Customer Reviews

55
4.4 out of 5 stars
Crowded House
Format: Audio CDChange
Price:$7.18 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
Anyone familiar with 80s music will recognize the soulful, expressive sounds of Crowded House from some of this album's biggest hits, including "Don't Dream It's Over," "Something So Strong," and "Now We're Getting Somewhere." These popular tunes accurately represent the entire album, whose songs range from pop-like tracks with catchy lyrics ("World Where You Live") to tracks with a similar beat but a more moody feel ("Mean to Me"). If you've ever purchased an album for 1-2 songs only to find out that the rest of the album was totally different, this will NOT be your experience with Crowded House, as the band's sound is very consistant throughout. Furthermore, although Crowded House experienced little fame beyond the 80s, their music still feels thoroughly fresh and modern. If you don't yet have any Crowded House in your 80s music collection, this album is a must-have.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
The first Crowded House album has finally been remastered for 5.1 and stereo on this marvelous dualdisc release. One side of the disc is playable as a 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround (and DTS 5.1)DVD disc and includes the entire contents of the previously available 5.1 release. In addition to all the songs remixed for 5.1 we also get two vintage music videos "Don't Dream It's Over" and "Something So Strong", the lyrics for all the songs and a complete discography of the band.

The other side presents the album is presented in its original stereo mix remastered at 24 bits. The sound quality is an improvement over the previous release with better clarity and detail as well as a much warmer sounding performance. As with the previous CD release the bonus track "Can't Carry On"(which was on the cassette edition and the original CD issue in 1987)is included. I do wish that some of the demos of the songs had been included as well (much as the import copy 2 disc set of "Wooden Face" inclued a handful of demos that Neil and Tim Finn recorded. I'm hoping that will also show up on the dualdisc edition of that classic album as well)but, regardless, this a marvelous reissue.

The DVD side is copy protected while the CD side isn't so you can rip this to your computer (or whatever gear your using)to lisen to while you're working or playing. The original CD booklet is included as well only slightly modified with the new credits for the album.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2006
Format: Audio CD
They don't get no respect. Ask most Americans who they are and they'll say "They did 'Don't Dream it's Over',right?" Those with slightly better memories might recall the Aussie band's "Something So Strong" and perhaps "Locked out" (from 1994 disc TOGETHER ALONE). But the poor chart placement in the U.S. has nothing to do with the quality of music found here. (For what it's worth, the U.K. knew a good thing when it heard it. CH landed 10 Top 40 hits there.)

The band was Neil Finn's next musical endeavour after leaving 80s new-wavers Split Enz, taking its name from the cramped conditions of the band's home in California. The band combined somewhat Beatlesque melodies with Finn's expressive tenor to churn out a consistently tuneful pop, albeit with more depth than the typical Whitney Houston or Janet Jackson fare of the era.

Little known trivia: Guitar shredder Joe Satriani makes an appearance here but not the way you'd expect. Joe contributes some backing vocals to the disc.

HIGHLIGHTS:
The charging "Mean to Me" masks a dark subject in its happy pop: the smothering nature of a clingy woman. ("I could not escape/A plea from the heart/You know what it means to me/She said don't walk away/I'm down on my knees/Please don't be mean to me..") "Now We're Getting Somewhere" finds Finn and his lover coasting on the fumes of love. ("Somewhere in the middle than/Content and much too safe..") He cajoles her to "lay me out" in an effort to rediscover the passion in their jaundiced affair. You've no doubt heard the white soul of "Don't Dream it's Over". It peaked just out of #1 in the U.S. and is easily the best song here and perhaps the finest one penned by Finn thus far. He's desperate here, clinging to his lover in the face of the pressures of day-to-day life. ("They come to build a wall between us/Don't let them win...") The chiming with joy "Something so Strong" ("could carry us away..could carry us today") is the flip side of "Don't Dream"...Finn doing the "happy Snoopy dance" of full bloom infatuation. The melancholy "Hole in the River" is another winner, the tale of a near suicide. ("From the land of the living to the air and sky/She was coming to see him/But something changed her mind..") This would become eerie foreshadowing when future bandmember Paul Hester claimed his own life in 2005 while battling clinical depression. "That's What I Call Love" is the bitter aftermath of a broken heart as Finn bitterly proclaims "You take away my air/You make my lungs collapse/I die tonight".

