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Profile for Richard Nelson > Reviews


Richard Nelson's Profile

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Richard Nelson RSS Feed (Chicago, IL)

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Good News For People Who Love Bad News
Good News For People Who Love Bad News
Price: $6.99
313 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Looking Beyond a Hit Single, August 11, 2004
Chances are you're looking at this review because you're not sure if the new Modest Mouse album is worth buying. You've heard "Float On" on the radio and you think it's a pretty cool song, but you've been burned buying albums based on a single song before, right?

This album is the real deal. It has a few flaws--"This Devil's Workday" is a bit overwrought for my tastes--but it also features at least 13 songs I'd hate not to have in my collection. The first three real songs--"The World at Large," "Float On," and "The Ocean Breathes Salty"--are quite possibly the strongest 1-2-3 opening of any album yet released in 2004. The lyrics offer a variety of interesting views of the world, while the quality of the music, with its myriad styles (including a song that sounds like it could be on a Talking Heads album), is consistently high. For ten bucks, you can't go wrong.

Lies: And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them
Lies: And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them
by Al Franken
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.87
363 used & new from $0.01

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It Really IS Fair and Balanced, August 2, 2004
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right is a wonderful book. You'd think it would be funny but lack any substance--and you'd be dead wrong. Every chapter bursts at the seams with meaningful discussion and arguments for a variety of causes. Hannity and Colmes, O'Reilly, and Ann Coulter all come in for some fact-checking, and the prevalent idea of a liberal media goes through the wringer and comes out disproved on the other side.

And the book is also, much to Franken's credit, hilarious. Skits like "Operation Chickenhawk" and "Supply Side Jesus" make their points while making you laugh, and repeated themes like the Bush administration's pre-9/11 terrorism plan, "Operation Ignore," bring a necessary levity to a very serious topic.

If you only read one piece of non-fiction this year, make it this book. It'll really open your eyes.

Sounds of Summer: Very Best of The Beach Boys
Sounds of Summer: Very Best of The Beach Boys
Price: $11.13
119 used & new from $2.21

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive, June 24, 2004
It's possible to get through life with only two Beach Boys albums, but you've got to pick the one that isn't Pet Sounds pretty carefully. This is a perfect choice. Following the popular fill-the-disc format of recent greatest hits albums, it packs 30 tracks together on a single CD. What's impressive about this is that there's very little dropoff in quality between the very best songs in the collection and the few that might be less recognizable to a Beach Boys neophyte, like "Wild Honey," "Darlin'," and "Good Timin'." All the big hits are here, and they sound great thanks to good sequencing and a few new stereo mixes. You can't go wrong with this album.

Bringing It All Back Home
Bringing It All Back Home
32 used & new from $2.11

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The turning point, June 23, 2004
This album is so many things at once it's hard to keep up. It's one of Dylan's most important albums, because it shows him shifting from folk to rock; it represents a point where his breathtaking creativity was hitting its stride; and it is, moment for moment, one of his best albums--some would argue, musically, it presents the most representative picture of his work of any disc.
Thank goodness the remastering process has given us this revelatory new recording of such a classic. The new clarity of the sound allows the deceptively simple complexity of the instrumentation on the album to shine, and Dylan's voice is shocking. He doesn't just deliver the lyrics--he's actually singing! Many Dylan recordings did his work, and his voice, little justice, but the original transfer of Bringing It All Back Home was among the worst. If you only buy one of the 15 new remastered hybrid super audio CDs, this is the one to get. From the subversive opening notes of "Subterranean Homesick Blues" to the quiet closing strains of "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue," this album is a gem not only of artistic genius but of the power of a dedicated remastering effort.

The Man Who
The Man Who
Offered by MediaWarehouseUSA
Price: $9.99
302 used & new from $0.01

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Carried me through college..., June 23, 2004
This review is from: The Man Who (Audio CD)
and now it carries me back. I'm pretty sure I made it through a year of school because of this album. The Man Who explores a wide variety of emotional themes. "Writing To Reach You" and "Why Does It Always Rain On Me?" are the standout tracks, but the whole thing is really a lyrical and instrumental tour de force. Buy this album so you, too, can listen to it compulsively for months, then remember those months of your life every time you return the CD to the player. Radiohead refuses to get this emotional, and Coldplay will do it, but usually arena-style. Both of those bands make good albums for other times, but you can play this in a quiet room and calmly soak it up. And who doesn't need an album like that?

