domingo, 20 de novembro de 2016

A TREASURE HIDDEN IN HEAVEN

Review written by Alceu Natali with Copyright protected by Brazilian law # 9610/98
POSTED ON WWW.AMAZON.COM ON NOVEMBER 1ST, 2007



INTRODUCTION During the last 15 years I have seen lists of the Best Albums Of All Time, published, mainly, by English and American magazines. I have tried my best but I could never listen to most of those great albums without skipping various tracks. I ask myself if it is a question of taste or prejudice. Maybe both. For instances, when I see The Beastie Boys and Eminem among the English magazine Q's 100 best albums of all time, inevitably, my dark side comes to light: I'd rather see those rappers and hip hoppers murdering the ears of music lovers than murdering people in the streets. Here goes another example: the absence of The Who's album My Generation among the 100 best of that magazine makes me wonder whether these magazines reviewers really listen to music at all. In my country, people say that taste is something that cannot be disputed, but the other day my wife added: taste is something that cannot be disputed but to be sorry about. And she is pretty damn right because what you find and do not find in those lists is something to be awfully sorry about. For someone like me, who loves british pop music, it is impossible to take seriously any list of the best albums of all time that is not topped by Beatles' albums. The Rolling Stone magazine Greatest Albums of All Time have some respect for The Beatles and included 8 albums of theirs among the 100 greatest, however among their 500 greatest you will not find such a precious stone like Heaven Or Las Vegas but you meet face to face with those music murderers I mentioned above and also a lot of albums that are not good enough to be part of the 100,000 greatest of all time. Lest the new generations think I am just a dinosaur of the 60's, I anticipate that I am not the kind of guy who spends hours listening to the complete collections of the greatest bands of the golden decade. I love rock and pop music from all decades. As a matter of fact, I have more CDs from the last two decades than from the 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's and the new millenium's. Nowadays, with the invention of the MP3, people do not need anymore to buy a whole album only because of a few good songs. The music lovers can download from internet only the songs that they like and that means that within a couple of years or so there will be no more CDs for sale. Then, instead of a collection of CDs on his/her shelves, the music lover will have an anthology of songs in his/her iPOD. And I wonder if we are going back to the 60's when only singles were bought while an album was a luxury, something to be bought only as a Christmas gift, or just a tricky marketing strategy to make some extra money on a couple of hits repacked together with a bunch of disposable fillers. As you may remember or not, it was The Beatles with their unmatched talents who made albums become a new form of art and be taken seriously by the media and the public. Anyway, I am already familiar with the iPOD but I am not the kind of anthological guy. Lately, I started prospecting what I call great albums, but great for me is not an album made only of classics in all tracks, or an habitue of radio's hit parades and famous magazines' lists. Furthermore, there is no perfect album. Great for me is a damn good album, from the very first track to the last one. That album that you listen to all the way without skipping a track and without wishing a certain track reaches its end soon because your favorite one comes next. I have prospected many of those types of albums but you will not see most of my greatest in those famous and respectable lists made by journalists as mediocre as music reviewers as I am as an artist or a writer. If you ask me about my prospecting criteria, all I can tell you is that those who have good ears for music do not need more than 30 seconds of each track of an album to know whether it is great or not. That's what I do. When I am looking for new bands I listen to the 30 seconds of every track of their albums available at Amazon until I find my classic one. My musical sense of smell is infallible. When I listen to the entire CD that had that smell of great stemming from the 30 seconds of each one of its tracks there is no mistake about it: it is a great album! On the other hand, I already own about 2,000 CDs of different bands and among them there are various great ones. Heaven Or Las Vegas is one of them. THE TRACKS 1. Cherry-Coloured Funk is a thick and corpulent song, with instruments and vocals filling the space. It is a simple but classic melody, soft and tranquil. It progresses from low vocal notes until it reaches a peak, while the celestial chords sound all the time in the background as if they were playing in a nearby room, and the same goes for the discrete but scoring bass. 2. Pitch The Baby is faster with a more prominent and pointed bass and higher vocal notes. The heavenly atmosphere permeates the song all over. It is a forewarning of track 6 and displays a melodic progression from the first track that culminates with 3. Iceblink luck, a very beautiful pop song, in which both vocals and instruments play with intensity and devotion. Only the drums are muffled to leave room for the fight between the enchanting vocals and the gorgeous instruments for the thrilling climax to the show. 4. Fifty-Fifty Clown is a masterpiece. It has a timelessly futurist sound. Only Strawberry Fields Forever by The Beatles has a similarly complex and beautiful melodic progression. The first part is very difficult to be sung. You cannot whistle it even after listening to it ten times in a row and that means it required a lot of talent to be invented. 5. Heaven Or Las Vegas is similar to Iceblink Luck, less intense and more rhythmical, and equally beautiful. Beth Fraser's vocals are terrific. Iceblink Luck and Heaven Or Las Vegas are Cocteau Twins' couple of their most pop songs, a pair of explosion of joy. 6. I Wear Your Ring is another masterpiece. It is a song that was waiting for someone to create it and it was up to the Cocteau Twins to do it. Beth Fraser' vocals, the bass and the rest of the instruments are amazing and trance inducing. The second and final part is pure ecstasy, one of the best moments of pop music. 7. Fotzepolitic is moved by the beauty of the previous track, celebrates its splendor and makes sure not to challenge its royalty and, at the same time, pays it a sublime homage and becomes a metaphor of that masterpiece. 8. Wolf In The Breast is a prime and a proof that, definitely, the Cocteau Twins were wounded by a Cupid arrow of excellence and made another masterpiece of a simple ballad. After six breathtaking tracks, enters 9. Road, River And Rail, a more lamenting ballad that is not deprived of any of the refinements of the previous tracks and 10. Frou-frou Foxes In Midsummer continues that lamenting for a while but ends with an explosion of vibrant and fire working sound that fills the air again, like a farewell tune adequate to the last track of a fantastic album. REMARK I met a guy who loves rock and pop music like I do and who has the same taste and prejudice I do, but one day he grinned in irony when I told him I found the Cocteau Twins great. Why do not you share a kitchenette with them? asked me the same guy who declared that the Brazilian bossa nova is the greatest revolution in music of all time. Well, bossa nova is a kind of music easily found in every corner of Rio de Janeiro City or even in casinos in Las Vegas and in some boring American movie but the Cocteau Twins' sound is a treasure hidden in heaven and finding it out demands as much talent as the Cocteau Twins needed to produce Heaven Or Las Vegas.

THE TRACKS

1. Cherry-Coloured Funk
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2. Pitch The Baby
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3. Iceblink luck
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4. Fifty-Fifty Clown
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5. Heaven Or Las Vegas
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6. I Wear Your Ring
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7. Fotzepolitic
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8. Wolf In The Breast
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9. Road, River And Rail
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10. Frou-frou Foxes In Midsummer
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