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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 2 October 2004
OK so Solarized isn't perhaps as experimental as Music of the Spheres, but the comments so far don't do the album justice. The album opens well with Longsight M13 which is reminiscent of Golden Greats. There are Mexican influences in Time Is My Everything and the use of the and the samba-eqsue rhythms don't stop there - Kiss Ya Lips is testament to this. Reluctant as I am say this, the album's best moment has to be the collaboration between the Monkey man and Noel Gallagher. My question is: why didn't they do this sooner?
The album is well produced. Unlike Music of the Spheres, this isn't a "sit back and relax" album - the tracks are varied and interesting...some mellow, some more energetic. In my opinion, Ian Brown has created his own sound which is unique in the UK at the moment.
I'd definitely recommend this album. Keep it coming Ian. If anyone has the chance, get your hands on the version of FEAR with Dani - really good.
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There's a truly brilliant greatest hits album at the end of Ian Brown's career. Something that could stand up with the best of The Stone Roses. But that's a long way off. Instead, "Solarised" is just another Ian Brown solo album, one that turns up every 18 months or so in Brownie boys release schedule - and lets give the boy his due - he's prolific, and there's no quality drop in his work.

You can see where the muse went when The Stone Roses split up. At the time the smart money was on John Squire, but after The Seahorses, and two solo albums - one a concept album about paintings, the smart money defected over to Ian Brown. And rightly so.

With his solo albums though, you know exactly what you're going to get. Ethnic rhythms, detuned, alien guitar courtesy of ex-Roses axeman Aziz Ibrahim, funky basslines, and weird wooshing noises that sound like they've been beamed in from 2084. Oh, and some manc guru guy singing about spirituality, the third world, and other concepts so far beyond anyone's understanding that he's practically Yoda with a set of decks and a mic. But for all that, I'd much rather someone try and make great art that yearns, reaches for greatness, attempts something, anything, aspires to brilliance, than fails and sits in it's lowly indie ghetto rumbling on about Sally and Smokey, and rum old slappers.

Sometimes "Solarised" falls well short of it's intended target, riding a wave of the odd, ethereal, non-existent rhythms and thin melody that practically vanishes into the ether. And other times (on "no number"), the songs are forceful declarations of intent. "No ID Card stopped a hijacked jet" is as simple a precis as it gets. And it makes you wanna shake your stuff and shake your fist at the same time.

"Keep What ya Got" - the first single - is nothing more than a remix of an old song Noel Gallagher stuck on the X-Files soundtrack, with Ian Brown singing. It's a great track, and yet, at the same time, so very very blah. "Solarised" overall is nothing new, but another Ian Brown album : a quality piece but one that could've been recorded anytime in the past decade.

