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Jasper Wong "jbywong" (London, United Kingdom)

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The Hope Six Demolition Project
The Hope Six Demolition Project
Price: £9.92

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ethereal and Brutal: PJ Harvey's Uncompromising Vision, 16 April 2016
It's been five years since PJ Harvey's last solo studio album "Let England Shake", which won the Mercury Prize in 2011. An eclectic and constantly innovating artist, the young Harvey that once screamed and howled through tracks like "Rid of Me" and "50 ft. Queenie" is all but gone on this album, and with each album that she releases her artistic evolution is furthered. There are little to no signs of the Feminist rocker incarnation of Harvey here (Rid of Me, To Bring You My Love), no signs of the excited, wide-eyed incarnation of Harvey (Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea). If anything, in addition to "Let England Shake" , sonically "The Hope Six Demolition Project" has slight nods to "Is This Desire?". Recorded partially in an performance art-like installation at Somerset House where one could watch PJ record, mix, talk or just drink tea for fifteen minutes across a glass screen, one would be forgiven for being skeptical and wondering whether the resultant album would be somewhat self-absorbed.

It isn't. 2016's incarnation of Harvey reflects on the seeming inevitability of suffering, of war, of the complex knock-on effects of the actions of first world democracies to third world countries. "The Hope Six Demolition Project" stems lyrically from Harvey's experiences in poverty-stricken or war-torn areas: Afghanistan and Kosovo for instance - with renowned photographer Seamus Murphy. Harvey's has evolved as a lyricist from the more personal, smaller-scale ruminations on love and loss of her earlier albums to one who writes on a larger, more global scale about human cruelty and suffering - no longer using her deep, scratchy voice but in a thin girlish timbre, weakening as it gets higher. There are even touches of Kate Bush on certain songs "A Line in the Sand" for instance. Somehow at 46, Harvey's voice has never seemed quite as young. It is as though the thematic material of her last two albums have been so large so as to dwarf her enormous voice. Though often guiding the listener through heaps of rubble, bomb craters, broken buildings and war torn strife, PJ Harvey is personal where a songwriter in another vein might be tempted to zoom out and write about the human condition from a macro point of view. Her songs are populated with women and children in these areas, focusing on the smaller tales or landscapes she found on her extensive travels in the last couple of years.

If "Let England Shake" was about war and the immediate fallout, "The Hope Six Demolition Project" is about the extended fall-out of war - a weariness prevails throughout this album despite it's juxtaposition with most of it's major key songs, complete with catchy choruses, hand-claps, percussive strikes you can nod your head to. It is a formula that Harvey used to much success in "Let England Shake" and yet for such a constant innovator in PJ Harvey "The Hope Six Demolition Project" seems to be more of an extension to her previous album than a bold new artistic statement as we've come to expect from her. Though more conventionally 'rocky' than her and with most songs being guitar-driven than her previous couple of albums ("White Chalk" in particular), the production of the album is such that it still seems to evoke the autoharp. "The Hope Six Demolition Project" is given a lot of space production-wise, the guitars lead songs yet do not dominate them, drums accentuate her words with often tambourines or unconventional instrumentation used for the rhythm sections. It's great to see PJ reach for the saxophone to solo. Even on the most dominant guitar-driven song "The Ministry of Defence", built around a huge riff that in another band's hands might have been turned into an all-out rocker, it is Harvey's voice that soars above, ethereal. Ethereal might be the right word for Harvey's music and voice - very real, angry and desperate album that somehow holds within it's hands much beauty. Like all PJ Harvey albums perhaps with the exception of "Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea" "The Hope Six Demolition Project" is not an easy listen, even at times a jarring and unpleasant one lyrically, and like "Let England Shake" it is utterly uncompromising in it's vision. In a year dominated by talk of right wing American politics and election candidates like Donald Trump, "The Hope Six Demolition Project" is a particularly timely reminder of the human cost of war. With that, it might just be the most vital album of the year.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 16, 2016 9:50 PM BST

