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Challengers

New PornographersAudio CD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)

Price: $12.98 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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MP3 Music, 12 Songs, 2007 $9.49  
Audio CD, 2007 $12.98  
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Videos

The New Pornographers - ''Moves''

Biography

THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS Together
We Are Together, by Rick Moody
For what purpose the popular song? Does the popular song have a purpose? Is it just a sequence of auditory gestures, desperate acts, adrift in the bigger broader silence of an unforgiving cultural landscape? In what follows, we will assume that the purpose of the popular song is to unite warring disputants and to repair the ... Read more in Amazon's New Pornographers Store

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 21, 2007)
  • Original Release Date: 2007
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Matador Records
  • ASIN: B000S9KSC8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,070 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. My Rights Versus Yours
2. All The Old Showstoppers
3. Challengers
4. Myriad Harbour
5. All The Things That Go To Make Heaven And Earth
6. Failsafe
7. Unguided
8. Entering White Cecilia
9. Go Places
10. Mutiny, I Promise You
11. Adventures In Solitude
12. Spirit Of Giving, The

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Pay no attention to the reviews that imply the New Pornographers have "grown up" or "matured" or "drifted away" from the perfect-pop promise of their first three records. For if you throw darts at the songs on Challengers, an ambitious soundscape that had members of the all-star Canadian band recording their parts all over North America, you'll hit one flawless song after another. "All The Old Showstoppers," "All the Things That Go to Make Heaven and Earth," and "Mutiny, I Promise You" (with its driving Farfisa organ) all venture back to the infectiousness of the band's earlier records, with leader and chief songwriter A.C. Newman (now a Brooklyn native) penning some of the most thought-provoking lyrics this side of Billy Bragg. Yes, there are departures, including a string section, flute and harp, and Dan Bejar's foray into indie-pop hip-hop with the witty, New York-heavy "Myriad Harbour." But there's also Neko Case dominating the divine title track and equally charming "Go Places"" as only she can, Kathryn Calder making her lead-vocal debut on "Failsafe" and (with Newman) on the melancholy "Adventures in Solitude," and Newman using an ambitious six and a half minutes to write about his new home city ("Unguided"). Then, your 50 minutes--a dozen songs--are up, as is the conclusion: Grown up? Sure. Matured? OK. Still pop perfect? Utterly. --Scott Holter

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Product Description

THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS return with their fourth album and their first recorded outside of bassist John Collins's basement studio. Airier, more spacious and more relaxed than its jackhammer predecessors, 'Challengers' is the sound of songwriters Carl Newman and Dan B‚jar stretching out. In a recent Pitchfork interview, Newman rejected the "power-pop" label and suggested "power-folk" instead, and several songs on the new album live up to it, particularly the luscious Neko Case fronted ballads "Go Places" and "Challengers." That's not to say the band doesn't play anthems - it certainly does, but a rousing track like B‚jar's "Myriad Harbour" is more imbued with the ghosts of Fred Neil and Viv Stanshall than with the new-wave songsters of yore. In general, Newman's songwriting is slightly more scrutable this time around; his lyrics still ring with wry perception and political metaphor, but betray some of the magnanimity that comes with new love - "our arms fill with miracles", he writes in "Go Places".

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Challenging at First, but Ultimately Rewarding! August 20, 2007
Format:Audio CD
It's probably best to get it out of the way, so here it goes: the New Pornographers will probably never be able to create an album as good or better than "Twin Cinema." When "Twin Cinema" released around two years ago, I had never heard of this "supergroup" or any of the members to whom the label is attributed. But when I picked up the album on the insistence of several reviews and a preview listen, I knew that this was a band that was perfect for me. The power pop music that on that album was near-flawless and it remains just as exciting and powerful today as it was in 2005. So no, "Challengers" is not better or as good as "Twin Cinema." But once you get over that fact, you'll find an album that is great in its own right and definitely worth owning.

It starts off with the first single, "My Rights Versus Yours." I have to be honest, when I first listened to the song a few months ago I was not a fan. The song lacked the powerful hooks and grandiose climaxes that "Twin Cinema" flaunted on pretty much every song. Of course, since then I've been able to appreciate the song for it's absolutely beautiful lyrics, and relentless drive. Carl Newman's delivery is flawless as he sings "We hang suspended from the heights until it's safer to walk here." The hook is a bit weak in my opinion("The truth in one free afternoon"), but it really doesn't distract from this great song. "All the Old Showstoppers" continues the fantastic songwriting from the first track. It really feels like a group effort, especially by the time the bridge rolls around.

