Saturday, January 12, 2008
::NOTE:: I wrote this review forever ago (The week it was released actually) but I've been listening to it non stop the past few days so I thought I'd post it here.
As Far as I can tell there are two Pete Dohertys. The most recognisable one, unfortunately, being the drug addicted ex boyfriend of supermodel Kate Moss who has appeared in more gossip magazines then almost anyone else alive today.
The second is Peter Doherty, the poet/musician who spent most of his early life obsessing over the likes of Byron, Keats, Wilde and The Smiths. The second is the kind of person who can find beauty in the smallest of things and wants nothing more then to share it with the world.
Doherty may have lost his way to some extent but the new release from his current band, Babyshambles, is proof positive that he’s slowly finding his way back.
I have to admit, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Babyshambles debut album, Down In Albion. The only tracks I really liked turned out to be unreleased demos from Dohertys previous band, The Libertines.
However, the new album, Shotters Nation had me hooked halfway through the first listen. The recordings are cleaner and far better produced. But more importantly the songs have a clarity and honesty which had been missing up until now.
One of the real standouts, 'Delivery', was chosen for the first single release. For me it was one of those all too rare tracks you find yourself utterly lost in, unable to escape and with no real desire to do so. And with lyrics like - “This song might deliver me straight from the harshness of misery,” who could blame me.
Other tracks worth mentioning are 'Un Bilo Titled', 'The Lost Art of Murder', 'French Dog Blues' and 'Deft Left Hand'. All of which scream of the Doherty I feared was long gone.
I’m still not convinced Babyshambles will ever really reach me the same way The Libertines did. Personally I just don’t think Peter Doherty and Carl Barát work as well apart as they did together but I’m looking forward to any and all future releases in the hopes I’ll be proven wrong.
If you’ve yet to discover Doherty’s music then I suggest starting at the beginning but if that seems like too much effort then by all means give Shotters Nation a Spin. It’s quickly becoming one of my favourite releases of the year.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
The Beatles. What can really be said about them that hasn’t already been said a hundred times before? They were one of the greatest bands of all time. That much is clear.
And I feel I should make it known that when it comes to people covering their songs; songs which I adore, I’m usually against it because they inevitably take away whatever original magic was there, replacing it with something cold and lifeless.
I’ve listened to more Beatles covers then I care to mention and have been continually disappointed. I never thought it would take a bunch of actors to create what I think is the most amazing collection of Beatles covers I’ve ever come across. But somehow that’s what’s happened.
The recent film by director Julie Taymor, Across The Universe, is an amazing movie. Visually gorgeous, fantastic cast, great storyline; however, the thing which makes it special is its soundtrack. The movie is actually more of a musical, with most of the story being told through song. More importantly the songs of The Beatles.
The actual soundtrack album is an incredible double disc package featuring 31 Beatles tracks. Most of which are sung by the core cast. The majority of which don’t consider themselves professional singers. If you listen very closely you might also catch a few guest performances from the likes of Joe Cocker, Bono and Eddie Izzard.
The result is just incredible. The songs have an energy and life to them I think most fans would enjoy. And the arrangements are respectful yet still manage to be innovative.
The standout track for me would have to be the incredible ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ sung as a duo by Jim Sturgess and Joe Anderson. Others I can’t seem to stop listening to include ‘It Won’t Be Long’, ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy), ‘Dear Prudence’, ‘Happiness is a Warm Gun’ and ‘Hey Jude’.
If you’re a fan of The Beatles in any sense then I strongly recommend Across The Universe. Whether you see the film or just listen to the soundtrack I promise you won’t be disappointed. It completely altered my perception of covers. Let it do the same for you.
::note:: So I know I've written a bit of an Across The Universe rant a little further down but I write a weekly album review for a local newspaper and since it was a pretty slow music week I decided to just write up a quick soundtrack review. I'm sure you don't mind.