Oh Mercy
Oh Mercy
Offered by ChiDeals4Less
Price: $19.24
17 used & new from $6.99

23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hidden Gem, June 22, 2004
This review is from: Oh Mercy (Audio CD)
I avoided this Dylan album for a long time--but eventually, when you own more than 30 Dylan albums, you end up with Oh Mercy. What a fool I was to wait! Buried in the long downswing of his catalog we find one of Dylan's tightest and most enjoyable albums. (Apparently I'm not the only one rediscovering the album; songs from it were featured in Wonder Boys and High Fidelity.)
The SACD version, though, is a revelation: with Dylan's voice lifted ever-so-slightly in the mix, we can hear how well he enunciates the clever lyrics of this album and how Daniel Lanois builds a beautiful bed for those lyrics with his crisp and classy production work. Even the regular CD layer of this hybrid offers a phenomenal improvement in clarity. If you loved the album before this, your experience will be like discovering that you've been listening to the songs through a door; now that door has been opened and you're right there with Bob and the band in all their glory. Highlights include :Most of the Time," "Shooting Star," and "Ring Them Bells," but this is one of the most consistent and listenable Dylan albums in his catalog.

I Believe / Chain of Fools / Summertime
I Believe / Chain of Fools / Summertime
88 used & new from $0.01

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How do they do it?, June 22, 2004
You'd never guess that they rushed this single out. The muddy-sounding rendition we heard on television is eclipsed by this recording, which presents Fantasia at her best--her voice sounds strong and her attitude shines through. "I Believe" has new verses, which add to the depth and meaning of the song, and the backing vocals, provided by a choir and, according to the liner notes, by Tamyra Gray, (who also co-wrote the song) add a dramatic tone to the song. "Chain of Fools" reminds us why Fantasia won: she can take any song, by any artist, and make it her own. And as for the third song, "Summertime," there are no words of praise better than those of Randy Jackson, who called Fantasia's rendition the best Idol performance ever. Simon called Fantasia the best Idol contestant in the history of the competition. Her first single leaves little doubt that Randy and Simon were right.

The First Wives Club
The First Wives Club
DVD ~ Bette Midler
Offered by mjentertainment
Price: $4.19
144 used & new from $0.01

1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Funny but over-acted, June 21, 2004
This review is from: The First Wives Club (DVD)
For a movie with a pretty big idea--that women whose husbands leave them for younger women can regain their dignity, control, and even, in some cases, their husbands--this is a pretty trifling affair. It's embarrassing to listen to Diane Keaton reduce all her acting talent to a 90-minute stream of shrill screams and whines and whimpers. Goldie Hawn's character undergoes plastic surgery, but that's not enough to explain the way she contorts her face throughout the film. And when Bette Midler and the other two get together to burst into song, watch out. You'll probably wince.
Still, this is a funny movie, with a decent heart, a pat but semi-satisfying ending, and a really great cast: Stockard Channing, Sarah Jessica Parker, Elizabeth Berkeley, Dan Hedaya, Balki from Perfect Strangers, the dad from Seventh Heaven, and Maggie Smith all make appearances. You probably shouldn't buy it, but you could do a lot worse than this flipping through channels on cable.

Love and Theft
Love and Theft
Price: $6.80
64 used & new from $0.50

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sonic gold, June 21, 2004
This review is from: Love and Theft (Audio CD)
It's hard to believe the powers that be saw fit to remaster this album and not Time Out Of Mind, considering that this was only two years old when it got the super audio treatment. Nevertheless, the album does see improvement on the SACD layer. Listen to the old and new versions of "Sugar Baby" and you'll know that you're now in the presence of a superior recording, one that captures more fully the grit in Bob's voice and the tone of instruments that, in places, can't even be heard on the original pressing. The producers make another interesting choice here: rather than pulling the vocals out of the mix and running them through the center channel, as some of the other 5.1 mixes in the remastered series do, they remain on the front speakers, buried in the band as befits this, the most band-reliant Dylan album in a while.
As for the actual music, it didn't get all that critical acclaim for nothing. The passage of time may have dulled the "This could be his best ever" rhetoric, but Love and Theft is still a high point in the Dylan catalog, among his most consistent and listenable records. Despite being released on, of all days, 9/11, this isn't a socially-important record like his earliest work, but it's easier to put in the player and enjoy without so frequently pondering injustice; it isn't a stunning heartbreak record like Blood on the Tracks, but you can tap your feet and sing along to "Summer Days" and "Honest With Me." There's room for all of those sides of Bob Dylan in his catalog, and hearing him explore this side, and mine the history of American music for sonic gold, is well worth the price of admission.

Bjork - Greatest Hits
Bjork - Greatest Hits
Price: $11.19
82 used & new from $0.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good supplement, June 21, 2004
This review is from: Bjork - Greatest Hits (Audio CD)
This is a fine collection of some of the best songs Bjork has released, and a perfect way for the uninitiated to find out what she's about. But it's not a replacement for her albums; while the non-chronological sequencing here makes the hits collection sound something like a normal album, there's a rhythm and flow to each of her regular releases that enhances the "hits" and allows the album tracks to function well as parts of a unified whole. (This is especially true of her two most recent releases, Homogenic and Vespertine; the songs from each sound OK here, but fit much better as parts of their original--and superb--albums.)
Still, this collection is a perfect way to get a quick fix when you don't have time to listen to all her albums, and a good way to get to know Bjork if you don't already.

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