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Tropical Brainstorm

86 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 24, 2001
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Editorial Reviews


"I know an island where the people are kind / And the rest of the world seems far away / Maybe it's only in the back of my mind / But I know when I go that's where I'll stay." One could not wish a better end result for the late Kirsty MacColl, whose last album opens with this prediction. Tropical Brainstorm serves as a sunny and joyous bookend on a career cut tragically short. Musically, it is a bit of a departure, favoring vibrant Latin-flavored flourishes over the slightly darker jangle of earlier material. There is, however, no mistaking the album's creator from a lyrical perspective. "Treachery" giddily turns the star-fan scenario on its head, imagining MacColl stalking a fan who has abandoned her for the musical flavor of the month. "Here Comes That Man Again" is a decidedly naughty and wise survey of cyberculture's impact on modern romance. In "Us Amazonians," a hearty romp that's easily as good as anything off of Paul Simon's The Rhythm of the Saints, the narrator punches out her true love to show him what's truly important in life. These are not your ordinary pop songs, and that's a fitting way for things to end, if they had to. MacColl always held a singular place in Anglo-pop. She was equal parts Morrissey as a less self-obsessed heterosexual woman and Flannery O'Connor as pop star. In other words, unique, and an incredibly precious resource for music to lose. --Bob Michaels

1. Mambo De La Luna
2. In These Shoes?
3. Treachery
4. Here Comes That Man Again
5. Autumngirlsoup
6. Celestine
7. England 2 Colombia O
8. Nao Esperando
9. Alegria
10. Us Amazonians
11. Wrong Again
12. Designer Life
13. Head
14. Golden Heart
15. Things Happen
16. Good For Me

Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 24, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Instinct Records
  • ASIN: B00005ABK0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,232 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Shaz on September 24, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I remember exactly where I was when I heard Kirsty MacColl was dead. I was getting off work around midnight in December 2000, and the radio announced that she'd been killed in a boating accident in Cozumel. I immediately thought back to the first time I'd heard her music; on the "She's Having a Baby" soundtrack, she covered The Smith's "You Just Haven't Earned it Yet, Baby", and I've been a fan ever since. The untimely death of this mainly underrated songstress is a huge loss for the music industry. "Tropical Brainstorm" seems a very fitting last album; a breezy, cozy CD that sounds like Kirsty was happy and enjoying life. Her obvious love of Cuba and its history is prominently displayed here, since most songs have a cuban influence. And yet, she never forgets her native Surrey, England, using phrases like "lying git" (on the track "England 2, Colombia 0"). One of my favorite tracks is a beautiful piece called "autumngirlsoup" that is tragic and lovely all at once; "I'm an autumn girl on the endless search for summer", she sings, "'cause I need some love to cook my frozen bones". If you've never experienced her music, there's no time like the present to enjoy it. BUY THIS CD. Anyone in the know understands what a blow to music this tragic loss is- I quote the chilling lyrics of "Alegria": I close my eyes, another dream arrives
Taking me deeper, into the sweet water
Filling my senses with happiness and joy
Alegria, alegria
Happiness and joy
Goodbye, Kirsty- you will be sorely missed.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Eric Love on April 29, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I first heard of Kirsty MacColl back in 1989 or '90, singing "Fairytale of New York" with The Pogues, the most clever, heartbreaking, and lovely Christmas song. It is like Billy Strayhorn's "Lush Life," hung up with tinsel and mistletoe.
Kirsty's talents come out in full form with "Electric Landlady" from 1991. "All I Ever Wanted," "He Never Mentioned Love," "We'll Never Pass This Way Again," and "Halloween," are so wonderful because they aren't overwrought, and as a songwriter, she refuses to romanticize love all out of proportion, turning it into something niave, artificially sweet, and marketable but ultimately silly and unfamiliar. Kirsty proved that something intelligent could happen while translating relationships into songs -- that the pain and frustration they create could be transformed into something lovely, in part because these things are so familiar to people who have been in love. (Kirsty and Lloyd Cole are the only ones who seemed to get it.)
The Latin-Cuban influence heard on "My Affair" courses through "Tropical Brainstorm" from start to finish and the results are simply brilliant. Beneath the marvelous beats and rythms of islands is classic Kirsty. Love still goes wrong in "England 2 Colombia 0," "Autumngirlsoup," and "Wrong Again," but more often than not it is smart and sardonic, as in "Designer Life," "Celestine," and "Us Amazonians." My favorites -- "In These Shoes," "Treachery," and "Here Comes That Man Again" -- place Kirsty on top, well in control . . . sort of . . .
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Jenn on July 30, 2001
Format: Audio CD
What do you get when you combine a sly British wit with an open Carribean beat and a genuine love for the Cubanos? Kirsty Maccoll! I bought this one after one listen in the store, and I haven't regretted my purchase one bit. From the fun "Mambo de la Luna" to the lighthearted sarcasm of "In these shoes" or "Here comes that man" or "England 2: Columbia 0" to the wistful "Auntumngirlsoup" to the brilliant latin beats of "Alegria" this album is a must have. I laughed nonstop through "Treachery." Starts with "I'm stalking a fan..."
Even the lyrics in Spanish are clever and fairly easy to follow, even for a student whos hasn't spoken in about four years. If I were you, I'd buy this one and "dance around in my socks."
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By David Kaminsky on March 23, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Two years after my first listen, I'm still amazed by the range and depth of this CD. From the tropical exuberance of the Cuban-influenced "Mambo de la Luna," the Brasilian-tinged "Celestine," and the tango-esque "Treachery," to the humour of "England 2 Colombia 0" and "In These Shoes," the spare, understated emotion of "Head" and "Golden Heart," and the touching directness of "Things Happen," this work confounds the boundries between musical genres (jazz, pop, salsa, samba, etc), stylistic influences and inspirations. Above all, the work is richly infused with Kirsty's love for Latin/Brasilian music, culture, and perspective. The standouts include the haunting "Autumngirlsoup," the hilariously camp "In These Shoes," and the amazing subtlety and warmth--and the delicacy with which adolescent obsession is handled--in "Things Happen." The album is a fitting tribute to the life and talent of one of the most sensitive, intelligent, and interesting singer-songwriters of our time. In a musical landscape dominated with hype and image, its singers often devoid of any true talent, the voice of Kirsty MacColl is needed more now than ever. We miss you so much, Kirsty.
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