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Showing 1-10 of 21 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 32 reviews
TOP 100 REVIEWERon April 23, 2014
Cautionary Tales picks up where End Times left off. The style of the two albums is similar and it seems like the stories are extensions of that album. This is dark Eels, not the happier, funkier, more produced Eels of the past. E is at his best with these stories.

I wasn't a huge fan of Wonderful Glorious; it was too dark, and too long. End Times and Beautiful Freak are still my favorite albums - those seem to land on my playlists more than any others. I like that Cautionary Tales is thirteen songs long and much more to the point. It plays very well with my two favorite albums.

I like the production of this album; it has grit, emotion, and dirtiness in it. The first time I listened to the album I accidently had it on shuffle with End Times - the two albums worked together perfectly.

Parallels is a great homage to his father, hedging around the concept of parallel universes. It is about loss and his hope that the woman he's not with anymore is well. A classic Eels song with E's voice up front and strong, beautiful acoustic music behind him.

Agatha Chang has to be one of the funnier Eels songs I've heard in a long time. There is just something funny about how much he misses the girl with long black hair he dated long ago, and wishes he was still with her.

Series of Misunderstandings is backed with a nursery rhyme sound. A new different sound for the Eels.

Answers took me totally by surprise. The song is set to a slowed down version of Bruce Springsteen's Thunder Road. Of course E sounds nothing like Bruce, and the lyrics are completely different. I just couldn't help hearing Thunder Road.

Gentlemen's Choice is one of my least favorite songs on the album - E looks back on what he thought would be but never happened. This isn't the twenty year old writing songs of hope and what will happen in the future. This is about looking back and seeing his life didn't turn out the way he thought it should have. To put it kindly, it is a depressing song. One of the refrains is I'd be better off dead.

Dead Reckoning is a strange song - it is a metaphor for life, you go through life not knowing where you will go, there are no instruments to tell you the direction to go. You drive blindly down the road of life. Sometimes it ends well, other times not so well. The music has a hint of funeral dirge.

The album closes with Where I'm Going. For an album full of an older man looking back at his life, this is an odd song. The metaphor is a pocket full of seeds that he is going to spread around and hope for rain. For all the negativity, this is a bright hope for the future.
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on June 17, 2014
When I got this CD, the regular disc was $9.99 and the deluxe was $10.00; definitely get the deluxe edition for a penny more because the deep, personal saga continues on some very good songs that I am surprised that were not included on the original disc. Songs like "Bow Out" and "Thanks I Guess" are some of the best songs from the albums and are on par with the great "Lockdown Hurricane" track. Also, you get a rocking rendition of Fleetwood Mac's "Oh Well" to boot!

I like when E gets very introspective in his songs and lays bare the emotions that we all battle within. This is a terrific collection of songs that drip with truth and haunting epiphany especially with the added gems found in the deluxe version of this terrific album.

One important note: the AutoRip of this album ONLY includes the original disc and not the deluxe disc. I am not sure why that is so.
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on May 12, 2014
I was turned on to the EELS about 4 years ago.. Loved their sound. Unique. However to myself, this was just too down...meaning lyrically and melodically. This cd in some ways reminded me of the song "little bird", a song and video that I thought was fantastic..however it never matched it. Sorry.
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on October 11, 2014
Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the Eels, they are one of my favorite bands of all time. And this album has a lot of very emotional moments. The voice of Mark never sounded better. But after all this years it is starting to get difficult to tell one Eels track from another. Try to find differences between songs from this album and "Tomorrow morning" or "End Days". They all sound kind of the same.
And there's a lot of GREAT songs in here.(" Where I'm From", "Mistakes of My Youth", "Lockdown Hurricane") "But the production choices are not very imaginative. Still, it is a very moody and soulful album and you should get it!!!!
I just hope the next album will sound more like they spend more than a weekend recording it.
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VINE VOICEon October 7, 2014
I'm a big EELS fan, morso of the earlier work, but I appreciate the more recent recordings as well. This falls in the latter range as most of the songs were written backtrack to before Wonderful Glorious. It lacks a bit of the dynamics of the EELS earlier albums, but fans should still find something to like. It never really cresendos, but rather mosies along with a few hills and many valleys. It isn't my favorite E or EELS album, but I still enjoy it. If you are new to the EELS, start with Daisies of the Galaxy and work your way forward.

