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Are You Lookin' At Me?

29 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 24, 2007
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Are You Lookin' At Me? + Gathering Mercury (Limited Edition) + Going Somewhere
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

ARE YOU LOOKIN AT ME? is Colin Hay's first new studio album in six years, and is a stunningly tuneful meditation on life, love, sobriety, maturity and perseverance. As a writer, he has been more masterful: finding intriguing new angles on instantly relatable scenarios, skewering and savoring in equal measure. With musical backdrops ranging from electronic textures to plaintive acoustic balladry to classic guitar driven pop, ARE YOU LOOKIN AT ME? is a welcome reintroduction to one of modern pop's most enduring and ingenious songsmiths.

About the Artist

Close of day, Los Angeles. Colin Hay emerges from his basement studio, where the entirety of his new album Are You Lookin' At Me? was recorded. "I like working," he says, matter-of-factly. "I love being in the studio, writing songs, and just being in that environment - and I enjoy it more and more as I become more self-reliant in the studio. There's a lot of messing around with ideas, not being really sure what the day is going to bring...being on your own, able to work through the ideas and work the machines, is quite liberating."

Are You Lookin' at Me? is Colin Hay's first studio album of new material in over five years. A tuneful, insightful meditation on life, love, sobriety, maturity and perseverance, the album finds Hay at the absolute peak of his craft. As a writer and vocalist, he has never been more masterful: finding intriguing new angles on instantly relatable scenarios, skewering and savoring in equal measure. His less acclaimed but no less formidable skills as arranger, engineer and bandleader insure that each song is supported by evocative musical backdrops ranging from electronic textures to plaintive acoustic balladry to classic guitar-driven pop. Are You Lookin' at Me? is unified by Hay's immediately identifiable voice, relentless curiosity, wonder and a decidedly uncluttered sound which has its roots in Hay's consistently busy tour schedule.

"Since my last album Company of Strangers in 2002," Hay explains, "I've been pretty much either on the road or in the studio...when I'm not on the road, I'm working on songs and trying to make them as good as possible. When I was working on these, I had my road band in mind, and in a way tried to limit the arrangements to match our live sound." Songs like the refreshing, buoyant "Lose to Win" and the disarmingly direct, horn-spiked "Pure Love" reflect this commitment to, in Hay's words, "avoid over-recording." Hay also performs regularly as a solo acoustic artist, weaving new and old songs with touchingly hilarious tales of his experiences. These solo tours have left him unafraid to strip his music to its bare essentials, such as on the bittersweet "Up In Smoke".

Throughout Are You Lookin' at Me?, Hay's perspective is one of an observer, an outsider. "A lot of people feel like outsiders: for me, it's not a problem," he reflects. "Being born in Scotland and growing up there for 14 years, I felt a particular way. Then my family moved to Australia, we were instantly in a very different place. But I quickly learned to adapt. When you look closely, you find more similarities than differences."

Hay first landed on American shores as the frontman and principal songwriter of the pop sensation Men at Work. With Hay's wry songs and burnished vocals leading the way, they were responsible for a series of massive hits, such as "Down Under," "Who Can It Be Now?" and "Overkill," that defined pop music of the early eighties. Men at Work were also one of the first pop icons of the video era, with Hay's distinct visage gracing a number of intriguing, humorous videos that aired endlessly in the early days of MTV. He stared down at the world from the most extreme heights of pop stardom, and yet stardom is not something he yearns for today. "When you have commercial success, it takes a while for the effects of that to leave you. But after a while you stop asking `Is that gonna get on the radio?' over and over. Now I just want to try to write cool songs that people will get something out of - the rest really doesn't matter."

As the eighties gave way to the nineties, Hay continued to write and perform, parlaying his gifts as a performer and storyteller into such varied enterprises as a narrative television special and a one-man stage show entitled Colin Hay: Man at Work. His music made the migration from commercial radio to the world of film and television, gaining prominent placements in the hit television show Scrubs and the acclaimed film Garden State. "Having my music out there like that opened up a new younger audience to me," Hay explains, "which is fantastic."

The appearance of this new audience is indicative both of the timeless quality of Hay's craft and also of his honest, refreshingly slanted perspective - both of which are readily apparent on Are You Lookin' at Me?. Musically, what gives the album coherence is Hay's clear-headed willingness to let the songs shine through, his warmly conversational singing, and the steady presence of Hay's wife, vocalist and songwriter Cecilia Noel, whose strong but subtle contributions are felt throughout. "Cecilia has a certain color to her voice," Hay explains, "and it gives the album continuity."

Nowhere is Hay's gift for touching, relatable songwriting more immediate than the title track of Are You Lookin' at Me?, which opens the album. What at first seems an autobiographical litany unfolds, over the course of four minutes, into a gripping reflection on dreams, aging, and maturity. "Yes," Hay admits, "it's my story. But it could be anyone's story." Beginning with a litany of childhood fantasy (first cowboys, then rock'n'roll), it follows Hay through the whirlwind of his success and the subsequent hard truths that emerged because of it. "Basically, if you hang on to one idea too long, it will kill you...you can't be a cowboy or a rock star forever - well, you can, but it's not as glamorous as people make it out to be...the dream of living some kind of pastoral existence in whatever way shape or form it is gets shot down all of the time. You have to roll with the punches. You have learn to weave and move out of the way..."