LOWS:
"Can't Carry On" is as close to mediocre as this disc gets. Even then, it's not a tune that I skip. It's just not as good as the music surrounding it.

BOTTOM LINE:
It's in the "Blowout Music" section for crying out loud. Take a chance. Recommended especially for fans of Squeeze and Marshall Crenshaw.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 1998
Format: Audio CD
Not if you happen to be Neil Finn. What "Crowded House" does is combine gorgeous melodies with intense lyrics. Finn and producer Froom masterfully combine reworked songs like I Walk Away with the quirky true story of Mean To Mean and tragedy of Hole In The River. The success of Don't Dream It's Over on the US charts gives hope to any talented garage band hoping to make the big time with thoughtful and passionate songs. Favourable comparisons with the likes of Lennon and McCartney prove that Finn is one talented Kiwi. "Crowded House" is not just the finest debut album of the 1980's (although given Finn's Split Enz history, he could hardly be deemed a rookie), it is arguably one of the greatest albums of all time, if not one of the most underated.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD Audio
I picked up this album on DVD-Audio simple because it was a great album on both vinyl and CD. Finally it gets the sound it deserves. The separation is crisp, sharp and not at all distracting. You can either listen to it in stereo (if you've got a DVD player that isn't DVD-Audio capable)or in multi-channel Dolby Digital. Both versions sound great, however, the DVD-Audio brings the album to life. There's better separation on the vocals and the instrumental interplay sounds more natural.
This also includes the videos shot for the album. Song lyrics appear on the screen should you turn on your television while listening to the sound. This one along with Richard Thompson's Rumor and Sigh sound great on this new format. Unfortunately, I can't compare the SACD versions (because there are none)nor can I compare them to other discs on that other format (I haven't picked up a player yet as I wanted to see which format would win out). If you already have a DVD player you can enjoy this album in enhanced audio and video without having the DVD-Audio component portion. You'll know this when your main menu comes up (without a disc playing). It will say DVD Audio/Video vs. just DVD Video.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This was a very special album from Crowded House dating from July 1986. Its 10-tracks eventually yielded 5 hit singles here in Australia, and a year after its release it peaked at #1 on the album chart and was the soundtrack to my final year at high school (I bought my vinyl LP copy in August 1987!! - I still have it!!). Its success was due to the great songs here and the band's terrific live shows that soon attracted a loyal following both here in Australia and also in Europe and, in 1987, the US.

Best is Don't Dream It's Over. This magnificent song has been much-covered by other artists, and represents Neil Finn's undisputed mastery of melodic songcraft at its best.It was a US #2 hit. I also love the uplifting Something So Strong and the rollicking tune Now We're Getting Somewhere (which had a wintry video!!). Also good is the haunting Hole In The River, which is a poetic song with a darker side, the enjoyable Tombstone with another bright cheery chorus, and the memorable choruses of World Where You Live (their 4th single). Can't Carry On is an enjoyable pop/rocker that sounds more like Split Enz than Crowded House (it was only 2 years since they'd split the Enz , so maybe Neil dusted this one off from that era). The band's more eccentric side is showcased on their first single Mean To Me , and quirky rockers like Love You Til The Day I Die.

This then is a classic album, and one definitely worth owning if you have any interest at all in great songs and melodies.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2009
Format: DVD Audio
A review of 'Crowded House,' the DVD-Audio title by the group with the same name, ought to begin with something of a confession: Yes, it's been out for over a year, and, despite full knowledge of its quality, there has been no review. The explanation is fairly simple - once you start to listen to this disc, you only want to continue listening, not write about it.

