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Music Reviews

Popular Music - Part 33 - May, 2000

Graham Vine

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Ratings:
Extraordinary
Good
Acceptable
Mediocre
Poor

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"Imajin"

Imajin

Jive; 920-0462

Performance: Star (605 bytes)Star (605 bytes)Star (605 bytes)
Audio: Star (605 bytes)Star (605 bytes)Star (605 bytes)

Imajin are a promising bunch of lads. In fact, I found myself thinking 'promising' during many of the songs on their eponymous album. As well as playing their own instruments (guitar, bass guitar, drums, keyboards), they all share in the singing. Some of the singing has a good deal of variety to it. Track 1 has that typical 'boy-band' sound about it, but there are other tracks (3, 6, 11) with a single vocalist coming to the fore. Not always to my taste - "Flava" sounds like it has a young voice and is a bit unclear in the diction - but (that word again), promising. Another aspect to the album is a fair selection of danceable tunes.

Tracks 4 and 8 really move along with an urgency to get you out of your seat. And "You're The Bomb" begs the description 'electro-funk' - did I just coin a new phrase?

I had some severe reservations about the melodies on some tracks - "Missing You" and "Love Letters". They kept reminding me of "Mama" by the Spice Girls. And, I find starting songs with oo-oo-oo meandering up and down gets tedious before the words begin. My favorite song is the last one "Ever Again". The simple lyric: girl leaves boy, boy sings about it - it's moving stuff. So all in all, I stand by my 'promising' judgment. The guys are clearly not stuck in a rut, they are prepared to experiment a bit, and they are youthful enough to allow themselves time to get it right.

For reference, complete track listing:

1 Shorty (You Keep Playin' With My Mind)

2 Keep It To Yourself

3 Flava

4 I'm Feelin' You

5 I Don't Wanna Play Basketball

6 Missing You

7 You're The Bomb

8 No Doubt

9 Love Letter

10 Fresh

11 Ever Again

- GV -

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"Is There Anybody Out There? / The Wall Live"

Pink Floyd

EMI; 523-5622

Performance: Star (605 bytes)Star (605 bytes)Star (605 bytes)Star (605 bytes)Star (605 bytes)
Audio: Star (605 bytes)Star (605 bytes)Star (605 bytes)Star (605 bytes)Star (605 bytes)

A superbly packaged offering from Pink Floyd has hit the streets. Based upon the massive epic "The Wall", this one is all recorded live and takes two amply-proportioned CDs to hold all the material. As well as the music, we are treated to a 64 page hardback book of photographs, anecdotes, interviews, and stories of how "The Wall" and this live work came into being.

There is very little 'chit-chat' on the CDs, so fans are assured of solid entertainment from start to finish. The  performances have that lovely 'edge' to them that only a live performance can give. Something about being not quite perfect, not too studio-polished. The road-team captured every nuance of the performance, doing full justice to both the players and modern sound-reinforcement gear.

Considering the quality of the boxed-set, the pricing is quite reasonable. In the UK it amounts to the cost of two normal-priced CDs, say about 30 ($46 in the US). So, the excellent book enclosed is "free"! It is a masterpiece of the printer's art with pierced 'show-throughs' and special container slots for the CDs. There is even a tracing-paper style stage plan bound in. The credits are copious and clear. Nice to see credit given to guitarist Snowy White - surely one of our most under-rated talents. If "The Wall" was a milestone in modern rock (and it was), then this new release is up there with it. It is like the other side of the coin . . .  live versus studio. Highly recommended.

For reference, complete track listing:

Disc 1 (53:49):

1. MC: Atmos

2. In The Flesh

3. The Thin Ice

4. Another Brick In The Wall - part one

5. The Happiest Days Of Our Lives

6. Another Brick In The Wall - part two

7. Mother

8. Goodbye Blue Sky

9. Empty Spaces

10. What Shall We Do Now?

11. Young Lust

12. One Of My Turns

13. Don't Leave Me Now

14. Another Brick In The Wall - part three

15. The Last Few Bricks

16. Goodbye Cruel World

Disc 2 (51:30):

1. Hey You

2. Is There Anybody Out There?

3. Nobody Home

4. Vera

5. Bring The Boys Back Home

6. Comfortably Numb

7. The Show Must Go On

8. MC: Atmos

9. In The Flesh

10. Run Like Hell

11. Waiting For The Worms

12. Stop

13. The Trial

14. Outside The Wall

- GV -

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"Sense and Sensibility" (The Movie Soundtrack)

Patrick Doyle (Composer)

Sony; SK-62258

Performance: Star (605 bytes)Star (605 bytes)Star (605 bytes)Star (605 bytes)
Audio: Star (605 bytes)Star (605 bytes)Star (605 bytes)Star (605 bytes)Star (605 bytes)

Patrick Doyle has penned some wonderful melodies and arrangements as his contribution to the soundtrack of the motion picture "Sense And Sensibility". At first glance, 21 tracks seem a remarkable number to fit onto one CD. In fact, the total running time is just 43 minutes, and there lies the major snag with the album. The pieces have been written to fit particular scenes, and as such, have a typical length of around one and a half minutes. Just as I start getting into a track, it's gone!

Let's concentrate for a moment on the music. As an overall sound, it fits into a 'late romantic' style - lush strings, some intricate work, and plenty of opportunities for the soloists to shine. My favorite is clarinetist Robert Hill. He starts several of the tracks without the string backing and communicates the feeling of the 'movement' in a way which is normally reserved for live performances. Nearly all of these tracks are very easy to listen to, without falling into that now-derided category of 'easy-listening'.

Given a little time, I feel inclined to splice together several of the tracks into 4 or 5 suites for a good relaxing or stirring listen in the car. The tracks I would omit are the first and last. I am afraid the singer, Jane Eaglen, has one of those voices that really grates on me. There is far too much vibrato, some difficulty reaching the highest notes, and insufficient clarity of diction to make out many of the words. That is especially hard to take when Doyle has gone to so much trouble to set two moving poems (one anonymous, one by Ben Jonson) to music which should give us the very best of songs. My criticisms of tracks 1 and 21 are severe and yet the overall marking is 4 stars. That gives a good measure of how highly I rate all the other tracks. Patrick Doyle will certainly be on my shopping list for future CDs.

For reference, complete track listing:

1. Weep You No More Sad Fountains

2. A Particular Sum

3. My Father's Favorite

4. Preying Penniless Woman

5. Devonshire

6. Not A Beau For Miles

7. All The Better For Her

8. Felicity

9. Patience

10. Grant Me An Interview

11. All The Delights Of The Season

12. Steam Engine

13. Willoughby

14. Miss Grey

15. Excellent Notion

16. Leaving London

17. Combe Magna

18. To Die For Love

19. There Is Nothing Lost

20. Throw The Coins

21. The Dreame

 - GV -

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Copyright 2000 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity
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