Bigger, Better, Faster, More!
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85 of 90 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2002
First of all, the 4 Non Blondes are no more, which is difficult to understand, given the success this album enjoyed. The San Francisco based quartet signed with Interscope Records in the early `90s, and their debut effort in 1992, "Bigger, Better, Faster, More!" was their first and last recording together, but it produced one mega-hit, "What's Up," which sold more singles than any song in warner history. Still, they were destined to join the roster of the music scene's One-hit Wonders; but anyone who listens to this album isn't going to forget it any time soon.
The band produced an alternative rock/coffee house blues sound with a penetrating presentation that would give your coffee the jitters, and it's that sound that is captured on this CD. From the opening bars of "Train," to the final refrain of "No Place Like Home," the Non Blondes come at you with a vengeance, and they give no quarter. This is raw, edgy stuff that will get your attention with the first cut, and by the time you reach the end of the album the first time through, you're hooked. They get you and they get you good.
To give credit where it's due, the 4 Non Blondes are: Christa Hillhouse, base; Roger Rocha, guitar; Dawn Richardson, drums; and last but not least, singer/songwriter (and consummate artist) Linda Perry on vocals. And referencing Perry as such is not to be taken as a mere platitude; because talented as Hillhouse, Rocha and Richardson are, it is Perry who is the real story here.
Without question, Linda Perry is the driving force behind the band. She has a strong, distinctive voice and she knows how to use it. And the term "subtle" is not in her vocabulary. She gives you everything she's got on every song, and she has quite a bit to give. Think Taylor Dane meets Tina Turner and you'll have an idea. Perry is definitely not a gentle breeze blowing across the landscape; she's a gale force wind reducing everything in her path to rubble. And she does it SO well.
Perry is something of an enigma, as well. Her sound is hard and fast, but her lyrics tend to be introspective, even wistful, and range from the musings of a dreamer to a `60s kind of social consciousness, all delivered with a spine-shattering effectiveness more evocative of an Ani DeFranco or Michelle Shocked than a Joni Mitchell or Jewel. Consider the soul searching words with which she begins "What's Up": "25 years of my life and still/ I'm trying to get up that great big hill of hope/ for a destination--" It's a rocker's contemplation of life, which she seems to answer with the acquiescent "Morphine & Chocolate," in which she strives to "Substitute my enemies with real good friends/ Morphine & Chocolate are my/ Substitute, substitutes--"
Then on to the words of the daydreamer, "So I'll reach up to the sky/ And pretend that I'm a Spaceman/ in another place and time," in "Spaceman," which then continues on with the thought that "I guess I'm lookin' for a brand new place/ I remember living in a different life--" And "Dear Mr. President," a commentary on society and the state of the world in which we're living: "It's such a wonderful country/ but the man is burning it down--"
Like Jim Morrison and Springsteen before her, Perry is a hard blues/rocker with a poet's soul. But more than that she's got "attitude"-- the right kind and plenty of it. And she knows how to deliver the goods, which she so aptly demonstrates on "Bigger, Better, Faster, More!" with a little help from her friends. In the final analysis, however, 4 Non Blondes is a band destined to be a footnote in music history. Linda Perry, on the other hand, is going to be remembered, and she is happening now. Linda Perry is forever. And so is her music.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2005
I finally picked up this CD for the one song, "What's Up." Without question, that song had stuck with me for years. I wasn't expecting much; I just wanted that one song. I was completely blown away. This CD is absolutely incredible!

There is not one weak song on this creation. I dare say that "What's Up" is not even the best one; I'm rather fond of ""Spaceman."

I would call the sound of 4 Non Blondes that of a well-produced garage band. I couldn't picture them filling up massive stadiums, but I bet they would tear down large concert halls.

The singer's voice is unique and powerful. The lyrics are introspective and satisfying. The music, itself, just rocks. The whole combination creates a powerful experience.

