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Product: Audio CD
Title: Moon Safari
Label: Caroline
Artist: Air
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
Is this really an album?


I bought it. I listened to it. I read the reviews. But im still not sure whether this is an actual album made by two french guys, or if it is a piece of my soul ripped from my body and rearranged in the format of an audio cd. I think it is the latter. If it isnt then, well, those guys that made it must be able to look inside my soul or something. This has had the same effect on my listening tastes that "The Matrix" had on my viewing tastes. Of course some people dont like this album because they are afraid of feeling something, afraid of surrendering to the music. They can sing along with Britney Spears until their mouths bleed for all i care. This album is my god.



Product: Audio CD
Title: Chicago - The Musical (1996 Broadway Revival Cast)
Label: RCA
Artist: John Kander, Fred Ebb, Ann Reinking, Bebe Neuwirth
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
Near Flawless and Full of Personality


When reviewing a show or concert recording, readers are looking for one of two (if not both) topics to be covered: the music itself, and the particular ensemble's interpretation. I just saw the show on Broadway a few hours ago today, so I thought the music would be fresh in my mind to compare to this soundtrack, with which I have been previously familiar. I won't dwell on the movie version in this review, for practical reasons.
A) The Music: Identifiable yet unique, sing-along yet cynical. That all gives multiple layers of depth to the story line where women are driven over the edge and hire a "silver-tounged" lawyer to make a mockery of the judicial system, turning the women into stars, in the process. Of course, the lead off number "And All That Jazz" is a ragtime romp laced with bluesy licks and dixieland character, and that sets the atmosphere for the entire production, which barely contains a non-memorable number. Kander and Ebb have masterfully given life to song after song that uses the musical backdrops and sarcastic lyrics to grow by feeding off one another. Second song "Funny Honey" doesn't stray too far from the musical territory established by the opener, but now the music is restrained, more subtle, ready to bubble over any minute - like a silent serpant ready to go in for the kill. John Kander uses just the right moment to modulate a half step and explode into heavy rag, as it collides with Fred Ebb's pushing character Roxie over the edge.
What's nice about this show, is several characters have a song all to their own, to sum up his or her role to the audience, and thus each of these numbers takes on a personality of its own: "When You're Good To Mama" (the prisoners' lenient liason to the outside world), "All I Care About Is Love" (Smooth Talking Lawyer Billy Flynn basks in the spotlight), "A Little Bit of Good" (find this one out for yourself), "Roxie" (main character Roxie's lament to her own life dreams), "Mister Cellophane" (one of the best songs, an ode to anyone who feels left out), etc. etc.
The show itself clocks in at just over 2 hours, and this soundtrack is well over one hour - so, you pretty much get most of the show, as there is very little dialogue between scenes that needs to be edited for the cd anyway.
B) Interpretation: First of all, it is a given that not everyone will ever agree on a preferred performance. I know nostalgia is a strong bug, so it surely isn't a horrible thing if a recording of the pre-revival days is your cup of tea. Still, much needs to be said about this recording right here. As I said, I just saw the show in NYC, and I am also familiar with the mostly ultra-tasteful movie adaptation. Perhaps this is because the actors have to do it every day of their lives, but I find the recording has MUCH more personality and creative wit than it would need for a merely adequate rating. Don't get me wrong, the live show is great, and maybe I just caught an unspired performance, but let's get real - when you're recording a cd, there's such a thing as overdubs, i.e. doing it till you get it right. It is recorded and mixed with such fresh crispness and polish, we'll never know if it took highly abnormal techniques to get what we hear - but what we hear is good, and any fault one finds with it may just come down to personal preference. At the live show, I wanted more accentuations, more voice fluxuations, more life in the characters - keep in mind, however, don't get so used to the recording that you can't tolerate anything else!!! But as for the cd, Ann Reinking is overflowing with character (as Roxie), and some conservatives may not like that - but for a show like this, you really need individuality - and as a bonus, there's no weak link. From Bebe Neuwirth's convincing portrayal as a star that has fallen (as Velma Kelly) to the comical Tina Paul who portrays Hunyak, an inmate who only knows two words in English, the generally minimal cast gets the job done - and then some. I'll take quality over quantity any day.
I'm not slow to find fault - truth is, I'm quite hard pressed to find a weak link to this cd. I still suggest the movie soundtrack in ADDITION to this, as both are full of character that is slightly different from one another, but this recording isn't a bad place to start. Every song is unique, but all of the songs function well into the whole story and musical. Unlike many of the shallower, sappy musicals that would rather play ignorant to the overall corruption of society (then and now), Chicago (i.e. Kander and Ebb) isn't afraid to ruffle a few feathers. And who are we to complain? We get entertained in the process!



Product: Audio CD
Title: On Eagle's Wings
Label: Atlantic
Artist: Michael Crawford
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
An Excellent choice for 'Phantom of the Opera' fans


This collection of gospel songs would be perfect for any spiritul person even without Michael Crawford as the artist singing. Having him perform these uplifting musical pieces is a definate bonus. I would encourage anyone who likes Michael's performance as The Phantom to try this album out. It is pure pleasure.



Product: Audio CD
Title: Josh Groban in Concert (with Bonus DVD)
Label: Warner Brothers
Artist: Walter Afanasieff, Albert / Sharron, Marti Hammond
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
beautiful


Josh is the best singer ever. You get to listen and watch him with this cd/dvd. What more could you ask for. It is perfection.