Songs From the Film
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Tommy Keene was a young, indie-label-associated power-popper from the cusp of the South--the suburbs of Washington, D.C., to be exact--when he signed with Geffen and hooked up with former Beatles engineer and Elvis Costello producer Geoff Emerick for 1986's Songs from the Film. The songwriter and roiling lead guitarist commenced to make one of the era's more sadly overlooked albums, belatedly issued on CD a dozen years on with a passel of EP and previously unreleased tracks added. Propulsion, tune, and heart come together gloriously on "Places That Are Gone," "Gold Town," "As Life Goes By" and "Back Again." --Rickey Wright
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Top Customer Reviews
I had the vinyl back in the late 1980's so that's the way I listened to that dozen songs, and over twenty years later I think it's the right way to do it still.
Side one starts with "Places That Are Gone", which retained its appeal even without the terrific opening sound montage (ending with Russ Hodge's call of "THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT") from the EP version. The next three songs, although great in their own right, back off a bit from the anthemic power of the opener, but the drum-heavy, almost threatening sound of "Gold Town" is a perfect intro to the immense guitar crunch of "Kill Your Sons" (and can someone tell me why it's absolutely fitting and intuitive and perfect that the last chord is repeated 13 times? Listening to it, even in my head, I never think it's going to end even one beat sooner or later.)
Side two turns the amps back down from 11, but the progression from "Call On Me" to "My Mother Looked Like Marilyn Monroe" is a sort of dive into darkness, with "Underground" forming a neat parallel to side one's "Gold Town". But where the latter is a lead-in, "Underground" is in some way the album's climax, with Keene managing to combine both surrender and defiance in the lyrics while his guitar sounds a wounded and angry challenge (although the piano is the element that drives the song). "Astronomy" and "The Story Ends" are the dénouement, providing (thank you Wikipedia) a sense of unwinding and release that has always left me satisfied.
Yep, that was an album. Not just a collection of songs, but an assembly of musical and lyrical thoughts that moves organically from start to finish.
I don't own the 1998 release, and although I've got the EP tracks on tape, I don't think I've heard the previously unreleased material. If you never heard the original album, program your CD or MP3 player to hand you the tracks in their original order (1-10, 12, 13). Find an uninterrupted hour to listen. It's worth the time.
"Places That Are Gone" - Keene's meal ticket that inexplicably never amounted to much, this song is power pop heaven. Great outro solo.
"Listen To Me" - I get a U2/Waterboys majestic vibe from this song, I love the lyrics throughout and the bass-only final verse.
"Paper Words And Lies" - Jangle pop par excellence, 2 minutes short but great hooks.
"My Mother Looked Like Marilyn Monroe" - Cryptic lyrics which are explained in the liner notes, the slow verse explodes into a typically great Keene chorus.
"Astronomy" - WOW. This song packs everything into 1 1/2 minutes without sounding the least bit hurried or too "punk", but it rocks intensely and features an amazing vocal performance.
"Run Now" - Basically the encapsulation of everything from the Songs From The Film CD. A full but sweet production, new wave-y shimmering guitars, great lyrics and vocals, and not one but two ultra-melodic guitar solos. Deserved to hit #1, but what do I know...
Most Recent Customer Reviews
previously unreleased songs--brings together some the best work by an