Offered by mrtopseller
Price: £6.50

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Regression, 22 April 2015
This review is from: Blaster (Audio CD)
To my ears, 'Blaster' is the weakest album of Weiland's storied career so far. Coming from a huge long-term fan of Scott, having devoured everything he has ever written hungrily, this is not easy for me to say. Scott has always seemed to be a writer from the heart - a songwriter and lyricist who wrote from the depths of whatever experiences he was going through at the time, whether they be infatuation with Mary (second ex-wife): "Mary, Mary", "I Got You", guilt about Janina (first ex-wife): "Sour Girl", emotional pain from personal tragedy: "The Last Fight", "Paralysis", or drugs, or the lack thereof: too many to count. One can almost trace his emotional stability and headspace through his albums - though his book "Not Dead and Not For Sale" was published in 2010 it revealed close to nothing that a close reading of his lyrics wouldn't have revealed more eloquently.

Thus having successfully battled heavy, multiple drug addiction, bi-polar disorder, having been in and out of rehab numerous times, sentenced to jail, been in two hugely successful bands (Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver) and married and remarried three times in total, being a father of two children and a grunge-era survivor, one would expect that a now finally relatively sober Scott Weiland, 47 years of age, would have a huge breadth of stories, personal experiences and battle scars to pour into his music, yet 'Blaster' seems sterile and shallow in comparison. Uninspiring musically and lyrically, 'Blaster' would be considered fairly mediocre even without the inflated expectations that comes with it being the brainchild of one of the best frontmen of his generation. Written without long-term collaborator Doug Grean, "Blaster" seems rudderless and unsure of itself. The album opens with a quiet bang: "Modzilla" sounds like Jack White's solo material with Scott singing his signature melodies over the top. The highlights are few and far between, however, and while "Way She Moves" - a slinky love song written for his wife Jamie - is a pleasant, 70's-style groovy tune, and 'Circles' closes the album perfectly, Blaster as a whole is very forgettable. A couple songs are vaguely catchy but pale in comparison to virtually anything written during Scott's tenure in Stone Temple Pilots, Velvet Revolver, or his incredible experimental debut solo album '12 Bar Blues'. Lyrically, Blaster is weak as well: "Youth Quake" and "Hotel Rio" represent some of the worst lyrics put to paper by Scott to date ("The Westside girls meet Eastside boys, Doesn't really matter if they bring the noise", "Went to the lobby phone the other day, MI6 was on the line with the CIA") - Were these lyrics really written and sang by the same man who wrote and sang "It's just a game that we used to play, I didn't think we'd take it all the way. It kills me just because it can't be erased - We're married" or "All the years I've tried, with more to go - Will the memories die, I'm waiting, Can I find you, Will I find you - we're falling" with such conviction? Only on 'Parachute' and 'Circles' does Scott offer anything of substance, and 'Parachute' is let down by the music itself.

Knowing that Weiland's solo works often take a few listens to grow on me, I've been listening to "Blaster" a lot, trying to understand where Scott stands and what he's trying to say, what he's trying to do. Unfortunately (and I sincerely hope this isn't the case), it seems as though his experiences over the last two decades have only served to burn out what was once a very inspired artist. It is as though the prediction that Weiland made in "Creep" over twenty years ago that he's "half the man he used to be" has finally come to pass, at least creatively - or maybe Scott has to get used to writing when in a relatively stable, happy condition. Either way though, the album is contrived and forgettable, and "Blaster" disappoints.

Price: £3.24

4.0 out of 5 stars "Circus": Twenty Years On, 22 April 2015
This review is from: Circus (Audio CD)
'Circus' is an anomaly in Lenny Kravitz's discography. It is more nakedly spiritual than his other works - and even though his other albums, Baptism, in particular, touch upon religious themes usually in relation to love - Circus is a much spiritually heavy album than any of his others. Biblical references litter the album, almost every song include references or allusions to God or religion.