'Crowded House' is among the best DVD-Audio discs available. The special quality of the music, and its technical merit as an example of the DVD-Audio format are, to this listener, irresistible.

Between 1986 and 1993, Crowded House released four albums (there were two subsequent releases, a "best of" collection called `Recurring Dream', and, as All Music Guide puts it, a 1999 album of "Crowded House leftovers and rarities," entitled `Afterglow'). The band was launched in Australia as a trio, although its actual genesis was in New Zealand as an offshoot of the band, Split Enz. There were a few personnel additions and interim substitutions (including the addition of former Split Enz founder, Timothy Finn) throughout its existence, which ended in 1996. At all times, however, Crowded House featured the obvious musical genius of Timothy Finn's younger brother - native New Zealander, composer, lyricist, guitarist, and pianist, Neil Finn.

In the latter years of Split Enz, Neil Finn joined his older brother Timothy and became its chief songwriter. In 1985, after older brother Timothy had decided to launch a solo career, Neil disbanded Split Enz and with drummer Paul Hester, went on to form Crowded House, recruiting bassist Nicholas Seymour as its third member. At that point, the Split Enz offshoot was transplanted from New Zealand to Australia.

`Crowded House' was the band's first and most commercially successful effort, with two of its singles reaching the American Top Forty - `Something So Strong' and `Don't Dream It's Over'. Reviewers commonly refer to the music of Crowded House as either new wave or something close to that - songs that are short in length, short on instrumental solos, and, to an extent, compatible with music videos. Much of that is actually true of `Crowded House', but the only real description gets offered by stopping the talk, and turning on the music. The album is one snappy yet alluring melody after the next, music that variously earns the description of soulful, emotional, often a celebration but sometimes solemn. Beneath it all, one detects in Neil Finn's music a passion and meticulous respect for the art he is creating. The lofty quality of his work not only applies to the music - his deceptively simple lyrics always emerge from the music, never the other way around.

Before commenting on the specific tracks, however, the sonic attributes of the disc should be noted. Particularly when compared to its Compact Disc counterpart, as well as its own two channel advanced resolution version, this offering from Capitol Records underscores in particular the possibilities inherent in the DVD-Audio format, and surround music generally.

For purposes of comparison, I had on hand the 1986 Capitol Records Compact Disc version. Although there is nothing at all wrong with the CD, there is likewise nothing subtle about the comparison between its 44.1kHz red-book audio and any of the alternative tracks on the DVD-Audio disc. Purely from a fidelity standpoint, the high-resolution disc takes you a few notches "closer" to the music, and the DVD-Audio version will likely spoil for you any further listening of the CD. This is true not just of the 96kHz 24-bit multi-channel track on the newer release, but, to a lesser degree, also its other options - the 96kHz 24-bit two-channel advanced resolution mix, the Dolby Digital track, and the DTS track, the latter pair being DVD-Video backward compatible. It should also be mentioned that the advanced resolution stereo track is available to DVD-Video players, some of which will be able to output the signal digitally at 96kHz.

The 5.1 surround mix on Crowded House is among the most discrete mixes available on either DVD-Audio or multi-channel SACD. In fact, when it comes to use of the center and LFE channels, it is more discrete than any disc I've yet heard, judging the pair in contrast to the sounds that come from the other channels. The center is restricted exclusively to the vocals of Neil Finn - you won't hear another thing from it - and the powerful bass response on this disc comes almost exclusively from the subwoofer. The bass extension is noteworthy not merely because it is almost exclusively directed to the subwoofer (as opposed to "sharing" much of it with the front main speakers), but also for the tight, calm thunder it delivers.

