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23

4.4 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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As rich and densely layered as their last album, "Misery Is A Butterfly", but the overall mood of wistfulness, melancholy, and regret has been replaced by one of mystical wonder and renewed energy. "It's art music and heart music, with equal appeal to a Serge Gainsbourg fan as to a Sonic Youth fan, without ever sounding like either act" - LA Times.

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As if getting a spread in a popular home décor magazine just a month prior to this album's release wasn't enough of a tipoff, Blonde Redhead have come a long way since their days of mimicking Sonic Youth's brittle art-rock. Clanging guitars have been replaced by warm synthesizers and soft strings, while Japanese singer Kazu Makino's thin voice has become a ghostly moan on the grandiose opener and title track of the New York trio's seventh full-length release, 23. Their last one, 2004's Misery Is a Butterfly, was a lovely throwback to the dream-pop heyday of the Cocteau Twins and Lush. This one presses further down that road, only with a more experimental streak, as cascading guitars, military rhythms, and wobbly melodies shape opulent, otherworldly songs like "The Dress" and "My Impure Hair." --Aidin Vaziri
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 10, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: 4ad / Ada
  • ASIN: B000NJLYSK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,057 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
blonde redhead is one of those bands i always meant to get around to listening to -- and were it not for a bunch of other great bands out there, i probably would've gotten to them sooner. having heard and digested '23,' i'm kicking myself for not giving them a go either. and since this is the only blonde redhead album i've heard, i'm coming from a completely unbiased angle...

...and that angle is that this is a really terrific record. the songs are focused, direct, and fully realized. it's enough to make anyone still pining away over my bloody valentine giddy with joy (that's now to say, however, this is a drippy, shoegazer record. it's not). the opener,'23,' is a great opener with lots of layered guitars and interesting sonics, relentless drumming, and a great vocal performance, and sets the stage for the first half of the album. 'dr strangeluv,''sw,' and 'spring and by summer fall,' are all terrific uptempo rockers displaying skilled musicianship and craftsmanship. the second half of the album slows things down, if just a bit. 'silently' is my personal favorite on the album. it's got 40+ plays in just over two days in my iTunes. there are lot of things to like about this album. i could list them all here but that would take away the joy of discovering it for yourself.

and let me just say i don't really understand the reviews with comments like 'what happened?' or 'its not as good as ________.' you might as well say 'apples aren't as good as bananas' or 'cherries are better than strawberries.' both are fruits. both taste great. they're just different. judge an album on its own merits, not what came before it or after it. you do yourself and everyone else a disservice by doing so. not to mention it's also just a really naive attitude. so ease up.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
They go for a lighter, poppier sound in this outing but it's still great. It manages to be catchy and pop-like, yet beautiful. A great summer album. Some people have dismissed it as too commercial sounding but I'm not put off by its accessibility at all. A very "pretty" album, and I mean that in a good way.
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Format: Audio CD
I'm one of those people who is guilty of comparing a band's newer releases to their older albums. I get bummed when new stuff "doesn't hold up" to previous releases, and have knocked great bands like R.E.M., Cat Power and U2 because of it. Reading how many die-hard Blonde Redhead fans are dissapointed by this record is going to cause me to go back and listen to some of these other later records by other bands with new ears, because... what I hear here is a great, great, great album.

I bought Blonde Redhead records back when they did "Fake Can Be Just as Good" all the way up through "Misery Is a Butterfly" (which is the first of theirs that I really, really liked). I thought their older albums... thogh good... kind of aped a popular grungy Sonic-Youth sound. With this one and "Misery" they've come into their own thing, and I think it's beautiful. But then again, I was a teenager in the eighties, so it reminds me of all the great stuff like Lush, My Bloody Valentine and Cocteau Twins that I couldn't get enough of back then.

When I wanna hear Sonic Youth, I'll go listen to "Daydream Nation." When I want to hear Blonde Redhead, I'll turn to their last three releases.
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Format: Audio CD
To be direct and clear, Blonde Redhead's 7th LP, "23", is exactly at the cross of Emiliana Torrini's "Love In The Time Of Science", Mercury Rev's "All Is Dream" and My Bloody Valentine's "Loveless" (Alan Moulder, engineer for that last record, has mixed two tracks of the present item, and that's saying something). And yes, it's THAT good.

I don't wanna quote any song "in particular" (private joke, when you get me...), as each of the ten here are absolute gems. But to fans of the previous two albums, namely "Melody Of Certain Damaged Lemons" (2000) and follow-up "Misery Is A Butterfly" (2004, and their 4AD debut), be warned that "23" is a work that might not appeal on first listen. To be more accurate, the production is far less "organic" than Guy Picciotto's job on these masterpieces, as the trio seems to have oriented their sound towards both a much poppier and etherial approach (ranking this LP alongside earlier 4AD releases, like Cocteau Twins's "Treasure"), while also deciding to produce it themselves, to obtain a more hypnotic feel to most of the material featured here.

Anyhow, if their first four Lps showcased an obvious Sonic Youth-oriented sound, it took them the last 8 years and an awful lot of time getting their act together to stand, eventually, among American's Alternative Music Scene's best acts at a unique place: a band as much treasured for the universality of their melodies as for the way they find out how best to carve these marvels deep inside our hearts, bodies and souls.

A strong contender for album of the year, NO LESS.
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Format: Audio CD
What a beautifully crafted album. The songs are polished, well produced, and much different than their previous albums. In this gem of an album, Kazu's squeeky voice is tamed and Amedeo's boyish vocals are more mature now. Simone's drumming is getting more sophisticated and complex, his strongest and most refined showing on 23 in my opinion, although could stand out more on some tracks where his drumming is on fire. The vocals have more directions than ever and the harmonies are taking on a new form and style for this Trio. The album sound can be compared to noisy side of LUSH, IVY, even Rollerskate Skinny at times. By far my favorite album so far and the keyboards and arrangements are really coming alive now and the Trio's musicianship has blossomed and hope they will keep pursuing this new sound for the next couple of albums to come.

Now that the albums out, I wonder how they will reproduce the parts and sounds when playing live... Maybe Vern of Unwound will tour with them...

I recommend buying the 12" Vinyl Album which has all of the songs which includes a 45" and also a link and password to download the full album in high quality audio format from BB's site.

For the previous reviewer with less than amicable comments for this hardest working Trio in the underground scene, the fact that you can't find the song titles listed on the album is unfortunate but have you heard of the "White Album" by the Beatles?

I love the artwork. I had the pleasure to meet them at one of their concerts and they were very gracious and lovely people well deserving of everything they have and will receive from their success.
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