Whilst 'Let Love Rule' showed a youthful flower-child expressing his peaceful and socially conscious messages arguably two decades later than was popular, 'Mama Said' was a plaintive suite of alternately hopeful and resigned love songs dedicated to his ex-wife Lisa Bonet, and 'Are You Gonna to Go My Way' was a rejuvenated Kravitz at his absolute commercial zenith, 'Circus' is a decidedly more sombre affair, with the lyrics from songs like 'God is Love', 'Circus', 'Thin Ice', and in particular 'Don't Go and Put a Bullet in Your Head' showing a man who has had it all materially, yet had no control over the events occurring in his life at the time, creatively or otherwise. 'Circus' was recorded whilst disillusioned with the music industry as a whole, but more pertinently during a time when his mother, Roxy Roker of The Jeffersons fame, was dying of cancer.

'God is Love' is a reverb-drenched tune wherein Kravitz sings about God's universal love, yet questions the emotional pain in which he was being put through - "You should feel his pain, he gave us everything", and questioning if "he's coming back, maybe tomorrow". The lyrics of "Circus", which Kravitz himself professes as his heaviest lyrically - are of a similar vein - "Welcome to the picture show", he states to himself, questioning once again "When [the] final curtain" is, and what he could "do to set [himself] free".

The uncertainty and lack of control in his life at the time are reflected throughout the entire album, with the possible exception of "Magdalene", which seems out of place, as though it was written during the sessions for a previous album and tacked on to provide some relief from the overall thematic heaviness underpinning the album. In the opening track to his previous album two years prior, Kravitz proclaimed (In "Are You Gonna Go My Way") that he 'was the one' and had 'come to save the day, and wasn't leaving till he was done'. Whilst also a catchy and a foot-tapping opening rocker, 'Rock and Roll is Dead" pushes in a completely opposite direction, boldly ridiculing rock and roll excess and by extension himself, as though catching a glimpse in the mirror of himself and comparing it to his promotional shots from 1993 - a time when he strut onto the top of the rock charts and proclaimed himself the savior of rock music in the early 90's. It is then no surprise that the rest of the album is so honest and this makes moments like the James Brown-isms on Tunnel Vision 'Make it funky now, aaah-haaaa' seem awkward and out of place. In fact, whilst 'Tunnel Vision' and 'Magdalene' are musically in tune with the rest of the album the two seem very separate from the rest of the album.

In hindsight, it is clear why 'Circus' failed to chart as highly as any of Lenny's other albums. When even Kravitz himself attributes it to being a difficult, arduous album to record, it lacks the unbridled positivity of his other works, and there is no happy or bittersweet lead single like "Let Love Rule", "It Ain't Over Till It's Over", "Are You Gonna Go My Way" or "Believe" from his previous efforts. Circus instead leads with the cynical, disillusioned "Rock and Roll is Dead". Arguably, audiences weren't expecting or willing to see a man who had previously strut into the top of the rock charts struggling with his personal hope and faith. Unfairly judged at the time, time has been favourable to 'Circus', and in spite of - or perhaps because of - Lenny turning 50 and putting out catchy love songs like "The Chamber", the power of songwriting on "Circus" seems all the more impactful twenty years later.

Everyday Robots
Everyday Robots
Offered by NextDayEntertainment
Price: £5.89

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Damon Albarn Compendium?, 1 May 2014
This review is from: Everyday Robots (Audio CD)
Everyday Robots has to be one of the most eagerly anticipated albums of 2014, with good reason. Having long been removed from his role as Brit-pop pin-up, Damon Albarn has developed over the years into a well-respected, diverse and multi-cultural musician. His lo-fi, trip-hop influenced animated band Gorillaz released three critically and commercially successful albums. His list of collaborators of his career reads like a music geeks dream: Tony Allen, Flea, Toumani Diabaté, Afel Bocoum, Snoop Dogg, Bobby Womack, De La Soul, Little Dragon, Lou reed, Mark E Smith amongst the many heavyweights he has collaborated with. The expectations for Everyday Robots were lofty.