The surrounds are used aggressively, yet there is a beautiful and simple symmetry to the manner in which they get put in play - something that mirrors the style of Crowded House's music. The surrounds are almost always "reactive" to the front array, not duplicative - they're not pumping out the same thing that's coming from every other speaker. Instead, where there is an acoustic guitar from the front mains, there is the response of an electric piano in the surrounds. Where there is the lead vocal from the front center, the background vocals come from the surrounds. Various percussion accents like cymbals are more prominent from the surrounds. There is sometimes a hypnotic melding of rhythm guitar and organ, delicately but clearly divided from front soundstage to surrounds.

The album was originally recorded in 1986, apparently in separate sessions - some at Platinum Studios, in Melbourne Australia, and some at Capitol Recording Studios. The surround mix was done by Steve Genewick of Capitol Studios in 2002, and was mastered for surround by Robert Vosgien, also of Capitol.

There are eleven cuts on `Crowded House', and, if your listening experience is anything like mine over the last year, each one might prove your favorite at any given time. While I only had a passing acquaintance with Crowded House prior to the past twelve months, it says a lot to me that, after numerous listening, I still find something new in the music nearly every time I spin the disc (and I now have all of their material). This is particularly true of the 5.1 mix.

Time will not permit me to discuss each selection in the track listing, because I can only gush for so long - but each track is worthy of superlative comment. In `World Where You Live', the simple rhythm and catchy melody of the first verse - Neil Finn singing from the center channel, cymbals and background vocals only from the surrounds - the dynamic staircase of the music is mirrored by the involvement of the surrounds. During the chorus, the vocal harmonies fill the room entirely, but with sounds converging in balance and discrete identity. I should point out that listening from the general area of one's "sweet spot" is probably more important on this disc than most others, but I'll go out on a limb here and say that there's usually only one audiophile per home, and that's probably the location of the music-listening culprit in any case.

The same type of momentum or crescendo gets pulled off in `Now We're Getting Somewhere', as it begins with just the slow strumming of chords on an acoustic guitar and Neil Finn's lead vocals, increasing in speed and presence from verse to verse, getting joined by what sounds like an accordion or squeezebox of some kind. Interestingly, the credits indicate that Joe Satriani appears on that cut - as a background vocalist. I don't know if that is the Joe Satriani, but that's the name on the credits.

`Hole in the River' is a song about the suicide of Finn's aunt. The autobiographical nature of it is well known, and the somber nature of the lyrics become responsible for some unusual treatment in surround. In the song, Finn sings:

"There's a hole in the river where my Auntie lies
From the land of the living to the air and sky
Left her car by the river left her shoes beside
Through the thorns and the bushes I hope she was...

Dreaming of Glory
Miles above the mountains and plains
Free at last"

So what do the lyrics of `Hole in the River' have to do with a unique surround experience? They provide the context that enables it. Throughout the song, and especially toward the end, there is an unusual refrain of background vocals - for lack of a better description, the "wailing" of ghosts, as if in a haunted house. Without granting it the context of the music, as well as its artistic premise, one might suspect an effect that is off-kilter. Instead, the shrieking surround mix presents these "ghostly" voices in a fairly wild but striking surround experience. Ghostly shrieks are flying about the room in the midst of horns, low piano chords, and the cold subject of ice and death.

All of the music and the surround mix are simple and clean statements of sound. Often, there is a sudden-but-natural dynamic progression in both the melody and the mix. The straight-from-the-center lead vocals split the room sharply and discretely, as each channel delivers something unique to the overall presentation. To reiterate, this is the most "discrete" surround mix I've heard, reminding me of how I used to be fascinated by shifting left and right balance controls in later Beatles recordings.

The music of Crowded House seems to me to contain an obvious pop influence of The Beatles, although this is an observation commonly noted. Indeed, Finn's lyrics are particularly reminiscent of Paul McCartney's lyrics in an important respect - they are poetic, but not poetry: Instead, the lyrics are truly music, not literature.

Finn's lyrics have been published in a separate volume, `Love This Life', so named from a song he authored on the 1988 Crowded House album, `Temple Of Low Men'. As I reflect upon the themes and spirit contained in his lyrics, I could not think of a better title. His lyrics seem to emerge from the music, rather than the music being written around the lyrics. They can be playful without being frivolous and can be witty despite somber or even devout trappings - such as `Hole in the River', or `Tombstone' ("roll back the tombstone . . . let the saints appear").

