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Fan Dance

51 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 31, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

For Sam Phillips, the days of star-making big-budget productions have passed. Having moved from Virgin, her major-label sponsor throughout the '90s, to Nonesuch, Phillips and longtime producer and husband T Bone Burnett have set aside the Beatle-esque pop that marked her uncovered 1988 gem The Indescribable Wow and the effervescent exotica that informed 1996's Omnipop for a more subdued approach. Still, the CD boasts the kind of complex lyrical passion that is a Phillips trademark. Phillips/Burnett collaborations have long been marked by sterling musicianship and Fan Dance is no exception: Van Dyke Parks, Marc Ribot, and Gillian Welch are among the contributors here. But the star of the show remains Phillips, whose vibrant personality shines brightly throughout this welcome comeback. --Steven Stolder

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

Song Title Time Price
  1. The Fan Dance 3:45$0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. Edge of the World 3:01$0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. Five Colors 3:42$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. Wasting My Time 3:08$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. Taking Pictures 1:57$0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. How to Dream 3:07$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. Soul Eclipse 3:11$0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. Incinerator 2:01$0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. Love Is Everywhere I Go 2:03$0.99  Buy MP3 
10. Below Surface 1:41$0.99  Buy MP3 
11. Is That Your Zebra? 1:49$0.99  Buy MP3 
12. Say What You Mean 3:37$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 31, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch Records
  • ASIN: B00005M98H
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,476 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Mark Wolverton on August 1, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Sly, sensuous, sophisticated, stylish, sexy, slinky, smart...Sam Phillips is all of those things, and arguably the most intelligent and adventurous songwriter working today. Quietly and without much attention from the masses, she's been crafting cool, uncompromising music from her first album "The Indescribable Wow," and every record since that pop gem has found her breaking new ground and refusing to be artistically straitjacketed. On "Fan Dance," her first album of all-new work since 1996's "Omnipop," she's exploring yet another new level of her muse, and has created a dark and intimate mood piece.
Instead of the playful studio experimentation that marked "Omnipop," "Fan Dance" features a sparse and elegant feel, sounding as if it was recorded after hours in an empty, smoky, noirish nightclub on a rainy October night. It's almost an acoustic album, most tracks consisting of little more than Sam on guitar or piano, backed with a little percussion or Marc Ribot's spooky psycho guitar stylings. But even so, there's still the eclectic instrumentation that marks her past albums: on "Wasting My Time" Sam is accompanied solely by Martin Tillman's cello, on "Taking Pictures" by harpsichord, and on "Soul Eclipse" by something called an "Optigan."
The spare production makes Sam's voice the star of the show, and she's never sounded better -- by turns, sad, playful, intimate, sardonic, and deeply personal, as if she's whispering in your ear. She's never overwrought or histrionic, but always subtle and understated, and more powerful because of it. Gillian Welch joins Sam on "Five Colors" and "Love is Everywhere I Go," and the meshing of their voices is gorgeous and chill-producing.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Daniel J. Summers on April 9, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I'm a recent fan of Sam Phillips. I was reminded of her after reading an article on her in the music magazine Paste (the greatest music magazine out there for "mature" music) last year. Although I'd heard of her over the years, I hadn't actually heard her music until this year when I found Cruel Inventions ... . That led me to the library where I got Martini's and Bikini's (which I promptly became a fan of). Then Fan Dance.
Sam is an incredible writer and performer. Fan dance showcases that. Although there are about 3 tracks that can be skipped over (the last three), the rest easily make up for it, and make the album well worth the purchase price.
It is dissapointing that the album is only shortly over 30 minutes, but when you're dealing with a true artist, it is rediculous to expect her to force a longer album out when it just isn't inside of her.
I'm not good at revewing songs on their own, but the "stunners" on the album are Edge of the World, Five Colors, Wasting My Time, How To Dream, Soul Eclipse and Love Is everywhere I Go.
Wasting My Time just melts you with a beautiful string accompaniment showcasing the cello. How To Dream is a fun song that makes you want to sing along, but not in a corny way--rather a "grown-up" kind of feeling. It's catchy and mature. Soul Eclipse includes an Asian stringed instrument and a backdrop of heavy guitar giving a mysterious feeling to the song. Sort of like you're looking over your shoulders. Edge of the World gives sort of that same feeling, too. Almost in a strange "x-files-ish" way. Five colors also grabs you in a "catchy" acoustic melody and intuitive lyrics.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By omnipop on August 3, 2001
Format: Audio CD
A beautiful piece of work, Fan Dance is a culmination and a new beginning for Sam Phillips. Gone are the hi gloss productions of the past, replaced by an intimate atmosphere that recalls film noir films and small, smoky cabaret halls. What remains is the arresting melodies and the sharp, beguiling lyrics that are a Phillips trademark. Sam's singing is front and center, and what an instrument it is. Not unlike Billie Holiday, Sam makes the most of her range, favoring expressiveness over vocal gymnastics. It is her finest vocal performance to date.
The production on this album is simple, but the quiet arrangements are amazing. Check out Van Dyke Parks' cello arrangement on ' Wasting my Time'; listen to how Phillips' voice becomes the 4th instrument. Marc Ribot gets a chance to experiment, giving songs like 'Soul Eclipse' or 'incinerator' a Waitsian feel.
Time will tell if this record is as good as 'Martini's & Bikini's, but it's apples and oranges really. They're completely different in sound and feel. This is a rather short disc, but that's because there is no wasted lyrics, no music that goes on too long ( the economy of Phillips' writing has always amazed me).
I'm going out on a limb here, but Sam Phillips is the greatest pop singer that nobody knows. I think she likes this arrangement; she has been quoted as saying that this record was built like a salon, not a stadium.
I've run out of superlatives. I hope that this record will move you as much as it has moved me.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By templecola on March 21, 2003
Format: Audio CD
The transformation of Leslie Phillips into Sam Burnett has been a process spanning a couple of decades; no step has been more dramatic than the leap from "Omnipop" to "Fan Dance". More skilled as a songwriter than a vocalist, this collection spins several enigmatic tales, from the title track, which has a catchy beat and hooky chorus, to 'Incinerator', a song with a dark cast that defies the listener to peg her references exactly.
The most successful tune, for me, is 'How to Dream', with its spare arrangement and deft lyric. It is easy still, despite Phillips' abandonment of her strictly Christian music, to see the spirituality in these songs. In the world of Spirit, dreams come from God, who provides a vision of life that enlightens: "When we open our eyes, we dream/We open our eyes..."
With T. Bone at the controls, the continuity of this disc is tight and focused. Some of Phillips-Burnett's fans may be saddened by the drift away from "Martinis", but this is a very satisfying outing, filled with clever irony, melodies that swell and soar, and tied together with crystaline musicianship.
I don't give it full marks, but 4.5 stars.
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