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See What You Want to See

4.4 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 18, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

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When a musician really means it you feel it from the moment the laser hits the disc. On his first release in four years, Radney Foster means it. An aching musical ambition and a fearless introspection drives the best cuts on this, his most adventurous and most rock-influenced effort. But if the torrential guitars, splashing drums, and even, believe it or not, tense folk-hip-hop (on the daring story song "Folding Money") work artistically, it's because the sound serves some exceptionally intelligent and emotional material. Recalling the twangier work of Marshall Crenshaw and Nick Lowe, these aren't just heartbreaking tunes--these are soul-tearing songs. "Each little broken piece of what we thought was fine / Is laid out for all the world to see," Foster sings on the feverish opening track. As one of Nashville's most respected songwriters, Foster knows the country formulas, but he's pushed beyond them and created the most passionate album of his career. --Roy Kasten
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 18, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Arista
  • ASIN: B00000ADL6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #202,810 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on September 29, 1999
Format: Audio CD
As a songwriter who focuses on country/pop, I've followed Radney's career from duo to honkytonk to this latest effort. Sure I will miss the crafty accessible ballads, and uptempo kick songs he was writing for himself and others that were hits and were lightyears ahead of 80% of All Country Radio(as some of these reviewers have pointed out)...
But that said, how can you not enjoy a gifted songwriter opening up a little and showing you his personal side? I love this album.
Each tune on this disc is memorable (with the possible exception of The Kiss) and while some have pop-type catchiness, most are introspective, hook-laden looks at Radney's life during the past four years, with a glimpse at hope for the future.
Buy this album. Play it for friends. Just like you were the 'first' to discover Dixie Chicks or Gin Blossoms or songwriters like Dillon, Daly, Lauderdale, Ewing, or Kostos, you'll be the first to 'discover' an old friend like Radney Foster dressed up in grungier, but more comfortable, clothes.
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Format: Audio CD
Having only heard Radney's music from country radio, I was very interested in hearing what a little rock shock could do. What comes through the speakers of my stereo is good music-uncategorizable, instense, and addictive. The total opposite vocals of Radney and Abra Moore in "I'm In," is a good contrast. "Folding Money" is one to kick up in your car, roll the windows down, and sing your lungs out to (can you tell I've done this already). :) One of my top three fave songs is "You Were So Right." What an amazingly written song! ;) I played the CD twice to one friend, who went and bought it an hour later. I lent it to a friend over the weekend, who returned it to me Monday after getting herself a copy. Radney has really made an impression on me. And being a Kim Richey fan too, it's great to hear powerful music coming from these artists at a time when we truely need it.
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Format: Audio CD
It's been five years since Radney Foster released an album. During this time, his ex-wife remarried and moved with his only child to France. A custody battle ensued (Foster lost) that sucked up most of his creative energy. Foster eventually remarried and recharged his writing batteries, with See What You Want To See as the end result. Not surprisingly, it is his most personal release to date.
The hypnotic opener "I've Got A Picture" takes a "two sides to every story" look at divorce, while the beautiful closer "Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)" offers an exquisite lullaby to his faraway son. In between, we find Foster learning to give love another chance with the breezy "I'm In" (boasting a sweet counterpoint by Deana Carter soundalike Abra Moore), then happily in love on the deceptively somber sounding "Raining On Sunday" (featuring tight harmonies by Hootie & the Blowfish's Darius Rucker on the chorus).
Throughout this album, there is more of an edge to Foster's music than ever before. This is impressively accomplished without sacrificing the melodic sense he has been known for since his hitmaking days with Foster & Lloyd in the `80s (the exception: "Folding Money" which is just plain noisy). Foster's voice has also grown a lot huskier since his last release(he now sounds like an in-tune Bob Dylan), which serves to heighten the dramatic impact of each song.
See What You Want To See isn't an easy album to categorize (country, aggressive pop, and roots rock are just some of the labels it has been given). What is easy to surmise is that it is one of the best releases of 1999.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I actually just saw Radney in concert two days ago, although I have been a fan since his Foster & Lloyd days in the 80s. If you get a chance to see him live, take it....he is an engaging performer who really enjoys interacting with the crowd. Plus, he rocks far more aggressively than on his records! My wife, who hates country music, humored me and went along and is now a committed Radney fan! As for the CD, it shows tremendous growth from his previous efforts, both in his songwriting and in his vocal stylings. His CD Del Rio, TX is still one of my all-time favorites, but this CD is light-years beyond that in its willingness to chart new waters. It is admirable that he is willing to risk taking his work in new directions, when he could have just put out an album of Nashville drivel like the cookie-cutter "hat acts" that the record companies are promoting these days. The CD defies definition. It isn't quite country, not quite "roots rock" but yet it satisfies both genres. Radney Foster is truly one of the most underappreciated artists of the 90s and hopefully this album will provide the big commercial breakthrough that he so richly deserves. Buy this album! You will not be disappointed.
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Format: Audio CD
Radney Foster remains, at this writing, a virtually unrecognized artist: musically too edgy and lyrically too emotionally revealing for most fans of country music, while too melodically country for other audiences. Audiences who are moved by artists like Mary-Chapin Carpenter will feel they've made a new discovery with his solo efforts.
"See What You Want To See" is his most personal, his most incisive, his most compelling work. It carries the listener through personal turmoil, bitterness, vulnerability, and ultimately hope. And like other works by Radney, the biting humor is never far away.
Darius Rucker harmonizes on "Raining on Sunday" to great effect; this better be an early single. "Folding Money" is full of attitude and swagger. And "Godspeed" demonstrates his deep love for his son.
His music on this CD is ready for adult alternative radio formats -- but will they give it a chance? If they don't -- if someone in radio doesn't -- it's a loss for all of us. This is a heartfelt, personal accomplishment, rich and insightful, a significant musical departure from previous recordings that were more traditionally country while deepening his lyrical resonance. It is reminiscent of the atmosphere of Harris' Daniel Lanois-produced "Wrecking Ball." His label better promote the hell out of this CD. Buy this, and then share it with five others. I trust they'll do the same.
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