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Product: Audio CD
Title: Reality
Label: Sony
Artist: David Bowie
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
WOW, I'm impressed.


There is a common thread running through all the Reality customer reviews that I have so far read. Everybody immediately trawls through David's back catalogue, minutely comparing Reality with their own favourite Bowie record from the past. It becomes quite obvious after a while that there is no accounting for taste. While some, for instance, love Outside/Earthling, others abhor David's work from this era. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that a man who is responsible for such an eclectic output over such a lengthy period of time cannot please all of the people all of the time. Herein lies the rub. Where does Reality fit in the scheme of all things Bowie? Well, why bother trying to pigeonhole it with Scary Monsters, or Low, or Hours? Let it stand on its own merits! Give it its own hole!Approaching Reality as if it were the first time I'd ever heard Bowie, I found an interesting, edgy rock album, framed with novel beats and anchored by a dynamic, versatile, powerful vocal presence that sounds like none other on this planet. Why care if it doesn't contain a "Hello Spaceboy" or a "Life On Mars" or a "China Girl"? Reality has its own jewels that may or may not find their place on a "Best of Bowie" compilation in 100 years time. For cripes sake, just sit down and enjoy the record! It's really rather good, even if you think it lacks the industrial punch of Outside or the melodic virtue of Hunky Dory. Would you rather have Moaning Bleating or Enrique I-greasy-arse in your player?
A more personal note on which to finish: if David's passing through a venue near you on his A Reality tour, don't miss him! A couple of hours of his current show quickly puts to death any ideas that he's an arthritic has-been gasping his way towards the tail-end of his career. The guy's no mere rock star, he's a phenomenon.



Product: Audio CD
Title: X2: Original Motion Picture Score
Label: Trauma (Red)
Artist:
Rating: 4/5
Customer rating - 4 out of 5
A new theme for the "X-Men"


Well, to begin this review I must say that my expectations on this score were not very high. For the first, Michael Kamen's techno-influenced score for "X-Men" in 2000 was a bit of a disappointment. I mean, a big-budget special FX superhero movie is something that most composers can only dream of...But Michael Kamen wrote almost no memorable cues at all. Some of them were enjoyable for the moment, but I forgot them as soon as I came out from the theatre. He wrote a simple theme, but an easily forgettable one. Look at all the memorable superhero themes that exists - "Batman", "Spiderman" and "Flash Gordon" to just mention a few. When it's time for the big screen, doesn't "X-Men" needs one too? And when I heard John Ottman was supposed to score the highly anticipated sequel, I expected nothing more than a repeatition of Kamen's score. But very fortunatley, I was wrong...completley wrong. The moment I came into the theatre, I was totally overwhelmed by the music heard in the opening titles. When I had seen the movie, the first thing I had to do was getting its soundtrack. And so I did. While Michael Kamen used a lot of synthesizers and industrial music, John Ottman really takes advantage of his opportunity to write a fully-orchestral and choral score in a grand format, that is really needed for a superhero movie like this. The theme is simple, yet very memorable, and a little bit reminiscent of John Williams' legendary "Superman March". The album opens with the "X2 Suite", which is the highlight of score, as it contains all important elements and themes. While the album for the first movie only contained a handfull of rather short cues, this one runs for over an hour and has longer cues too. Highlights include "Storm's Perfect Storm", which is an action cue with full orchestra and choir, "Mansion Attack", which is also a massive percussion cue. "Cerebro" is a peacefull cue with beautifull strings. The old elements of Magneto from the original score returns in full choral forces in "Magneto's Old Tricks", one of the darkest cues here. Here, you can almost feel the evil of an old comic book villain. Superb!We also have the emotional "If You Really Knew", which has beautifull strings and you can really realize the seriousness of the situation. Then we also have the three cues that marks the grand finale of the adventure - "Getting Out Alive", "Goodbye" and "We're here to stay". During the two last ones, something unexpected and very sad happens, but I won't tell you what - go see the movie and find out. This is what a true sci-fi score should be like - a rather strong theme, emotional strings and many elements that gives it variations. And also, most of the great music from the movie is actually included on the CD - there is only one great action cue which I'm missing. The score never fully reaches up to the level which deserves a full five-star rating, but it's still a good listening experience that has no really intolerable cues at all. And after hearing this, I do not doubt a second that John Ottman is a rising star in the world of film music, and this score has taken him to new heights. Now he can stand as the creator of a theme for the "X-Men" series. Then, I can only say one thing to end this review: if you where somehow disappointed at the original "X-Men" score, and wants something more, then this is perhaps exactly what you wanted from the first score. So give this one a try!



Product: Audio CD
Title: Room for Squares
Label: Sony
Artist: John Mayer
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
Impressed


I purchased this CD after reading on a Message Board so much about this Guy. I LOVED it!!!!! I recommend it for anyone that can remember the group GO WEST (hit songs were "Call Me", "King of Wishful Thinking" and their remake of "What you won't do for Love" back in the 80's) I hear that he is compared a lot to Dave Matthews but I didn't pick up on that.
Their are at least 4 good songs on this CD after listening to it twice in a row the evening I purchased it I went to work and burned it too LOL Definately a great gift idea.



Product: Audio CD
Title: Stories
Label: Red Int / Red Ink
Artist: John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, John Mayall
Rating: 3/5
Customer rating - 3 out of 5
Oh know!


As the owner of 26 John Mayall albums including everything since the 1988 the 'Behind the Iron Curtain' album I look forward to each new release. However, my reaction when I heard the first 6 bars of the opening track was that Mayall has reverted to the bad old days of the 70s and early 80s with what I call a bouncy, nothing style of music. Unfortunately my initial reaction was true. My review of 'John Mayall and friends' talked about how the standard bluesbreakers band produced the finest tracks on the album and that maybe there should be less of the 'friends'. This album suggests the reverse. Buddy Whittington on guitar is the only saving grace resurrecting tracks from the 'next' button. Few of the tracks are what I would describe as blues. There are a few worthwhile tracks such as 'Demons in the night' and 'The mists of time' but in general I don't want to hear the rest again. Maybe I should change my automatic buy policy?