Features Of The Moment
This is the page where you can find my comments, reviews and opinions about the new music I'm constantly listening to.
Title: Ray Of Light
Label: Maverick/Warner Bros.
Rating: 5 (out of 5)
Madonna is back. And she's better than ever. All mysticism apart, this record rules. Madonna's vocals are at their best, her lyrical side just keeps getting better and better, and the production on this CD is marvelous. William Orbit did a great job, and Madonna obviously didn't sit on her rear-end after Evita. Most of the songs on this album are bound to be remembered as Madonna's best, "Frozen", the captivating ballad, "Ray Of Light", the surprising techno, fake-opera-ish breakthrough song, "Shanti/Ashtangi", the groovy sanscrit poem, and others like "Skin", "Sky Fits Heaven", "Little Star", "Mer Girl", "Candy Perfume Girl", "Swim" and "Drowned World/Substitute For Love" all show that Madonna is the reigning diva.
Recommended Tracks: All.
Title: The Dance
Artist: Fleetwood Mac
Rating: 5 (out of 5)
This record is divine. If I had to pick my favorite album released in 1997, this one would be my immediate choice. Fleetwood Mac are talented, passionate, interesting, funny, romantic and touching all at the same time. This record has everything a hard-core Fleetwood Mac would want. It features most of her hits plus 4 new songs. The songs are as fresh and full-of-life as they've ever been. From Stevie Nicks' enchanting lyrics and vocals that are featured in all of her songs on this album, most notably on "Rhiannon", "Dreams", "Landslide" and on the most beautiful song I've heard in years, "Silver Springs". "Sweet Girl" is just an example of Nicks' talents. Lindsey Buckingham's voice is haunting and powerful, and all of his songs here show us so, from the break-up song "Go Your Own Way", to "Tusk", "Big Love" and "I'm So Afraid". Christine McVie's songs are charmingly beautiful... her voice is simply captivating and delicious. "Everywhere", "Say You Love Me", "You Make Loving Fun" and all her songs, including those not released on this CD, but performed during this concert, like"Songbird" are gems that are boud to be cherished forever. Mick Fleetwood's charismatic and virtuos drum-playing and John McVie's impressive bass round up the fivesome, and they're as alive as they've never been. Wonderful. Long live the Mac!
Recommended Tracks: All.
Title: The Fat Of The Land
Label: Maverick/ Warner Bros.
Rating: 3 (out of 5)
It is not a secret for anyone, anywhere, anymore. Prodigy
is the latest big thing that electronica has given
us. Let's hear some facts first: The Fat Of The
Land is a hit. It debuted #1 in both US and UK charts,
as well as in charts of a lot of countries all around the
world. It's still selling like hot cake, as it's still in
the Top 30 in the US and in the UK. I've heard everyone,
from supermodel Naomi Campbell to one of my punky friends
say they love them. But after all this, how much credit
does the music gets here?. Well, to be honest, not too much.
First, I'd like to make clear, this is NOT a bad record, not at
all. For starters, this is a must for electronica
hard-core fans, definitely. But unfortunately, it isn't for
a whole lot of other people. This album has several high
points, "Breathe" is indeed one of the best
"songs" to come out of the british scene this
year. It combines techno beats, psychotic lyrics and rock
guitars wisely. "Firestarter", "Serial
Thrilla" and "Mindfields" are
other great songs that manage to combine the same ingredients
with a good result. But there are some low points in the
album that will leave you thinking if they should really get they
attention they are getting nowadays. "Smack My
Bitch Up" has such simple and repetitive
"lyrics" that after a minute of hearing the same thing,
they become obnoxious and stupid. That's yet another low
point in the album, lyrical depth is nowhere to find. I've
already said that pshycotic lyrics work --and they do, maybe once
or twice, but this album is filled up with plenty of non-sense
lyrics that will leave you wondering whether or not to sing
along. Also, have in mind that this album fails to
produce that ambient-kinda feeling that makes you think you're on
a trip rather that just listening, unlike Chemical Brothers
or Sneaker Pimps' music does. But, in the
end, this album deserves to be listened to, remember, it's always
a good thing to get to listen to Kula Shaker's front man, Crispian
Mills singing the lines for "Narayan" and
you'll get to listen to the lady from Republica, Saffron,
"singing" along with lead singer Keith Flint on "Fuel
My Fire". Check this out and find out if it's your
thing, after all, not everyone can like their Oasis-ish
and even their boss, Madonna, knows that very well.
Recommended tracks: Breathe, Firestarter, Serial Thrilla, Mindfields, Narayan, Fuel My Fire.