The creaky eponymous opener to the album is a restrained, melancholic track that sets the tone for the entire album, with the exception of the delightfully happy Mr. Tambo. 'Everyday Robots' (the song), perhaps recalls Blur's 2012 single 'Under the Westway' a touch too much - the chord progression is virtually identical, even down to the way the progression is played. It's quite a shame that 'Under the Westway', 'Sunset Coming On' (off Mali Music) and 'Stop the Dams' (off D-Sides - Gorillaz) have already been released: they would be absolutely perfect on this album. 'Everyday Robots' is a restrained, melancholic track that sets the tone for the entire album, with the exception of the delightfully happy Mr. Tambo. Not unlike London itself, the entire album seems to have been recorded under an overcast sky, with short breaks of sunshine breaking through in Mr. Tambo and Heavy Seas of Love. Albarn doesn't push the 'Britishness' of his music as much as early 90's Blur or his Dr. Dee soundtrack album, making the explicit references to Argyle Street in 'The Selfish Giant' somewhat tracks somewhat off-putting in comparison to the rest of the tracks. Another personal preference issue I have with the album is the usage of sound clips in several of the album's songs. While it is used to great effect in 'Everyday Robots' and 'Mr. Tembo', I personally find that they detract from others, in particular 'Photographs (You Are Taking Now)', where the sheer repetitiveness of the sound clip starts to grate. One wonders if the songs would have been better served if the thematic constant of technology and isolation were less blatant in the lyrics. Almost the entire album is down-tempo, with nods to African-Jazz pioneer Ali Farka Touré, Fatoumata Diawara and Omara Portuondo in the finger-style guitar arrangements, instrument choices and at times the constructions of the songs. Despite being slow-paced, the album never seems to drag, and 'Lonely Press Play', 'Heavy Seas of Love', 'Mr. Tambo', and 'Hollow Pond' are my favourite cuts from the album.

Veteran Damon Albarn listeners should know what they're in for with 'Everyday Robots' - the melodies and harmonies are well constructed, with his increasingly minimalist arrangements accentuating his unique voice. Gospel singers, at times almost imperceptible synth/string sections, African and Asian rhythms and instruments, subdued trip-hop drum machines, ruminative lyrics, melancholic yet ultimately uplifting songwriting: it's all here, and 'Everyday Robots' feels like a compendium of Damon's vibrant career. This album is perfect for the more reflective, melancholia-tinged listening, where Damons' introverted and observant lyrics meld with the lilting melodies and accompaniments, and the whole package is tied together with his road-weary baritone to present a perfect early morning album.

Nine Lives
Nine Lives
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £8.84

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Von Herzen Brothers' Variety Show, 27 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Nine Lives (Audio CD)
Like many reviewers I picked this album up on the strength of 'Insomniac' and 'Flowers and Rust' and was thus very pleased when the rest of the album didn't follow the formula set by the two songs, instead sending the listener on a sonic journey into a Finnish prog-rock odyssey. All cheese aside though, far too often albums 'fade out', but Nine Lives is not one of these. While definitely worth listening from start to finish to truly comprehend what the band is all about, one would be hard-pressed not to constantly notice their influences plastered all over their tracks. Whether this is the Soundgarden-like stomp of 'Insomniac' - this is a real groovy rocker that cowbells it's way through its duration - the Pink Floyd meets early Sabbath track meets Tim Burton 'Lost in Time', the Porcupine Tree-like 'World Without', the 'Battle for Hadrian's Wall (Black Country Communion)' sound of 'One May Never Know', or the HIM-like delivery on the verses of 'Coming Home', Von Hertzen Brothers still sound a bit like a band finding their own unique sound. However, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. While bands like Wolfmother sound exactly like one or two of their prime influences, Von Hertzen Brothers have a very large amount of influences and makes for continually changing music. Interestingly several tracks, like the aforementioned 'Coming Home', 'Black Heart's Cry' have clear nordic influences, and it makes for somewhat unusual but very listenable tracks. Mikko Von Hertzen's voice is quite a versatile instrument, ranging from a bright gritty tenor wail to a more subdued technique that comes through in the more 'proggy' tracks from this album. Similarly, Kie Von Hertzen's guitar is all over the place, though a very obvious David Gilmour touch can be detected in the more progressive tracks. When listening to the first three songs on this album it is actually quite difficult to tell that this group are actually whats classified as 'prog-rock', almost as though they made a conscious effort to write a couple songs to kickstart shows with ('Insomniac' is usually played first or second in their set). Despite the sometimes heavy-handed application of their influences, 'Nine Lives' is definitely worth the listen, and it will surprise you and intrigue you in equal measure.