I listened to the disc in each of its offerings. I actually started with the CD followed by the two-channel advanced resolution version on the DVD-Audio disc because I prefer to "start" the comparison with the first chronological mix, simply to note if subsequent surround mixes leave something out, or change the emphasis. What I discovered was that the surround mix made everything else seem limited in comparison. This not only caused me to prefer the 96kHz 24-bit 5.1 version over the two channel counterpart - it also meant that I preferred the Dolby Digital and DTS versions over the two-channel advanced resolution track. While the latter is several steps above the Compact Disc purely from a standpoint of fidelity, it is the surround mix that really takes this great music to the next level.

The extras on the disc comprise lyrics, two music videos (`Don't Dream It's Over', and `Something So Strong'), as well as an interesting version of a "discography" that scrolls from the cover art of Crowded House's first album - this one - to its last. While it scrolls, there is a portion from one cut of each album played in two-channel PCM. For those who believe that everything in the world has at least one fault, I can point out two of them on this DVD-Audio - namely the two music videos. There could not have been much money in the budget back then, and, with flying dishes, irons, vacuum cleaners, and the smiling guys in the band cramping one another - after all, this is a "crowded house" - it is every bit as bad as it sounds, although the effort is one of obvious parody. Fortunately, it's completely irrelevant to anything meaningful.

This is, and has been, one of the most impressive DVD-Audio discs I have heard. The music is always radiant and the surround mix is unique in its go-for-it approach to discrete surround. Buy this now, because Capitol Records needs a nudge - we need to tell them that we'll buy all of the `Crowded House' titles on DVD-Audio. -- Nicholas D. Satullo, High Fidelity Review 04/10/03
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2006
Format: Audio CD
It's hardly a fair comparison to call Crowded House's first album a "debut" when band members have already had success in other bands. However, there are still not many cases like that where a new band's debut album is such an incredible achievement.

Crowded House is one of many great bands who have come and gone without ever reaching mass appeal in the U.S. It's a shame, too, because these guys are amazing song writers. This album sounds as fresh and vibrant today as it did almost 20 years ago when it came out. There is literally not one weak track on this album.

If you're a fan of the '80s or even just a fan of good pop/rock music, you should check these guys out. I'm not as familiar with their other records as I am of this one, but this one is without a doubt on my "recommend" list. Check it out.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2000
Format: Audio CD
When this album was first released I was listening to far different, more 'cutting edge' bands than the slick, radio-friendly sound of Crowded House. As I've grown older, I realized that perhaps I just wasn't ready to appreciate the heartfelt, emotional lyrics of Neil Finn and Co. The debut release is rich with somewhat personal lyrics and catchy tunes that stick with you long after the album is finished. Sure, most people know the songs 'Don't Dream It's Over' or 'Something So Strong', but songs like 'World Where You Live' and 'I Walk Away' deserve to be heard as well. If, like me, you dismissed Crowded House when they first appeared, take another look. You probably won't be disappointed.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Crowded House was a 3 piece band from Australia led by Neil Finn who was a former member of the band Split Endz (along with his brother Tim). Crowded House got quite big in America back in the late 80's with their blend of strong song writing and harmony vocals. This is the only Crowded House album that I own, but I have always really liked it. Two huge hits came from this album "Don't Dream It's Over" and "Something So Strong" both of which are great pop tunes. Other highlights include "Mean To Me", "World Where You Live", and the haunting "Hole In The River". If you are looking for very well done pop this album is for you.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed
Very Very Best of Crowded House
Very Very Best of Crowded House by Crowded House (Audio CD - 2010)


Together Alone
Together Alone by Crowded House (Audio CD - 1993)
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Your Recently Viewed Items and Featured Recommendations 
 

After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in.