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More Than You Think You Are
More Than You Think You Are
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Their best album yet--and I like all of them, February 18, 2003
This third release by matchbox twenty is without a doubt their most versatile album yet. The thoughtful lyrics and soulful sounds are still present throughout, but with a freshly added edge and urgency. While I was greatly looking forward to this release anyway, this one actually surpases expectations.
How surprised was I when I put on this disk and heard the catchy, crunching guitar sounds of the leadoff track "Feel"? The pace continues on the next track, the well-known lead single "Disease"--a great track. Then the keyboards kick in as a lead to the beautifully memorable moderately slow track "Bright Lights". A slower track still comes with the quirky lyrics of "Unwell", a humorous ode to mental instability. The rock then kicks back in with "Cold", where Rob Thomas chastises his lover for being, well, cold, to him. Strong guitar riff on that one strengthening his message. But then comes a strong ballad with "All I Need"--also very well done and clearly heartfelt.
The quality continues with "Hand Me Down", another slower track that also hits the mark and includes some pretty keyboard work. "Could I Be You" is another nice mid-tempo track. "Downfall", as others have mentioned, is a great anthemic track with an amazing backing choir. I also particularly have to rave about the beauty of the track "Soul", which has a very powerful chorus that offsets the more laid back verses. "You're So Real" starts with a powerful bass line that leads into a final true rocker on the album. "The Difference" closes out the album with another mellow track with sad, pretty lyrics.
To sum up, BUY THIS ALBUM. It is a great combination of rockers and ballads done with thoughtful lyrics and flawless musicianship. The variety of sounds and emotions make it a very interesting listen as well. One of the best modern pop/rock albums you could hope to find anywhere. Highly recommended.

Harem Scarem
Harem Scarem
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure and perfect melodic rock, February 18, 2003
This review is from: Harem Scarem (Audio CD)
This band should have become huge, but the timing wasn't right. This amazing debut album was released 1991, when metal and melodic hard rock were being overrun by modern rock and grunge. For sure it is a classic album from a classic band in melodic rock circles.
The melodies and hooks in this album are instaneously memorable. "Hard To Love" kicks things off with a perfect melodic anthemic rocker. I have heard this was a minor hit, but I personally don't remember hearing it on rock radio. "Distant Memory" is a mid-tempo anthem with a very pretty chorus. At track 4, "Honestly" is the first ballad of the album, and while it is pretty standard fare for this genre of rock music, it sounds pretty and melodic. It should be noted that the only other true ballad in the album is the beautiful last track "Something To Say", which is more unique with its gorgeous mellow guitar introduction that carries into a beautifully sung song.
In between are a bunch of wonderful-sounding melodic rock tracks with a perfect blend of electric guitar, keyboards, and stunning melodic vocals. It's hard to pick favorites besides the ones mentioned above, but "Love Reaction", "All Over Again", and "How Long" are great examples of the melodic highlights that dominate this album.
This band's second album (1993's "Mood Swings") is actually more rocking and a little better than this one, but this is still exceptional. Certainly an amazing debut that deserved more mainstream noteriety. For melodic rock fans, I cannot recommend this band and this album enough.

By the Way
By the Way
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Continued mellow direction, but still great!, February 18, 2003
This review is from: By the Way (Audio CD)
For some of my favorite rock acts that date back to the 1980s, I am a bit hard on them when they become too mellow in the modern day compared to their hard rocking roots. In some of those cases, it doesn't feel that they are being totally true to themselves musically. However, I don't at all get that feeling when I listen to this album by the Red Hot Chili Pepers. After all, they are not following any trend but simply putting out the music they want to. Who else out there sounds similar to them? No one that I can think of.
Like the amazing "Californication", the sound on this album is mellower and more melodic and the obscenities are minimal. The vocals are better than ever, and the bass still cranks--even on the mellowest of the tracks.
The lead title track, also the first single released, is a great melodic catchy track with some "funk" still present in the song. "Universally Speaking" is kind of a mid-temp track that is very melodic. "This Is The Place" retains a little of the old funk element and has an exceptional bass line (even for these guys). "The Zephyr Song" is a very pretty mid-tempo track with an unforgetable melodic chorus, while "Can't Stop" is very catchy and perhaps the funkiest song on the album. "I Could Die For You" and "Midnight" are other melodic hightlights, "Throw Away Your Television" is another funky highlight, "Cabron" is very different with its Spanish sound and nice melodies, and "Tear" is an outstanding slow track. The closing track "Venice Queen" is interesting and mellow overall as well.
I was also a fan of the Chili Pepers in the more hard core days of the legendary "Blood Sugar Sex Magic" album, but this current direction they have gone in is to me equally as good. Don't think for a moment that these guys can't still rock. They have simply added a diversity to their music and toned it down a bit over time. The results are continued musical excellence. I think that any RHCP fan should appreciate this album, but definitely buy if your favorite previous album by them is "Californication".

