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umze "umze" RSS Feed (Seattle, WA)

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Magic
Magic
Offered by SourceMedia
Price: $6.49
319 used & new from $0.01

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I don't care what anyone says..., January 7, 2009
This review is from: Magic (Audio CD)
this is the BEST album of 1987!

Way to age gracefully, Bruce.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 13, 2009 5:22 PM PST


Light of Day: Tribute to Bruce Springsteen
Light of Day: Tribute to Bruce Springsteen
30 used & new from $0.58

1 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Blasphemy, January 18, 2006
I'm a fan of Bruce, but I've never cared for his voice, and I always thought he made some odd production choices. Someday, someone will produce an album of Springsteen songs that improve on the original. It would only take a little thought.

This mess demonstrates no thought whatsoever. Is there any reason anyone would be yearning to hear E Street Shuffle without the E Street Band and New York City Serenade without a the piano intro? Is there anyone who listened to Pink Cadillac and thought it would be great to have an acoustic version? A folkie version of Two Hearts? Did we really need to hear Elvis Costello put on a country twang?

What did they leave out? The Promised Land for the polka? A hip hop version of Mansion on the Hill?
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 13, 2009 3:05 PM PST


Atlas Shrugged
Atlas Shrugged
by Ayn Rand
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $6.27
637 used & new from $0.01

16 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Just a little to add, January 11, 2005
1. Is this a novel of ideas? No. Read the reviews here. Everyone - pro and con - sums up the ideas in this 1000 page tome in three or four sentences, some quite eloquently. Compare this to, say, Hamlet or King Lear - tens of thousands of pages have been written in response to about 100 pages.

2. Is it any good? It's a matter of taste. Rand is melodramatic in her approach. Some find the characters wooden; others find the heroism inspiring. She presents a heroic character fairly competently - that's the best you can say, and there's nothing wrong with enjoying a heroic fantasy.

3. The great irony. This is one of the most popular books of the last fifty years. Millions have read it, and enjoyed reveling in how they stand apart from the crowd, apart from the rabble. (Sort of like in "Life of Brian" the crowd chants "We are all individuals.") Ayn Rand spent her career praising exceptional achievement, and decrying mediocrity, yet in her chosen field of writing, she is hardly stellar. Even those who love the book acknowledge its shortcomings, and argue that they stem from being a polemic novel - a justification Rand would never allow one of her own characters.


Songs In The Attic
Songs In The Attic
50 used & new from $0.01

3 of 41 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Hey, he NEVER had any talent!, September 5, 2003
This review is from: Songs In The Attic (Audio CD)
I picked this up on the advice of a friend who told me that my distaste for Billy Joel was unjustified. I just hadn't heard his early songs, which were full of raw talent, unspoiled by the demands of keeping on top of the charts.
I picked it up, and it is now official: Billy Joel has always been a weak, uninspiring songwriter and performer
There is simply nothing interesting about this cd: it contains not a passionate, unique, or inspired note. Of course, it is, for the most part, not outright offensive. While certainly no great singer, Billy Joel does not send me running from the room or make me want to immediately shut him off. His piano playing is certainly no worse than my uncle Joe's, and maybe a little better. The songs all rhyme, and Billy Joel seems to be very careful to make sure most of them make sense.
Billy Joel's problem is that he always plays it safe, and he is bland, bland, bland. There is no passion in any of it. There is no intensity in "She's Got a Way" (or "Just the Way You Are" for that matter), just comfortable, predictable, schoolboy rhymes. "Captain Jack" is the more boring drug song ever written. "Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway" is inane. Is there an emotional moment in the entire cd? I couldn't find one. You can't dance to most of it either.
The success of Billy Joel appears to be that he is inoffensive and absolutely deathly dull. It's comfort music for people who really don't like music.
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 7, 2014 8:41 PM PDT


Art of Being a Girl
Art of Being a Girl
24 used & new from $4.03

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A new direction for Julee, May 24, 2003
This review is from: Art of Being a Girl (Audio CD)
I love Julee's earlier cds, especially "Floating Into the Night." The ethereal vocals, the strange arrangements all blend perfectly to create a one of a kind atmosphere, spooky and romantic. If you don't have that cd, buy it.
This cd is nothing like her earlier work, being mainly lounge inspired chill and electronica. However, her voice is still great, and the songs are often quirky, with unique touches. Some of the cd, however, falls into what is now cookie-cutter for the trip hop genre. Overall, it is a somewhat uneven effort, but it has enough high points and variety to recommend it.


Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
Price: $4.99
256 used & new from $0.01

2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre Effort, April 23, 2003
This is an enjoyable cd, nice background music, pleasant vocals, and fine production. Some of the lyrics are pretty amusing.
But experimental, daring, or even very interesting? Not a chance. For the most part, this sounds like Radiohead on a sunny morning. Compared to, for example, the Legendary Pink Dots over twenty years ago, this is incredibly pedestrian stuff. The lyrics, when they aren't amusing, as they are on the title track, are childish and sentimental (reaching a peak in the totally unlistenable, juvenile "Do You Realize").
This is nice background music, to stick in the cd player cleaning the house. There are certainly many worse cds out there, and popular music has been looking pretty lean lately - but that certainly doesn't make this an "essential recording" for anyone's collection.


