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Trading Snake Oil for Wolftickets

51 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 23, 2004
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Editorial Reviews

San Diego based singer-songwriter Gary Jules was brought to the world's attention with his haunting cover of Tears for Fears' "Mad World", but Trading Snakeoil for Wolf Tickets may surprise fans expecting more of the same. There is a strong sense of West Coast country-tinged folk, with pop influences drawn from the Byrds, intelligent prose from Simon & Garfunkel and a velvety drawl from somewhere between James Taylor and JJ Cale. The plucked guitar of "No Poetry" is as beautiful as anything Taylor has produced; it could be perceived as derivative but Jules is expressing his song in the most appropriate way, and it fits the melody perfectly. The abbreviated "DTLA" ("Down Town Los Angeles") is more of an up-tempo number introduced by an analogue drum machine that swaggers in a country fashion befitting the fond imagery in the lyrics. The rest of the album follows a similar path except for the Michael Andrews collaboration "Mad World", which sits awkwardly at the end. Having the big single so far removed from the rest of the songs may seem risky but Trading Snakeoil for Wolftickets has enough merit without "Mad World" to show Jules is no one-hit wonder. --David Trueman

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Broke Window
  2. No Poetry
  3. Dtla
  4. Unlucky
  5. Something Else
  6. Pills
  7. Boat Song
  8. Umbilical Town
  9. The Princess of Hollywood Way
  10. Patchwork G
  11. Barstool
  12. Mad World
  13. Untitled Hidden Track

Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 23, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Universal Records
  • ASIN: B0001IXTOU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,388 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Kort TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 29, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This album makes you wonder why truly talented artists don't achieve widespread success while some of the more superficial pop singers are the top searched phrase on Google!
Gary Jules, best know for soulful remake of Tears For Fears "Mad World" from the Donnie Darko soundtrack, is one such artist. He plays, writes a sings a folky form of mellow rock that is infectious. Once you start listening, you're hooked. Everyone I've played this CD for evidenced suprise they hadn't hear it before and found it really good. These were people across a broad age group too, from 17 to near 50.
If you enjoy quality, thoughtful music, then Gary is your man. Be aware that if all you've hear from him is the Mad World remake, then his style is a bit different...more "rocky." I'm happier with this purchase moreso than any other in a long while. Oh, I picked mine up at version.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By J. Comeau on December 3, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I bought this CD because of his rendition of Mad World. What a great cover song! Track 13 (the Untitled Track) is also very very good. The more I listen to it the more I like it. It's actually stuck in my head RIGHT NOW. Be advised that if you want to listen to this song you have to deal with a long pause before it comes on. I just fast forward the CD until the song starts. As far as the rest of the CD is concerned it's very relaxing and I can definitely close my eyes and hear some Simon & Garfunkel influences in his music. I have an appreciation for his song writing abilities. And I think anyone with a deep appreciation for "real music" and songwriting would appreciate this CD.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 30, 2004
Format: Audio CD
The pull to this CD, for me, was the "Mad World" track ... such a great cover of the Roland Orzabal/Tears For Fears tune ... lyrically, the songs seems to fit better with this slower, piano-driven version ... even the effects on the vocals add a mesmerizing quality. But don't expect other songs of this sort on this CD. I was at first disappointed that the other tracks consisted mostly of acoustic-guitar-driven singer-songwriter (somewhat country-ish twang in places) pieces ... and as a child of the 70s (I've now lost all respect) I immediately heard influences such as America, Cat Stevens, and Seals and Crofts (er, who?). Track 3 "Downtown LA" could easily be mistaken for a Matthew Sweet tune (not that Matthew Sweet is the end of the line as far as who-sounds-like-who). I'm sure "Mad World" helps to boost sales, but it is such an odd-man-out on this CD ... and because this song seems to be getting the most airplay (XPN in Philly) and is pushed on Gary's website (along with the "Downtown LA" song), I expected to get an album filled with (if not similar song-writing, considering "Mad World" is not his tune) at least songs produced in a similar way ... not so. Putting all that aside, however, I dig this CD ... just think of "Mad World" as an out-of-place bonus.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jason Stein VINE VOICE on May 13, 2004
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I'll admit I bought "Trading Snake Oil For Wolftickets" for Gary Jules' version of the classic Tears For Fears song "Mad World". If you saw the 2001 film "Donnie Darko" from which the song gained most of its exposure, then you know how powerful his version is. Even Roland Orzabal of Tears For Fears has stated that he though Gary Jules did a brilliant re-working of the song. Gary's album sounds nothing like Tears For Fears though, and his musical influences are great and apparent. His music sounds like early Paul Simon, Jackson Browne, James Taylor, The Eagles, 1975-era Fleetwood Mac and The Band. Acoustic guitars and folk-driven soundscapes are set against urban lyrics of love and loss from an intelligent perspective. I'll admit that I think Duncan Sheik is wittier, but there's something about Jules' music that works very well on his debut (which was originally released a few years ago to no notice). I particularly liked the wordplay on songs like "Broke Window", "No Poetry", "Something Else", "Umbilical Town", "Barstool" and the hidden track. Jules' still has room to grow and develop as a budding new talent, but his debut is strong enough to earn four stars. I'm just surprised to see that only 12 other reviews are listed here. I thought there'd be more since there was a lot of buzz about this album before it was released. "Mad World" went in the UK Top 10 at Christmas 2003, and I've heard the song played on my local radio station. Ah well, I've never had much faith in the American public to reconize quality pop music, so if "Trading Snake Oil For Wolftickets" remains an alternative, underground cult favorite, more power to Gary Jules!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kharmic Tide Pool on April 23, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Normally, I hate the sound of the guitar; it's my least favorite instrument. Jules puts the guitar at the musical center of his CD and does so very well, in fact the guitar, under Jules' control, becomes an instrument of great beauty as opposed to an instrument of eardrum destruction as most American performs use it.
Listening to the CD, one is no longer in their car or their living room but in a small venue filled with the smells of cigarette smoke, an old bar and a floor worn from decades of use. Jules' music creates the environment of an intimate concert venue through the absence of an overly studioed sound. Clearly this is a professional recording, but Jules' talents and style make it feel as if it's a private concert.
Jules' work is very mellow. The least mellow song is DTLA (DownTown Los Angeles) and yet it flows smoothly and at a relaxed pace. Even the short (1:45) Unlucky stands out as a memorable song for it is mostly guitar until the end when there is a verse and it's over, leaving the listener wanting more. Currently, my favorite song is Mad World, which I feel bad saying because it is the only song on TS-OFW-T not written by Jules. It appeared on the Donnie Darko soundtrack, so if you have that and are thinking you might like all of Jules' CD, you may. I got the CD because of Jules' Mad World perofrmance on Conan O'Brien and figured I would like the rest, and I was right. Even though the songs given for samples on Amazon are not the best of the CD, give them a listen as they are representative of the rest of the CD's style.
For those of you who like mellow rock, folksy, indie-style rock, give this CD a look, or at least listen to the Amazon samples.
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