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 1/2 stars--great to have them back!, February 18, 2003
This review is from: Neverland (Audio CD)
I was excited back in 1997 when I heard that the original Night Ranger lineup was getting back together and putting out new material. After 10 years between albums with this lineup (remember--the keyboardist Alan Fitgerald wasn't with them for 1988's awesome "Man In Motion" and only two of them were on 1995's very good "Feeding Off The Mojo"), I was happy to see that the band hadn't lost their touch. Sure the sound is a bit more mellow and modern, but for the times it is still very good.
"Forever All Over Again" is the opening track and only single I heard on radio at all off this album (and very briefly). For sure, it is a surprise to have a ballad like this open up the album, but it is a very nice track. Then at track 2 comes the rocking title track. Good stuff--the band clearly showed it may still have its edge here. But the first time I heard this album I got concerned with the pace upon hearing tracks 3 and 4. "As Always I Remain" and "Someday I Will", while both also very solid tracks, are quite acoustic and mellow in nature. Had the hard rock left this band?
Well, after only 1 rocker in the first 4 tracks, I would call 5 of the final 7 tracks solid rockers. "New York Time" is a solid rock track that brings back memories of the '80s version of the band. "Walk In The Future" has a slightly modern sound but is pretty mellow and a bit reminiscent of Shaw/Blades. "Slap Like Being Born" is also a bit modern in tone but a surefire rocker with an interesting sound and lyric. At track 10, "Anything For You" looks like it's positioned to be a ballad due to the name of the song and placement on the album, but it in fact is one of the hardest rockers on the album--great track. Right after that comes the closing track "I Don't Call This Love", another surefire quality rocker.
I can't honestly state that this album is quite as good as the vintage 1980s material, but it sure is more than worth the listen if you are or were a fan of this band. The sound is a bit updated and a bit more mellow but overall true to the roots and history of the band. Worth the purchase, for sure, if you are craving new material from a favorite '80s melodic hard rock band.

Big Life
Big Life
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5.0 out of 5 stars 4 3/4 stars--still awesome Night Ranger, February 18, 2003
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This review is from: Big Life (Audio CD)
It amazes me how much this album is maligned. By the time this came out, Night Ranger no longer was a pop music "flavor of the week". The empty-headed masses who probably claimed to be the biggest Night Ranger fans on the planet when "Sister Christian" was out found it easy to jump all over this album when it did not yield the top 40 hits of its predecesors. I will also acknowledge that it is not quite as good as their three previous albums and that the band themselves never play anything off this album live. Nonetheless, listen to this album for yourself if you are or were a Night Ranger fan beyond radio hits. If you do, I almost guarantee you will like this album.
Some people remember only "The Secret Of My Success" from this album due to the movie it came from. While I agree that it is not the best NR track ever, it is still a solid, catchy rocker. Better on this album are track like the opening rocking title track, the melodic, anthemic "Color Of Your Smile", and the classic (to me, anyway) "Rain Comes Crashing Down", which reminds me a lot of the awesome "Call My Name" from NR's debut "Dawn Patrol" album. Other rock highlights include "Better Let It Go" and the melodies within "I Know Tonight". Back at track 3, "Love Is Standing Near" is a great mid-tempo anthem, while the closing ballad "Hearts Away" (the only real ballad on the album) is also stellar.
This is still vintage Night Ranger here; trust me. If you are a fan of the band in particular and melodic rock in general, you owe it to yourself to try to find this album. Definitely a great listen--as most Night Ranger albums are.

Trouble Is...
Trouble Is...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 3/4 stars--great blues rock, February 18, 2003
This review is from: Trouble Is... (Audio CD)
This album was destined to become a modern day classic from the time it was released. With the single "Blue On Black", blues rock had made it back onto rock radio in the late 1990s, which was very refreshing at the time. For sure, tracks like "Slow Ride", "Everything Is Broken", and the other big rock radio track "Somehow, Somewhere, Someway" are all great jams. "(Long) Gone" and "King's Highway" are among the other many highlights. There are not really a lot of slow tracks on this (or any KWS) album, but for sure the track "I Found Love (When I Found You)" is a great slower song.
The reasons for comparing KWS to Stevie Ray Vaughan are obvious, and I wouldn't go as far as to say KWS is quite as good. Nonetheless, he is right up there as a blues-rock artist. If he continues to perform and put out new material (it has been awhile now), his status will someday be legendary.

Shake Your Money Maker
Shake Your Money Maker
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic rock in the early '90s, February 17, 2003
This review is from: Shake Your Money Maker (Audio CD)
This fantastic debut by the Black Crowes stands apart from the "glam metal giving way to grunge" days. While that certainly was beginning to happen when this album was big, this album and band steers clear of that issue altogether with a refreshing classic/blues/southern rock sound. What results is a rock and roll masterpiece.
"Twice As Hard" and "Jealous Again" are two tuneful rockers to lead the album off. Both were big rock radio hits, and deservedly so. Following is the bluesy "Sister Luck", a somewhat slower and fantastic track. "Seeing Things", another great radio track, reminds me a bit of Joe Cocker's "With A Little Help From My Friends". The cover of "Hard To Handle" is of course the most well-known classic on the album--a very catchy guitar-driven track. "She Talks To Angels" is a slow, sad track that absolutely hits the mark and was another big rock radio hit. "Could I've Been So Blind" and especially "Thick N' Thin" are solid rockers; and while not quite as memorable, the last two tracks "Struttin' Blues" and "Stare It Cold" also have that great blues-based rock sound.
Chris Robinson delivers these tunes with flawless perfection, and the hooks to the songs are memorable without being overly pop-based. All in all, this is just a great collection. You couldn't have asked for a much better "back to basics" rock CD at the time it came out. To this day, highly recommended.

