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Thirteenth Step

1,068 customer reviews

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Thirteenth Step
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Audio CD, September 16, 2003
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Editorial Reviews


Granted, Step doesn't have anything as effortlessly flawless as the classic single "Judith" from the band's last album, but it does have a number of songs ("Blue," "The Outsider") that are almost as bombastically beautiful. -- E! Online

Sounds more like the dusky thrum of Disintegration-era Cure than it does any of the members' previous bands. -- Rolling Stone

This is a classic 1970s-style headphones record that is both arty and unusually undisciplined. [Nov 2003, p.108] -- Blender

With greater degrees of deliberate construction than Mers De Noms, Thirteenth Step is more cohesive band effort, less ad hoc side project. -- MOJO

1. The Package
2. Weak And Powerless
3. The Noose
4. Blue
5. Vanishing
6. A Stranger
7. The Outsider
8. Crimes
9. The Nurse Who Loved Me
10. Pet
11. Lullaby
12. Gravity

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 16, 2003)
  • Original Release Date: 2003
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Virgin
  • ASIN: B0000AZJXQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,068 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,079 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

186 of 193 people found the following review helpful By VitoandBo on October 8, 2003
Format: Audio CD
The modern radio era is dominated by bands that fancy themselves latter-day Sex Pistols but sound more like bad Green Day knockoffs. Into this musical climate, A Perfect Circle has injected a potent breath of fresh air with its sophomore effort, Thirteenth Step.
The record doesn't overpower the listener. It has a quietness, a subtlety that makes it nearly impossible to fully appreciate on first listen. But with each subsequent listen, its layers are uncovered, slowly and deliciously. It's a masterpiece that comes full circle on the promise of the band's debut, Mer de Noms.
Thirteenth Step can be taken as a concept album of sorts, with each of the twelve songs exploring a different aspect of psychology and addiction. Opener "The Package" draws you in with quiet guitars and beats and Maynard James Keenan's gorgeous vocals. He's an addict looking for his next fix, and we're along for the ride as the music and voice go from an urgent whisper to a desperate growl and back again. It sets the stage for the journey to come.
The first single, "Weak and Powerless," is a standout. Like much of the record, it's clearly influenced by the new wave of the late 80's and early 90's -- there are points at which Keenan's voice seems to channel that of the Cure's Robert Smith -- yet strikingly original. It's disarming, with a haunting quality that carries throughout the record.
The musicianship is impressive. From band founder/guitarist Billy Howerdel to drummer Josh Freese to new bassist Jeordie White, there isn't a weak link. White, in particular, is a revelation. His confident, driving bass lines are just the right counterpart to Freese's rhythms; who knew that such a fine musician lurked within the former Twiggy Ramirez?
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79 of 87 people found the following review helpful By TorridlyBoredShopper VINE VOICE on February 11, 2005
Format: Audio CD
The album Thirteenth Step is a marvel to behold, and its one of the few albums I can't seem to take out of my playlist after years of listening. That seems to oversimplify the dilemma in the experience too, because the disc has been pumping into my audio veins for so long that it feels like it's become a part of my disc changer subconscious, and I still love it. In fact, I've nicknamed it "#45" because that slot has become the place it haunts whenever it and my discman need one another.

I've wanted to review the album quite a few times since I purchased it, actually picking the work up on several occasions and attempting to hammer out something that captured it, but I've found myself sitting the album back down in frustration and putting off an attempt at verbalization because its really hard to descriptively sample. And, really, how does one capture the essence of an album that seems to contain a little taste of "soul" in the lyrics? Is calling something "Audio ambience lighting the paths and subsequent pathos that showcase the beauty need and neurosis can birth" really explaining a marvel? Is saying the work is "genre-defying" really covering any ground and getting one closer to "you really should buy this work" without doing the piece a disservice? I'm not sure how to capture the album even now, truth be told, but I will attempt to break down a couple of its achievements to say why it merits high praise for me.

First and foremost on the list, I have to say that Thirteenth Step is a testament to the power of a human voice. I've heard so many people try to sing in my life that its hard to say that any of them are "moving" anymore, but I have to say that Maynard can be breathtaking when it wants to be.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 16, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I have to admit, I'm a little aprehensive about picking up albums based on radio singles. However, Mer de Noms was definitely a great album overall, not just with a good couple of tracks (Judith, 3 Libras, The Hollow), so I chanced it with Thirteenth Step and "Weak And Powerless," and I truly feel I pulled in a great return on my investment.
Danny Lohner of Nine Inch Nails, recently of Underworld Soundtrack fame, was in to help Billy Howerdel and Maynard James Keenan on the production of the album. So what do you get with an all-star production team and an all-star cast? One damn good album.
The Package, track no. 1, sucks you into its eerie sound at its beginning and proceeds to tear you apart at the end with Howerdel's amazing guitar riffs. From there, the darkness of the Thirteenth Step, which I think is a concept album about recovering from...well, recovery (13th step of the 12 step program), is enough to keep you interested. The addition of perfected vocals, guitars, and percussion are what keeps you GLUED to the sound system.
The Thirteenth Step is by far the best rock album of the year thus far. I highly recommend picking it up.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By James Morrison on September 17, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I think the problem here is that some people have taken to writing bad reviews for this album after only listening to the disc once, if that. I am a firm believer that before you write a review you become familiar with the albums nuances first. I've had the luxary of hearing this album for the past week at work before it came out yesterday. Like some of you, upon the first listen I didn't think much of it at all. Of course there were a few tracks that grabbed me like 'The Noose', 'The Outsider', 'The Package' and of course the lyric heavy first single 'Weak & Powerless', but the other tracks seemed lacking in a way. However, as the days passed by and the spins increased, I slowly fell in love with the subtle beauty of this album. It became apparent that though this album, as a whole, is not as heavy or direct as 'Mer De Noms', it does have far more textures that only reveal themselves after repeated listens. The tracks I originally panned off as filler like 'Blue', 'A Stranger' and 'The Nurse Who Loved Me' (and yes I realize it's not one of there own tracks, but it doesn't matter) became so stunning that when I finally heard them on my home stereo they nearly brought me to tears.
Maynard and Billy have outdone themselves crafting a masterpeice here but only those who have an open mind and no pre-conceptions heading in will be rewarded.
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