Title: Ok Computer
Rating: 5 (out of 5)
It took a third album for british rockers, Radiohead,
to find recognition worth their efforts. This album
features lead singer Thom Yorke's hauting and beautiful-- but
barely understandable vocals. The arrangements will make
this feel like a travel for you, starting from the somewhat
spacial "Airbag", followed by the melancholic
and angered first single of the record, "Paranoic
Android", which has several rythm changes throughout the
six-minute-and-half song. The most remarkable vocals on the
album can be found in "Exit Music(For A Film)"
where you can almost hear Yorke breathing. "Subterranean
Homesick Alien" is basically a trip-like song, with
several electronic background arrangements. "Karma
Police" is the true conventional song in the album, with
some cynically smart lyrics: "Karma Police arrest this
girl/Her Hitler haido is making me feel ill". The
unconventional twist of the album comes with "Fitter
Happier", a minute-and-half "song" that
consists of a computer-generated voice speaking.
The intelligence this album has been produced with, makes it crearly a great contender for album of the year-- whatever is.
Recommended tracks: Subterranean Homesick Alien,
Paranoid Android, Karma Police, Let Dowm, Exit Music (For A
Artist: Fiona Apple
Label: Sony/WORK Group
Rating: 5 (out of 5)
This is one BIG debut album for a petit new
singer. Fiona Apple has been described in so many different
ways, by so many different people, that in the end, whatever
you've heard you can't be sure it's true. But try not to
listen to what they say, better listen to what she
has to say on every single track on Tidal. Fiona's
lyrics are raw and heartfelt, and you can notice that from the
very first track of the album, "Sleep To
Dream", on which she recriminates a past-time
lover the infamous way he treated her, "First you run like a
fool/Just to be at my side/And now you run like a fool/But you
just run to a hide/And I can't abide", but yet she's freeing
herself from those painful thoughts, she ain't asking him to come
back. A similar, but different track on the album, is
"Criminal", that potraits a girl who wants to be
freed from her sins, again in a love relationship, and she wants
to pay and be relieved of those actions. Most of the tracks
on the album are about relationships, and all of them are told in
a raw but yet healthy way. After all, the feelings that
hurt the most are those who are not revealed and taken to the
outside. Things only get better and better further in the
album, with tracks like "The First Taste", that
adds the danceable latin-esque flavor to the record, "Never
Is A Promise", a breathtaking ballad that features
perhaps the best vocal moments of Ms. Apple on the whole
album. Another thing to have in mind, every track on this
record is special and should be treated that way. This is
not an album to listen in an open room with people surrounding
you, Fiona's haunting voice and smart lyrics need and deserve to
be taken more seriously.
If Fiona's in-your-face lyrics may remind some of Tori Amos, her voice will remind you of the likes of Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald. The strings are beautifully arranged. One thing is sure, this album you will leave you longing for something, and that is, a next album from Fiona.
Recommended tracks: Sleep To Dream, Shadowboxer, The First Taste, Criminal, Never Is A Promise, Carrion, Slow Like Honey.
Title: Dig Your Own Hole
Artist: The Chemical Brothers
Rating: 4 (out of 5)
Dig Your Own Hole, The Chemical Brothers' second album, tries to find its way between the overwhelming trend of new releases of mostly new bands, that have and keep popping up in the american scene. Luckily, it doesn't get lost. Though being known-- and marketed-- as a techno-ambient, or simply electronic band, if you get a hold on this album you will notice how superflous those adjectives get when describing Dig Your Own Hole. As most of the reviewers have affirmed, this is a rock album. Sure, it's only 2 guys making music, but still, these guys manage to bring us a delightful showing of what 2 guys can do when they know what it is they are doing. Yes, you'll find heavy sampling here, but this time it's used in a radical and smarter way than most of the latest hip-hop chartbreaking hits around.
Recommended tracks: Block Rockin' Beats, Setting Sun, Electrobank, Where Do I Begin, Dig Your Own Hole.
Title: Lisa Stansfield
Artist: Lisa Stansfield
Rating: 5 (out of 5)
After 6 years of not releasing new material-- in the US--, Lisa Stansfield is the best comeback album the british songstress could have pulled out. The last time around, about how she decided not to release So Natural, her third album everywhere in the world, she says "(...) it just didn't fit with was going on...". Now, with this new release, we suppose it does fit. Her voice is at its peak, and her lyrics are the cheesiest they've ever been-- and that's NOT a bad thing here, believe me. Her cover of Barry White's "Never, Never Gonna Give You Up" is excellent. On "The Real Thing", her first single in the UK, her silky voice and up-lifting lyrics tell us to nevermind everything that's keeping us from feeling and thinking the way we want and you go ahead and be "the real thing". By the end of the song she says, "What you do to me baby/keep doing it, keep doing it to me". Indeed Lisa, keep doing what you do, 'cause you're damn good at it.
Recommended tracks: The Real Thing, Never Never Gonna
Give You Up, You Know How To Love Me, Never Gonna Fall, The
Very Thought Of You.
All reviews written by Giovanni Mantilla.
Feel free to send me your comments, thoughts or reviews on any of the albums featured on this page, and please do it at firstname.lastname@example.org
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