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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More rocking Journey...another fantastic album, February 17, 2003
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This review is from: Departure (Audio CD)
This third album of Journey's with Steve Perry at the helm continues the mastery of classic melodic rock that the band is famed for. This would be the last album before Greg Rolie is replaced by Jonathan Cain on keyboards, so it is the last we get to hear of certain classic rock influences. For sure, this is a rocking album but with a definite moodiness to it in spots.
"Any Way You Want It" kicks off the album with a bang. With no instrumental intro, Steve Perry starts belting out one of Journey's most famous rockers. Then comes the light, catchy "Walk Like a Lady", a bluesy number that nicely offsets the opening rocker. "Someday Soon" is melodic rock bliss, and it includes some of the last of the great vocals we get to hear from Greg Rolie. Following is a very uniquely moody tune in "People and Places". I don't know what it is about that song, but with the way the different members each sing a word one after the other combined with the haunting (in spots) sound of the keyboard, this one still can send shivers up my spine. Very unique track.
Then after more fine melodies on "Precious Time", a few definite rockers kick in. "Where Were You" has an amazingly melodic chorus, "I'm Cryin'" contains some of the most amazingly emotive Perry vocals ever, and "Line Of Fire" absolutely smokes. From there the tempo and mood slows up with the short but very nice title track instrumental, which leads into the very pretty, pleasant "Good Morning Girl". "Stay Awhile" further continues the pretty slowdown in tempo, before "Homemade Love" ends the album by again rocking the house.
I could rave at length about every one of these tracks and how listening to them makes me feel. As much as I love the more popular Journey albums that are to follow this one, there is something about that classic sound that is special. This effort was the third straight winning effort with Steve Perry at the vocal helm in three years for the band at the time. Once again, the band struck gold in the classic and melodic rock arena.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Journey classic, February 17, 2003
This review is from: Evolution (Audio CD)
This album by my favorite all-time rock band yielded their first top 40 single in the bluesy, catchy "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'". For sure, that is an all-time classic rock track, but it is hardly the only highlight.
This album continues Journey's Evolution (pun intended) towards becoming a huge rock and roll act. From the opening grand instrumental "Majestic", you can tell that this is going to be another grooving melodic rock ride. "Too Late" has a slower groove to it overall, while "When You're Alone" is more uptempo. "Just The Same Way" is another chance for Greg Rolie to shine on a co-lead vocal role with Steve Perry. That catchy, rocking track may in fact be the best on the album. "Sweet And Simple", "City of the Angels", and "Do You Recall" are among the many other highlights on this classic melodic rock masterpiece.
Journey was beginning to spread their wings a little more musically with this release, and the songs and melodies are tighter than ever. This album was simply the second in a line of several straight 5-star gems with Steve Perry at the helm. Highly recommended.

Can't Slow Down
Can't Slow Down
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic pop album, February 17, 2003
This review is from: Can't Slow Down (Audio CD)
By 1983, Lionel Richie's solo career was in full swing, and it led to him releasing this masterpiece. All that it produced was five top 10 hits and a combination of beautiful love songs and some catchy uptempo numbers.
The leadoff title track shows a small bit of remaining funk in Lionel's music with a catchy little number. Then comes a few big hits in a row, starting with the very fun, uptempo number "All Night Long". Talk about a catchy, partying track, and yet it remains true to being musically legitimate (i.e., not manufactured like today's throw-away pop garbage). Then comes the lovely track "Penny Lover", which is the first of the slower tracks. Further pleasant diversity comes with the next track, the country-ish, fantastic love song "Stuck On You".
Next come a couple of rare non-hit tracks. First comes "Love Will Find A Way", with its slow, plesant grove; and it is followed by the straight melodic ballad, "The Only One". These songs could have been hits just as easily as most of the other tracks, as they are both very good. But then comes a great uptempo number, "Running With The Night", which includes an electric guitar solo that reminds me of much of the day's melodic rock. That is definitely a favorite track, and it is followed by a beautiful love ballad that is also a favorite--"Hello". I remember how hearing this song made me feel as a teen, and it still tugs at the heart strings as an adult. A classic track to close out a classic album.
It just doesn't get much better than this in the realm of pure pop music. Plenty of music listeners rail against pop music, and I am right there when it comes to talentless, cookie-cutter pop. However, there is plenty of legitimate pop out there, and this is the epitome of it. Lionel Richie is a truly talented musician and singer, and this album is simply him at his solo best. Very recommended.

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