179 of 185 people found the following review helpful
Wow...a brilliant debut!,
This review is from: Amos Lee (Audio CD)Most people can remember hearing Norah Jones' Come Away With Me for the first time. It was so fresh and so different from all the other noise filling the airways. Amos Lee's debut is like that. Upon listening to it straight through, you wonder why there is not more music like this and wonder what it will be like to hear him 25 years from now and remember your first listen.
I don't want to be overly reductionistic here, but the Norah Jones connection is certainly worth making, if only because all the NJ fans who read this review might snap up this record too. This cd does indeed have a certain "male Norah Jones" feel to it; and her distinctive up-octave piano playing can even be heard on two of the tracks. However, it should be made clear that Amos is talented enough in his own right to deserve a better classification than this. Nonetheless, if you don't get this impression I would be surprised.
There is not really a weak track on the cd; each is a distinct effort. But the overall work hangs together with a low-key excellence, which partnered with astute production and mixing generates that characteristic Blue Note sound that plays just as well in the background as it does for the savvy audiophile whose "tuned in" to every musical element. The instrumentation never overwhelms his vocals, and his vocals are never out in front so much that the cello, mandolin, and piano feel "filtered."
While I have certainly not exhausted the praise due to the musical crafstmanship of the album, I was also quite impressed with the lyrical depth of a songwriter so young. Each of the songs are penned by him, and while many are fun and peaceful, like the biblical prophet who shares his name, he is quite aware that there is something enormously wrong with this world we live in. Instead of offering trite solutions, he allows the listener to critically explore his perspective on this fallen world, without holding out a happy ending that is too easy to imagine or achieve. On one hand he cries out in biblical imagery for a savior, presumably a personal, knowable one, and then immediately asks for the sweet whiskey to take his cares away. This bit of irony points out that the apathetic certainly don't perceive any need for a savior, for they have no cares. But the one who sees something in himself in need of saving eventually realizes that whiskey only temporarily removes the pain from the brokenness that needs restoration. Perhaps I am reading my own experience into his writing, but hopefully this will demonstrate that there is enough depth in his writing to do what good art should do - invite the listener into a conversation.
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Initial post: May 16, 2011 8:03:38 PM PDT
R. Gill says:
Christopher B. Prentiss,
What an amazing review, WOW!! I feel the same way, but not under GOD's green earth could I have put it into words as beautiful as you have!! well done, I listen to Windows Rolled Down over and over, I can't get enough of it, what a beautiful song.
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