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Time on Earth
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
|1. Nobody Wants To|
|2. Don't Stop Now|
|3. She Called Up|
|4. Say That Again|
|5. Pour Le Monde|
|6. Even A Child|
|7. Heaven That I'm Making|
|8. A Sigh|
|9. Silent House|
|10. English Trees|
|11. Walked Her Way Down|
|12. Transit Lounge|
|13. You Are The One To Make Me Cry|
|14. People Are Like Suns|
Time On Earth is Crowded House's first new studio album in 14 years, and features original, founding members Neil Finn and Nick Seymour, along with former member Mark Hart and new drummer Matt Sherrod.
Finn and Seymour recorded 10 songs at Finn's Roundhead Studios in Auckland with their producer Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams, Kings of Leon, Rufus Wainwright) and old friend Ricky Gooch alternating on drums. Though several songs, such as "Nobody Wants To," "A Sigh," "You Are The One to Make Me Cry," and "Silent House" (which Finn co-wrote with the Dixie Chicks), deal with loss, the intense, emotional balladry is balanced by plenty of the band's signature high-spirited buoyancy, such as the lead-off single "Don't Stop Now," the navigation-themed "She Called Up," the strummy "Even A Child" (co-written with Finn's friend, former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr), and the humorous "Transit Lounge" (which features a sample Seymour made 10 years ago of a PA announcer at a German airport). "Those four songs add a kind of exuberance, which I think is characteristic of Crowded House," Finn says. "We were feeling pretty good about things and wanted to capture it on the record."
Recorded in February 2007 at London's RAK Studios with famed producer Steve Lillywhite (U2, Talking Heads, Peter Gabriel), those upbeat songs feature guitarist/keyboardist Mark Hart, who joined Crowded House in 1992 ("We asked him the proverbial question: 'We're putting the band back together, are you in?'"), and former Beck drummer Matt Sherrod, a new addition whom Finn praises for bringing pizzazz and energy to the proceedings.
Time On Earth, which is layered with rich textures of guitar, piano, Wurlitzer, horns, touches of Hammond organ and sitar, and plenty of stellar harmonies, should earn the band new listeners who may have missed them the first time around. It will certainly delight the legions of long-time fans who've loved Crowded House ever since they formed in Melbourne in 1985.
Fourteen years, a live CD/DVD, some solo albums, and one tragic suicide after Crowded House's last release comes this highly anticipated reunion. Singer/songwriter Neil Finn and bassist Nick Seymour reunited after the 2005 death of drummer Paul Hester, brought in a new member and two producers (Ethan Johns and Steve Lillywhite) to replace longtime cohort Mitchell Froom, and the impressive result is a logical and overdue addition to the band's previous four albums. Finn's knack for a melodic ballad remains firmly in place as Time on Earth coasts on his dreamy voice and introspective, hook-laden pop choruses. However, this is a more reflective collection that requires a few spins to fully reveal its charms. Finn co-writes "Even a Child" with Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, and that and the frisky "She Called Up" are the most buoyant tracks on this predominantly pensive disc. Finn has generally shaded towards a darker edge and this hour-long set might have benefited from more of the lighter touch he applies to "Transit Lounge," a song enhanced by Beth Rowley's lovely and startling wordless vocals along with jazzy electric piano and even airport sound effects. Strings, sitar, and intricate production add subtle elements that bolster the timeless musical qualities Finn has always reveled in. The ominous, even brooding "Silent House," a co-write with all three Dixie Chicks, is another highlight that sounds like nothing either has done before as it floats along on fuzz guitar and hurdy-gurdy, both courtesy of Johns. Trimming some weaker cuts would have made this a more focused listen, but Time on Earth is a worthy successor to Crowded House's existing catalog--a high compliment indeed. --Hal Horowitz
Top Customer Reviews
"Time on Earth" however is excellent and gets better and better with each listen. Neil Finn's songwriting is as strong as ever. Every time I anticipate a predictable chord progression, rhyme, or melody, I'm pleasantly surprised when Finn takes the song in a more creative, unexpected direction.
