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Music Review Section

Music Index

The starting point for an index of all my musical sections.

 

Historic Album Reviews

I am gradually building up my reviews of historic albums from America to U2

 

The Music Years

Albums reviewed by years from 1963 until the present day.

 

The Gig List

A list of concerts and gigs I have attended over the years with reviews when I can remember what they were like.

 

Music Writing

My music writing - both published and unpublished.

 

Here and Now

Details of Eastern Evening News Here and Now columns I was involved in.

 

2009 Album Reviews

Major 2009 albums reviewed and rated.

 

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My Amazon Reviews
Free music - Best of 2009

 

Free music - Best of 2010

My favourite tracks from 2010 compiled as a playlist.

 

 

 

 

 

The Music Years - 1977

The following albums were released in 1977 and have been reviewed thanks to the following legal music sites:

Low - 7.5

Speed of Life/ Breaking Glass/ What in the World/ Sound and Vision/ Always Crashing in the Same Car/ Be My Wife/ A New Career in a New Town/ Warszawa/ Art Decade/ Weeping Wall/ Subterraneans

There is a strange kind of threatening charm about Low and if that sounds like a contradiction in terms, that is really exactly what this album is. Bowie was going through some dark times but somehow he managed to flesh out an almost rejuvenated sound. The last four tracks have a minimalistic sparseness about them - almost understated, almost leading us to some messages within the man's brain. They are, however, atmospheric and of a time and place in Bowie's catalogue. Other tracks sparkle and clang into life with Sound and Vision showcasing Bowie's voice as well as anything he did before or after. I can see that Low is an acquired but somehow it manages to bridge the pop influences with the more avant garde eclectic feel of Brian Eno. A whole album of subterranean ambient sound would have been tough to take but Low has managed to find a balance without become pretentious and that's what makes it one of his more intriguing albums.

Abba - The Album - 7

Abba by now were producing intelligent, literate pop whilst not compromising on the singalong quality. This album had a distinctive feel about it with more use of synthesisers and even spoken vocals on "Move On." There's a strong opening with soaring vocals on "Eagle" and the album contains my favourite Abba track "Thank You For the Music" which somehow seems to represent everything the band stood for. Of course the album is far from perfect, again there is some filler and low points but at this point in their career they were trying to vary their output and become more progressive. This is shown by the fact that three songs on the second side of the original album came from a mini musical entitled "Girl with the Golden Hair" - these include "Thank You for the Music," "I Wonder" and "I am a Marionette."

 

Fleetwood Mac - Rumours - 6

Second Hand News/ Dreams/ Never Going Back Again/ Don't Stop/ Go Your Own Way/ Songbird/ The Chain/ You Make Loving Fun/ I Don't Want to Know/ Oh Daddy/ Gold Dust Woman

Viewed by many as a landmark album and critically acclaimed, I have always fallen short with this one. Yes there are some classic pop songs here and yes the band seem to be airing much of their dirty linen in public, but there is something missing. Maybe that something is a heart. Maybe the internal wranglings were having an effect and rather than enhance this album tend to detract, Songbird is a beautiful Christine McVie song and many of the others have made their way into rock/pop folklore but there is something missing from the overall feel of the album.

David Bowie - Heroes - 5

Beauty and the Beast/ Joe the Lion/ Heroes/ Sons of the Silent Age/Blackout/ V-2 Schneider/Sense of Doubt/Moss Garden/ Neukoln/ The Secret Life of Arabia.

The second of what was to become known as the Berlin Trilogy. This was an album of contrasts, but to me a poor relation of Low. The first side of the original album (we are talking vinyl here) had  vocals that were almost shouted. There are a few interesting tracks - Heroes has been adopted as an anthem of the good and great and Sons of the Silent Age has a feel to it of Bowie struggling between the past and the present and falling somewhere in between. Then we come to the electronica. Controlled experimentation is how I would describe tracks like Sense of Doubt. The album always leaves me with a feeling of being half full (or should that be half empty).