Leaving Las Vegas [DVD]
Leaving Las Vegas [DVD]
Dvd ~ Nicolas Cage
Price: £12.42

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vodka, Whiskey, Beer and Nick Cage, 24 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Leaving Las Vegas [DVD] (DVD)
'Leaving Las Vegas' is a gritty, dark, yet surprisingly intimate tale of two damaged souls set against the hallucinatory backdrop that is Las Vegas. In the gleaming neon lights of the city immortalised by Elvis, an alcoholic ex-scriptwriter (Nick Cage) meets a prostitute controlled by an abusive pimp (Elisabeth Shue) and their initial drunken encounter leads to an unlikely and uneasy kinship between the two. The film is scored with boozy instrumental jazz, which evokes the soundtrack from 'One From the Heart', another 'Vegas' movie. The choice of score often treads the line between melancholic emotion and melodrama, and was panned by viewers and critics alike.

Like the bulk of his acting, Cage's performance in the film is simultaneously overblown and emotionally sincere. The unpredictability and destructive facets of Ben are further emphasised by his unwillingness to improve his own self-destructive situation. Though the character writing is fairly strong, it is mostly due to Cage's portrayal of him that the audience is able to sympathise with such a character, and the bulk of the movie gathers momentum from. It has to be said that it's a trifle unsettling to watch a volatile Nick Cage shake and shout through the movie's more dramatic moments, and it is when he reigns himself in that he really shines. It's in the less gaudy locations and situations that Cage's acting is at its best, mainly because he doesn't 'act' as hard. Whereas certain actors really become the characters they portray, in the more dramatic moments the viewer is never really sure whether Cage is his character, or whether his character is Cage, or whether the two have just combined into one. From repeated viewings I lean more towards the last choice. Elisabeth Shue's character is less showy but every bit as well realised. Sera is multifaceted, strong yet vulnerable, and although Shue's performance is nothing out of the ordinary, it is definitely strong enough for Sera to convincingly be Ben's foil.

'Leaving Las Vegas' is a moving portrayal of alcoholism as well as an exploration on loneliness, desire and loss. It is a fairly well-directed film driven by two strong performances by Shue and Cage, but which also suffers from a badly received music score. Ultimately though the shortcomings are far fewer than the positives in this 1995 film.

The Colour and the Shape
The Colour and the Shape
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: £4.16

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Foo Fighters' finest moment, hands down, 21 Feb. 2013
Imagine if you will being Dave Grohl during the writing and recording of this album. The press have been attacking you left right and center for 'daring to put out music that sounds like Nirvana', for putting an album out (1995's Foo Fighters) without the massive hits that a whole generation screamed their hearts out to, effectively forcing your drummer out: being one of rock's finest ever drummers and re-recording over the entire album's worth of drum-tracks after feeling that they lacked the certain 'something' which would propel your songs to the next level, all the while having your personal life in turmoil. The immense amount of pressure to prove a point to everyone and the personal troubles hanging over you would be something under which one would either crumble, or create an absolute diamond. 'The Colour and the Shape' is the latter.