Time perhaps for Ian to keep what ya got, and try something new for a change? It's gold alright, but are we fools? Maybe next time tho', maybe then it'll be what the world is waiting for. But not this time......
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on 15 October 2004
i am only a new fan of ian browns solo material,i own all the stone roses albums and this holds it's own against them.highlight tracks include; time is my everything,sweet fantastic,kiss ya lips (no id )(i have to stop here ,there is too many to say ! ). i like ians sometimes strange lyrics,and there is a varied mix of interesting musical styles.there is plenty on this album to keep you interested for a long time. go buy it !
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on 16 September 2004
This is Ian Brown's 4th solo album and has to be his best to date.
The first track 'Longsight M13' is a rousing opening tune, opening with a twisted guitar hook and finds the Brown of old in a tremendous vocal performance. Time is my everything is a very melodic tune laden with an uplifting horn and trumpet combination and a solid track. The 3rd track 'Destiny or Circumstance' is another solid Ian Brown tune with a heavy guitar influence, despite being a little on the short side.
'Upside Down' is a slow, keyboard driven song where Ian goes on his anti-globalisation rant- not a bad song but probably the weakest on the album. 'Solarised' which is the album title track is another solid tune, slow-burning but a good song. Number six is 'the sweet fantastic' which is again a slow but very enjoyable
song. 'Keep what ya got' features a guest appearance by a certain Noel Gallagher and is probly the best material Ian Brown has produced since his Stone Roses days. This song starts with a haunting piano and features a great performance from Gallagher and Brown. This song is packed with great lyrics and is really a classic tune- top notch.
Track number eight is 'home is where the heart is' again a good tune but a little on the short side.'One way ticket to paradise'
is a really strong tune, featuring great lyrics "threw a dice came up a seven now I am on my way to heaven" and also a heavy guitar-laden backdrop, this is really fantastic stuff. Song number ten 'kiss ya lips (no I.D.) is another strong effort,a very quick paced song with an almost arrogant delivery, again sterling stuff. The album finishes then with 'happy ever after' an instrumental which is short but very good.
Overall this is the best Ian Brown album yet, some of this material would have made it onto the Best of the Stone Roses album and this is the best compliment I can give this album. This album gives us a taste of what the Roses would be churning out today if they were still together. The slight gripes I would have is the album is a little short, around the 40 minute mark and a couple of the tunes are little more than fillers but the vast majority of this album is really great stuff and well worth having in the collection of any Indie fan.
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on 15 September 2004
This being the monkey man's fourth solo album, i was more than happy to pick up a copy. Although being as original and ambient as its predecessor, the songs on this record simply do not compare to the magnificent 'Music for Spheres'.
On the positive side, the music he makes is fresh and original, sonically removed from what is going on at present. Just on the basis that the pioneer of British Indie Rock is still out there and doing his own thing (which what his peers should be doing), buy this record.
However, the songs are a little too alternative to really make an impact within the first few listens. It is blatantly obvious that his focus is on making his tunes sound as experimental and original as possible, as suppose to making a tune fulfill it's potential.
The obvious highlight, as predictable as it may seem is the anthemic 'Keep What Ya Got', co-written with the second greatest monkey in Lancashire. This tune simply does not tire, with it's dark progressive sound, it being the most reminscent tune of his previous work present on the album. Just makes you want to grow your hair, pull on your baggiest jacket and strut round Stretford giving evil looks to every soul in sight!
My other favourite is 'Kiss Ya Lips (No I.D)', which sounds very much like 'xtrmntr - primal scream', with it's strutting, otherworldly sound.
Although quality wise, this album is a step back from its predecessor, it's definately worth an investment. Sound far more like a good Primal Scream album (dark experimental and dub-style, with the odd indie classic) than anything he ever did with the Roses.
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on 14 September 2004
"Free Ian Brown," I always confused when I walked passed this everyday on my way to school, i remember once staring at it, thinking that Ian Brown some kind of political leader who got locked up. I was born and lived in longsight for the first 9 years of my life, i lived on the exact street where the now infamous graffiti was.
9 years on, and the wall has been half knocked down and painted over, a bright red, and longsight is mere memory of my early childhood. As for Ian Brown well, although he can count on the now 30 something's to buy his cds, but there is now a generation of people who weren't at Spike Island or that performance at the Reading Festival and have only heard about it. So Ian Brown has to earn his keep as a serious recording artist who makes great music, otherwise he will just be a relic.
This album is no massive revolution, its a continuation from Music Of The Spheres, there are those minimalist almost spoken word poems, on this album for an example towards the end of "upside down" he quickly mumbles something about the control the wealth, and although i know he means it, i cant be bothered to care about the same way i would if this were bono screaming at the top of the lungs, when Ian does it sounds like a Uni lecture on tape. But to be honest with you, I cant help and be mesmerized because the minimalism demands more attention.
Musically, he continues to experiment, don't worry though there are no Spanish songs on this album, however trumpets feature quite a lot, The Sweet Example being a great example. The album has lots of "World Music" influences, such as the Middle Eastern tinged sound effects on "One Way Ticket to Paradise," and the Samba rhythms on "Kiss Ya Lips [No I.D]."
However when he goes for the hooks and choruses, his bread and butter, which are found mostly on 2nd half of the album, i don't know any other musicians who reach such majestic heights, infact majestic does describe the music well, it simply towers away. On most of the songs Noel Gallagher contributes for other artists his presence overwhelms the song, but if you have seen the video for "Keep What Ya Got," then you would know, that it's Noel that looks like the pauper looking up at his king. I wouldn't have even known it was him if I didn't see the video. Even his Political statements make more sense when the music is loud and the hooks just flow, like they do on "Kiss Ya Lips [No I.D]," his message to Mr Blunket with his scathing and poignant lyrics "ID Cards don't stop no hijacked jet"
It's no revolution and the man has even started covering stone roses song live, but he has delivered a very solid album but I cant help thinking that he should do what they've done in Longsight. Paint over the wall, then maybe he can truly "Free Ian Brown."
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on 9 September 2004
Here in Washington, D.C., a lot of us have been waiting for something good, something that makes us feel the way we did when we were very young and first began listening to music. Every time a new Ian Brown CD gets released, I feel this way all over again. This time I decided not to wait for it to get released in the states because that takes too long. Overseas shipping be damned! I don't care, I've been waiting a long time for a good record, and I can't wait any longer.
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on 16 September 2004
For sum reason, ven tho i'm a massive fan of Ian Brown, I keep fearing the worst and expect him to run out of fresh ideas but he seems to deliver every time so what more can you ask for. Even better, its one of those albums that takes a couple of listens, ultimately you get into it more than you would if it hooked you first time, dont ask me why, you just do...really enjoyed the Noel Gallagher collaberation, sure they can do more too.
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on 24 September 2004
I listen very carefully to every album i purchase or happen to come across, giving them the opportunity to 'grow' on me if its good enough.
I've always admired Ian from his early solo work (I had heard them before even hearing the Stone Roses, and was blown away by their albums). Ian Brown and the Stone Roses, I believe, work(ed) on 'Album' concepts rather than going for stand out 'single-type' tracks. This is why you don't find the need to skip through the debut album of the Stone Roses, or depending on your opinion, the albums of Ian Brown. I personally cant find anything I dislike in any of Ians albums. Which is a big thing to say, I know. Maybe his dabbling in substances has helped put him on this plain of transcendal trippy-like immortality. Ian can do no wrong. Solarized just testifies this once again. Ian doesn't try to push back the barriers too much, rather he sticks with what he knows and is great at, making good music.
Time Is My Everything is a particularly powerful track. But listen to the album as a whole, with the tracks blending into each other, only then will you be able to hear how amazing the music really is.
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on 13 September 2004
I've listened to this album 3 times in a row now after going out ann buying it on the opening day of release, the first 2 tracks oooooooz Ian Brown, absolute quality, the kill bill mexican style trumpets in 'my time is everything' is a touch of genious from king monkey. overall I cant decide weather its an absolute quality album or average, about 5 tracks have grasped me straight away and hit you with the instant brown sound. The remaining tracks which are somewhat experimental, like all Browns work previously, I'm not overly sure about yet though. I've absolutely adored all his previous work, and golden greats I dispised on the first time of listening, but is now my favourite album he's done solo(and almost otherwise). I've gotta say its way ahead of anything else out there at the minute though, even if I do find it to be flawed after my conclusion I'll give it 4stars for now, but in a couple of days I wouldnt be at all surprised if I were 2 change my opinion to 5 or even 3 million as is Mr Ian Brown.
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