on 30 September 2004
Hmmm..I have never committed my written opinions to anywhere on the web, but this album is simply magnificent. There is perhaps only one weak song.Can't Come Down. Every other track is a work of smouldering genius. The greatest release in 2004 (of the decade?. Nothing, nothing comes close.
If you like your music intelligent (Bombed), passionate (Come to Me), heartfelt (Like Little Willie John), honest (Wedding Dress)and (slightly) dark (When Your Number Isn't Up) this is for you.
I didn't think Songs for the Deaf or Field Songs could be topped. This makes them look ordinary.
on 15 November 2004
Mark Lanegan is a survivor from the grunge scene and can't you just tell? Many from that era have succumbed to drugs or the corporate dollar. Mark has lived through it and tells the tale in a voice that would shame the devil. Deep, dark and glorious. Its amazing how much soul can be derived from someone who admits to being souless.
A really fine album from one of rocks underated greats
on 4 September 2004
Lanegan is a man of many "phases." As a matter of fact, you may be reading this review either because of his work with Screaming Tress, his haunting and stripped down Americana solo output, or his recent singing contributions to Queens Of The Stone Age, have interested you enough to see what our boy is up to here.
The good news here is that Lanegan, rather than "returning" or "departing" from what you may be used to, has brought all of it together into a an intense boil, and come out of it with a powerful collection of songs that will offer immediate, if different, favorites for everyone.
In addition to this, the list of musicians called on to help his efforts is quite impressive and likely to make you salivate, even before the album starts playing. Whether it is PJ Harvey, Afghan Whigs/Twilight Singers' mastermind Greg Dulli, or Josh Homme -from QOFTA- to name only the ones I was most excited about and intrigued by for what they may add to this album, their contributions are a major plus to "Bubblegum'"s sound.
Speaking of "bubblegum" -a reference from a line in the song "Bombed"-Lanegan could not sound farther from what that word may make you expect. Actually, he sounds closer to Tom Waits than ever before, a similar tone yet not ever trying to imitate Tom, and he phrases his words in ways that remind me -at least me- of the dark sensuality of Jim Morrison.
The reference to Morrison may be more apparent on "When Your Number Isn't Up," and ominous and prophetic slow tune about mortality, or "Wedding Dress," as dark a "love song" as you can expect.
As far as Lanegan ability to bring into a single album everything he's explored musically in the past, I'd like to name some of the remaining tunes. "Methamphetamine Blues" is probably densest piece of the bunch, in part thanks to Homme's raging guitar and the machine-like pipe-banging that drives the song from the beginning ... Let's just say its title could not be more accurate
PJ Harvey's duet on the quieter "Come To Me" -one of two songs she sings on- makes it another high moment from this album, giving it a sensuous and menacing mood, think of it as a hymn to dark love.
Other songs I particularly recommend are "Morning Glory Wine," as tender a ballad as Lanegan gets; the bluesy "Like Little Willie John;" and the dense beauty of "Strange Religion" and "One Hundred Ways."
Last but not least, I must mention Chris Goss' co-production, which gives Lanegan a partner who seems to read his mind and soul, and pushes him to further greatness, and Wendy Rae Fowler whom I didn't know but whose voice adds incredible depth to the above-mentioned "Wedding Dress, and the very brief, although sad and gorgeous, "Bombed."
All in all, this is a remarkable album, a dark and fierce set of songs that has stretched Mark Lanegan in more directions than any of his prior recordings, and, to my taste, one of the best albums of 2004.
on 17 April 2006
I bought this album after getting really into qoftsa hoping to here some of the same type of music on here but qoftsa its not. I was not expecting a great deal from the album itself but what a shock i got. This has to be the greatest album of 2004 easily. This is one of those albums were its goals are set high with loads of collabirations(Duff Mckagan, Izzy Stradlin, Nick Olivera, Josh Homme, PJ Harvey etc) it really wants to be one of thoses really great albums. There is not a set style to the music ranging from acoustic ballads, industrial, heavy rock, country and every single one works. Mark Lanegans voice is just one of the best voices you have ever heard as im sure you have heard. Not a bad song on the album but for me my favourites are Hit the city with its great drum and bass grove and PJ Harvey lending some vocals,Methamphetamine Blues is the heaviest on the album i think it just has a filthy stomp to it loads of lead guitar going on and one of the best bass lines i have heard, Sideways in reverse was the 1st single from the album and is probably a good introduction just straight to the point rock and roll with some great guitar and drums theres apart when the solo speeds up then theres a pounding of the drums and the solo just goes all messed up great music, Come to me has some brilliant guitar licks by Josh Homme and Mark Lanegan and PJ Harvey sing together great its a really dark song in which the album has a few of, like little willie john is just a great country song sang amazingly by Lanegan one of the many highlights, Head another great song opens up with this great anthem of a riff and again is another highlight,Driving Death Valley Blues just has qoftsa all over it just imagine go with the flow with lanegan vocals and thats what you have hear really great music. There my highlights on the album but there is not a bad song on here and after bying this i have become a big fan of lanegans work purchasing myself some Screeming trees albums and loving them also. I have to say though in a time were rock music is like this with such great bands as qoftsa, nin, interpol, white stripes, pearl jam, velvet revolver this album is over shadowed and will be missed by alot of people which is a shame because this is a real gem of an album and one of the all time favourites.
on 16 January 2007
For just over 20 years Mark Lanegan has been an ambassador for `alternative' music in America: as the frontman for the undervalued Screaming Trees, Greg Dulli co-conspirator, Queens Of The Stone Age collaborator, and solo artist (not to mention many other guest appearances).
