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Customer Reviews: 4
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Helpful Votes: 23

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Chad RSS Feed (Baton Rouge, LA)

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Sky Blue Sky
Sky Blue Sky
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9 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars "Super-Dirty Soul Record", April 9, 2007
This review is from: Sky Blue Sky (Audio CD)
If there's one thing that I truly appreciate about Wilco, it's that the band has been able to mature ever so gracefully over the course of their career while fundamentally staying true to the original intent that attracted me to them in the first place.

To me, it seems like Wilco has always been able to identify and expand upon the raw strenghts of their prior albums in order to produce a more polished and refined sound in each subsequent release. Regardless of how far they have strayed away from the core sound at times, somehow the root structure has always managed to remain healthy and in tact.

Many would argue that the band had a sub-par outing with "A Ghost is Born", but you'd be a fool to deny that there were threads of the balls-out rock of "AM" and "Being There," the swirling pop and dark undercurrent of "Summerteeth," and impeccably layered landscapes of "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" present throughout. There's something in every Wilco album that sets it apart from the rest, and in the case of AGIB, it was certainly Jeff Tweedy's emergence as a lead guitarist with the sprawling solo at the tail end of "At Least That's What You Said" being the high-water mark. In spite of its many faults, I found it to be a very unique and rewarding album.

With that being said,

It's hard to understand why Jeff would come out and publicly declare to the world that he and his legion of yes-men were working on releasing what he promised to be a "super-dirty soul record" that would be devoid of all of the hoity-toity poetry that has apparently plagued all of the band's previous releases.

Ironically enough, this is, without a doubt, Wilco's most emotionally and creatively shallow effort to date. Soulful is certainly the last word that comes to mind.

With the exception of Jeff Tweedy's voice, there is no Wilco to be found anywhere within any of the 12 jingles featured on "Sky Blue Sky." Each song meanders aimlessly into the next, with hardly a change of rhythm, tone, or theme to be found. Most of the songs are lyrically driven, which doesn't fare well for Tweedy & Friends since the lyrical passages contained here are some of the most un-effecting and trite that Jeff has ever written. I can say without a doubt that "I Hate it Here" is an outright pitiful song. But, sadly enough, it's about par for the course as far as this album goes.

If there was any dynamic of AGIB that I would have liked to have seen them carry along with them into the studio for this album, it would have been Jeff's blistering guitar work. Alas, Rock and Roll guitar has given way to the lounge-pop and easy listening sensibilities of the ever-dexterous Nels Cline. I liken the guitar noodling on this album to my excruciatingly annoying aunt who makes a sport out of talking more at the dinner table than the rest of the family combined without ever really having anything to say. On a grander scale, the thing that ultimately disappoints me the most is that if this album is of any indication, the current incarnation of Wilco no longer has any aspirations of carrying on in the studio as a Rock and Roll band...

I never thought that I would ever see these guys flounder around in a sea of such mediocrity and lameness. There is truly no substance here to really hang your hat on, and if one thing is certain, no new ground has been broken. This is without a doubt the most cumbersome album that I have listened to in a very, very long time.

Un-eventful, subdued, and monumentally disappointing. A dry-hump if there ever was one.

I guess that it can only get better from here. I don't know, apparently all I have to do is listen to it 257 more times and I'll end up liking it.

1.5 Stars
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 4, 2007 8:02 AM PDT

Our Mother the Mountain
Our Mother the Mountain
15 used & new from $5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Our Mother the Mountain, March 1, 2007
This review is from: Our Mother the Mountain (Audio CD)
First, I would like to say that these accusations of overproduction concerning this album are absolutely preposterous. Our Mother the Mountain may be one of the most unique and tastefully arranged pieces of work that I've ever come across. Of course it's a tad bit different and somewhat Mr. Townes Van Zandt.