It runs head-on into the title track, "Challengers." It's not only one of my favorite tracks on the album, but probably one of my favorites of 2007. Neko Case takes over the vocals here, and she once again nails it.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
The New Pornographers are two bands in one. On the one hand, there is the studio version of the band that includes non-touring members like the great Neko Case and Dan Bejar. Then there is the touring version of the band, that takes these amazing songs and performs them live. Both versions are centered around Carl Newman. He helps assure that the Pornographers are a great live band, even without its distinguished non-touring members, but with all members involved, this is one of the truly great studio bands in the world. CHALLENGERS is their fourth album. I honestly can't describe it as their best or their worst album. All four of their albums seem to me to be absolutely masterpieces and I was astonished to discover just how great this album has turned out to be. It isn't quite like earlier albums. For one thing, almost all the songs on CHALLENGERS are slower and statelier than almost any of the songs on previous albums. The first three cuts on the disc - "My Rights Versus Yours," "All the Old Showstoppers," and the title track represent the slowest beginning of any of their albums, but by no means are any of them weak songs. "All the Old Showstoppers" starts off almost delicately, but it gradually builds into a march as one new musical wrinkle after another is introduced to the mix. More than any other band, I would love to see these guys working on a recording. They are just dripping with talent and it would be wonderful to see who is responsible for introducing each new element. An individual song might be written initially by Newman or Bejar, but by the end of the recording process, it has been transformed into something that is obviously a group effort. Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Different - but the same, - and still excellent. September 17, 2007
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Tell me something. Did the Beatles sound the same on "Rubber Soul" as they did on "Meet the Beatles"? No, of course not. Does that make "Rubber Soul" any less interesting of an album? Quite the opposite. The same goes for the New Pornographers' latest release which, like the Fab Four's middle period albums, has more variety and subtlety than their early albums, but still retains the pop song artistry that they've been known for in the past. Actually, they've always had their slower, quieter side on a few songs from previous albums, so this transition shouldn't be completely unexpected by NP fans. And of course, they deliver the goods (meaning manic rockin' out) the same as they've ever done on at least two or three tracks here. So now we also have the opportunity to rest a bit between bop sessions. Is there a problem with that? Not for me.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mellower But No Less Brilliant August 29, 2007
Format:Audio CD
The New Pornographers were asked in a recent Paste Magazine interview why they dialed down their sound a bit for this, their fourth album. They answered, in essence, that they did so because it was time, and just because they could. Yes, this is the "mellowest" of the New Pornographers' four albums. And yes, like other classic pop bands (think Beatles and Fleetwood Mac), the individual members are showing a bit more restlessness at showcasing their solo talents as their careers mature. But keep in mind this was always considered a "supergroup" of talented folks who get together every couple years to turn out a near-perfect power-pop CD. You may miss some of the kick-butt energy and enthusiasm of the previous efforts, but that's not to say the songs here are of any less merit. There's more of a "gorgeousness" to these tunes, for lack of a better word. Their ensemble has grown to eight members, too, including new vocalist and keyboardist Kathryn Calder. And as far as songwriting is concerned, I still argue that A.C. Newman is the most original pop songwriter this side of Lindsay Buckingham. Danny Bejar and Neko Case are no slouches either. As one would expect from a NP album, this is an album bursting with addictively catchy songs, kicking off with "My Rights Versus Yours", and continuing through gems like Neko's lead vocal in "Challengers", and standout tunes like "All of the Things that Go to Make Heaven and Earth" and "Mutiny, I Promise You". The last two NP albums have easily made my best-of-the-year lists, and there's no reason to doubt that this one will be near the top of my list, too, for 2007.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Love my vinyl
Love these guys, especially on vinyl!! Definitely worth checking them out, if you are a lover of indie music. Also, my used vinyl arrived here in very good condition. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Mia
4.0 out of 5 stars Great music
Someone turned me onto this band and I really enjoy this. The female vocalist in this band have a great voice and I especially like those songs where they sing lead.
Published 17 months ago by jalmele
2.0 out of 5 stars Whats up with the whiney dude?
Twin cinemas was a good outing. This is mostly boring. What I could never understand about NPs is why they have the annoying guy sing when they have Neko??? Read more
Published on October 23, 2011 by snoopy1
4.0 out of 5 stars Great
It's a great CD. Preview the music though because their albums are different styles from one another- to see if you consistently like them. Read more
Published on April 16, 2011 by essjay
4.0 out of 5 stars Pure fabulous-ness!
I LOOVE this album. The first half is good, and the second half is unremarkable, but it's ok. The first half compensates for it by far. Read more
Published on September 9, 2010 by Anita Musgrave
4.0 out of 5 stars Subtle and sometimes vague, but gorgeous none the less
This album is quite a bit more subtle than the previous and brillant effort Twin Cinema. The peaks and valleys on Challengers aren't as pronounced nor are the songs as immediately... Read more
Published on January 8, 2010 by Chet Fakir
4.0 out of 5 stars Looking forward to the band's next album
While perhaps not reaching the dazzling heights of "Twin Cinema" (the NP's previous album), "Challengers," like their first two albums, is consistently very good with some... Read more
Published on May 4, 2009 by trainreader
4.0 out of 5 stars Erratic, but truly stellar in places
I was introduced to NPs by someone who was way more into indie music than me, but since I was way more into her than she was into me, I tried hard to like them, but I just couldn't... Read more
Published on September 25, 2008 by vertov
5.0 out of 5 stars Eclectic and Creative
This was my first New Pornographers CD purchase. I bought it for my husband, and was looking for new and interesting music. We both love this CD and listen to it over and over. Read more
Published on September 15, 2008 by N. McLaughlin
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it the first time through!
I learned about this group/CD in an NPR interview, of all things. I liked what I heard and ordered the CD - A great impulse decision! Read more
Published on June 20, 2008 by Amazon Customer
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Album Of The Year
THE ONLY CD THAT HAS BEEN RELEASED THIS YEAR THAT IS AS GOOD OR BETTER IN MY OPINION IS FUTURE CLOUDS AND RADAR.NOW THATS A GREAT CD.YOU CAN'T GO WRONG WITH NEW PORNOGRAPHERS CHALLENGERS.BUT CD OF THE YEAR GOES TO FUTURE CLOUDS AND RADAR FOR ME.
Oct 17, 2007 by keith baker |  See all 8 posts
Worst Album Cover I've Ever Seen...
I concur,... can't believe that it took three people to come up with a crappy design!
Aug 30, 2007 by JetPak |  See all 3 posts
CD CASE
Dig-pak, but why the hate for them?
Sep 15, 2007 by J. OConnor |  See all 3 posts
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