There's no doubt that that Lanegan's stint in the `Desert Rock' outfit Queens Of The Stone Age has brought a fresh interest to his work, and it would appear that the band has maybe given him the hunger to once again bring his own brand of alternative rock to the music buying public.
`Bubblegum' is Mark Lanegan's sixth solo album, and the first credited to the `Mark Lanegan Band' -- which Lanegan himself attributes to the absence of the ever-present Mike Johnson (who featured prominently on his earlier `low-key' solo releases) -- and is quite a departure from his previous solo work.
Although the subtlety of his last few records is not absent, it is fair to say that `Bubblegum' is a cohesive collection of the singer's musical persona. It is his most rock orientated set since Screaming Trees' Dust, while being as devastatingly honest as `Scraps At Midnight'. In fact, this is quite unlike any other rock album. A remarkable achievement.
It's unpredictable, desolate yet hopeful, beautiful and redemptive.
`Bubblegum' is, in every sense, a staggering record.
& then some...With 'Bubblegum' ex-Screaming Tree-frontman & previously neglected solo-artist (The Winding Sheet, Whiskey for the Holy Ghost, Scraps at Midnight, I'll Take Care of You & Field Songs)Lanegan offers up an eclectic-selection that takes in pretty much every aspect of his career- including his numerous guest-appearances with Masters of Reality, The Walkabouts, Mad Season, Twilight Singers & of course Queens of the Stone Age. At the same time the music is progressing - the electronic/pro-tools elements apparent in e.p. 'Here Comes...Weird Chill' is more aparrent here. For the most part Lanegan's longtime solo-collaborator Mike Johnson (ex-Dinosaur Jr)isn't here- the Mark Lanegan Band taking on a wealth of personnel and nodding to the notion of collaboration (it's also Lanegan's most rock-outing since 'Dust'). Guests include Alain Johannes (Eleven, Chris Cornell's 'Euphoria Morning'),Josh Homme (QOTSA), Chris Goss (Masters of Reality), Greg Dulli (Twilight Singers), Troy Van Leewen (Ween), Izzy Stradlin (Guns'N'Roses), Duff McKagan (Velvet Revolver), Nick Oliveri (Mondo Generator) & Polly Harvey (P.J. Harvey, of course!).
'When Your Number Isn't Up' sounds like a grunge-Tom Waits, Lanegan invoking darkness ("let's get it on...") prior to the primal-rock of single 'Hit the City' - which features harmonics from Polly Harvey, minimal drumming from Josh Homme (up there with Mick Harvey in The Birthday Party)& the kind of vocal harmomnics not seen since the last Screaming Trees record. Even better is 'Wedding Dress', which reminds me a bit of Depeche Mode ('It Doesn't Matter Two' to be precise!), & is a gorgeous electronic-driven ballad where Lanegan trades vocals with his ex-wife Wendy Rae Fowler. It sounds both modern sonically, as the lyric could have stemmed from 'The Harry Smith Folk Anthology.'
Junkyard-Waitsian motifs pop up on preview-track 'Methamphetamine Blues' whose sonic clatter pulses ahead as Dulli, Fowler, Oliveri et al provide a demented choir in the background. 'One Hundred Days'and 'Strange Religion' showcase the ballad-side of Lanegan- the former featuring Chris Goss (MOR) sounds like the missing link between The Band & Joy Division; while the latter recalls Otis Redding and perhaps suggests a direction G'N'R could have gone in had they not opted for bloated-double-albums! (...the brief 'Bombed' is a gorgeous acoustic confection which again features Lanegan's ex-wife).
Upcoming single 'Sideways in Reverse' opens the second half of the LP- a Stooges-style-stomp (think Julian Cope's 'Spacehopper') it leads to the Polly Harvey-duet 'Come to Me'- which is like Serge & Jane relocated to a Seattle where it never stops raining. The highlight of the LP remains 'Like Little Willie John' - which has more electonica-industrial motifs (Lanegan apparently digs Clouddead)- a machine-shuffle as a spacey-organ kicks in and Lanegan brings the blues to the 21st Century. This is one of Lanegan's greatest songs and easily ranks up there with such highlights as 'Down in the Dark', 'Carnival', 'Wheels' & 'Kimiko's Dream House.'"She never knew how much I loved her/She never knew how much I cared...get back to my special one/Get on my lucky-run...Where's Willie-John dead so long?/Gonna fall like nothing at all/Now whose gonna grieve when you're gone?..." Why Lanegan didn't feature in Martin Scorsese's series on 'The Blues' is a good-question...
