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Product: Audio CD
Title: Measure of a Man
Label: Rca
Artist: Clay Aiken
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
Measure Of A Man-Fantastic Pop Album!!!

Clay Aiken's cd is everything I want from a pop album. From the title track "Measure Of A Man" to the final cut "Touch", this cd is fabulous. Clay's voice is stellar on this album, allowing him to adapt to the slightest nuances in every song he sings. From beautiful ballads to catchy midtempos, "Measure Of A Man" is a must have for pop fans everywhere.

Product: Audio CD
Title: Motown
Label: Motown / Pgd
Artist: Michael McDonald
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
Fantastic Motown

A great remake of Motown hits. I could listen to this over & over when in the mood to look back to the 60's - 70's. Love Michael McDonald's style and voice.

Product: Audio CD
Title: Imagine
Label: Capitol
Artist: John Lennon
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
Everything is clear in our world

We will probably never know if John Lennon wanted "Imagine" to be the international anthem that it has become, specially after his passing in 1980. Maybe his calling to peace was meant to be a little quieter and smoother, maybe a personal call to all the people that wanted to listen to it. But now, there isn't a place in the world where this song isn't known, and where its, solemn, sweet, still simple chords sound clear and strong when talking about peace. Every audience in the world can be removed but its beautiful but powerful lyrics. "Imagine" must be the peace anthem of the Twentieth Century.
After the primal-scream-therapy masterpiece "Plastic Ono Band", released in 1970, the producing team conformed by John Lennon, Yoko Ono and Phil Spector knew they wanted a more standard pop album. So they worked on "Imagine". With a genius like John Lennon making an album, you have to listen to the whole thing to understand it. This pop music made by John Lennon is simply astonishing, not only by its lyrics but also by the always adequate musical arrangements. In the title track, for example, one could not reject the presence of fiddles and strings, set out for making a beautiful atmosphere for lyrics like "Imagine all the people/Living life in peace". This song also has also shades of social protests and even atheism, but overall is a call for tolerance. That's why it has survived for so many years.
The highlights of this album are many. The sweet side of John Lennon can be seen in tracks like the removing "Jealous Guy" (notable for its arrangements, specially the piano, and the sincere and authentic John Lennon lyrics asking for forgiveness after making a mistake: he's just a man, he can make mistakes too); the emotional "How?" (another song with string arrangements, talking about how hard is to live in a world that's changing in every minute, and where there's no time to talk about love: "how can I give love when love is something/I I ain't ever had". Even an autobiographical lyric); the romantic and epic "Oh My Love" (my personal favourite, a very poetic track co-written by Yoko Ono and full of pure images of sweetness and delight) and the joyful "Oh Yoko" (a lovely hommage and simple tribute to his wife, the woman that definitely changed his life). John searched through his life to find his purest feelings, and tried to communicate them to the world. He was so authentic at this, that many in the world felt touched and removed by them. That's because his main problem and principal reason to write is to talk about the problems of every man who feels overwhelmed for the world, and tries to make everything clear in his own world.
John Lennon reached that. Even with tracks full of anger, his geniallity was omnipresent in clear and powerful words. The politic world ("Give Me Some Truth"), the death, pain and anger of the young people who's called to war ("I Don't Want To Be A Soldier"), and even the simplest flaws in a man's life, like pretending to be someone you're not ("Crippled Inside") are treated in a delicate way, but always put out right into your face. You're left with no possible questions to asked. When John Lennon talks, he says it all.
And what can one say about "How Do You Sleep?". When you're a Beatles fan, and also a fan of the McCartney solo work, you might feel hurt by the shooting content of this song, but you also have to recognize John's quality in responding the slightly dark attacks that Paul had been sending to him in prior albums (like "Ram"). He felt the best way to put his feelings out was to sing them just the way they were: if he was in anger, he was going to be angry. And he wasn't going to hide behind obscure lyrics. He was direct. (And he counted "with a little help" from George Harrison, another one who felt hurt by McCartney, to play lead guitar on this song and another tracks of the album).
The remastering and remixing work helps fixing some Phil Spector arrangements that may make you feel tired, and puts John's vocals and the sound of the drums and the bass drums in front, with more clarity. The sound improvements are evident, and the remixing work is amazing. Here you have the best quality to listen to a John Lennon record, and a chance to appreciate it the way it was meant to be. A clear, pure record, with a lot to say, and with a lot of clarity in saying it.
That clarity in the speaking is what you've got to thank John Lennon. Talking is always the best way to solve your problems. When there's anger and pain inside, you've got to take it out of yourself, like John did in tracks like "How Do You Sleep?" or "Give Me Some Truth". When there's love, you have to demonstrate it, like in "Oh My Love" and "Oh Yoko". Then, everything will be clear in your world. And I think that's the main message John tried to send to us with this album.

Product: Audio CD
Title: Discreet Music [Obscure/Plan 9/EG]
Label: Eeg
Artist: Brian Eno
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
If you get into it, you'll love it

"not for everyone" may be a big understatement regarding this particular work. The approach is twofold: self generating music systems (applies to the two pieces in the album) and "side-music", that's something you may hear not as background or foreground, but as context, where you can get in and out. This particularly applies to Discreet Music itself, a rather long autogenerated piece of low tones and humms that sounds even today rather forward-looking and eery. The second piece, the Three variation on the Pachelbel Canon, are more foreground music, and requires some liking of classical music but a _very_ open mind for the kind of alteration that's been done. It may sound a little fishy at the beginning (half an hour of tones???) but in conception and execution, it's brilliant. And the Variations are beautiful.