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Songs from Black Mountain Import
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
|1. The River|
|3. Get Ready|
|7. Love Shines (A Song For My Daughters About God)|
|8. Where Do We Go From Here?|
|10. All I Need|
|11. You Are Not Alone|
|12. Night of Nights|
Live has sold more than 20 million records including two albums reaching number #1 on the Billboard Top 200 Chart (Throwing Copper and Secret Samadhi). Now after making music together for more than half their lives, touring their way around the world, Songs From Black Mountain marks a new beginning for the original four members of Live.
Live is continuing to grow into their ambitions, as "Love Shines (A Song for My Daughters About God)" indicates, but they remain invigorated on their seventh studio recording. They deserve some credit for that as they've been at this rock thing for awhile now, forming in 1988 and releasing debut Mental Jewelry in 1991. Although there's nothing as epic here as 1994's fist-pumping anthem "I Alone," Songs from the Black Mountain still reaches for the skies--or at least the back row of the arena. Frequently taken to task for their idealism and "preachiness," the Pennsylvania quartet isn't likely to convert any non-believers this time around. Then again, the very qualities that some find precious and silly, like brow-crinkling seriousness, strike others as passionate and spiritual. Live aren't taking any risks on this outing, unless the pro-soldier "Home" is considered a risk, but nor are they phoning it in. Well, not exactly. As always, Ed Kowalczyk sings it like he means it, but his songwriting relies too heavily on clichés and the occasional space-filling "Ooo baby" ("the River") and "Oh, yeah" ("Where Do We Go from Here?"). Rather, Live has produced a solid, respectable effort, which neither advances nor jeopardizes their cause. Can you say "holding pattern"? --Kathleen C. Fennessy
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
If you want a lesson on how to do it right, you need to turn to Pearl Jam. After a couple of mediocre, career-threatening albums, they came roaring back with a a re-invigorated and truly inspired effort. The public loves a comeback, and these guys did it right. They ended up debuting at #1 on iTunes and #2 on the Billboard charts. Their first single shot to #1 on modern rock radio. I was so excited to hear that both Pearl Jam and Live had new releases this year, only to be blown away by one and disappointed by the other.
Someone argued that Ed Kowalczyk's having a daughter may have dragged them down somewhat. Guess what? Lots of rock bands have families and still know how to write great songs. It's not Ed's daughter that is the problem here...it's Ed!
I didn't expect a great deal after 'Birds of Pray', which I thought was hands down their weakest release. For what it's worth, I do find 'Black Mountain' to be one small notch above that album, but really that doesn't mean a thing if you got in my head and magnified the word associations I have with 'Birds'. I think I repressed all the Amazon-appropriate words for that review, so I'm pretty sure a clouded rage lingers around it.
Basically this is light, relatively asinine and completely disposable pop-rock. If it does one thing right, it's the regression to a more flowing pop-natured album than the rigid, static 'Birds'. In this sense I find the album's songs constructed quite a bit like the pop-ballads of 'V', which I never minded in the first place. Sorry to say, however, even the highlights on this album can't much compare to the highlights on that album. Very few of the songs on here are unlistenable -- and a few are really quite enjoyable -- but virtually all of them are pretty lifeless. It's the kinda stuff I except to hear when I'm at a grocery store, which isn't ALL that surprising because I heard 'Birds'' "Run Away" at the local corporate grocery store more times than I'm comfortable with. I mean, this is the band that I cherished with 'Mental Jewelry' and 'Throwing Copper'... raw, biting albums of energy and thought. For shame.
Again... there are some nice songs here. When I first saw the video for the album's single, 'The River', I'm sure my face mutated into a vile, disgusting alien of awkwardness for a split second. The song and video shot through my brain like a nasty tab of LSD. GOD DAMNIT -- why can't Live just write a mother f8)#@;ng rock album again? The video was a disgrace in itself, but the tone of the music was quite literally softer and more timid than I'd heard. And not like, in a sensitive, precious light; more like a weak, lame light. Whatever. This song ultimately is an accurate sign of what the rest of the album comes to be -- breezy, well-natured songs that sound like they could have come from a benign Christian Rock group. I.E. mostly utter sh*#.
Yeah so "Sofia" is a pretty rockin' piece. Ditto with "Where Do We Go From Here". I actually like "Get Ready", which I've already read some people lambast with satanic-fueled anger. The harmony between guitar, drums, and strings near the end of "Mystery" is one of the highlights of the disc... good stuff. But you know what? They're mearly good. The best song on here isn't as good as the worst song on any of Live's releases pre-'V'. Every song on the arena-rock oriented 'The Distance to Here' rapes 'Black Mountain' in a way that I'd turn my head if I had to bear witness to it. I mean, defiles. And sure, "it's a pop album", but you know what? I am a freakin' pop freak. LOVE good pop. ADORE great pop. This isn't good pop. 'V' in my opinion wasn't good pop either, but it was admirable enough for a band trying something new. This isn't pop music worth touching.
Whew. Basically, don't get it. Still love Live for their first four albums, and yet again, don't mind the maligned fifth, 'V'. So despite two bombs, 'Birds of Pray' and now 'Black Mountain', I still really do consider myself a Live fan. I just hope that, if they even do make another album, it gets........ better.
Whilst Ed writes some unquestionably sweet uplifting tunes, the album is a bit of a let down in the sense that Live have failed to redefine or progress themselves musically or lyrically. So many of the tunes sound like rehashes of previous Live songs, whilst none feature the obscure, yet deep lyrical messages from the Throwing Copper/Secret Samadhi era. Whilst it is nice to know that Ed is content in life and for this very reason the album does indeed leave a warm feeling inside, you can't help but yearn for something more challenging. Or at least something that resmembles the clever angsy-ridden lyrical imagery of years gone by.
Musically, the album does hint at progression in songs such as Sofia, All I Need and Night of Nights, but such an approach never seems to come to the fore.
Where Do We Go From Here, Show and first single The River are inoffensive yet bland.
Mystery meanwhile, is backed by some gorgeous orchestration, whilst Sofia harks back to the comparatively left-field V album. Night of Nights is a sweet album closer featuring a mesmerisingly seductive change of beat. Get Ready will go off live and is perfect sing-a-long material for a packed arena.
Check Out: Home, Sofia, Night of Nights, Get Ready
Avoid: Show, Where Do We Go From Here
Favorite songs thus far: Mystery, Night of Nights, Sophia, Wings