The album has a different feel than previous Crowded House albums and Neil Finn's solo albums. The music is predominantly mid-tempo and introspective - like a mix between "Try Whistling This" and "Temple of Low Men". Although the bouncy, care-free side of Crowded House is almost missing altogether (eg. "Sister Madly", "It's Only Natural", "Italian Plastic"), there are lighter moments (musically if not lyrically) such as "Even a Child", "She Called Up" that balance an album that is inevitably affected and perhaps somewhat inspired by the absence of Paul Hester.
Crowded House continues to change with each album, and "Time on Earth" is a great album.
Hearing the lead single, Don't Stop Now, left me disappointed. The song seemed to be aimless and a really never getting off the ground, despite being a rather bouncy song. My expectations were hence low when initially hearing the album. I felt that my worst fears had come true; I barely noticed the tracks and felt they lacked all life. A half year passed and I decided to give it another try. All the previous Crowded House needed a few listens to be appreciated, so why not this one? During the latter part of the second listening nothing had happened and I was just about to give it up. Then came Transit Lounge and all of a sudden I saw a glimpse of greatness. During the third try I figured out why.
This album is too long. There are tracks, especially among the first half of this release, that are simply sub standard, especially Crowded House wise. The worst offender is She Called Up, an annoying song (I love kids, have three sleeping next to me, but OMG, that video is terrible) which is track number 3. A couple of other tracks could easily be lost. Once the really fine tracks begin to emerge, most of which need time to grow, interest is dwindling.
There are tracks here that are no less than exceptional:
Nobody wants To: A warm track that actually is worthwhile from the beginning.
Don't Stop Now: A grower, what seemed to be aimless has vanished from my thought, still a bad choice as the first single.Read more ›
Ironically, "Don't Stop Now," the lead single, is one of the more formulaic tracks on the album, a trait it shares with the strikingly-similar "Say That Again." However, any dissatisfaction with these are outweighed by the ambient pop sensibilities found in "A Sigh," "People Are Like Suns," and the bittersweet "You Are the One to Make Me Cry."
All in all, a beautiful album.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
One thing that Neil Finn never does is make the same album twice. Crowded House fans will find that "Time on Earth" grows on you and isn't as instantly memorable as "Woodface" but is equally as powerful and memorable. In fact, this album reminds me more of the follow up to the band's popular "Woodface" album, "Together Alone"; the melodies are touched with melancholy. You can't help but feel that the death of Paul Hester (the band's original drummer, occasional songwriter and friend of Neil's since the end of Split Enz), middle age and changes in Neil's personal life informed this terrific album. As always, Neil demonstrates a knack for writing memorable melodies and thoughtful, deeply felt lyrics that rank among the best out there. Neil's more experimental solo albums have also impacted this album as well (they departed from the "formula" of Crowded House)and since this was, initially, going to be a solo album it's not a surprise that this album's low key charm and musically adventurous touches are in line with what was on Neil's most recent pair of solo recordings.
Nevertheless, this IS a Crowded House album and brims with all the wit, songwriting skill and hooks that Neil and his band are known for. In fact one of the most interesting aspects of this album is the collison between the "style" that Neil established on his solo albums, the pair he made with his brother Tim and the Crowded House sound. It reinvigorates the album making it a unique and enjoyable follow up to "Together Alone" (the band's last full studio album. I'm not counting "Afterglow" since it was made up of b-sides and tracks that weren't used for the original version of "Woodface").
For those interested there is an import with a DVD of live performances. Also, the first single has two songs not included here plus some live tracks as well. Unfortunately the deluxe edition with the DVD hasn't been released in the United States as of this date.
Worth picking up.
Time on Earth
Don't Stop Now
Try Whistling This
This is one of those albums which will be recognized as a classic many years from now. It is the Abbey Road for Crowded House (the Beatle reference is intentional). Great songs, gorgeous vocals, beautiful production, great band. Time on Earth is the album of the year and may be Neil Finn's masterpiece. Yes, it is that good.
