Having heard hints of Songs Cycled live over the past couple of years, I knew there was nothing to worry about. Yet the anxiety is always there when a legend like VDP has a new release out. Especially one whose bar has been so consistently high since the mid 60's. Will it live up to (in my opinion) his 70's and early 80's heyday of Discover America & Jump? Simple answer: Yes it does. Time or age hasn't diluted Van Dyke's energy, eccentricity or sharp lyric writing wit. It also features that timeless VDP recording sound (many modern releases are so quickly dated by a modern drum sound or tinny electric piano - there is none of that here).
Having got Songs Cycled this week on vinyl (comes with a free CD of the release not mentioned at time of purchase on amazon), it hasn't left my turntable or my iPod since and yet, keeps getting better! Truly recommended.
Up there with most of Van Dyke's releases, some quirky songs, as per normal, but most of this is his most easily approachable output. This may upset some of his loyal audience, and possibly make him somewhat more commercial. But it has to be understood this is not the ambition for this great artist. Here we find most of the songs are a little sparse in orchestrated music, but still as complex both musically and lyrically, as some of his other works, and I have to say this really does make it as good as any of his past outgoings. There are great stories held within for us all to meditate on. If you have not heard anything by this guy, give him a go, as you could find him fun with an enjoyable difference. Van Dyke Parks "Songs Cycled" will keep his old fans happy and bring new ones to the fold, making everyone happy.
This is a whimsical set of well written, well arranged songs that is, well, just different. It has a sort of Noel Coward feeling to it, and the songs which cover a range of diverse subjects are gentle, 30-40s in flavour. As always with Van Dyke Parks, they are original and interesting. If you have sampled his earlier solo albums or the idiosyncratic Orange Crate Art CD that he did with Brian Wilson, you know what to expect. Interesting and worth the entry price.
I didn't expect Van Dyke Parks to make a cd with new material;. And well: here it is. It has some wonderfull songs and some - let's say - interesting (Saint Saens on steel drum....) ones. Btw The booklet is excellent, nice art work.
I once bought a Van Dyke Parks record for £1 on a market stall. Tokyo Rose. Truly the worst record ever made. I think I was done. How he can make that - having already released gems like Song Cycle, Discover America and Clang of The Yankee Reaper (all recommended) - and in later years produce a work like this astonishes me. This stands up well against anything he's made. 'Beguiling' isn't a word often used to describe music, not by me anyway, but it sums this album up. I've had it less than a week and listen to it at least twice a day. One of the most inventive and stimulating performers around, but very accessible music. The notes are a good read too. Maybe Tokyo Rose was done for a bet.