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Doolittle
Doolittle
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reviewer Gone to Heaven, November 28, 2003
This review is from: Doolittle (Audio CD)
Yes, that's right, quite simply the KING of alternative rock, the master of all, the blueprint for 90s rock, and of course one hell of a listen. If Doolittle doesn't convert you to the Pixies, then nothing will, you sad, sad individual. PS - Debaser = best Pixies song ever.


Maladroit
Maladroit
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yet more catchy melodies from Weezer, May 29, 2002
This review is from: Maladroit (Audio CD)
Now onto their fourth record, Weezer show no signs of decline, coming exactly a year after the pop-tastic Green Album. Whereas Green Album was designed to be a wake-up call for people who have totally forgotten Weezer after Pinkerton stumbled (initially of course, since become a fan favourite), then Maladroit is about consolidating the fan base and moving into a more rock direction. First single `Dope Nose' has memorable backing vocals, bizarre lyrics and trademark guitar hooks. This is clearly a good thing and what people now expect from Weezer. The album is most notable for breaking the 10-song formula (all 3 albums previously only had 10 songs) and straying into 70s rock riffing (take control) and self-analytical subject matter (slob). Of course the big question is: Is Maladroit the best Weezer record to date? The short answer is no, I don't think so, but.....some of the band's strongest material is here (American Gigolo, Gone Fishin', Slob).
Compared to the back catalogue: The debut simply has stronger, timeless songs, Pinkerton is more personal and rewarding, the Green Album is more catchy, accessible and immediate. However Maladroit is a combination of all three and god damn, it's great regardless. So that's why the album deserves top marks.


Nine Inch Nails - Closure [VHS]
Nine Inch Nails - Closure [VHS]
VHS
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential to all NIN fans, August 31, 2001
The NIN double video set is without doubt my favourite music video I own. Why? Because not only are all the NIN song videos included from early footage of Head Like A Hole to the wonderful Perfect Drug there is also some telling backstage and concert footage of Trent Renzor and his assortment of band mates, road crew and friends in intimate detail. Mainly taken from the Downward Spiral tour which witnessed tales of debauchery, excess and of course great live music.
Highlights from the live footage include the tiny club gig where the whole crowd is going mental as Trent dives into the audience whilst the stage handlers cannot control the mayhem. Also, the on-stage destruction as Trent crashes into drum kits and abuses his band (I'm sure they didn't mind) with his mike stand. You can never get bored watching the passion, excitement and loud music on screen when NIN were at the peak of their popularity.
Back to the music promos - obviously the Happiness In Slavery video will be of most interest since it has been banned from TV. The graphic torture scenes were actually real, only the elaborate death was fake. March Of The Pigs is the other key video - very simple but shows the band performing spontaneously in a empty white room. The earlier song videos are cheap looking but are effective none the less. It isn't until later the videos had a large budget especially the infamous Closer with weird scenes with monkeys and old-fashioned set design.
I cannot recommend Closure enough as you get good value for money - several great videos of NIN singles plus the band in concert and backstage.


Dirt
Dirt
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hugely important Grunge record, August 30, 2001
This review is from: Dirt (Audio CD)
Nearly 10 years (god! Was it that long ago!) since the release of AIC's seminal and compulsive Dirt and the album still retains it's impact. Over the years I've heard many bands try to emulate this album - the harrowing lyrical content, the Sabbath-heavy guitars and jaw-dropping choruses. All so far have not matched the sheer enjoyment of this album, even though it's subject matter touches heroin drug addiction. Along with Superunknown, In Utero and Ten, Dirt defined the Grunge genre. These are still my favourite records in my extensive record collection for which I will always listen to, no matter the musical climate, simply timeless music. All the tracks are worth mentioning:
Them Bones? - What an opening track! Very short and immediately swamps the speakers. Perhaps the most rocking and head-banging friendly AIC song there is. 10/10
Dam That River - Creepy vocals and sludgy sound. The trick ending gets me every time. 8/10
Rain When I Die - I wonder where AIC got their miserable tag from? Well tracks like this are bleak with no light at the end of the tunnel. I love it! 9/10
Down in a Hole - An obvious highpoint, one of the few Dirt tracks to work really well on their MTV Unplugged session. You realize at this point that AIC have made the best album of their career in which they will never top. This album has put me off drugs for life after hearing Layne Stanley's bad experiences. 10/10
Sickman - Irritating on first listen, after repeated plays this gets better. Trust me. Repeat after me - `Sickman, Sickman, Sickman....' 8/10
Rooster - `We've come to snuff the rooster! Yeah!' Another key track along, with Down In A Hole the slow intro builds into an explosive chorus. The music video depicts the horrors of Vietnam to gruesome effect 9/10
Junkhead - One of my favourites, a classic track pure and simple. `What's my drug of choice, well what have you got?' And the unsurprising reply of `I do it a lot!' Really? 10/10
Dirt - The title track lowers the quality control a notch but beats anything off AIC's 1995 self-titled album. 7/10
God Smack - Named after that band? I don't think so, clearly Godsmack were basing their entire career on this album. The metal influences clearly shine through. 8/10
Hate to Feel - A quality track (7/10) but is nothing compared to.......
Angry Chair - This track is amazing! The guitar part compliments Layne's vocals well here. I can never get that stop-start singing in the bridge out of my head after hearing it just once. 10/10
Would? - If I had to name my all-time fav AIC track - this one would be it. Part of the Singles soundtrack and added to Dirt late on, this ends one of the 90s greatest rock albums in some style. 10/10
There you have it. Many references to drugs, AIC's best album (easily) to date and haunting vocal interplay between Cantrell and Stanley - what more do you want from Grunge?


