Sunday, 12 October 2008

New Music Thoughts

I've bought a few albums over the last three or four weeks - nothing surprising there with me being a big music fan I guess. Been listening through the new ones and have mixed feelings.

I bought the new Queen+Paul Rogers album. It's nice enough but I just don't get why they did it - beyond the cynical let's make some more money reason. It just doesn't do much for me at all. It has Queen touches but no real Queen soul. It has bluesy Paul Rogers bits but not enough to really satisfy. It's a bit of a mish-mash and I can't see much point.

Bought the new Metallica album too. After weeks of hearing commentaries about how this could be Metallica's last chance to show they can be the band that made Master of Puppets and the Black Album the CD finally arrived. I've played it - several times. I've considered it and then I read some reviews of it. I tried not to read all that many before hearing it myself. Well I'm not so sure. There are a couple of good tracks on it and one absolute belter (All Nightmare Long) but I am afraid I think The Unforgiven III is weak and cringeworthy lyric wise. I have nothing against lyrics being personal but these - sheesh!

I think it is an album that shows they could still have it but it doesn't quite make it for me.

I bought Kid Rock's Rock n Roll Jesus too. I have to admit . It was mainly for my wife I hasten to add but I have listened to it myself a couple of times. I mention this because I also bought the Nickelback album for my wife but claim that one is totally hers as I have not listened to it at all - beyond what I've caught on the radio and TV. Like a lot of people I did think the video for Rockstar was amusing.

Anyway back to Kid Rock. I find it catchy without being earth-shattering. I don't hate it and I wouldn't rush to turn it off if it was playing. Not saying it's not good, it's just not quite my usual listening so I'm possibly not the best person to comment on it in depth. The title track is good enough and the use of Sweet Home Alabama is handled well on All Summer Long.

Next thing down is the new Dream Theater live DVD/CD set. Well I am a massive Dream Theater fan so this purchase was inevitable. And the playing is as superb as you would expect from DT. They are stunningly good musicians. And they're not afraid to show their influences as seen by John Petrucci's guitar workout using the theme from Marillion's Sugar Mice.

It's not a perfect set. As is often the case with DT live stuff James LaBrie's vocals are not always on the money - but at least they are honest. You do get the feeling that nothing is messed about with too much, this isn't a live (mainly in the studio) album. The mixing in of interview segments and shots of back-stage pissing-about breaks up the flow of the music. And most annoyingly although it is a region 2 release the DVDs are NTSC and the TV in my office doesn't play NTSC disks. Still music's good.

Changing the mood entirely I finally picked up the last Suzanne Vega album Beauty and Crime and it is wonderful, lyrical and beautiful. Wow!
Enjoyable as always.

As for the future I am awaiting the new Neal Morse album Lifeline. I've listened to the coupld of tracks he's popped onto his website and think they sound great. His solo stuff started out a bit wussy for my taste. Lots of good prog bits but too much religion and too much syrup in the arrangements and production. Since then each release has gotten better for me. The religious lyrics have sharpened become less of the too obvious "I love God" and more of the spiritual and storytelling. And the music has grown heavier, more serious and more rocky. Sola Scriptura being nothing less than sheer brilliance.

Well the couple of samples show a lighter flavour than Sola Scriptura but still good progressive rock. Can't wait

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