You Gotta Go There to Come Back Original recording reissued
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STEREOPHONICS You Gotta Go There To Come Back (2003 UK New Version 14-track CD including Moviestar which was not on the original release picture sleeve VVR1026342)
Stereophonics have always inspired partisan feelings. Their detractors loathe their meat-and-potatoes attitude to making music, seeing them as little more than pub musicians who struck it lucky. Dedicated fans, on the other hand, take delight in the passionate songs of Kelly Jones. There's never been much of a middle ground.
Evolution not revolution has always been Stereophonics modus operandi. Over the course of their career, they've never been ones to rock the boat, choosing instead to steadily refine their songs and production. They've also edged ever closer to American radio rock, presumably in a naked attempt to break that market.
However, You Gotta Go There To Come Back, the band's fourth album, is being heralded by some to be as good as their debut Word Gets Around. And while it shares much of the intimate charm of that record, this is an altogether slicker affair.
Produced by Kelly Jones, the album delves even further into his beloved 70s songbooks. In addition to the weather-worn AC/DC signposts, there are nods to Stevie Wonder, Creedence Clearwater and The Isley Brothers. And, in the opening easy funk of "Help Me (She's Out Of Her Mind)", Jones achieves a rough approximation of Lennon's "Cold Turkey" vocals. 'Rough' clearly being the operative word there.
Future single "Maybe Tomorrow" follows, featuring the smooth guitar from the Isleys' Summer Breeze and melds it onto a gently driving radio-friendly rhythm.
The album's highpoint, however, is the closing "Since I Told You It's Over". A slightly countrified epic ballad that ends just a little too soon, by some stretch it's the best thing Stereophonics have done in years.
Still, it's not all high notes in the Kelly Jones canon. Nobody in their right mind would want to listen more than once to the dreary "I'm Alright (You Gotta Go There To Come Back)" or "I Miss You Now". Likewise, "You Stole My Money Honey" is seemingly a bold attempt to string as many musical clichés as possible into one song. They do well with it.
Similarly, "Climbing The Wall" appears to be a sundrenched West Coast guitar ramble, of which the most remarkable thing is the couplet: 'I'm just standing here looking at myself again, I'm going blind/I'm just sitting here playing with myself again - it's turning me on'. Really, Kelly, do we need to be told?
While Stereophonics have never been the most musically adventurous band, thankfully, they seem to be moving away from the blandness they've always been slightly guilty of. Against the odds, You Gotta Go There To Come Back is a record that goes somewhere to finally justifying Stereophonics' success. It's a sturdy piece of work, one which will be lapped up by their fans. It might even make a few friends along the way too. Rock on.
Review courtesy of BBC Wales Music --Jack Smith
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Top Customer Reviews
I am a huge Stereophonics fan so ofcourse I love their album... But I also have a very broad taste in music. That might be why I think this is the BEST album from the band. I have been a fan since 'Word Gets Around'. Ofcourse I loved their raw rock style on both WGA and P&C, and their small town lyrics. That is definitely one of Kellys strong points as a songwriter.
With that said. I would be really dissapointed with a repeat of WGA or P&C for every new album. Wouldn't you?
With the 'JEEP' album they did change their style. They've just carried that on to the 'You Gotta Go...' album.
Ofcourse they'll change. They're older, have seen a lot of the world. A whole lot of new experiences. They probably get influenced by new music like everyone else. That's why I don't like comparing new albums with old ones, not with any band or artist...
Some of my favorites on 'You Gotta Go...' is 'Maybe Tomorrow' wich I fell in love with the first time I heard it. 'Rainbows and Pots of Gold', there's just something about that song that touches me. 'I'm Alright' have the same feel to it.
'I Miss You Now' are one of my favorites. Could've been even better with more blues influenced piano I think. Maybe hired in Jools Holland for the piano part :) 'Nothing Precious at All' is more like the earlier Phonics lyrically. Where Kelly is making up a whole story about this girl working in the coffee shop. A bit like 'Traffic' really. I also like the rockier stuff like 'Madame Helga', 'High as the Ceiling' and 'Jealousy'.Read more ›
1.Help me! - this song is not exactly the most inspiring first track ever - personally vegas two times for me was the perfect way to kick start JEEP but this doesnt have the same effect and isnt ever going to be anyones favourite. its ok but its not anything special.
2.Maybe tommorow - now this is more like it. this one is showing this new direction Kelly Jones seems to be taking the band and one word comes to mind...smooth. you'll be humming it for days. great lyrics - very soulful.
3.Madame Helga - its just rock and roll innit?!?? loud, brash and exciting. excellent first single. should have been track 1...
4. Climbing the wall - good, nice song. keeps the momentum going - not really much to say about it - its just quite good.
5. Getaway - i really like this song its definately my 2nd favourite. it really hits the spot when your feeling down - lifts you up in the way a good rock song should. great lyrics, nice riff everythings in place... very good.
6.You stole my money honey - this is ok - tho i think will go the way of track 1.. very unspecial really. doesnt really grab youu but its likeable enough.
7.Jealousy - brilliant!!! very grungey.Read more ›
This is a very different album to Word gets Around, slower, more melancholy but with subtle touches that make it suberb. Almost every song builds up in some way, an extra instrument added in each verse, a slight change in tempo, or an extra tension in Kelly's voice.
Stand out tracks, for me at least, are Getaway, Jealousy, I'm Alright (Absolutely brilliant track, full of mood and emotion) and Since I told you its Over. The only downside to this album are the lyrics to some of the songs, they can make you cringe a little. "Sitting here playing with myself again/ It's turning me on" and "I'll make another pound for you/ so you can drive your motor car/ and drive you to the moon" and a few other examples. Not overwhelmingly bad, just not great to sing along to!
I bought this album when it came out, and whilst I haven't listened to it non stop, its certainly is one of the most played albums I own.
But most of this album is completely new ground, with songs like 'I Miss You Now' (a slow bluesy John Lee Hooker type song) and 'You Stole My Money Honey' (an Oasis type song, and one of the best on offer). But if you're a fan of the classic anthemic 'Traffic' then you'll love 'Nothing Precious At All', although this song is musically very different, lyrically it is very simelar, opening with the line 'I've been people watching again' I emediately picked up my ears. We hear Kelly describing the life of a young girl who has just started a new job, he describes her in great detail with the line 'She's got fine lines round her tired eyes, they're painted blue', this song doesn't dissapoint - it's perfect. Then theres the brass band in the beautiful song 'Climbing The Wall', This song has Kelly asking his questions again, 'what makes you and what makes me?' and 'what makes women lie throught the teeth?'.
There's a lot of anger in this album too, Jealousy is a guitar-led rock song and quite sad, but nothing compares to the rage and lump-in-the-throat of 'Rainbows And Pots Of Gold' where Kelly is singing about an old friend who upset him somehow, and possibly stole his girl 'How's my friend? When's she gonna be your wife?'. You can hear the emotion in his gravelly voice, and you can't help but feel sorry for him.
In conclusion, this album is excellent, it desserves 5 stars, not just for the great music and clever lyics, but also for the willingness and want by the Stereophonics to move on from the excellent but old fashioned 'Word Gets Around' songs.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Liked Stereophonics for years but never got around to buying any cds. Putting that to rights now and enjoying listening to some great standards.Published on 8 May 2014 by PKG