Weezer (Green Album)
Weezer (Green Album)
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's like they never went away, August 30, 2001
This review is from: Weezer (Green Album) (Audio CD)
I notice a lot of die-hard fans are disappointed with the Green Album, forsaking lyrical substance for pop-sheen rockers. After the at first criminally ignored Pinkerton which gradually gathered a deserved cult status amongst emo fans, Weezer needed to make an album like the Green Album, one that retained their position as kings of melodic rock. The likes of Don't Let Go and especially the deliciously catchy Photograph are among the best songs recorded by Weezer. I admit prefer the almighty debut where Buddy Holly, Say It Ain't So and Holiday are all time classics but given time and the likes of Hash Pipe will join that list. There is not a single wasted moment, packing a dozen tracks into a half an hour experience. One of the few discs in which to press play immediately after finishing. With a new album expected in 2002, it's good to have the Weezer boys back after too long in the wilderness while lesser bands (no names, oh OK - Wheatus, Blink182, American Hi-Fi) have successfully used the power-pop formula laid down many years ago by Weezer.


Purple
Purple
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The album that silenced the critics, August 30, 2001
This review is from: Purple (Audio CD)
After STP's debut Core stormed the charts back in 1992, the band were dismissed as mere Pearl Jam / Nirvana grunge copyists, an inferior version if you will. Personally I thought Core was a cracking album, loud guitars mixed with an ear for a fine melody which compared to today's production line of ready made multi-million sellers like Godsmack, Creed and Staind - now seems ludicrous to think STP were savaged by many critics. It's a good job second album Purple became the band's best release to date as it made all those who weren't impressed with STP when they burst onto the scene eat their words. How could anyone dismiss an album containing songs of Big Empty and Vasoline caliber. Here's a breakdown of each track:
Meatplow: Could easily be a Core outtake, the most `grunge' track here. The sound production is muddy and lacks the charm of the tracks that follow. Still an excellent heavy track though 8/10
Vasoline: The first single and what a storming song! Fast guitar playing and an excellent bridge, great to sing along to. One of the highlights 10/10
Lounge Fly: The weird opening and distinctive guitar line make for one of the most unusual tracks on Purple. Love the acoustic guitars that come in and the beautiful singing by Scott Weiland 9/10
Interstate Love Song: The most well-known track and hit single. It's not hard to see why it became so successful with infectious hooks and a catchy chorus to satisfy the fans. 9/10
Still Remains: The best track on the album in my opinion. Gives me goose bumps just thinking about the fantastic melodies. 10/10
Pretty Penny: Pure acoustic number, harmless enough but the songwriting is top notch 8/10
Silver Gun Superman: When I first heard the album back in '94 this was my fav track. Big rock song and immediate crowd pleaser 9/10
Big Empty: Similar in style to Still Remains, and if I recall taken from on The Crow soundtrack. This track was included at the last minute. Sort of country sounding but in an alternative way of course. 8/10
Unglued: Real rock moment, also in the same mould as Vasoline - fast and repetitive chorus over loud guitars 9/10
Army Ants: The least memorable track, which although great seems lost amongst the good stuff 8/10
Kitchen Ware & Candy Bars: Closing on a quiet and poignant note about being sold down the river. I prefer this to Pretty Penny as it reminds me of Nirvana's Something In The Way with a moving string arrangement playing in the background. 9/10
The hidden track is amusing singing about 12 gracious melodies (as shown on the album's back cover on a cake), played straight-faced giving an indication of the direction taken on some tracks off Tiny Music such as Lady Picture Show. Notice how the track ratings did not drop below 8/10 - that's because EVERY single track is of a high standard - all killer, no filler. Also their biggest selling album which is no surprise really.


