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Strict Joy (Dlx Ed) CD
|Price:||CDN$ 32.97 & FREE Shipping. Details|
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
|1. Low Rising|
|2. Feeling the Pull|
|3. In These Arms|
|4. The Rain|
|5. Fantasy Man|
|6. Paper Cup|
See all 12 tracks on this disc
|1. Say It To Me Now [Live]|
|2. All The Way Down [Live]|
|3. Lies [Live]|
|4. This Low [Live]|
|5. Drown Out [Live]|
|6. When Your Mind's Made Up [Live]|
See all 20 tracks on this disc
|1. Say it To Me Now [DVD]|
|2. All the Way Down [DVD]|
|3. Mind Made Up [DVD]|
|4. Lay Me Down [DVD]|
|5. Falling Slowly [DVD]|
|6. Gigantic [DVD]|
See all 9 tracks on this disc
Limited CD/DVD edition includes bonus DVD. 2009 album from this duo consisting of Glen Hansard (leader of The Frames) and Czech singer Marketa Irglova. They were the stars of the movie Once, and in their musical guise generated a wave of acclaim worldwide during the 2008 awards season garnering two Grammy nominations and an Oscar win for Best Original Song for the hit single 'Falling Slowly'. The duo performed the song on the Oscars telecast (and a host of key TV shows around the world) and Irglova provided one of the most memorable and poignant moments of the evening when host Jon Stewart called her back to the stage after a commercial break to give her acceptance speech. Strict Joy is the follow-up to their self-titled debut. The 12 new, original songs on Strict Joy were recorded last year and document a time of great change, tumult and progression.
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Top Customer Reviews
Anything by Glen Hansard and Marketa (?) and company - and Glen's group "The Frames" is of intense interest now that I've been fortuately exposed to it, as of an accidental renting of Once at the local video store, and I recommend these artists highly.
This version of Strict Joy is a great buy. As well as Strict Joy, they also include a DVD of one of their concert, plus a CD of the concert. If anything, Glen and Marketa are even better live than in the studio. And I found a new favourite, Fitzcarraldo, I like the concert version even more than the original version.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
That being said, here is what I thought:
Low Rising - This is a very strong opening number. People say that it's really Van Morrisonesque, and I suppose that I'd agree with that. Glen's voice on this track is great, and it's got a great hook. My only problem with the song, is the production. I feel like it's been bogged down with too much drone. I think that the song would be better without the brass, and with more guitar. Still, a solid and catchy opening number. 8.5/10
Feeling The Pull - This is a great song. Very folky, with an old time optimistic feel. It's catchy, nicely written, and also it's very short and sweet. It retains the energy of Low Rising and focuses it in a very different way. I do however, miss the moments when played live Glen goes into a nice falsetto and lightly strums the guitar. However, the song is still great without it, and doesn't really suffer without it's inclusion. 8.5/10
In These Arms - Beautiful song, with beautiful lyrics. Glen's vocals are hushed, which makes the song sound almost like a lullaby. The harmonies and piano bits provided by Marketa are gorgeous. The songs beauty is in its simplicity. It's very clean, dark, and yet hopeful at the same time. Fantastic tune. 9/10
The Rain - This song to me, is very Frames reminiscent. It's dark, drum driven, has a prevalent bass part, and it makes nice use of the violin. It's a bit repetitive, but the song itself isn't that long, so you don't get a sense of a one minute song left on repeat. It's a nice tune, not one of the standouts, but by no means bad. 7/10
Fantasy Man - This is a Marketa driven song, and it's great. It has an old medieval feel to it, and almost seems like it is a cover song from the olden days. The harmonies are fantastic, and really shows how wonderfully Glen and Marketa can blend their voices. Glen's part is very soft and understated, yet works extremely well. This song really shows off Marketa's talent. Her voice is like a warm fire on a cold rainy day. Very nice, soft, and welcoming. 9.5/10
Paper Cup - This song has very nice lyrics, and an almost Spanish-like feel to it, which is provided by the lead guitar. It's a soft song, and the lyrics while a tad bit sappy, work well and in no way sound cliched. It's a nice tune with a nice appeasing melody. 8/10
High Horses - The is by far the heaviest song on the album. It's a great throwback to The Frames, and sounds like it could have been off of one of their albums. The song becomes eerily quiet about 3/4 in, and then builds from there into a nice rocking ending. The effect is very nice, and it ends on a chilling note. 8/10
The Verb - This is by far one of my favorite songs on the album. Upon first listen, I wasn't sure if I liked it overall, but I was instantly drawn to the insanely catchy chorus. The more that I listened, the more I realized how layered and truly beautiful the song is. There are so many little aspects of the song that you do not catch on first listen, and the melody gets even more beautiful as the song continues. The climax of the song is met with Glen singing the chorus and being overlapped by Marketa singing her own thing, and the result is a gorgeous blending of melody and emotion that is like candy to the ears. 10/10