~ Kort
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on May 4, 2014
Of Eels' recent albums, my least favorite was End Times. There was a lack of depth and polish that felt slapdash rather than raw and, when most every song on an album is about the different ways E is sad, well, it all kind of blurs together. It had a few really solid tracks on it, but a lot of it didn't stand out in my mind.
Cautionary Tales is a better version of End Times. There's more orchestration and more effort here, but the overwhelming sense of "haven't we been here before? Haven't we covered this already?" kept distracting me from most of it.

I wish the rest of the album sounded like the instrumental opening track, "Where I'm At", a soft and sad and beautiful piece that reminds me of elements of Daisies of the Galaxy, or, to be more specific, the live show build around Daisies. But, even though there is an orchestra credited for helping to create the album, I felt like a lot of Cautionary Tales wasn't utilizing said orchestra.
There is some good stuff here, namely "Parallels", "Kindred Spirit" (even though it sounds so much like "In My Dreams" that I have to check myself every time it comes on*) and "Answers", which features the always-lovely celeste and some really nice orchestration as well a lovely choral moment or two.
On the other hand, there's tracks like "Series of Misunderstands", that is so lacking in lyrical flow that I can barely sit through it, "Dead Reckoning" which feels too grandiose for this album and packs a strong vibe of "I'm crying! Again! Look! But this time, I'm lamenting all my horrible life choices in front of a full orchestra! This is powerful!!!" and "Gentleman's Choice" where there appear to be something stuck in E's throat. Not emotion...maybe...steak?
The deluxe edition, which features a second disc containing 13 tracks, five of which are brand new**, has a few gems on it. "Bow Out" (quiet, dark and brave), "Good Morning Bright Eyes" (shimmering and upbeat) and "Millicent Don't Blame Yourself" (perfect example of a simple, good Eels song), none of which really seem to fit on this album, probably should have been included on the album for just that reason.

With regards to the overwrought nature of a lot of this album; listening to someone sing a sad song or lyric ("Every day I live in regret and pain", "the life that I've led / I'm better off dead" etc.) isn't enough for me. It's too obvious. Hearing someone sing a song about trying to live despite that sadness or attempting to overcome it and having difficulties or outright failing is always more compelling. I feel like too much of what E has chosen to put on this album is the former.
I know E has been through enough tragedy to last any one man several lifetimes, but I think, after almost twenty years, I'm just about done hearing him sing about it, especially when it's all been done better, by him, years ago.

* Same with "Lockdown Hurricane" and "End Times".

** One, "Millicent Don't Blame Yourself", has been played live, but has never gotten an official release.
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on August 3, 2014
I've been listening to E from the time of his solo albums and his newest album does not disappoint. He continues to keep his music fresh and his lyrics relevant. Highly recommend to anyone who enjoys this genre of music.
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on February 5, 2015
Love the Eels but if you are looking for some of the heavy, dark Eels this is not the one. This whole album it's more on the mellow side of the band but it makes a very good companion for a commute or while illustrating/working at the office.
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on May 13, 2014
E tends to alternate his releases between sorrowful and joyous. The album is a sorrow one and many slow, piano ballads. I look foward to the next upbeat record with rock guitar! Perhaps this will grow more to my liking over time.
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on June 28, 2014
Since I'm a vinyl guy, I want to start with the fact that this 2 lp set is pressed on 180 gram clear vinyl. I think this is the only 180 gram clear vinyl that I own. I had high hopes from that aspect since clear vinyl should theoretically sound better. It is slightly "ticky" which was a little disappointing. I feel this will dissipate after a few more plays. My lps came in perfectly flat. Great!

It really is reminiscent of "End Times" which I think is one of E's best. If you are aware of his history you should pretty much know what to expect from his music. To that end, there's really nothing new here except that this record is slightly more "hopefully depressing" in terms of the content. But this is the nature of this artist and why I feel a connection to him.

"Wonderful, Glorious" was very interesting in that it was a more upbeat and 'rockin'' lp. This was a nice relief from the usual fare. Also, it was probably his best sounding lp in terms of sonics.

On this lp, sonically it's respectable. There are a couple of tracks that are more noticeably compressed than others. It is a notch below his last lp in this aspect. For some reason I get the feeling that individual parts were recorded separately then mixed together for the final product.

Oddly enough, I found the bonus lp to have better sonics.

The last song on the (bonus) lp is "Oh Well" An early Fleetwood Mac track. All I can say is WOW!!! Eels F9653478ing Rock!

As much as I've been on the negative side here, after all it's Eels. I love Eels.

Content 4 stars
Artist 5 stars
Sonics 4 stars
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