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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thanks Carl. Beautiful. Keep writing (Updated 5/25/13)
Update: I had no idea how much I would come to love this album. Shut Down the Streets has emerged as one of my favorite albums ever, let alone my favorite A.C. Newman solo. There is a quality at work in this collection that engenders genuine affection for the songs and the artist. Newman, the singer-songwriter, is an amazingly sympathetic and prepossessing artist with...
Published on October 9, 2012 by L. Carriere

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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Perry Como of Rock... Carl Newman
Here it is a year and a half later and I thought I'd be saying that I love this album... but I don't. I hate it. Sorry Carl. I love your other solo records. I just don't see where it warrants all the great reviews. It's waaaaaaayyyyy too mellow for me.
Looking for other bands to follow now.
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I have to start this review off with... I've been...
Published on November 17, 2012 by JetPak


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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thanks Carl. Beautiful. Keep writing (Updated 5/25/13), October 9, 2012
This review is from: Shut Down the Streets (Audio CD)
Update: I had no idea how much I would come to love this album. Shut Down the Streets has emerged as one of my favorite albums ever, let alone my favorite A.C. Newman solo. There is a quality at work in this collection that engenders genuine affection for the songs and the artist. Newman, the singer-songwriter, is an amazingly sympathetic and prepossessing artist with this affecting performance and material. Masterpiece. (And I was remiss not to mention the blessed vocal contributions of Neko Case.)
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Not since Lennon/McCartney have I so enjoyed music. Not just this album, but Newman's other two solo and five *TNP albums. Unpredictable chord changes and deja vu melody lines. Lyrics inscrutable, poetic, funny, fun, and heartbreaking, sometimes all at once. Song arrangements and instrumentation loaded with nuance and innovation make each listen a fresh experience.

Shut Down the Streets (album), is taking a little longer to register with me, but steadily gaining ground. Every song shows promise, and I expect repeated listening will uncover new favorites. Encyclopedia of Classic Take Downs, however, is instant gratification with its irresistible-sing-along-hook "I didn't mean to live that many lies", (reminiscent of "Parade of sisters through New York" from TNP, The New Face of Zero and One).

Instrumental figures can be as addictive as lyrical hooks, and a perfect illustration are the horn lines in the intro of I'm Not Talking, and repeating between verses. Very 70's.

And it's easy to imagine John Lennon singing There's Money in New Wave. A song to smile by.

Frankly, this may not be the best album to meet A.C. Newman. Personal and introspective, it is probably more "interesting" to Newman/TNP initiates. But still it's a no-brainer 5 star. I'm Not Talking or Encyclopedia or the title cut alone earns the album that. If you're not familiar with A.C. Newman and/or TNP, start out with either of the other two solo albums, and a random TNP album - You can hardly go wrong and will want them all eventually. This one too.

The term power-pop does disservice to Newman's music. Newman himself said something to the effect that power-folk might be more accurate. Newman's music is powerful in so many ways, but the creative scope and depth of his songwriting output, often leaping from genre to genre, defies that kind of pigeon-holing. What were the Beatles? That's the category this guy and his band of musicians is in.

One last comment. That album cover. You would expect a collection of favorite hymns, circa 1970 production.

*The New P o r n o g r a p h e r s
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best yet!, October 11, 2012
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This review is from: Shut Down the Streets (Audio CD)
Ok... now that the dust has settled, and I've had a chance to really give this album a few listens, let me quickly say that this is my personal fav out of AC's three solo albums. I think the opening track, I'm Not Talking, is just completely mesmerizing. I find myself listening to (and trying to write) a lot of more abstract and simple, electronic infused music, and really think he nailed the opening 30 seconds on this track. It's not just bleeps and bloops, but more alive. And then the guitar kicks in, and I'm completely drawn in. Followed by AC's lead, and ... oh yes!... Neko Case on backing harmony. What can I say, I'm a bit smitten!

