November 15, 2005

Reviews: Ambivalence and dismay

Robbie Williams: Intensive Care
I admit it up front: I sold mine already, so maybe I didn't give it a proper chance. I will give this much to Robbie – he tried to do something smart by choosing Stephen Duffy (of Lilac Time) as a co-writer for this new CD. But Stephen Duffy has not had a hit in twenty years and I think Robbie should have chosen someone else to do the actual production on the record, still using Stephen’s songs and playing. There is something smart about the album (it’s a grower), but there is just not much to draw me in. I don’t care about his problems with fame. How many times has he sung about this? He’s like Mary J. Blige, rehashing the same old problems! A few good tracks: the opener “Ghosts” and “Spread Your Wings” - just buy those off of iTunes. (I suspect I have some readers who will disagree with me on this record).

Paul Weller: As Is Now
Paul’s last CD Illumination had top tunes, crisp production and the gift of brevity. This one is overlong and underproduced. It’s a grittier CD, recorded live in the studio with minimal overdubs. I guess this reflects a dersire to be "organic" and "spontaneous." I just don’t like it much. Nothing stands out enough to draw me in. Are there tracks that are worth adding to Weller mixes? Yes, sure, but the CD as a whole sounds like it was recorded in two weeks – and it was.

David McAlmont: Set One, You Go To My Head
Sad sad sad. David is known for his over-the-top belter vocals and this record is done in the Sinead O’Connor “I can sing but I won’t” style. It’s whispered in your ear. Note to David: I could fucking whisper these songs in your ear and sound almost as good! It’s also done in a shoestring budget, so there are no big string moments. Not his fault, but still... A total disappointment.

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