I Have Loved You Wrong - This song is so soothing, that you can't help but close your eyes and become engulfed in the music. The enchanting melody is only helped by the subtle instruments carrying the song along like a leaf on a gentle breeze. This is one of the best songs that the group has written, and Marketa's voice suits it perfectly. The song ends with a heartwarmingly angelic harmony between Marketa and Glen, and it is perhaps one of the most beautiful things that I've ever heard. One line is repeated many times, and with each repeat, you can feel it tugging more and more at your heart. 10/10
Love That Conquers - This song sounds like an old bardic folk song. It features some nice little harmonies, but the song overall tends to become a bit repetitive. However, the song is very nice. It's a great song to just relax and listen to. A very safe song with a simple yet nice tune. 7.5/10
Two Tongues - To me, this song also plays very much like a Frames song. I enjoy the chorus, and I like the buildup to it. However, on song like this, I wish that Glen would display the beauty and raw power of his voice, because he stays mostly in his lower register. The piano part on this track is very nice at times, and it pierces through the guitar like a sword, which is welcoming. 8/10
Back Broke - This song is a fantastic way to end the album. It's a quiet song with beautiful lyrics. It's song with Glen hardly using his voice, which makes it all the more effective. Additionally, Marketa's piano bits are very nice, and Glen's soft voice soars over them. The song has a wonderfully dark vibe, reminiscent to a storm cloud just before the rain. It ends the album on a very high note. 9.5/10
Overall, Strict Joy is a true work of art. It seems to me that Glen Hansard walked into the studio and came out with a hybrid album that lays somewhere between The Frames and The Swell Season. The result of such an album, is a wonderful gem that any musician would be proud to add to their catalogue. When the album flies, it really soars. Sure, it may hit some turbulence along the way, but the ride for the most part is an extremely enjoyable experience. The original poem Strict Care, Strict Joy, said "The poet makes grief beautiful," and Glen and Marketa have truly achieved that. The album is a must-buy, and plays like a warm night sitting around the campfire with old friends playing music and telling stories. Buy the CD, close your eyes, and savor it.
A quick glance at the writing credits of the new songs betrays that this is more of a Glen Hansard album. Marketa Irgolva only has a couple of writing credits. But her voice and piano are very present, and the harmonies are still sweet.
The album opens with a couple of good, solid upbeat tunes (Low Rising and Feeling the Pull). Not until the third song (In These Arms) do we get a song that sounds like the Once soundtrack, with Irglova harmonizing with Hansard over soft acoustic progressions. These three songs were released over the last couple of months as singles on iTunes but this is the first time I had heard any of them.
The fourth song, The Rain, comes back up in tempo with full band and impassioned relationship-based lyrics from Hansard.
In fact, relationships seem to be the theme of this album and there doesn't seem to be any effort to hide the fact that it's a very Fleetwood Mac-ish break-up album. The songs are loaded with references to the on-again off-again nature of Irglova and Hansard's relationship. Lots of songs about longing, people.
But where the Once soundtrack and The Swell Season CD are mostly softer, acoustic based discs with a couple of rockers, Strict Joy is a better balance.
Not knowing anything at all about these two (except for the movie) when I saw them the first time live, they were mostly acoustic and quiet, which is what I kind of expected. The second time through, however, Hansard had most of his band The Frames with him, and they did lots of really upbeat, rocking numbers. Some of The Frames tunes like Fitzcarraldo were fairly face-melting. That rocking side of the band comes through more on this disc.
A good example is High Horses, which starts out as an arpeggiated, repeating piano riff but really takes off at the end with full band coming in and bringing the energy level waaaaay up. This one will be on par with Fitzcarraldo live. The Verb does something similar structurally, with some very nice call and response vocal trade offs and a great build at the end with a nice use of strings.
Irglova's two songs are strong. Fantasy Man is pretty obviously about Hansard and is well done, with dare I say an Eastern European vibe to it (it would make sense, since that is where she is from). I Have Loved You Wrong is the standout here. I remember seeing this one live and thinking, what the hell is this song? It's a very trancy song, with a repeating bass line and very tasty piano noodlings. But the repeating vocal bit that takes the song out was mind blowing live, and although it is understated on this version, the song is done really well on this disc. Might be her best song.
Suffice it to say, if you like the music from the movie Once, and/or the first Swell Season album, you'll love this. And if you dig The Frames, you'll probably like it too. I am still discovering that band, so I don't have a ton of insight there. But the new material picks up where the last left off, with enough familiarity to link it to the previous work but also with enough of an evolution so that you don't feel like you are listening to a re-hash.
There really isn't a bad track on the CD although the last two songs are a bit sleepy, although very pretty - especially the outro to Somebody Good, which closes the CD with some gorgeous vocal harmonies between Hansard and Irglova. A nice way to wrap up the CD.
And of course you get what amounts to a full live CD as a bonus of you get the deluxe edition. Which is nice.
I reviewed the CD and the last couple of Portland-area live performances on my blog at [...]. Check it out!