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Product: Audio CD
Title: Elton John And Tim Rice's Aida (1999 Concept Album)
Label: Island
Artist: Tim Rice
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
Spice Girls Rule !!!

Boyz II Men came the smoothest on this soundtrack with "Not Me." This song was written by Elton John & Tim Rice, along with the rest of the soundtrack. Though, the artists themselves produced and freely arranged all the songs separately. Shania Twain came with a piano/vocal track that chills the soul, but only lasts a minute and 45 seconds. Elton's songs are consistent, matching a lot of his other soundtrack performances. Dru Hill lights up "Enchantment Passing Through," which was creatively interpreted. James Taylor came with a great performance reminiscent of his old style with "How I Know You."
Overall, this album is great if you like the artists featured.

Product: Audio CD
Title: Mass Suicide Occult Figurines
Label: Barsuk
Artist: John Vanderslice
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
Suicide Notes

The 11 songs here have a serrated edge that holds you at bay for a while, until they hack their way under your skin, like a paper cut that makes it to the bone. This isn't a cd you like or dislike--it's an alarm clock in the dark night of the soul.
Many of the protagonists here, like Dante's sinners, describe their torment in vivid detail, all the while denying responsibility, and thereby ensuring eternal, self-imposed torment. "I know god hates alchemical work (I loved him lonely), but in the end what else to do? but begin again" intones the speaker in "Speed Lab" after the DEA has incinerated his operation. The pornoholic in "Bill Gates Must Die" blames the Microsoft CEO for his addiction, and as teeny tiny little teens pour out of his computer observes that "people stray, just don't say I'll never make it back intact." Other songs seek redemption in love ("Big Band Stars," "Josie Anderson," "Foothills of My Mind") but even these focus more on struggle and pain than on unity and joy.
The playing here (mostly Vanderslice, aided on several songs by members of his former band, MK ULTRA) is always on target (but never predictable) and the engineering by Vanderslice and John Croslin is revelatory (JV manages the acclaimed Tiny Telephone Studio in San Francisco).
Numerous posturers pretend to recreate hellfire and damnation in their 4-minute MTV schlock videos. John Vanderslice dispassionately depicts the lost world, much as Ray Davies chronicled the British working class. Mass Suicide Occult Figurines may not save your soul, but at the least it can tell you how you got off the path, and maybe where to get back on again.

Product: Audio CD
Title: Bryars: Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet
Label: Philips
Rating: 1/5
Customer rating - 1 out of 5
"Profundity" for sentimental simpletons


You get the idea? For "haunting voice" read "Dick Van Dyke's chimerney-swipe gophering his nasal way through an interminable Pavlovian chant in indulgent celebration of his self-pickled brain." With sub-Barber strings for Extra Added Bambi. And quasi-religious overtones (for those who don't quite get it).

The idea appears to be to addle the audience's faculties to the same extent as the unfortunate soul imprisoned in this sentimental circle of Minimalist Hell. So mission apparently accomplished, in that sense.

I mean, it's hardly original; or challenging; or truly "artful" at any level beyond "nice idea - now do some work"! A perfect example of reputation outstripping talent and achievement amongst the credulous, this easy, exploitative, clich?d bilge appears to have bypassed any critical faculties in the majority of "listeners" (or should we say "sharers of the experience"?) in favour of numb, uncritical consumption.

Actually, I don't mind that the old man gets exploited by the "artist" in question, as his condition was probably more elective than the genuine hardships experienced by, just off the top of my head, my hard-working, responsible Dad in his undeserved late-life tribulations; or his Dad in the war, etc. Are we that na?ve that the looped ramblings of some self-indulgent wino - yes, folks, the "Jesus' Blood" you're all gasping after is actually the alcoholic poison that brought the old fellow low in the first place - and their Disney-strings "musical setting" should evoke such reverence?

If you want a genuine weep and something truly life-changing - along with something that will actually compliment what intelligence you have - ditch this wet, weak, snivelling nonsense and listen to some Vaughan Williams, any Vaughan Williams! ditch this wet, weak, snivelling nonsense and listen to some Vaughan Williams, any Vaughan Williams! ditch this wet, weak, snivelling nonsense and listen to some Vaughan Williams, any Vaughan Williams! ditch this wet, weak, snivelling nonsense and listen to some Vaughan Williams, any Vaughan Williams! (Hey look, Ma! I'm a Minimalist Genius!)

Product: Audio CD
Title: Jekyll & Hyde - The Gothic Musical Thriller (1994 Concept Cast)
Label: Atlantic
Artist: Frank Wildhorn, Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Warlow, Linda Eder, Carolee Carmello, John Raitt
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
Wow! The best J&H CD avaliable!

I recently purchased this CD because the Australian released version only has about 45% of the songs that this one had. It is said that Anthony Warlow started the seperation [vocally] between Jekyll & Hyde, and the way he does it is amazing. Anthony Warlow is a very talented singer and his voice is perfect for this genre... if only he was on Broadway...
The best songs that he does is 'This is the Moment', 'The World Has Gone Insane' and 'Confrontation'. Of course the rest of the cast are fantastic. There are a few omitted songs taken out from the broadway version of Jekyll & Hyde, and I strongly suggest purchasing this CD to listen to 'long lost' tracks from the off broadway show.