Masts of Manhatta
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2010
Her musicianship is simply amazing. I feel that the lack of production with this album only adds to the character of the songs. You truly hear what was meant to be heard. Nothing more. Nothing to hide behind. Many artists try to pull it off but fall short. Not Tracy Bonham. She executes it perfectly.
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on August 20, 2010
It's odd to hear that Tracy Bonham gets smacked with a folk label and gets compared with Sheryl Crow. First, she doesn't use any form of voice shaping tools--where one can hear the Glee-Tunnel-Noise from that Crow person on every song. It is clearly not her voice that gets compared.
More, since album one, this young lady has kicked ass on every album she's done. And improved. And the recordings get better. And the all-encompassing-experience improves CD by CD.
She's more a Regina Spektor than an annoying Crow.
This newest album is long in the coming and you feel the variation in the years she wrote each song or recorded them--that said, she managed to put them forth as a whole experience and make them all a cogent whole of a listening experience. Her earlier albums didn't have that. They staggered from tune to tune--all good, but none near each other in feel.

This album is her best so far... I put a Tom Waits label on her music--as she seems to want to follow his path of growth--if not his alcoholic-stupor and then growth.
It may be that marriage has offered her a clean and simple ability to move back and forth from NYC to Woodstock and live a combo-lifestyle that few get the opportunity get--but she does so with aplomb and it shows in her music.

This album belongs in your top 25 rotation.

Tracy Bonham is and will be a going and growing keeper for albums to come.
Buy her music. Be glad that as good as Mother, Mother was--she's saving her voice for more.
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on May 16, 2013
Great singing, and every song shows a different mix of musical influences. My wife kept saying things like "oh that track sorta reminds me of..." naming a different performer with each track.

I doubt this album will get anything like the sales it deserves because it doesn't fit any marketing niche -- and she clearly did not care about fitting into any slot. Wikipedia says "alternative rock," which is correct as far as it goes, but doesn't begin to capture the mix of influences including folk, Middle East, Classical, and Klezmer that can be heard on this album.
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on August 7, 2010
This was a gift for my daughter, who lives in Brooklyn and loves all things New York (but still misses Austin, TX!). I preordered it because I loved the artist, even though my daughter has never heard of her. She is now a new convert and ordered the CD for one of her NY friends! An ordering must for folky New Yorkers!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2010
I've been following Tracy since her breakthrough "Mother, Mother" back on "the burdens of being upright" since then I've tried to pick up everything she's released. I remember when "Down Here" came out. THAT was an amazing follow up to her previous album.
Popping the disc in this time for Masts of Manhatta was not the same this time. It starts out pretty good. I have to say the first few tracks are quite good. "Big Red Heart" is probably the strongest track on the album and my favorite so far. I was suprised she didn't credit "Sting" on this track though, the whole "you, and me, in love and misery. . ." sounds EXACTLY the same as the melody when Sting says "me with you and all the things you do. . ." back in 87 in his song: "We'll Be Together" on "Nothing Like The Sun." (take a listen; Trust me) seriously it could have been intentional because Tracy's intent with her lyrics on the melody are the opposite of Stings so it was a treat to hear that here, though I'm not sure she will say it was intentional.

ANYWAY,
After track 5, 6-11 are VERY hit or miss. (sometimes within the same song) She's got such a great unique voice, I wish she would use it more like she does on "Big Red Heart" or from before: See "Freed" "You Don't Know Me" the afor-mentioned "Mother, Mother" "Tell It To The Sky"

I don't have "blink the brightest" yet, so I can't compare "Masts" with it, but I do have "Liverpool Sessions" "The Burdens of Being Upright" and "Down Here" so I BELIEVE I have a good cross-section of what she's capable of.

All-in-all, I enjoy "Masts of Manhatta" simply because it's nice to hear from Tracy. she is a unique talent and someone who should not be missed. Is "Masts" her best submission? No. For the new listener, I recommend listening to her albums in the following order: "The Burdens of Being Upright," "Down Here," Then "Masts of Manhatta" if you need more, pick up "Liverpool Sessions" more than anything I enjoy "Liverpool Sessions" simply to listen to her roots. However, I may change my mind after listening to "Blink the Brightest" and now I think I MUST pick it up just to compare. stay tuned. . .
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on July 22, 2010
Tracy Bonham's new album is filled with beautiful, heartfelt songs and the wait for Masts of Manhatta was surely worth it. Bonham has not lost her touch and her musical and vocal talent is evident on tracks such as Devil's got your boyfriend and big red heart. A must buy.
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10 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on July 14, 2010
Hmmm. Tracy Bonham's previous studio release, Blink The Brightest truly ranks among one of my favorites. So much so that it made me go out in search of her back catalog to the point where I basically bought all her music. Since that time she has released a low-budget EP called In the City/In the Woods (2006), and now her latest, Masts of Manhatta (2010). Knowing that she was truly going into the studio really had my hopes up for something good, but unfortunately this one is not that good at all. Most of what I dislike is in direct contrast to what I loved so much about Blink The Brightest. It's important to note that I wasn't expecting her to do another BTB (I don't want any artist to make the same album twice). However, the primary difference is the lack of production on Masts of Manhatta (sorry Tracy, I know you self-produced this one). I truly believe Tracy Bonham has a truly wonderful singing voice, but on this effort, it just doesn't stand out. The music and overall production don't accompany her that well. So much of the music and melodies are choppy in tone and tempo and this isn't where Tracy shines. But wait, there's more. The lyrics aren't that good either. In the songs "Repricical Feelings" and "In the Moonlight" for example, I felt like I has listening to someone spout out stream of consciousness thoughts while at the same time trying to make up a melody to go along with the words. Embarrassingly, Tracy also drops in a bit of profanity to the lyrics as if this is supposed to be adult and witty, but instead the result is rather juvenile. I really liked the song "When You Laugh The World Laughs With You". On this one at least, Tracy sounds great. It has outstanding vocals, complimentary music to go along with her vocals and lyrics that go somewhere. Another song, "Big Red Heart" had potential. If it had benefitted from the same production as on Blink The Brightest (and a little more energy), I think it could have been really good. By they way, Tracy looked really good when she performed this song on the Tonight Show. I do like her. I just don't like this album. Ok. I talked about the producing of a Tracy Bonham album at lot in this review. Tracy has talent, no doubt about it. With a good producer and some accomplished studio musicians, her music could be as good as anything out there today. Read my review of Blink the Brightest. You would think her husband (Rolling Stone editor Jason Fine) could pull some strings and get her some support. Instead, my assessment of this effort is that it is dull, silly and uninspiring. Tracy needs to bring back a little pop sensibility and energy to her work. Of course, this is just my opinion. You might be more into her current vibe than I am.
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on September 5, 2010
So talented, especially with the different instruments she plays and adds to songs. I like this "slower" album...less "rockish" than her earlier ones.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2010
Masts of Manhatta is a great return for Tracy Bonham. Love her voice and violin/guitar playing, and the album is filled with instantly memorable melodies and thoughtful lyrics. There's a wonderfully organic yet tight sound throughout the album. Highly recommend it.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 14, 2010
I'm gonna keep this brief. Bonham hasn't made a mediocre album and Masts is no exception. The variety in the vocals and arrangements ensures a compelling listen, and Bonham's trademark playfulness survives fully intact here. If you like Bonham, buy with confidence. If you don't, what's wrong with you?
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