Lyrically, the suicide of original drummer Paul Hester looms over nearly the entire album. From the beautiful opener "Nobody Wants To" to the Split Enz-like "She Called Up" to the plaintive "Silent House," Neil Finn is clearly mourning within this material. The first half of the album is just as good as anything Crowded House has done, with "Pour Le Monde" being another stunning, melancholy work of songwriting genius that fans have come to expect from Finn ("he imagines the world/as the angel ascending/like the ghost of a man/who is tied up to the chair/and he tries to believe/that his life has a meaning/with his hand on his heart"). Co-written by Johnny Marr, "Even A Child" is pure pop rock CH at its best. About midway through the album, the momentum slows down a bit. "Heaven That I'm Making," sounds like something that might've made it onto _One Nil_, and while it slinks along at a comfortable pace, it fails to make much of an impression. It is then followed by the pretty, but again, slightly lackluster "A Sigh." Along with "Silent House," "A Sigh" sounds like something more from the "Rain" movie score that Finn was involved with a few years ago than a CH or Finn album--very subtle, low-key, lo-fi offerings. "English Trees" continues the pretty, plaintive, reflective mood that dominates the middle of the album before jumping back into the upbeat, mysterious "She Walked Her Way Down" ("and i know what the answer is/but i'm happy to be here tonight/and when you're in the moment/everything you want is right"). "Transit Lounge" sounds like the experimental side of Neil Finn' solo work and is one of the best, freshest sounding songs on the album. Closing out the album are two more low-key and subtle songs--"You Are The One To Make Me Cry" and "People Are Like Suns." The former is one of the most beautiful pieces that Neil Finn has ever written. It's slow, seductive, melencholy, haunting--at times, it sounds like Finn is crooning the song in a dimly lit lounge full with cigarette smoke, and at other times, it sounds like he is literally on the verge of tears. Closers on albums that Finn is involved with--"Together Alone," "Addicted," "Into The Sunset," "Gentle Hum"--are usually breathtakingly beautiful. "People Are Like Suns" does not match the heights achieved by those songs, but it comes close, ending the album with the "appreciate every moment" theme that is displayed on this CH album in the wake of Paul Hester's death: "better take all the love that you got in a single hand...." People are like suns..."they come and they go...."
_Time On Earth_ is another great album to add to your Crowded House collection. It's a far more subtle offering than _Woodface_ or _Together Alone_, but it rewards the listener more and more with repeated listenings. Fans of Finn's prior work will not be disappointed.
However, after a strained stint with brother Tim Finn on Crowded House, Paul Hesters moods became more and more difficult to handle, and while Hester left on his own accord, this left Finn feeling like the band had run it's course, and he disbanded it in 1996 after a wonderful farewell consert on the steps of the Sydney Operahouse. Finn would go on to record two fine solo albums, and a wonderful Finn Brothers album with brother Finn.
While touring with his brother Tim in 2004/05 Paul Hester commited suicide back in Melbourne. This event, along with the 10th aniversary DVD release of Farewell to the World, got Neil and Nick back together. It even drew in journeyman Mark Hart. Neil asked Nick to play on his new solo album in late 2006. It was during these recordings Neil felt like this was indeed like old times, and desided to resurrect Crowded House.
A few phonecalls later and Mark Hart was on board again, and after holding sessions, a new drummer was on board as well.
The resulting, and eagerly awaited, album is this, 'Time on Earth'.
At first a quite sombre afair, it might seem less 'right now' and more 'maybe later' than previous efforts. but listen intently right away, and you will find great pop songs that hit you right away, none more so that 'She Called Up'. But here are also deeply felt tremours like 'People Are Like Suns' recalling departed drummer Paul Hester. There are also those heavy pop songs, reminding us of the course the band had on their previous record, Together Alone. I'm thinking of 'Heaven that I'm making' in particular. And, to remind us of what he did during his experimantal 'One All' period, there is the wonderful 'Transit Lounge'.
This album demands it's audience to make an effort, but its reward far outweighs any first impressions. I think this is easily the best record anyone has made this year. It goes pretty much without saying really. We are dealing with a record made by Neil Finn after all.
I challenge anyone to come up with anyone, living or dead, who can match this man and his body of work.