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Life's Aquarium

4.4 out of 5 stars 77 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 16, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

The world has plenty of R&B vocalists, but when it comes to actual R&B bands--you know, the ones with actual musicians playing actual instruments--the pickings are on the slim side. With Tony Toni Tone AWOL, Mint Condition are not only the template for contemporary R&B bands but practically the only contenders in the category. Yet the lack of competition hasn't made them any less eager or hungry. In fact, the band's fifth CD, its first on Elektra, is its most focused to date. Written and produced by the band, Life's Aquarium finds Mint Condition in a more sexually aggressive mood than on their previous CDs. That assertiveness is evident on cuts such as the rugged "Touch That Body," the jittery bump-and-grind of "Who Can You Trust," and the soft wet kisses of "Pretty Lady" (the latter featuring a cameo from the Gap Band's Charlie Wilson). Where once Mint Condition showed off their chops by launching into extended but aimless jazz-fusion riffs, or tried to impress the listener with chord changes and arpeggios straight out of a music-comp course, they now bypass the showboating and stick to simple but effective songs. All of which makes Life's Aquarium satisfying, soulful, and the best music to date from a band that has earned its stripes. --Amy Linden
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 16, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Elektra / Wea
  • ASIN: B00000K3GR
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,558 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This new cd took me by a suprise. I bought it as a gift for my uncle because I know he likes this kind of soul. I Heard of them before and I know their old songs but I didn't like them enough to get the cd at first. Before I wrapped it I was curious to know how it was...so I listened to it. I was blown away by the mix of live instruments and up-to date sounds they mixed in the cd. The thing that some reviewers and listeners might not know is that the beats they made was all done by the drummer....not a machine. The only other artist I know that does beats like that without a machine is The Roots. The best songs here r: 1,2,3,4,5,6,8,9,10. Every song here is worth a listen though. I heard this cd one time through and by the second listen I already had money set to buy it(the same day). The Music here sets them apart from all the other R+B groups and they have a sound that sticks out. I like the theme they have going on behind the album too. Theme: They want everyone to be able to live together without having to live a lie. Life's Aquarium is a good title when you think of it because it's saying that in an aquarium, u can see fishes moving,and they live together and people who pass by and see them see everything they do and they have no problems. Thats deep! Thats about the deepest R+B album u will find today among a few others.
Get this cd and your cd collection won't be anything less of mint condition.
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Format: Audio CD
Not too many artists out there have to ability to sing a ballad so beatifully it can cause chills. When I first heard "This Minute Right Now" I was blown away.
Mint Condition is known for intricate instrumentation and deep lyrics on their ballads. This album does not disappoint. From the beautifully arranged strings on "If You Love Me" to the acoustic guitar and finger snaps on "Just the Man", Mint continues to use subtle sensuality where many artists are blatant and unimaginative.
"Touch That Body" will have you up and dancing. "Pretty Lady" with Charlie Wilson is a sassy duet that bridges the generation gap. "Who Can You Trust" and "Be Like That Sometimes" both have universal messages we can relate to; its hard to trust when people aren't always what they seem. "Spanish Eyes" sparkles with a Latin flow and even un poco Espanol, spoken and sung on the track. "Leave Me Alone" is that one rock joint that MC always always throws in their ecclectic mixes. "Is This Pain Our Pleasure" is a bouncy track speaking on the love/hate aspects of relationships.
Throughout the album I was looking for the INTERLUDES and was about to give up until I found the hidden tracks at the end. I won't reveal names, you just have to get this joint and find it yoself! :o)
Overall, Life's Aquarium gets much love. I can't wait for the next album to drop and hopefully they'll put actual live in concert tracks on it because NO ONE can "break it down" like Mint.
Peace. CLB.
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By A Customer on February 7, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I was instantly hooked on Mint Condition the first time I heard "Pretty Brown Eyes", way back when. Their sound was reminiscent to the music I grew up on (Earth, Wind & Fire, Prince -when he was "Prince", Stevie Wonder, etc.) This latest effort doesn't change my opinion. The ENTIRE band is extremely talented (Yeah, Stokley's wonderful, but lets give props where they're due.) MC's sound is what true R&B aficionados really crave -- not that "fluff" that's geared towards folks w/short attention spans. My favorite track has to be "This day, this minute, right now". Clare Fischer's string arrangment is nothing short of amazing. I understand some fans' concerns about MC having "sold out", but the brothers DO need to eat. AND if "selling out" means making themselves accessible to listeners that might otherwise be listening to "No-no-notorious", then sell they should! "Hip-hop" kids should be exposed to something other than Puffy (no offense), even if in small doses. I can't wait for their next CD. The band is great. Get the CD.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
As Mint Condition were preparing to leave their first decade behind (well sort of,depending on where one puts the beginning of the millennium) there were of course a lot of things happening around them. At the same this band,as with.....that certain other famous musician from Minneapolis (with an interest in purple) are very creatively eclectic. Of course that can be as much a curse and a blessing. As a photographer,painter,writer and amateur musician myself (I am not a songwriter though-just like putting my ideas from keyboard and mic down lol) I can say from experience second guessing can be very damaging to just about any art. Especially if the needs of others get's into it. Balance is one of the hardest things to achieve. And on this particular album this band,as talented a musical entity is making it there's just a little sense of overreaching.

There's a lot of growing pains on this particular album. For one thing the subject matter,which almost exclusively deals with romantic anxiety and sexual tension wares a tad thin from one song to another. Musically a similar thing is occuring. After spending most of a decade perfecting their sound they come up with some uptempo songs such as "Touch That Body","Be Like That Sometimes","Who Can You Trust" and "Is This Pain Or Pleasure" that,outside the fact they're uniquely crafted melodically all have very stiff rhythms that...frankly are more than a little typical of the era. The kinds of songs that would kick live but seem a bit held back in the studio. "Pretty Lady" finds Charlie Wilson on a mid tempo type of soul funk jam.
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