The rest of the album doesn't _quite_ live up to the beauty of the opener, but that's just because it's such a strong song. Overall, this is an album you can chill to, dance to, perhaps even do "other" things to... just a great, uplifting vibe all around. 5+ stars!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic song writer, October 9, 2012
By 
S.G. (Santa Cruz) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Shut Down The Streets (MP3 Music)
I've been listening to the album streaming from another site for the past week and I love it. It's more laid-back than his work with the New Pornographers, but has the same beautifully crafted melodies and building song structure. Another reviewer put it well, The New Pornographer albums are usually summer time songs that you sing with the windows down as you drive. This album is better released in the fall the tone is more subdued, but feels deeper.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A.C. Newman's evolution, December 7, 2012
This review is from: Shut Down the Streets (Audio CD)
"Shut Down the Streets" is magnificent and heartening. I became a fan of A.C. Newman's music with the New Pornographers' "Twin Cinema," and his first solo album, "The Slow Wonder," which, in retrospect represented the peak of his more youthful, audacious phase. Ever since, I think it's fair to say that Newman has been struggling, pushing himself and at times reaching beyond his grasp, not wanting to stay forever defined as a power-pop confectioner, but not clear on what should come next. The results have been iffy. "Challengers," the moody follow-up to "Twin Cinema," is a pretty great album even as it demonstrated Newman's first forays into trying to reinvent himself; but what followed, the NP's "Together" and Newman's solo "Get Guilty," had a forced quality, as if he was saying to himself "there's got to be more to life than clever melodies and inscrutable lyrics... but what?" The cellos that dominated arrangements on those two albums created emblematic sounds to represent what seemed to be going on -- Newman sawing.

But the struggle was worth it. "Shut Down the Streets" is a great album, every bit as musically compelling as "Twin Cinema" but even more listenable, with the sense of cleverness replaced by humbler reverence for the beauty of the melodies he has been able to concoct. He lets these songs breathe, sometimes taking on a "less is more" approach with the arrangements -- like in the gorgeous, hushed "You Could Get Lost Out Here" -- and sometimes building a Wall of Sound to frame subjects that Newman clearly cares about -- as in the track from which the album title is derived, "They Should Have Shut Down the Streets," an unusually (for him) plain-spoken tribute to his late mother. For that song, he creates an amazing percussion arrangement of interlocking tambourines, brushed cymbals, kick-drum, adding up to a kind of procession, for a plainly-articulated, emotionally vivid song and recording that could have fit perfectly on "Pet Sounds."

This album will captivate you right away with the opening track, "I'm Not Talking," a wash of electronic sounds that resolves into a kind of spacey folk tribute to family life, underpinned with a melodic motif that sounds like a duet between trumpet, flute and slide guitar, and will be the first ear-worm on an album full of them. The bridge on this song is other-worldly. For this solo album, Newman gets great support from his NP bandmate, Neko Case, who plays the role of background singer here, curtailing her vocal power to fit into some gorgeous harmony arrangements. Case and NP fans will probably have the most fun with "Encyclopedia of Classic Takedowns," in which she is allowed to cut loose a bit more on the chorus, a brief echo of some great moments off "Twin Cinema" like "The Bleeding Heart Show," but ultimately the power in this song and throughout the album comes from Newman holding back, letting his songwriting do the work.

My suspicion about Newman has always been that while he is a world-class songwriter when it comes to melodies, harmonies and arrangements, that he wasn't sure what he wanted to say lyrically. He could come up with some compelling images, to be sure, and his lyrics were obviously very singable, but sometimes he seemed to choose words for their sound rather than meaning. What's so unexpected and gratifying on this album is that as his lyric writing came down to earth, as the point of his lyrics came into clearer view, his *music* got even better. On this album, Newman is in much greater command of his considerable gifts, and it makes for one of the most satisfying pop albums of many years.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Perfect Album, August 30, 2013
This review is from: Shut Down the Streets (Audio CD)
I was resigned to the idea that AC Newman's 3rd album wouldn't be an improvement on his first two, because I simply didn't believe that The Slow Wonder and Get Guilty could possibly be improved upon. So the fact Shut Down The Streets is his best album is no small statement.