Alain Johannes features on several of the last tracks on 'Bubblegum' and presents himself as the natural collaborator after Mike Johnson. 'Morning Glory Wine' & 'Driving Death Valley Blues' (the latter as great as Ministry's 'Jesus Built My Hotrod'!) are standouts here.
'Bubblegum' has deservedly done well in critics polls, as well as having a degree of commercial-success which can be put down to Lanegan's association with QOTSA. It's business as usual really: another great Lanegan-solo-album!
on 3 August 2004
It's been odd to see Mark Lanegan gathering enthusiastic reviews from the music press and broadsheets alike, but Bubblegum is unlikely to disappoint either old or new fans.
Building successfully on last year's Hre Comes That Weird Chill ep, bubblegum straddle the hard rock of QoTSA and his earlier, acoustic solo material.
In fact, the weakest track is Methamphetamine Blues from that ep, although that could just be a case of overfamiliarity breeding (negligible, really) contempt.
Bubblegum's strength is that it manages to switch between moody tracks like When Your Number isn't Up and Wedding Dress with out and balls to the wall rock like Sideways in Reverse without appearing at all disjointed. No mean feat considering the amount of high-profile guests littering the credits.
Lanegan is widely recognised as having one of the great voices in rock but it seems that only now people are sitting up and taking notice of his songwriting. And about time too.
Album of the year? ...yeah.
on 25 October 2013
I've skirted around Lanegan for years, but upon the recommendation of a close friend I bought this album very recently. Upon my first listen, whilst doing chores I was impressed, but my 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and beyond (just today!) have me completely in awe of his talent.
The opener "When Your Number Isn't Up" is so haunting, dark and bewitching that it makes me stop whatever I am doing, so that I can give it my full attention.
The tracks then flow beautifully into one and another, sojourning through blues, amerciana and folk along it's way; but I'm stopped in my tracks again by "One Hundred Days", "Sideways in Reverse", "Like Little Willie John" and "Morning Glory Wine". These are my stand out tracks, but let me tell you, there isn't a single skipper on here!
Despite only giving it proper attention today, this album feels like an old friend and I believe it may have already taken up a spot in my favourite albums of all time.
In a nutshell, I think this album is Pure Unadulterated Beauty.
on 8 August 2004
Followers of Lanegan from the Screaming Trees through to QOTSA will be familiar with his low-fi, introspective solo work - the best of which is "Field Songs".
On "Bubblegum" he opens up musically and lyrically and delivers a series of confessions which offer an insight into the depressive, drug-influenced lifestyle of a troubled human being.
His voice is incredible, finding major/minor melodies from nowhere - imagine Tom Waits after a heavy night.
The musical support reflects his reputation and the duet with Polly Harvey - "Come To Me" - is an uncomfortable listen - erotic and insecure.
"Bubblegum" is a stretched and taut exercise in self-diagnosis on which you are a witness to Lanegan exposing and dealing with his demons.
on 21 November 2007
I know i'm a bit late in writing this review but it's better late than never.
I'm going to keep this relativley short and sweet.
Mark Lanegan has one of those voices where it sounds as if he's been smoking all his life and has probably drank too much whiskey - but as it turns out he's all the better for it..
It is a very dark album though as all the songs are quite brooding and slow moving, to some they might even be depressing, but once you give a good listen the full way through as a whole (it might take you a couple of listens even, but you will definatley not regret it) you will/should realise that it is brilliant and completley original that way and quite honestly if anything were to be changed it wouldn't have anywhere near the same feeling it does in the first place.
The best way to describe the sound of the album would be sorta modern day blues music (modern day meaning full band, electronic and synthed-up - there's even a punk-sounding song on there "sideways in reverse", but believe me that's far better than it sounds) combined with a bit of rock here-and-there. I think it's more of a winter sounding cd myself, but that hasn't stopped me playing it through the summer aswell (you'll understand that better when you listen to it). It is really hard to explain it properly but i would definatley recomend it if you heard and liked Mark's earlier cds, Screaming Trees, the new Soulsavers record, his work with Isobel Campbell, or even if you do like blues music itself...
As i said before though it is a dark album which some may find depressing so you might need to prepare yourself for it, but us enlightend folk who can appreciate it fully can understand its brilliance and how no other cd can/could ever match up to it.
With this cd i think Mark has definatley made the best album of 2004 in terms of musicality, song-writing and general feeling you get when you listen to it.
It's one of those cds that you will be reaching for in years to come - i'm still playing it regularly since i bought it just after it came out 3 years ago.
The only thing i regret is not going to see him when he was supporting this album, a mistake that i will not be making again!
Definatley click the Buy It Now button A.S.A.P!!
With this one you will definatley not regret it!!!