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Mass Romantic Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered

4.2 out of 5 stars 72 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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The debut of this Vancouver indie supergroup led by Zumpano's Carl Newman sent critics scrambling to the early '80s and mid '60s for power-pop forebears, and it sent everyone else bouncing down the street and shouting out car windows. In a happily urgent record full of tight harmonies and cryptic storytelling, the high point undeniably remains the great single "Letter from an Occupant," which rides Neko Case's country-crooner voice nearly off the rails. --Tom Nissley
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 7, 2003)
  • Rmst ed. edition
  • Original Release Date: 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Matador Records
  • ASIN: B00005YXNR
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,343 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Put aside for the moment that "Mass Romantic", "The Slow Descent into Alcoholism" and, most importantly, "Letter From an Occupant" are three of the greatest pop songs ever written, with hooks so catchy you'll be singing them all day (week?month?year?) long. Temporarily ignore that this is a breakthrough performance by Neko Case, whose pipes rival those of any singer in country or rock (especially on "Occupant," which, in a paralell universe I wished I inhabited, has been #1 on the charts for six months).
No, what really sticks out about this record is that, having listened to it numerous times now, I can't remember ever hearing an album with this much enthusiasm, that sounded like it was as much fun to record as it is to listen to. I mean, in every song these guys are tripping over each other in a rush to get to the chorus, like it's the only thing that'll save their lives. Like, um, music mattered. If it matters to you, then this gem comes with the highest of recommendations.
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Format: Audio CD
The New Pornographers, a collective of indie artists from Vancouver, have created an album that's so catchy, so sugary-sweet that it leaves you with a sugar rush while overflowing like sodapop fizz. Every single song on Mass Romantic possesses hooks that stay in your head forever.
The songs, written by Zumpano's Carl Newman and Destroyer's Dan Bejar, contain enigmatic, clever lyrics ("Hope grows greener than grass stains") and lift styles from bands like Devo, The Cars, the Go-Go's, The Beatles (of course), Elvis Costello & The Attractions, and the Beach Boys; at one point you even hear Supertramp's influence. If a band can steal a hook from Supertramp, the worst band in rock history, and make it sound good, you know you have something special in your hands.
Four of the band's members share vocal duties, but it's Neko Case who steals the show. On the title track, and especially the glorious 'Letter From An Occupant', Case, who moonlights as a terrific country singer, joyously belts out the tunes a la Belinda Carlisle. 'Letter From An Occupant' could very well be the best song I've heard this year. During the bridge two minutes into the song (where they sing "the song, the song that's shakin' me"), you feel it will just peter out and fade out, but the band decides to prolong the fun a bit more and repeats the chorus, complete with its 'woo-ooh' harmony vocals, for another minute. Absolutely perfect. The repeat button on your cd player was made for songs like this.
Every song is great, but other standouts are 'The Fake Headlines', the humourously self-deprecating 'The Slow Descent Into Alcoholism', and the gleeful 'The Body Says No'.
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Format: Audio CD
First,you'll be captivated by Neko's vocals in "Mass Romantic" and "Letter from an Occupant." Then you'll fall for other high energy songs like "The Body says no" and "The Slow descent into Alcoholism." Eventually you'll realize that the relatively unorthodox tunes like "Execution day" and "The Mary Martin Show" are your favorites.
With over-the-top layering the Mass Romantic Album will remind you of some old perky Brit-pop, but at the same time it is so original and flavorful that your musical palate will be tickled. If you ever enjoyed pop rock, you will be dazzled by this joyous romp from the New Pornographers. Easily one of the best albums of the past few years.
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Format: Audio CD
I first heard The New Pornographers on a Matador compilation and was imediately taken by their pop aesthetic. I guess it can be summed as traditional 3 minute upbeat power pop - but it is mixed with a sense of freedom and experimentation and can be quite exclectic at times without being contrived or self indulgent. This makes it quite unique. I would recomened this album to anyone who loves clever catchy guitar pop and is looking for something new to sink their ears into.
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Format: Audio CD
How funny, I bought The New Pornographers newest album Twin Cinema first and was immediately hooked and amazed by that sublime cd. So I plunked down my money for their debut album Mass Romantic thinking I'd get more of the same and was underwhelmed. It didn't hit me right off, so I put it away for a while and have since come back to it. While it's not as immediately powerful as Twin Cinema, it's really grown on me and is a very good album in its own right. Mass Romantic is punchy, emotional with a wonderful sense for mining the best of rocks past such as the Beach Boys and The Who while maintaining it's own character. It's structurally simpler, less original and not as well-recorded as Twin Cinema, yet there's a lot to like about this cd. For one thing the wonderful singing and melodies. I find it rewards repeated listenings and is well worth picking up.
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By A Customer on January 16, 2004
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
OK, this is like one of your parents reviewing the CD, most likely, but this music triggers memories of a lot of old bands that only us old folks remember. I don't care much for most of the overly-sanitized pop-rock of the last few years, but none of it sounds very much like this CD to me. The New Pornographers bring back the pseudo-psychedelic vocal harmonies of late 1960's AM pop music and use it in as original a way as one can when borrowing old ideas and mixing them with 21st century instrumentation and production. If you're old enough that the Vines or Hives evoke the early Kinks or Who, then you're old enough that the New Pornographers may evoke something more similar to a mad blend of the Cowsills, the Mamas and Papas, the Strawberry Alarm Clock, the Beach Boys, the Monkees, and a dozen one-hit wonders.
This CD does remind me of others who have invented new music with skills reminiscent of and perhaps superior to that of the Beatles, but who wound up on the ash heap of music history having gone from a year of respect to being jokes. Does anyone remember The Knack being compared to the Beatles way back when? Hearing this CD reminds me of hearing the early Bangles on a college radio station, back when they were an indie group with the 80's version, to many, of Beatle-esque skill in songwriting, playing, and singing. All that's left now may be "My Sharona" and "Walk Like an Egyptian" and bad VH1 specials, but there's something great about truly skilled pop musicians getting together and recording, whether they're ever appreciated for it or not. So those two bands reminded people of the Beatles at one time. The B-52's and Go-Go's reminded some of mid-1960's surf music, mutated in the new wave years.
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