For a couple of years some of my friends and I have been sharing music. We’re supposed to review/rate what gets shared with us, and share those reviews with the group, but that doesn’t always happen.
Maybe I’m just in a good mood from a week off work, but I’m really excited about everything that was shared this week.
Cheap Trick – Dream Police (1979)
I don’t love the strings (except maybe in the section right before the last chorus) or the whole bridge section on the title track, but I love everything else about it. I love the syncopation in the pre-chorus and outro. I love the ominous feel of the verses – even more than the poppier chorus, which is good.
And I feel like the rest of the album does admirably trying to match the bar set by the opening track. Way of the World keeps the energy up and is actually more melodically interesting than Dream Police (although less so rhythmically).
Gonna Raise Hell was my favorite new-to-me tune. It was kinda hard rock. It kind of reminded me of some of Queen’s harder stuff, mostly due to the vocals. I think it could have used a little more face-melting guitar. What we got was … ok and when I think of Cheap Trick, face-melting isn’t really what I think of, so I don’t really feel gypped. I didn’t even realize how long it was until the guitar solo (Need Your Love also didn’t feel as long as it was). And by the point the strings came in, I felt they really added. There was also some simple but interesting melodic things going on in the bass and strings.
The only tune that was just meh for me was Voices. It wasn’t bad. It just didn’t impress me. The House is Rockin’ (with Domestic Problems) and I Know What I Want weren’t awesome, but were fine and enjoyable. I Know What I Want felt Rolling Stones-y. 3.8/5
Here’s what my friends thought:
“So it got to friday and I had only listened to this once. And actually had only barely listened as it played in the background. It seemed pretty forgettable which has been my impression of most Cheap Trick albums I’ve listened to. But I thought I really should give it an honest go, so I did.
I’m glad I did. There was some great stuff here. Some I had to approach as groove based music (House is Rockin, Gonna Raise) but in that light I thought it was pretty great.
It took a google to figure out where I’d heard the title track before. The Aquabats made a parody called “Throw Away the Trash” from their Yo Check out This Ride EP. It explains why I knew the music but none of the words.
The house is Rockin and several other tracks sound like it could be Mic Jagger singing. I’ve never noticed that before. I guess its good, I don’t care for the stones much but it works here.
Oh the closing track I felt like was pretty good movement and worth the 7 minutes.
Overall, I’m glad I gave this another play. Its not really what I thought at first.” 4/5 – Spencer
Dick Dale – Tribal Thunder (1993)
I love me some surf music, but other than his cover of The Aquarium, I don’t know that’ I’ve heard any of Dick Dale’s “newer” stuff.
I loved the energy in the opening number, and then how he chilled it out in the middle. That flurry of notes is exactly what I expect of Dick Dale. It was a great way to remind people who he was – and still is.
The New Victor and Esperanza both had some Spanish flair to them, but I’m not sure which did it better. And I’m not sure I would have put them back to back. I would have spread that influence across the record.
Shredded Heat reminds me of the marriage between Wipe Out and Led Zeppelin’s Moby Dick (it was so familiar, I thought the song it reminded me of might have been something I wrote). Anyone else think so? Maybe it’s the nature of blues-based, guitar-driven instrumentals. There are worse bands to be compared to, and worse Zeppelin songs, too.
I appreciate the Native American influence on Trail of Tears, and it was a nice change of pace, but I thought it was one of the weaker tunes. It actually made me think of Link Wray, who he covered a couple of songs later (which was another of the weaker tunes). Speardance did both a better and worse job at sounding Native American. I can’t quite put my finger on what the other style was, but I probably wouldn’t have thought of going there. It wasn’t terrible. It was interesting and unexpected.
Back to covers, at first I wasn’t sure of his cover of Caravan. I liked the more jungle-y drums and I don’t know how he could have done the main riff any different, but the rest of the song didn’t seem to fit right. Especially how he filled the dead space at the ends of phrases of the main riff. But it grew on me. I liked it (the breakdown part was great), but I think I would have liked it more with a unique riff. There are better covers out there and between this and the original, I’ll take the original.
The Long Ride also had some sweet, driving drums. I thought the song was pretty good except were they chanting “Dick Dale, Dick Dale”? That seems a little out-of-place. I would have gone with nothing. Or some “Ooh Ahh”s. It got to be distracting for me.
The title track was a nice way to put it back together (and had some of the best drums). I don’t know that I’ve ever heard Dick Dale sing before, but I didn’t mind it. I think the album was bookended with the two strongest tracks. Unless you count the acoustic, arabesque version of Misirlou. Then the best three tracks. It was a little out of left field, but I still liked it. I think it worked pretty well. But I liked Dream Police a little more. 3.6/5
From my friends:
“This was a really grate album. I really, really, enjoyed the fusion of surf guitar with modern electric guitar sounds. The only thing keeping this from 5 stars for me is that it did get a little repetitive. For the most part it did a good job of staying fresh…but every once in a while I would think “didn’t I just hear that a few tracks ago?” But all in all a great listen.” 4/5 – Tim
Cast Away (2000)
Having just been in Orlando visiting a multitude of theme parks, I feel the need to share a soundtrack. Walking through The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, my wife and I started talking about the genius of John Williams and his ability to perfectly set the mood and atmosphere for the films (at first), which has also blended over to the park. Frontierland or Liberty Square in The Magic Kingdom were alright too, but mostly they were things like Camptown Races played on a banjo or Sousa marches. When we made it to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, they had some great music (not all of it from Disney movies) and the conversation about great film scores continued. But nowhere did the music set the atmosphere as well as in Hogsmeade.
I think Alan Silvestri does an excellent job setting the mood for Cast Away. Actually, most of the film doesn’t have a score. The soundtrack is mostly nature sounds until Tom Hanks (spoiler alert) gets off the island. So the soundtrack is only 24 minutes long, but it’s moving. Also, that’s to make up for the super long album I shared last time. It’s a solid 4/5 in my book.
Here’s what my friends had to say about it:
“Early reaction: Loooove this score.” – Chris
“This is a solid 5 stars for me. Nothing bad to say. I really liked the music/nature blend, and felt there was a lot of emotion to every track. A definite masterpiece, and a shame it isn’t on streaming services (although I did find it on YouTube).” 5/5 – Tim
“So…This film is actually one that I really like. I’m not 100% sure why. I believe I’ve shared my general distaste for film before but this is one that I think is worth a watch.
The film is so emotionally charged, its hard to separate the memory of the film from the soundtrack (WILSON! I’M SORRY!). Which I suppose is the point.
I typically don’t get into soundtracks. They usually just have a couple motiffs with slight variations. This really is no exception, but the movie is exceptional. Its a great support for the film, but I can’t see myself ever pulling this up when I have some time to listen.” 3.6/5 – Spencer