POWER SURF!  THE BEST OF...
POWER SURF! THE BEST OF...
Price: $17.83
28 used & new from $8.00

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like the Ultralounge cds, this is for you, November 12, 2002
This is corny, sixties go-go surfer instrumental music - the sort of stuff that's always in the background of those old teenage B-movies. And it's pretty good kitschy music, and should help your beach blanket party get rolling. If you like the retro goofiness of the Ultralounge cds, this is a good purchase.


Blacklisted
Blacklisted
52 used & new from $0.38

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, beautiful noise, November 12, 2002
This review is from: Blacklisted (Audio CD)
This cd sounds incredible - Neko's voice is haunting, and the production is wonderful. Neko displays a singular talent as a singer, and these songs pull you straight into her melancholy, dark world.
I wish I could say the same about her songwriting ability. After listening to the cd a couple of times casually, and loving her voice, I focused on the lyrics. There isn't much substance. Some of the lyrics make no sense, which isn't necessarily bad, as there are wonderful songs that have murky, stream of consciousness lyrics. But Nekko's just aren't very interesting. Or, sometimes she is very clear, but her message is cliched and uninspiring. As I see from the other reviews, your milage may vary on this point, but at least you should be forewarned.
To my ears, this is a beautiful sound, without much behind it. Nevertheless, her voice is so great that the cd is still worth adding to your collection.


Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny
Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny
by Robert Wright
Edition: Hardcover
109 used & new from $0.01

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun, interesting, but overreaching, November 11, 2002
I thorougly enjoyed this book. It is packed with interesting discussions about anthropology, history, and modern trends. It is written in a breezy conversational style, while at the same time containing for the most part (at least as to matters that I am imitately familiar with) accurate information.
I have a hard time taking the thesis seriously, for quite a number of reasons. First, there is an implied premise that cultural evolution and biological evolution are closely connected, and subject to similar laws. Wright refers repeatedly to the interconnected brain of cultures or societies, which is presumed to act in a way similar to the individual brain. This isn't necessarily wrong, but clearly is an anology that is impossible to prove, and carries a high burden of proof on the proponent. Second, Wright "explains" history as moved by "non-zero-summness," which, to simplify, means cooperative behavior. This is so broad as to be meaningless: of course cultures develop largely through cooperation. Moreover, given the huge scope of the topic and the fact that one can only approach the topic by selecting isolated examples, one could select examples of "zero-sumness" and argue they, rather than nonzerosumness, propel history. The most difficult area here, of course, is war - zero-sumness to the max - and Wright argues that war's role is to increase cooperative behavior within each warring society: in other words, the result of war is nonzerosum. But why view the result (assuming he's right) rather than the impetus as the most important factor? (Answer: he wants to). Also, it is clearly a thesis of our times: it seems natural in the age of the internet to talk a global interconnected brain. It is strained to suggest that feudalism was really just a nascent global brain. But of course the final and most obvious objection is that the enterprise is doomed from the start because of the unmanageable scope.
That being said, this book is far from a waste of time. There's plenty of information and many intriguing ideas. Synthesis of grand themes can be interesting; what's more, regardless of whether such grand interpretations of human behavior and destiny are valid, they seem to be inevitable fixtures of society, whether they be conservative interpretations, liberal interpretations, religious interpretations, etc. These interpretations are a necessary part of public debate and an important part of forming policy, and at least on a more modest scale, can be useful and valid. That Wright significantly overreaches the realm of what is probably possible to synthesize does not invalidate his more modest conclusions. It is a worthwhile book and interesting book, even if it fails its grand ambitions.


Tindersticks
Tindersticks
28 used & new from $0.94

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best starting place for Tindersticks, October 1, 2002
This review is from: Tindersticks (Audio CD)
Tindersticks are masters of luxuriant melancholy, with beautiful strings, off-kilter orchestration, lyrics of full of gorgeous dispair. They are easily one of the best bands to come along in the 90s.
There are, as other reviewers have mentioned, obvious influences and reference points incorporated into Tindersticks' music - Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, even Roxy Music. However, this band goes far beyond these influences, and creates a unique orchestral, languid sound.
I own most of Tindersticks' cds, and I would recommend this one as the place to start (or the only one to own, if you must have only one). It is the freshest, and most experimental. Tyed is an amazing, dark song. City Sickness is near perfection. There really isn't a weak song on the entire cd.
Note: these comments actually are directed to Tindersticks[I], not Tindersticks[II]. I noticed that Amazon has a hard time attaching the reviews to the right cd when it comes to these two cds. Tindersticks[I] is a stronger cd than [II], but both are excellent


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