Few have endured and survived the way Hay has, from an unimaginable pinnacle of success to forging new roads as a working artist and songsmith. Avoiding the pitfalls that have claimed so many of his peers (drugs, depression, delusion), he continues to ply his craft. The rewards, he knows now, are greater than something as fleeting as fame and notoriety. Are You Lookin' at Me? is the next chapter in a story that is still unfolding - on his terms. "I feel really great about this record," Hay reflects, "because I feel close to it. I don't listen to it and think `Oh, that's not me' or `I'm trying to do something weird here.' That's what's different...I have a great band and a great group of people to work with. It's fun now. But not in a light way - it's got some weight to it. But," he says smiling, "it's not like I have to please anybody. Well, maybe my wife."


Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
  1. Are You Lookin' At Me 4:12$0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. Lose To Win 3:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. Here In My Hometown 5:24$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. Up In Smoke 3:37$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. No One Knows 3:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. This Time I Got You 4:07$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. Lonely Without You 3:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. What Would Bob Do? 4:46$0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. Pure Love 3:25$0.99  Buy MP3 
10. Me And My Imaginary Friend 3:02$0.99  Buy MP3 
11. Land Of The Midnight Sun 4:28$0.99  Buy MP3 
12. I Wish I Was Still Drinking 4:14$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 24, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Alliance
  • ASIN: B000NTQKU2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,887 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Virginia I. Labella on May 29, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I ordered this along with an acoustic album by Colin Hay, "Going Somewhere". I listed to "Going Somewhere" first, and was mesmerized by its lovely acoustic vocals and guitar, which really let the songwriting shine. Then I popped in "Are You Looking at Me?" expecting more of the same. I was surprised to hear full arrangements on this album, but listened attentively to see if I was struck again by the songwriting and performance. I really wasn't. I feel the arrangements/production choices on several of the tracks contain distracting sounds or background vocals, and that they really take the focus away from the songwriting. Having recently discovered Colin's solo work, and read some about his love of songwriting, I have a genuine respect for him. So I certainly don't want to take anything away from him. But listeners who enjoyed his acoustic work should know that this album is very different, and in my opinion - not in a good way.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ellen on May 13, 2007
Format: Audio CD
If you've never had the opportunity to listen to Colin Hay as a solo artist, you are missing out on some brilliant pieces of music. This latest CD of Colin's is no exception. In the title track, 'Are You Lookin' at Me?' you will find yourself humming the chorus over and over in your head long after the music ends. In 'Pure Love', I dare you not to fall in love with the song when the horn section begins to play. All of his songs have a unique feel all their own with honest, thought-provoking, beautiful lyrics and melodies.

If you have the opportunity to see Colin in concert this year, take my advice - GO! I saw him at the Black Orchid in Chicago on May 2 and it was the best time. He gives of himself to his audiences whether sharing hilarious stories or singing 'Overkill' or 'Down Under' for the billionth time for the demanding audience member. But it's his music after Men At Work that has truly defined him as one of the best artists out there.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By BigSur on May 4, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It's great to have new material from Colin Hay. The variety of styles on this album is a real strength, and it's great to hear him with a band again despite his great acoustic sound. The sound here is fleshed out but not over-produced. Try the beautiful and melodious "Pure Love," the quirky "What Would Bob Do?" and the dynamite "No One Knows." "Me and My Imaginary Friend" sounds a little like Camper van Beethoven, while there's a little Stray Cats sound in "Lose to Win." This album is eclectic and enjoyable all the way through!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mickey K. Thompson on May 18, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I bought this album at a Colin Hay concert in Sellersville, PA and was lucky enough to have Colin sign the CD. When we spoke he said that "this is the best of my records" and I didn't think much of it because of course he isn't going to say anything different.

The CD has been in my car ever since, and I can say that Colin nailed this album. The album isn't typical Hay; it is a bit more produced but not overly so, and has more pop melodies than most of his ballad-centric albums. The record sounds like a mixture of David Gray and Elvis Costello. The tunes are catchy and I have been going around saying "Are you looking at me, pal?" and "What would Bob do, what would Bob do?"

So, I highly recommend this album if you like witty, charming and mature songwriters who can carry a tune. Also: see him in concert if you can.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By PWHJR on April 27, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I've been a huge Colin Hay fan since I stumbled upon and bought Wayfaring Sons way back in 1990. I marveled at the complexity of his lyrics and music, and his unforgettable voice which is instantly recognizable as Men at Work. I saw them in the 80's and I was a fan, but I rarely listen to them anymore, instead choosing Colin's solo material to rotate in my CD players. This album deserves a spot next to all the others which have all been fantastic. Sometimes it takes a few listens to "get into" an album, but this one sunk in after the very first listen. 5 stars! My wife and I are looking forward to seeing this criminally neglected by the mainstream artist in July in Ohio -- $5 per ticket, when I would gladly pay $200. Thanks for the great music, Mr. Hay.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Keating on July 14, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Such a great CD. I came to know Colin Hay the solo artist via his song on the Garden State soundtrack. Then I picked up Man @ Work and Going Somewhere and have since become a huge fan of his work.

This album took a bit to grow on me and once it did, I couldn't stop listening to it. I think my favorite song is "Lonely Without You" but honestly, there's not one song on this CD that I skip past. It's a great listen from top to bottom and one of those CDs that you can have on in the background as you're chilling out or blaring through your speakers as you head out out of Hollywood and drive into the hills.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Alexander Greenwood on May 12, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I've been saying for years what a lost treasure this singer/songwriter is (check out my previous reviews of Colin's work). Let me just say that "Are You Looking At Me?" adds more credence to the argument. Buying this album is risk-free. The title song is catchy fun and is probably autobiographical. "Imaginary Friend" and "Land of the Midnight Sun" are excellent. I also loved his not-so-subtle jab at President Bush in "I Wish I Was Still Drinking." Come on...give it a chance. If you believe in the survival of the singer/songwriter, Colin deserves your support.
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