Fuse [ENHANCED CD]
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Media Type: CD
Street Release Date: 03/09/1999
Top Customer Reviews
Joe Henry lacks the killer instinct of a great songwriter. For all his atmospherics, he's yet to compose a song worthy of propelling him into the mainstream. This sixth album seems mostly to be a sulky reaction to its predecessor, 1996's Trampoline, which was a blatant attempt to crossover.
I don't know where to start with my objections to such idiocy. Somebody tell this cat to stick to reviewing Brittany, or Christina, or, for that matter, Madonna (with apologies).
Joe Henry writes lush, literary music that sounds like it was made on Mars. I've heard nothing like it before. None of his work is an attempt at crossover, blatant or not. The critic has it exactly wrong: it's the mainstream that's not worthy of Joe Henry, and we can count ourselves blessed that Henry hasn't flattened out in order to sell. This is his best album, a brilliant, thoughtful, often comic take on the modern world. Would that more songwriters would take such risks.
A new language is needed to describe the ethereal soundscape of this album. While "Monkey" is likely to immediately impress the most stubborn listener, the rest of the album will slowly sink into your mood; and then it will sink YOU.
Heavenly songs like "Skin And teeth," "Want Too Much" (produced by the brilliant Daniel Lanois) or "Fat" sound as if Joe Henry stuffed the night sky into a silk bag, moon and all, and ran off into the studio with it. Fuse is the result.
The lonely trumpets, thumping bass and funky, echoing guitar licks sound like they were played by musicians who just happened to pass by Henry as he was singing in a dark alley at night. There is desperate solitude pervading every layer of this album, right to its core.
I haven't a clue as to why brilliant tracks like 'Monkey' or 'Like She Was A Hammer," containing the most brilliant lyrics put to tape since Pink Floyd's last album with Roger Waters, didn't assault the charts. Though I doubt that is of serious concern for Henry. I hope to God that it stays that way. Henry is a private treasure for anyone who buys this album, or 1996's "Trampoline," which is equally as indescribable. So, to hell with the critics who see only black and white, successor failure. Maybe this album should have been released 20 years from now, when the world might be ready for it.
Henry does better when he keeps it simple, much like Donovan. They both work against reigning in their affectations (as do we all), but when they falter, the songs soar in their abilty to reach a huge audience with with their poignancy, as in "Beautiful Hat." Even Henry seems to know that stunted pretensions are a good thing in this song. He writes, "I"ve never let anything be as simple as that," when letting go of a life-long love, but it also serves as message on the medium. Unlike most highly complex artists, he is wildly prolific, and as such, has surpassed his antecedents, Leonard Cohen & Bob Dylan. Yeah, I said it. Fuse turns out to be his best cohesive conceit album. His (arguably) best single cuts are Scar, Progress of Love and Time Is A Lion from 2008's Scar, 2009's Blood From Stars and 2012's Civilians, respectively.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I saw Joe Henry in a small club in Pontiac Mi.about 16 years ago. At the time he was promoting this CD, Falling in love with the CD " Trampoline " I had to see him live. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
simply his best!!! really rocks. i know his more recent work is more evolved and personal, but to me this period, along with scar and trampoline define an era.Published 14 months ago by wrsjr786
Joe Henry never disappoints. He has a unique lyrical viewpoint, coupled with musical excellence. This is what I look for in music - art.Published on April 7, 2014 by Raphael Schoonebeek
If you don't know Joe, Fuse is a great introduction. The album flows like one continuous piece, so don't buy songs, spring for the whole. Read morePublished on December 5, 2013 by factorygirl43
Ok I read about this guy in my brother's paste magazine and heard some tracks on myspace thought he sounded interesting. Like the reviewer below the article compared him to Waits.. Read morePublished on December 2, 2006 by Eric Wiliiam Graham
This is the album where Joe Henry stepped out of the shadows of alt country and delivered as good an album as you will find in contemporary pop music. Read morePublished on November 27, 2004 by moose_of_many_waters
I am a huge fan of Joe Henry's work and although this Album is not a patch on the excellent "Trampoline" it is still very representative of his "newer" work... Read morePublished on March 6, 2003 by Ian Williamson
Although I'm not a country fan, I loved the raw, spare, inventive alt.country angst of Trampoline, so I was disappointed in Fuse. Read morePublished on June 12, 2001