It is not just a collection of perfect songs, but songs that flow perfectly from one to the next. There is a big difference between an album featuring x number of great songs and a great album, and Shut Down The Streets is both. From the opening chords of the instant classic I'm Not Talking, Newman hits every height there is to hit. Some moments of bluntness may feel jarring on first listen, but it's up to the listener to catch up. Every repeat listen reveals a new layer, and the further you go, the more this masterpiece becomes clear.

A truly great album.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glad to finally discover this guy, June 14, 2013
By 
Susan B (Phoenix, MD) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Shut Down The Streets (MP3 Music)
The college radio station I listen to had "Encyclopedia of Classic Takedowns" in pretty heavy rotation at the end of 2012 and I liked the song a lot. Then I heard an interview with Newman on Sound Opinions and discovered he is one of the founders of the New Pornographers. After listening to some of their music and this on Spotify I decided to buy this album and I'm really glad I did. Now that I've heard it all the way through several times, I've decided that "Takedowns" is not the strongest song on the album. The ones I really like are "I'm Not Talking", "You Could Get Lost Out Here", "Hostages", "Wasted English" and "Shut Down The Streets". I find snatches of these songs running through my head during the day, which I think is a good thing. The songs are melodic and never monotonous or predictable; Newman throws his listeners curve balls which are delightful. I just wish it had come with digital liner notes; the words are a little difficult to understand sometimes.

I noticed another reviewer said that this is not a good introduction to A.C. (Carl) Newman, but I would disagree. I was not familiar with his work or The New Pornographers before I got this album and I find that the more I listen to it, the better it sounds.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Breath of fresh air, March 24, 2013
This review is from: Shut Down The Streets (MP3 Music)
Here's an artist who writes great songs with a flair for catchy melodies and witty, personal and somewhat enigmatic lyrics. Upon hearing it on KUTX, I instantly fell in love with "Encyclopedia of Classic Takedowns". Neko Case and Newman rock in beautiful harmony on this cut, and the instrumental backing is bright, colorful and perfectly stated throughout the CD.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent., February 26, 2013
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This review is from: Shut Down the Streets (Audio CD)
Love this CD. I play it over and over like crazy. Please put out another soon! I would buy it in a second.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mature Singer-Songwriter Effort, January 18, 2013
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This review is from: Shut Down the Streets (Audio CD)
Fans of The New Pornographers may find this A.C. Newman solo release to be a bit of jarring transition if one hasn't been following his solo metamorphosis over the course of the last nine years. In many New Pornographers songs written or co-written by Newman, however, there is an undercurrent of melancholy to the shining pop sensibilities displayed if you listen for it. Newman's penchant for genius pop melodies is still present on 'Shut Down The Streets', if somewhat more low-key. The most striking aspect to this album is the emotional immediacy that jumps out at the listener and hits him in the pit of his stomach, so to speak. Rather than being a "downer" album, the songs alternate between joyful, reflective songs like "There's Money In New Wave" and poignant, tug-at-your-heartstrings tributes like "They Should Have Shut Down The Streets." A must-listen for fans of '70s Singer-Songwriter music and highly recommended for New Pornographers fans.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, January 16, 2013
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This review is from: Shut Down the Streets (Audio CD)
A friend walked into the bar where I work the other day, when I was playing "Encyclopedia...". Their face brightened as they recognized the voice, and the distinctive sound of A.C. Newman. They put a voice to my thoughts when they said aloud "I Love his sound. It makes me so happy". As simple a sentiment or review as that may be, what I love about A.C. is that in spite of carefully wrought lyrics (in no way a bad thing), the result is simple and beautiful (emotionally, musically). The compostions are exquisite and layered and lush, and mine the rock-and-roll archives I love best, and the result is simply beautiful!
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Shut Down the Streets
Shut Down the Streets by A.C. Newman (Audio CD - 2012)
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