A storming album from start to finish, featuring massive tracks such as 'Monkey Wrench' - which opens the album with angry defiance, 'Hey! Johnny Park' - an underrated but huge track, 'My Hero' - Grohl's ode to the 'ordinary' heroes which he grew up idolizing, and of course 'Everlong' - a hopeful love ballad and driving rock song rolled into one, and arguably the Foo Fighters' most famous track. Although these four songs are arguably the standouts, the album is most powerful when it is played from start to finish. The Colour and the Shape is a highly emotional album: somehow the song's on the album could relate to both the end of Grohl's first marriage as well as stepping out on his own and finally standing out on his own, and shaking the comparisons to Nirvana once and for all. The fragile opening track 'Doll' where Grohl proclaims that he's 'never been so scared' explodes into 'Monkey Wrench', where he replaces fragility with defiance. By the end of the album, having gone through iterations of denial (Up in Arms), slow acceptance (February Stars), hope (Everlong), and finally determination (New Way Home), the listener is left with a feeling that they've been on an emotional journey - one which (in my opinion) the Foo Fighters have never equalled.

The Gone-Away World
The Gone-Away World
by Nick Harkaway
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Sprawling..., 18 Feb. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Gone-Away World (Paperback)
Reading The Gone-Away World is like being in a brainstorming session with creative thinkers from various cultures, and being bombarded with all of their ideas of what a post-apocalyptic thriller should read like all at once. It takes a while for these ideas to sink in, and not all of them work in the context of the other ideas, but all of them are interesting and creative. Whats more, when put together they create a bizarre, unhinged and untamed book. Harkaway brings you on a long journey, throwing a near apocalypse, war, ninjas, pigs being used as fuel, martial arts, mime artists and romance (amongst many other things) at you along the way. Often breaking off the narrative and going off on seemingly random tangents, The Gone-Away World is as strange as it is epic, though the greatest part about Harkaway's debut is that it is always vibrant and fascinating.

There isn't much else on the market that reads like it, and although his followup 'Angelmaker' is more focused it lacks (perhaps intentionally - a book like this would be difficult to top scale-wise) the huge ambition that this book does. Arguably this ambition is also what trips 'The Gone-Away World' up at times. Harkaway seems to have wanted to cover everything in one book, and touch upon as many genres as he can while he was at it! He introduces characters frequently, each more outlandish and fantastic than the last, and also twists so much out of the premise(s) that the book starts to veer out of control in the last couple of chapters. There is a major plot twist in the book that is reminiscent of another book that I've read, and the ending is a tad underwhelming for me, but apart from these gripes I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed 'The Gone-Away World'. I highly recommend it: it's sprawling, filled with very many subplots, multi-genred, a bit messy and a bit chaotic but never dull!

Introducing The Hardline According To Terence Trent D'Arby
Introducing The Hardline According To Terence Trent D'Arby
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.95

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Hardline, 24 Nov. 2012
Terence Trent D'Arby (or Sananda Matreiya, as he is now known) has, simply put, one of the greatest soul voices of his generation. Absolutely stunning live performances and a high tenor voice with both power, fragility, tone and range meant that Terence Trent D'Arby seemed to have the world at his feet when he exploded onto the 1987 music scene with 'Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D'Arby'. Yet he never quite took off as expected. A combination of bad timing on the release (1987, the prime-time of Prince and Michael Jackson), reports of an out-of-control (justified?) ego, much-ridiculed statements that his debut album would have been 'the most important debut since the Beatles released 'Please Please Me' and record companies not quite knowing exactly where to place and promote D'Arby worked against him becoming a household name. A weak sophomore effort 'Neither Fish Nor Flesh' and further experimental records subsequently which were never quite as consistent sonically as 'Introducing the Hardline' meant that his music will always be overshadowed by his ego. Possessing a significantly richer voice than Michael Jackson, and much more versatile vocally than Prince, it really is quite a shame that D'Arby is so overlooked.

