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Certified gold by the RIAA (3/96).
Mired in an easy-listening rut since Baby, The Stars Shine Bright (1986), Everything But the Girl's return to self-production is a plus and might account for "Amplified Heart" being their most striking and listenable album in eons. --Jeff Bateman
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From the start on this album Everything But The Girl show themselves to be a duo capable of performing songs of astonishing beauty,grace and high level craftsmanship. That is especially true across "Rollercoaster","I Don't Understand Anything","Walking To You","Two Star" and "We Walk The Same Line". Multi tracked acoustic guitars collide with soft,rolling rhythms and often heavily reverbed,jazzy bass lines and the deep Sade-like vocals of Tracey Thorn. "Troubled Mind" actually ups the tempo for a more prominent soulful flavor where "Missing" extends to that. The song sounded familiar,especially when the bonus eleventh song came on,a dance remix of the same song,that I realized I'd heard it in that particular version almost endlessly on the radio when it came out. Though never knowing who it was.'
When this album was released,the grunge/alternative rock culture was in full swing. Newer rock musicians everywhere were exploring the darker edge of anxiety (abbreviated to as angst since that time) and the music was getting more abrasive and louder. Here Tracey and Ben carve out a musical sound that not only goes for the exact opposite of the musical spectrum,but also provide their sound with vitality by virtue of their lyrics. The words carrying their songs are reflective,poetic and very analytical about both joy and pain. Though I never actually heard this album until tonight as I'm writing this review,this is exactly the sort of album that would've been extremely musically (and emotionally) satisfying to hear a midst all the dreary bleakness that I saw as being forced on me from popular music in the early/mid 1990's.
It is a absolutely beautiful Album, I own both Walking Wounded & Tempermental Albums. But this one ''Amplified Heart'' seems to be more inspiring, It's hard to say. But I feel this album has allot to do with Ben Watt's illness, it's actually scary and makes you think.
This album is really a significant masterpiece, And I'm so sick and tired of artists like Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Kylie Minogue...etc who sing to any garbage chorus they come across.
It's not just any normal kind of CD, It makes a real good contribution to the music history and it's a very intelligent, well written collection of songs with worthy meanings.
This is truly a HIGH quality album, I like all music genres....Soul, Pop, Dance being one of my most favorites. But this is the kind of CD you listen to when you're down, when you're alone and feel you need emotional discharge.
You must be out of your mind to not buy This and I mean that, this is a quality CD.
Try and get hold of Portishead too...Good Stuff Here!
I have at the start thought that the Deluxe Reissue versions of EBTG's back catalogue with some extra tracks and B-Sides was only an attempt of Warner trying to milk the old and true fans . I lately realised Tracey and Ben were involved in the process and not only had their words to say but were choosing songs , adding pictures , set lists and very personal stories to the new compilations .
I have already gone for the Deluxe version of The Language Of Life and wrote a review about it . I was expecting very much the release of Amplified Heart as i think this is the most mature and honest work they did so far . I was wondering if there would be any tracks i didn't have already . And yes ! Richard Says and Back At Square One were those tracks to make me decide to go for it . But i'm missing their lyrics . And of course the live tracks ( not those from the Missing Live EP ) which are my favourites and always show what a great live band EBTG is and their live performances are brilliant , especially the acoustic ones . They need no more than a guitar and a mike to take you to musical heaven .
Amplified Heart is not a common album . It was released after an illness that almost killed Ben and welded the relationship between Tracey and Ben . It was a turning point in their career as they were able to make music without pressure from their record company as they felt they had nothing to prove anymore . And the result is outstanding .
AMPLIFIED HEART has all what you expect from a mature pop album . Brillant songs. Moving lyrics , great melodies , beautiful singing , and a pristine sound . From an audiophile point view , this album is EBTGs best .
And on this Deluxe Edition , you won't be disappointed a single moment .
The demo versions are absolutely world class . Recorded at home to basic means , not produced or whatever , it's talent as it's raw state . Rollercoaster brought to me tears . So beautiful and so moving . Put the lights off and hear this track loud enough . You will know what i mean . So pure . So poignant . Two Star is an underrated gem and i rediscovered it anew . Troubled Mind is simply wondrous .
I was amazed by the sound quality of the live tracks . I look forward playing those tracks in Munich at the international audio fair in may next year ( ICA ) . The repeat button playing Walking To You and 25th December to death .
Just to make it exhaustive , there are also 4 different remixes of Missing , the worldwide hit which as we all know brought everything to roll again for Ben and Tracey . The Chris & James Full on club Mix is closer to Yazoo than to EBTG . I remain the acoustic fan and won't judge on the rest .
Well , to cut a long story short : This is absolutely stunning music at its best . I am very happy with it . I have rediscovered this album again and would recommend it to everyone wanting to dive into pure, unpretentious awesome renditions . Music with a heart that beats and a soul that lives . I have only become aware of a sad truth : Tracey and Ben have tons of live material they recorded during the acoustic concerts to DAT and cassettes between 93 and 96 . So much they even didn't label it ( so it reads unknown venue in the credits ) . I wonder if this musical treasure will ever see the light of day . Especially the gig in Toronto from which Walking To You and 25th december originated from . I remember attending the concert they gave in Cologne on the 1st may 1996 and the first song "Better things " sent a shiver upon my spine . This is a moment i will never forget . Will i ever get to hear it again ? A wonder might happen someday ... I will firmly believe in . And i will be patient .
Don't miss it .
While 'Missing' put them on the dance/electronica map, it's the other love songs like 'Rollercoaster', 'I Don't Understand Anything', 'Troubled Mind' and 'Get Me' that tug at the heartstrings.