Unplugged
Unplugged
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars AIC's stripped down, May 14, 2001
This review is from: Unplugged (Audio CD)
Not as a great surprise as you would had thought, one of alternative's loudest rock acts stripping their sound back to fragile acoustic versions of hit songs. The glooming Jar Of Flies and EP Sap proved Alice In Chains were one of America's most gifted bands as emotional and intense acoustic music. Unplugged just took it into a different direction. The dream team of Jerry Cantrell and Layne Staley combine well on haunting classics Rooster, Angry Chair and of course the hit single Would? - all from the Dirt album. First, the negative aspects. It can't be helped in thinking that the originals are better, where as the unplugged versions are watered down photocopies, lacking the edge and chill of first time round. The vocal performance of Layne Staley is clearly not as powerful as it could be, his natural ability pulling him through. The set list is to be desired - no Facelift material, no covers (which made Nirvana's Unplugged performance stronger) and no sense of fun. With so many disappointments, it can easily overshadow the positive. No matter the performance, the songs are just too strong to be ignored - it is almost a greatest hits session, classic after classic is quickly pulled out keeping the captivated audience on it's feet. Not the best way to start your Alice In Chains collection but worth hearing if you already have the studio albums if only to hear new interpretations.


Vitalogy
Vitalogy
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inconsistent, baffling...brilliant?, May 14, 2001
This review is from: Vitalogy (Audio CD)
It would be fair to say that as an album, Vitalogy is Pearl Jam's most inconsistent and baffling. But at the same time it would be fair to say it also contains many of the bands greatest and most cherished songs. Any album that contains Betterman, Last Exit, Corduroy and Immortality would in my book be hailed as a great album. But include the indulgent instrumental Pry To, the uneasy listening of Bugs and the overlong and tedious Stupid Mop and the album loses its impact. After a few plays, I felt the great urge to skip past the filler material once the novelty feeling was lost, why couldn't it had been edited better? The over emphasis of this point would mean all but Pearl Jam fanatic will nowadays avoid Vitalogy like the plague which would be a shame as though Ten, Vs and Yield are better overall, Vitalogy delivers a telling snapshot of Pearl Jam at a critical and highly creative stage of their career. Considering to call it a day in the aftermath of Kurt Cobain's suicide, the Grungsters pulled through when others would become disillusioned and split up thus resulting in highly charged and emotional songs of Better Man's quality. In effect it matured the band both individually and musically with the songwriting becoming stronger and more focused, exploited on latter releases.


Vs.
Vs.
Price: $7.29
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pearl Jam at their peak, May 14, 2001
This review is from: Vs. (Audio CD)
As a collective, Vs stands out as Pearl Jam's most cohesive offering to date. It is also the closest studio recording to what the real live Pearl Jam experience - raw, intense, passionate, spontaneous. The suckerpunch opening of the short and snappy Go and the swaggering Animal are taken from the top draw of alternative rock- on this inspired form, no one could touch the band. Fans lapped up single Dissident as it sounds like a Ten outtake, the huge guitar riff and overstrained Eddie Vedder vocals setting the heart racing. The great strength of Vs is that no matter how fast or hard the song is pushed, the playing never loses precision. In some ways, the music feels too slick when the punk-rock chaos, the kind that Nirvana was masters at, would be unleashed instead being held back. The understated Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town is a welcome break between the high drama that surrounds it, an indicator for the quieter, more restrained direction the band would take on future album tracks Nothingman, Wishlist and Sometimes. On release Vs became the fastest selling album ever (although pop muppets N'Synch now hold that record), giving an idea of the impact and popularity that Pearl Jam attained during 1993. It was not known at the time that this was the peak and from then on it was downhill.


Broken
Broken
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Raging with the machine, May 14, 2001
This review is from: Broken (Audio CD)
The absence of a new album, the growing frustration of a demanding record label, an artist losing his mind. Not the ideal circumstances for a record to be made but Broken was the outcome of such events that contributed to this angry and intense mini-album. The second NIN album, well sort of, contains six tracks and two bonus cuts which if a full-length album would rank as NIN's most satisfying work. As it is, Broken is near essential if you consider yourself a loyal NIN fan. The short instrumental Pinon kicks things off before Wish sends the listener into a moshing frenzy. Second track Wish won a Grammy award for Trent, quite an achievement considering the song contains enough swear words to embarrass a vicar.
There could almost be a checklist for a NIN song - the angst-ridden lyrics...check, thrashy guitars...check, the quiet-verse-loud-chorus template...check. That isn't to say it's predictable, just what's become expected. The standout track Happiness In Slavery, complete with video nasty, is astonishing industrial carnage - clearly NIN are on top of their game spewing out lyrics such as "human junk just words and so much skin / stick my hands thru the cage of this endless routine / just flesh caught in this big broken machine". Then Gave Up ends the album - or does it? After reaching track 98 on the CD player the humming sound of Physical (You're So) drifts from the speakers. Not a true NIN song, it's a reworking of the Adam Ant song which isn't as strange as finding out it is actually very good. The other extra track of Pigface's Suck lacks the original's atmospheric vibe but makes up in bluntness. The major weakness is it isn't long enough - but also it's greatest strength - making the listener yearn for more later fulfilled on the companying Fixed remix EP.


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