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Hips and Makers

4.3 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Product Description

Hips And Makers by Kristin Hersh

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In 1994, Kristin Hersh took a sabbatical from her beloved and beleaguered Throwing Muses to record her first solo album, Hips and Makers. Mostly acoustic, entirely personal, Hips' songs touch the core of Hersh's daily life, specifically as it involves her husband and family, topics she rarely explored with her band. Produced by ex-Patti Smith guitarist Lenny Kaye, Hips and Makers infuses the singer/songwriter tradition with a jolt of complexity and authority. Hersh still favors the taut, stream of consciousness lyrics she whittled down to the bone with the Muses, but she never veers into confessional "dear diary" territory, although she does allow peeks into a world where clotheslines, bee stings, and the occasional ghost aren't unusual. Musically more measured and clearly quieter than any Muses disc, Hips showcases Hersh's fluttery voice atop powerful acoustic guitar with flourishes from cello and piano. "Your Ghost," the album's moody and dazzling opener, features backup vocals by R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe and sets the tone for the album: like a family, it's happy on the surface, intriguing when explored. --Shawn Stewart
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 27, 2009)
  • Original Release Date: February 1, 1994
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Reprise Records
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • ASIN: B000002MMP
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,988 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
When listening to Kristin Hersh, particularly this solo effort, I am reminded of much of Iceland's contemporary fiction. It is introspective, but detached, quiet, complex, disturbing, but beautiful. Almost like wandering the halls of an insane asylum and hearing mad rantings of its inhabitants... or hearing ghosts in your head. (You might read Einar Mar Gudmundsson's Angels of the Universe to know what I mean). This is a gorgeous, scorchingly raw (emotionally speaking) album with quiet, acoustic songs of the highest quality. I can safely say that there are few singer/songwriters who equal Kristin Hersh's prolific gift. Highlights include "Your Ghost", "Beestung", "Velvet Days", "The Letter" (which is almost like ripping a page directly from one of the Icelandic books!), and "The Cuckoo". This is a critical, sparkling album.
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By A Customer on March 9, 2001
Format: Audio CD
After one of the most original and confrontative of debut albums, the Throwing Muses' 1986 album on 4AD, the band settled into a pattern of brilliant, indypop that, had they not made the template, might be said to follow it too closely. Hersh's first solo album broke that template and, though, I recall, it was dismissed by many at the time as being too understated, it should have always been seen as a breakthrough in the confessional mode of songwriting, and one as remarkable as Joni Mitchell's Blue or Leonard Cohen's New Skin for The Old Ceremony. What Hersh alone achieved, though, and with both debut albums, was to meld words and music not simply with conversation, as did Mitchell and Cohen, but with thought. Listening to these albums means listening to Hersh's thoughts : sometimes scary, often tender, all too easily hurt by what it means to be human. We listen to her thoughts; we hear our own.
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Format: Audio CD
I found this album used at a shop around town when I was 16. I had heard the song "Your Ghost" and liked it quite a bit. So, I got it, listened to "Your Ghost" and never got much further than that. I just thought "Eh." That was that. Then, I was weeding out some of my CDs a few months later to find some to sell so I could make some cash. I was going through, listening to everything I hadn't listened to in months. I put this in and this time it just CLICKED. Every song just seemed so full of emotion, even without paying attention to the lyrics. I put the disc on repeat for the rest of the day. I still listen to it regularly.

Hersh's voice is like a hoarse whisper at times, at others, it's a pain-filled wail. It's hard to describe it. Everything is so simple and it's got some of the best lyrics I've ever seen. Personal favorites include "A Loon" and "Houdini Blues." I highly recommend this album to everyone. Just don't wait a few months to listen to it like I did. Listen to it on repeat and let it sink in.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Kristin Hersh is a must for anyone with a soul, anyone who feels different and needs inspiration to let it show creatively, anyone with a heart. I love her guitar playing- she is classically trained and it shows, but it is also lowslung, gritty and delicious. her vocal delivery is unique and amazing.
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By A Customer on September 16, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I could not live without this album. I have listened to it more often than anything else in my collection 10 times over. Kristin Hersh is the most talented and creative artist I know, and this is her best work by far. She is incredibly versatile, bold, and unafraid to cross musical boundaries. Excellent!
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Format: Audio CD
Yes I got heard Your Ghost first 'cause Michael Stipe was in it'. But that's where my commercialism ends. I've grown to love every song on the album and love this far better than any REM CD I've heard. From accoustic rock songs to twisted happy songs to some of the most disturbing songs I have ever heard this album totally makes me shiver.
What strikes you most about this CD is that it's so haunting and even tho some songs at first glance sound quite happy when you look at it in contrast with the rest of the album they sound really twisted and creepy in a subtle way.
My fave song on this album is The Letter. A song which is actually composed like a letter. I let a friend of mine listen to it and he found it way too depressing for him. And this while he's totally adicted to Nirvana(and we all know what Kurt did).
Don't listen to this CD if you can't take deep emotions but if you do this will be etched in your soul forever.
*don't kill the god of sadness just don't let her get you down...*
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Format: Audio CD
Hersh's absolute masterpiece, doing away with the rest of the Muses, using just acoustic guitar, piano & classical string instruments "Hips & Makers" is a strip-down, stark revelation.
The simple sound, give the fascinating lyrics the chance to come to the forefront & breathe, If she had used a band to create a Grungy rock sound, the words may have been lost in the mix. The music also sounds a lot heavier with the production of the instruments given a raw & live feel, you can even hear Hersh's fingers changing chords.
Then the Lyrics, which are mostly about doomed relationships, but are abstract & imaginative (on one of the tracks Hersh tells her partner that she will be sitting on a step, awaiting the time when he will return to her).
Unfortunately Hersh has not as far released another record of this quality, 1998's "Strange Angles" & 2001's "Sunny Border Blue" were other attempts at acoustic records, but fall a little flat.
She also released a 4-track EP called "Strings", consisting of A loon, Sundrops, Me & my Charms & Velvet Days, re-recording the strings, higher up in the mix.
Other recommendations are Aimee Mann's 1993 "Whatever" & Tori Amos 1994 "Under the Pink", which are of a similar bent.
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