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Inland Territory

April 7, 2009 | Format: MP3

$9.49
Also available in CD Format
Song Title
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Popularity  
30
1
3:24
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4:12
30
3
4:43
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4:31
30
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3:32
30
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3:32
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4:06
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3:13
30
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5:23
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4:37
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11
4:13
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12
5:07
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By Miguel Cunanan on April 14, 2009
Format: Audio CD
If you'd like to express your identity as an American music consumer or would like to defend 21st century American music as authentic and valuable, I suggest you mention that you listen to and are a fan of Vienna Teng.

Clearly, judging by her sonic landscape, the San-Francisco native has been influenced by a gamut of musical ideas in her 30 years of life. In addition, it is clear that the ex-computer engineer has much expertise handling the delicate properties of music. Taking the form of a trilogy, Vienna Teng's newest album consists of three major sections, represented by a group of songs, each section portraying three territories of her life.

Her most mature album to date, Ms. Teng, efficiently balances each song with the experiences she's gained and benefited from her past three albums, which all still deserve a standing ovation. It is possible to expect that this album might contain a low-point or a dud because her past three albums have been works of wonders by a talented singer-songwriter. I feel that she has carefully crafted Inland Territory using all of the positives from her past albums, such as her knack for evocative harmonies, delicate yet soaring vocals, exquisite piano playing, and intellectual song-writing.

The instrumentation of her third album, Dreaming Through the Noise, received a few criticism due to it's overbearing weight over Vienna's delicate voice. The complaints are as follows: The strings are too heavy, there's not enough piano playing of Vienna, she needs to sing bigger.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you've never heard Vienna Teng's rich blend of complex melody and gorgeous lyrics before, you're in for a real treat. If you have, you'll be delighted to hear that this album builds on the best of her prior works.

Vienna said it an interview that she wanted Inland Territory to sound like a mix tape, with smooth piano pop one song and a grand orchestral swell the next song and a loose folk tune the next. It's not a "mood" album the way Dreaming Through the Noise was, which, frankly, I really like; the songs sound and feel different, but each of them has the beauty of her song- and lyrics-writing and personality in them. She's done some terrific collaborations, too; I'm particularly in love with the harmony on "Antebellum" and the way it forms a solid baseline for Vienna's gorgeous voice. Slower songs like "Watershed" and "The Last Snowfall" contrast with rousing, toe-tapping tunes like "Grandmother Song," songs of heartbreak like "Antebellum" and of building hope like "Stray Italian Greyhound." Somehow it all forms a cohesive whole that adds up to one of the best albums I've heard in years.

I've been playing this album on repeat since I bought it, and I still can't figure out what my favorite song is; they're all just that good.
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Format: Audio CD
Vienna Teng is one of the most gifted musicians out there today and her latest release is a wonderful addition to her library. If you haven't heard her yet, you owe it to yourself to do so. She has an amazing voice and she writes songs capable of taking you just about anywhere - from tears to joy. One of the songs on this CD is called "Grandmother's Song" and is a delightful, light-hearted ode to her grandmother's anxiety about her granddaughter choosing a music career over the safety of being a computer programmer (her original occupation). The music on this CD is so strong that I really hope mainstream radio catches on to her, and her grandmother can finally rest easy.
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Right, so I'm a fan, and it would appear that I'm about to gush a little. I ask your forgiveness in advance.

Vienna Teng's 2002 debut blew me away. As with Sinead's "The Lion and the Cobra" and Tori's "Little Earthquakes," it was instantly apparent that we had something special on our hands. "Waking Hour" was just that good.

And then, like those two, she noodled a bit. She experimented, she branched out, and there were moments on albums #2 and #3 that worked spectacularly and moments that didn't. I kept waiting for the White Light.

Well, here it is. I'd like to think you'll know it when you hear it. For the first time over the course of 12 songs, I hear not just an extremely talented woman at her piano, but a band that happens to be led by a extremely talented woman at her piano. With a nod to the Tori fans, this is Vienna Teng's "Choirgirl" moment, and it's a jaw-droppingly beautiful thing.

There are no missteps here. The closest we get to that is the second-to-last track, "Radio," a what-if tale about a suicide bombing in San Francisco whose reach exceeds its grasp by maybe just a smidge. But look what else we get: haunting love ballads with ("St. Stephen's Cross") or entirely without ("The Last Snowfall") a little politics thrown in, cautionary tales ("Watershed"), playful reincarnation speculation ("In Another Life"), the funniest clap-and-stomp tribute to the generation gap you're likely to hear ("Grandmother Song")...

...and a melodic masterpiece called "Stray Italian Greyhound," which is all about how happy its narrator suddenly is and how much it annoys the living h*ck out of her. Seriously, if this world were truly just, "Stray Italian Greyhound" alone would conquer it on the next otherwise unoccupied spring day. If you do nothing else after reading this review, please go check that song out by the download means of your choice. Okay? Okay.
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