") backed by an amazing collage of plaid beats. after two minutes of vocals the song breaks into a two minute musical interlude full of swirling plaid synths before nicolette's voice echoes back into the mix. gorgeous!
'song for europe'(which i think is the best track on the CD) she sadly admonishes her lover telling him she's going home to europe "unless you tell me you love me. . .unless you ask me to stay. . .it's cold here and the buildings are grey. . . but if you don't want me around let me know . . . i'm going home". You can hear the sadness in her voice backed with the harsh juxaposition of a manic drum and bass beat. The contrast works so well that the song comes across as being very heartfelt. It gives me goosebumps everytime I hear it.
'beautiful day' is another plaid track. slow and dreamy.
'always' is a deceptively sunny song with a bubbly melody and nicolette's uplifting vocals yet the lyrics are somber as she sings about those near and dear to her heart who have died, how the world goes on even though they're gone and what is the point to life?
'nervous' is a sonic soundscape. loud blasts of grating synthesized noise and breaking glass trail through the speakers conveying a feeling of nervousness while nearly drowning out nicolette's voice. This track is very similar to bjork's 'pluto' (from her 'homogenic' CD) yet whereas bjork's 'pluto' is more dance oriented, nicolette's 'nervous' is more an experiment in sound.
'no government(plaid remix)' is yet another brilliant plaid production. a manic lurching beat, rolling electric guitar riff and nicolette of course. this is a remix of the original version from her debut (which also appears on this CD. a much slower version with weird armageddon horns and a 'marching into war' army type of drumbeat).
'nightmare' is another sonic soundscape full of loud abrasive electric guitar as nicolette sings about her nightmare of domestic tranquilty that she eventually ends up living. a clever track.
'you are heaven sent' a electro pop song about the perfect dream man. as nicolette sings "gotta gotta wake up soon" you can hear her alarm clock going off in the distance as it eventually takes over the song.
'just to say peace and love' is a smoky jazz number with upright bass. another showcase of her vocal talents.
the CD closes with 'don't be ashamed' a repeat of 'don't be afraid' with different lyrics. 'afraid' opens the CD, warning you not to be afraid of what you're about to experience. 'ashamed' closes out the CD telling you not to be ashamed of enjoying what you just experienced.
All in all this is an amazing CD by a little known (at least in the U.S.) but highly talented artist. call her an electronic billie holiday or a black bjork, she's brilliant. It's been well over four years since its release and word has it that nicolette is hard at work on new material. Let's hope so. This is wonderful music that needs and deserves to be heard.
i wish someone in my head WAS payin rent, maybe they could have advised me to stop bein so damn eclectic and for me to buy somethin i REALLY been wantin, like eric b. & rakim's 'paid in full' cd....damn....
anyway, she aint bad...comparin her to billie holiday is a stretch, but not entirely far-fetched...i'm feelin that comparison. nicolette has that dreamy, wispy, whispery vocal-delivery-thing down pat, she excels when she reaches down into that gut and pulls out them buttery, guttery, guttaral, near-lustful moans...i dig that...the biggest flaw for me is that the production is so damn sparse; her voice is cute and all but a few extra bells and some hand claps mighta helped this out...not no p-funk or anything...but some 'snap' woulda pushed this thru for me.