'Hardline' opens with some strange static before bursting through your speakers with 'If You Go to Heaven'. 'If You Let Me Stay' and 'Wishing Well' are tracks two and three, and are probably some of his most well-known tracks, and two of the most successful singles on the album. The searing highs of the chorus of the former and the incredibly catchy latter will remain in your head for a while (in particular, the synth lines of 'Wishing Well' - you'll be whistling them for days!). The guitar driven 'I'll Never Turn my Back on You' is followed by 'Dance Little Sister', another hit from the album which opens with a bit of humour. The next three songs are often overlooked but 'Seven More Days', 'Let's Go Forward' and 'Rain' (a peculiar, soulful remake of a classic nursery rhyme - it shouldn't work, but it does!) are worthy additions to the album. 'Sign Your Name', the third single from the album, went straight to number 2 in the Uk and number 4 in the US, and is a ballad that really shows off Terence's voice. 'As Yet Untitled' is a track that divides opinions - as a completely acapella 5 and a half minute song in the midst of an album full of danceable soul, it is understandable, and perhaps an early indication of the strange decisions that would later come to punctuate his unsteady career. That being said, the multi-tracked vocal without accompaniments shows the incredible control and power that D'Arby possessed. Finally, the closer, a cover of the Smokey Robinson's (Made famous by a young Michael Jackson in the Jackson 5) 'Who's Loving You' is without a doubt my favourite track from the album. With just the right amount of vocal acrobatics and buckets and buckets of soul, it is probably the most complete version of the song around.

Although a 'Greatest Hits' collection is also available covering five of the hits from "Introducing the Hardline', I would recommend picking this album up as well because as a whole, it really is quite spectacular. While history made sure that it wasn't the most 'important' debut of since the Beatles, it was arguably one of the best.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 19, 2015 9:22 PM GMT

Price: £5.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unessential but my god is it fun!, 20 Oct. 2012
This review is from: Comeblack (Audio CD)
The Scorpions were one of my first rock bands. At 13, it was their 'Unbreakable' album that I first bought and devoured, then two different 'greatest hits' collections, following by 'Humanity Hour 1', and the majority of their back catalogue. As I moved onto other forms of music (mostly rock and metal, mind you) in the interceding years, I found myself returning once in a while to the Scorpions - the riffs would hit me hard, like they first did when I first heard them. 'Alien Nation', 'Rock You Like a Hurricane', 'No-one Like You', 'Tease Me, Please Me, and 'The Zoo' are still as fresh as I can only imagine how they sounded when they were first released, with only the production grounding these classics in the decades that they were released in.

This is what I speculate was partially the thought process of the Scorpions when they came up with the idea to do 'Comeblack' (The less said about that album name, the better - although it comes from a long tradition of dodgy sounding album names such as 'Virgin Killers' and 'Love at First Sting'). An album of covers and updated versions of their hits sounds like a strange concept, and in many ways, it is. The original recordings of their originals were already great, and surely could be remastered in a 'Queen/Greatest Hits [2011]' way. You can't really hear the same amount of 'drive' in the band as well: they definitely sound 'hungrier' in the original recordings, as would be expected. It is easy to forget while listening to 'Comeblack' that the band are all 50 and over, with Klaus Meine pushing 65, standard retirement age in many countries! Meine's voice is ridiculously fresh sounding for a 65 year old. Not only can he still hit the notes, he still has virtually the same amount of breath control and tone! I found myself questioning how this was even possible while listening to the album. This is especially shown in the ballads 'Wind of Change' and 'Still Loving You' showcase Meine's incredible voice.

Despite any misgivings fans or casual listeners might have about this album, I would still recommend it for one simple reason. 'Comeblack' is the sound of a retiring band having a great time while playing their greatest hits from a career of over 40 years. The production is great: Jabs and Schenker sound just as a two guitar-onslaught should, and the thundering drums of James Kottak are mixed and compressed perfectly. Paweł Mąciwoda's bass is mixed louder and is substantial throughout, adding huge weight to songs like 'The Zoo', 'Tainted Love' and 'Children of the Revolution'. Eventually, this final offering from The Scorpions is as fun and rocking as it gets: Cinderella's Tom Kiefer once stated that 'as long as I got rock n' roll, I'm forever young'. While this prophetic statement may not have applied to him, it most certainly does in case of the Scorpions. Turn the volume up, and relive the power of their hits on a modern soundscape!

Edit (20th of October, 2013): Tom Kiefer recently released a solo album which is very good, called 'The Way Life Goes'. It's definitely worth checking out.

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