I will be the first to admit that his first recording effort, "For the Sake of the Song," was far from his best. The treatments given to those beautiful songs by the studio producers responsible were terribly misguided. In this, his second effort, everything is as it should be.

It's not every day that you stumble upon a work that immediately re-defines your sense of what music should sound like. The lush landscapes created here by Townes' captivatingly tasteful and skillful guitar playing combined with the accompanying string sections, flutes, harmonicas, and bass provide an ever-gentle foundation for some of the most geniuinely stark, poignant, and poetic lyrical passages about America ever laid to wax.

By all means, get it.. if you can find it.

Tru 2 Da Game
Tru 2 Da Game
29 used & new from $6.98

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tasty slice of Americana., December 22, 2006
This review is from: Tru 2 Da Game (Audio CD)
In my formative years, I found myself in a difficult struggle to fit in with my peers. It seems that my affinity for playing games such as "Magic: the Gathering" and "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D)" with several like-minded friends from marching band held me back from gaining any real form of acceptance from the "cool" people in my class. Simply put, I was an outcast. Even my father, rest his soul, would not speak to me directly.. we would only communicate through e-mail (which was a crude, unpolished technology at the time) because he could not stand the sight of such a poor excuse for a young man.

Then, one day, my life took a drastic turn.

One fall day, I was introduced to the visionary artistry of Master P, Silkk da Shocker, and C-Murder by a fellow McDonald's kitchen associate. He informed me that he possessed something that would undoubtedly change my life. I was very reluctant to take his offering.. it was a blank tape that contained a simple inscription on one side, side A I believe it was. In bold, black print (obviously the work of a Sharpie Marker or perhaps a Marks-o-Lot) was written the word, "Ugh." Little did I know, I was about to enter what I now refer to as the "Platinum Years" of my life...a time in which my morals, values, virtues, and worldview would be changed forever.

Tru 2 da Game was the album that he gave me. I had never heard anything as beautifully mesmerizing as what I heard that day...swirls of sound and color...gyrations of beat and rhythm combined with a flavor of poetry that was completely foreign to me at the time...brutal honesty and sincerity that traversed the wires of my headphones out to the speakers and down into my ear canal all the way through my veins and then into my heart gripping it in the same manner of which a 12th level Paladin clutches his +3 Hammer of Odeonus. Completely and utterly captivating.

I have since purchased both versions of the CD (The one that contains the track "Smokin' Green" and the version that does not) and I have listened to both of them equally every day for the last 9 years doing my best to follow the virtues and ideology that Master P and company worked so vociferously to layer within the tracks of this un-deniable masterpiece...which has been a proven formula for success. I won't go into a great deal of detail.. just know that life is good.

I hope that my story of success will serve you all as a form of motivation and inspiration.

If I could give more stars, I would. Since I am forced to work within the restrictions of a 5-star rating convention, 5 stars it is.

Live at Madison Square Garden New Years Eve 1995
Live at Madison Square Garden New Years Eve 1995
21 used & new from $10.95

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect., January 4, 2006
Again, Phish has managed to amaze me.

I've had an audience copy of this show for 3 or 4 years, and I chose to never listen to it because I knew that they would officially release this at some point - and here it is. Gotta say, it was well worth the wait.

Short & Sweet -

Packaging (Who cares??)

They did a good job with the packaging. Nice insert booklet with lots of decent pics.

The essay was pretty comical...

Sound (5 Stars)

This release blows the LivePhish releases that I've heard out of the water as far as sound quality goes. There's nothing really more to say. They nailed it. I've been very happy with Rhino's re-mastering work as of late.

Performance (25,000 Stars)

I won't dive into the play-by-play in this review..I think that it's better left to one's own interpretation.

Simply put, this was Phish at their best. If you're new to the whole Phish thing and are unsure of what the hooplah surrounding these guys is all about, or if you were wondering what this band was actually capable of musically, then search no more.

Overall (5 Stars)

23 bucks well spent. Sit back, relax, and enjoy!!!

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