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Grand


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Audio CD, March 13, 2012
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 13, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nettwerk
  • Run Time: 40 minutes
  • ASIN: B00009L524
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #217,516 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Slung - lo
2. Cinematic
3. The Taste Of You
4. Born To Hum
5. Civilians
6. Envelopes Of Glassine
7. How To Be A Lady
8. A Better Wife
9. Cosmopolitans
10. Lucky Day
11. An Innocent Fiction
12. James!
13. Starlit
14. Vera

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Grand by Erin Mckeown

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Amazon.com

Erin McKeown's third album is to be commended for its sense of adventure. There are 14 tracks on Grand and they encompass at least that number of musical styles, among them winsome indie-pop, gentle country-rock, lushly orchestrated barrel-organ stompery and pretty electronica that verges on trip-hop. When trying to frame McKeown in terms of other artists, you end up with an equally impressively diverse peer group: Tanya Donelly, Rickie Lee Jones, Bjork, Liquorice and Shivaree (with whom McKeown shares a drummer, George Javori).

An album this stylistically promiscuous needs a fairly imposing central personality to hold it all together, and McKeown just about manages on this score, as well. Her voice, while somewhat cutesy and cloying, never becomes overbearingly so--it's at its best on a lovely version of the Judy Garland standard "Lucky Day"--and she's an engaging narrator of her tales. There aren't enough songwriters to whom it would occur to write a song in the form of a letter from Igor Stravinsky, holed up in Hollywood in the 1940s while he waited in vain for Dylan Thomas to recover from tuberculosis so the pair could write an opera together. --Andrew Mueller

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 21 customer reviews
Erin McKeown has a fascinating voice.
jessicaelizabeth
Buy this cd, it is absolutely addictive.
amma
It puts a smile on my face everytime!
The fitz's

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By jessicaelizabeth on May 30, 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is one of those rare discs that grows on me the more I listen to it. It's catchy and upbeat, so it works as pure ear candy in the background when I have guests. But it also works in a more intimate setting, in headphones while walking or working out, because there's quite a bit going on in the lyrics too.

Erin McKeown has a fascinating voice. It's kind of tangy, like Dido or Rachael Yamagata, and she brings subtly different vocal characterizations to the different songs. She's not just singing, she's acting, which is appropriate, because one of Grand's themes is the golden age of film. Judy Garland is referenced in two songs, "cinematic" and "vera," and used to perform a third, "lucky day." "cosmopolitans" and "a better wife" debunk hollywood fictions of the ideal life, but the jazzy vocals and music lends a layer of spunky irony. "Cosmopolitans" warns me that "loneliness is expected if not predicted," and although I get the message, I can't help immediately singing along with the insanely catchy, sedative-seeking chorus that follows: "painless! don't you wish you were weightless! famous!"

This is the first Erin McKeown album I purchased (I bought it after hearing "a better wife," which is unlike any other song i've heard recently). I've never seen her perform. Some McKeown fans say this album is too mainstream; compared to her previous work it may be more radio-friendly. (I do find the chorus of "James" reminiscent of Jem's "24!") But in my opinion, this album is far from mainstream. It's catchy, but it's also quirky. The music is retro-influenced. The lyrics are clever. There is only one song I don't like on this album ("vera", kind of drab). And there is only one thing I don't love about this album: it's too well-crafted to be confessional.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By lb136 VINE VOICE on October 10, 2003
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
There's a tag in small type at the top of the cover of Erin McKeown's great new "Grand" CD--clearly one of the best efforts of the year--that reads "panoramic and spectacular!" That's not hype. This collection is all of that.
Erin's vibrato-free expressive alto is capable of a variety of things, as she amply demonstrates here. There's not a false move anywhere. The highlights are the jazzy "Slung-lo," the trippy "Cosmolitans" (can this be labeled "jazz hop"? do we have to label it at all?), the noisy "Cinematic" and the dramatic "An Innocent Fiction." There's one cover--of the pop standard "Lucky Day"--which Erin slows down and does in a "high lonesome" style. It's meant as a tribute to Judy Garland, of whom Erin is clearly a fan.
The whole CD, with its mix of styles old and new, is like a postmodern building with an Art Deco lobby. That conception probably wouldn't work well. "Grand," however, does.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 31, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Wow! Having listened to Miss McKeown since she was 19 or so (go find a copy of her demo tape--even that's fantastic!) it floors me how she has evolved and honed her musical talents, through her three full-length albums and the Voices on the Verge project. Straight up, Grand is a tour de force. It is a standard, and will change the face of folk/rock music in as subtle and charming a way as only The Lady could do. I rarely put CDs on repeat, and Grand didn't leave my cd player for almost a week! Each song is such a stand-alone that the entire album comes across as a compilation of genres, tempos and even eras, rather than a single project by a single artist. Be it the swing style of "Taste of You", the rockin' beats of "Cinematic" or the classic Garland tune (with a slower tempo than the standard) of "Lucky Day" McKeown has a keen idea of what she can do and, more importantly, what she will do. Barely over 5' tall and just 25, McKeown shoulders more instruments, more genres and more musical understanding than just about anyone else out there, be they of similar age or not! How does so much talent fit into such a little person?
I am thrilled to be able to be an auditory spectator to the musical montage that is McKeown. If you are muddling over purchasing this album, think no more. Go get it. It will be, hands down, the best [$$] you will spend this year.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "jason1007" on June 12, 2003
Format: Audio CD
erin is on tour promoting her brand new cd, which is exactly where i picked up my copy of grand after her show at Joe's Pub last night. her music is just that- grand- and her choice of adjectives is consistent with her 1930s/Judy Garland-era stylings. Erin has the voice to match her music and her strongest material are the songs that resemble old-time standards. indeed, she gives credit to garland repeatedly throughout the cd and also on stage.
the songs have a range from catchy (in an appealing way) singles i've been hearing on the radio for weeks thanks to wfuv (wfuv.org) in new york like "Slung-lo", to more rockin' numbers like "cinematic", actual standards like "lucky day" or her intelligent takes on old themes as in "the taste of you". my only complaint is that it doesn't compare to seeing her live.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 26, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I had not heard of Erin McKeown until this past December when she did an interview and played some songs live on my favorite radio station, WNCW, (wncw.org). She came across as genuine, funny, articulate and concerned about her musical integrity. I ended up downloading/purchasing 'Grand' from iTunes and loved it! In fact, so much so, that I'm now buying the CD from Amazon so I can get the full fidelity of the music.
This is one of those albums that just grabs you. It's been number 1 in my rotation since December. It's trippy, fun, full of life and highly recommended.
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