It's most unfortunate that this band began and ended here with, "Bigger, Better, Faster, More."
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
This is the best album I've ever owned, but I need to correct something, the lead singer is not dead!! Don't worry. Her name is Linda Perry, and she has 2 (TWO!!!) solo albums which are both excellent. In Flight and After Hours. Check them both out. 4 Non Blondes can also be found on a lot of soundtracks(Waynes World 2, Airheads) and tributes(Encomium: A tribute to Led Zepplin, If I Were A Carpenter: A Tribute to the Carpenters).
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 1999
If you have never listened to 4 Non Blondes yet, it is something you should do sometime.
They use a bit of blues, rock and a few other things, but it all combines really well.
The first song from the album that they released was the fantastic song 'what's up'. Brilliant guitar introduction and after hearing it a few times, you will be singing along to it.
'Pleasantly Blue', the fourth song on the album, is completely different. As the title suggests, it is a blues song but with the infamous 4 non blondes rock touch.
The second song on the album is called 'Superfly' and has some pretty cool drums in it. Again different from the other songs.
'Morphine and Chocolate' starts like a ballad and is a bit strange and dull, but bearable.
'Spaceman'is another catchy song but is lacking a bit of the zing that some of the other songs have.
'Old Mr Heffer' might sound like it is from a cartoon, but gets some of the jumpiness that you need after the last couple of dullish songs.
'Calling all the people' is a brilliant anthem and is a really great song to lift you up if you are feeling a bit depressed and like everyone is getting on at you. listen to the chorus a couple of times and you will be happy, singing and jumping (possibly).
'Dear Mr President' again is like a ballad, but has singing rather the shouting that you will be used to by now. Great drums.
'Drifting' has only a guitar accompanying throughout the song (with a bit of strings in the middle) and although it sounds very good, needs a bit of rhythm to make it better.
'No place like home' is brilliant. The drums are fabulous and although you can't really sing along to it, just listening to it will make you happy. Speaking is a bit difficult to understand, but doesn't make the song sound any worse.
Basically, don't laugh at them until you have heard them. You might be surprised!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 4, 2007
As you can see from some of my other reviews in here, my musical tastes are mired 30-40 years in the past. Recently I jumped ahead to only 15 years behind the times at an unlikely place--the steps of Sacre Cour on Montmartre in Paris. There on a unseasonably mild November Sunday afternoon, I listened to a Parisian troubador strum his guitar and sing Beatles songs and American folk tunes (Simon and Garfunkel). I started singing along and he invited me down to sing with him. First we did "Help!", on which we did our best to reproduce the Beatles echo singing style. After "Help!" he started a song that I didn't recognize, so I sat back down on the concrete steps. "25 years and my life is still..."--I listened and enjoyed, and sang along with the "hey, hey, hey, what's goin' on!" chorus. Later on he invited me back for "California Dreaming" (another echo song), but that's another story.

Back in the US, I was determined to find out who did "What's Goin' On", which I was sure had to be the name of the song. I Googled and searched lyrics sites--finding a lot of performers who had covered Marvin Gaye's classic tune. Finally on page 3 of one search or another, I found a reference to "4 Non Blondes" and a song called "What's Up". I read the lyrics and thought, "This might be it." I found 4 Non Blondes on You Tube and listened (and watched) Linda Perry sing the song. I knew I'd found the song. I also learned that the title of the song resulted from the ubiquitous presence of Marvin Gaye's song, and the need for 4 Non Blondes to be different. I also learned was that Linda Perry did a lot better with the song than my Parisian friend, and I understood why it was a big hit that would be remembered in Paris 15 years later.

Getting on with the story, I asked for 4 Non Blondes' CD "Bigger, Faster, Better, More" for Christmas. Of all people, my 77-year old father found it for me. Sure enough, my new favorite song was there, along with a several other songs featuring Linda Perry's unique vocal style--"Train", "Pleasantly Blue", "Morphine and Chocolate" and "Spaceman" being my favorites. I love the way she can seemingly sing in two octaves at once. "Morphine and Chocolate" has to be the theme song for a drug movie somewhere. Mostly rockers, the 4 Non Blondes also blend in some blues and folk. Linda's singing seems a little strident at time, but you can never accuse of her of holding anything back. I've read comparisons of Perry's singing style to that of Robert Plant--they seem relevant. Both have great range of styles, pitch and that relentless emotion.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon March 17, 2000
When I bought Four Non Blondes (FNB) back in March of 1993, I thought this band would have more of an impact on the music scene. Of the eleven tracks here, there are no bad tracks. Linda Perry's solo material hasn't even come close the to great music on FNB's debut. This is a must have for any rock collector.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2005
There is some great screaming here, great guitar playing as well. Almost all of the vocal harmonies work, and are extremely expressive. It sounds like everything they had inside came out recording this, their only album. It's straight from the gut.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2003
A relatively unknown band, whose one hit, "what's up" received moderate airplay once upon a time. The best feature of the group is lead singer Linda Perry's distinctive vocals (I've heard her compared to a female Robert Plant, which I think is a bit of a stretch), backed up by some great guitar playing. When all's said and done, these 4 brunettes (presumably) really put out a pretty decent album. It was a little too hard to appeal to the pop-driven masses, but the music is well written and almost brings to mind the same intensity of 1970's Heart. Reccomended for anyone who likes a good rock album with a powerful female vocalist. Although I haven't heard it yet, Linda Perry has released a solo album which is still on my "to try" list. For now though, I (reluctantly) have to agree with critics who have placed the 4NB into the one-hit wonder pile.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2003
As the radio nowadays is polluted by no talent acts like Avril Lavigne and Michelle Branch, I can only remember the early 90's when the group 4 non blondes exploded on to the music scene with "What's Up." Who cannot but love this song? This song is reason enough to buy the album and do you remember when they kept playing "What's Up" during the olympic games in Oslo, Norway? Yeah this song and 4 nonblondes are all that. Linda Perry went on to work with such acts as Pink and Christina Aguilera and has written such songs as "Get This Party Started." There you have it. It's a shame these gals were 1 hit wonders because this CD and the song "What's Up" Is great. Also check out the really cool remix. It's hot as well. A+
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 16, 2002
Linda Perry has the voice of power. She doesn't seem to have a top end as she belts it out. When she sings soft and slow it's a dragster chafing at idling and itching to go fast -- and even then I like it. "What's Up?" is the song everyone recognizes but "Morphine and Chocolate" is more Linda's regular style. I am amazed there are any negative comments on this CD, it is absolutely on my desert island short list.
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