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Reviews Written by
David Pearlman "sound fanatic" (Arlington, MA)
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Hunter (W/1 Bonus Track)
Hunter (W/1 Bonus Track)
Price: CDN$ 15.84
25 used & new from CDN$ 6.29

1.0 out of 5 stars All-time nadir of Blondie's career, March 20 2002
You know those albums that dissapoint you upon first listen,
the ones you carefully file away and pull out years later only
to find that they're actually really swell? The albums that
grow in value over the years, and force you to wonder what
was wrong with you when you dismissed them in the first place?
Well, this is not one of those albums. Worse by an order
of magnitude than ANY other original album in the Blondie
catalogue. Reissued to hook fools and completists only.
dap

The Very Best of
The Very Best of
Price: CDN$ 18.48
32 used & new from CDN$ 12.36

4.0 out of 5 stars The best Badfinger primer ever issued, but with problems, March 20 2002
This review is from: The Very Best of (Audio CD)
This is the first compilation to offer tracks from both the
Apple and Warner Brothers eras of Badfinger. For that reason
alone, this compilation is superior to the all-Apple compilation
issued in the early '90s. The song selection is also
fairly good--they include most of the best tracks from the
Apple years and the greatest highlights from the Warner albums.
So what's wrong? Well, first off, they omitted "Apple of
My Eye"...(which was included
on the early '90s compilation). "Apple of My Eye" is one
of the best Badfinger tracks ever, and certainly better than
some of the stuff that made the cut.
Second, they didn't bother to go the full distance and
pull tracks from the final two Badfinger albums (Airwaves
and Say no More). These final two albums were significantly
spottier than the Apple and Warners material, but there
were a few essential songs on them. Since this compilation
is supposed to be a "definitive" primer, more cross licensing
would have been nice.
But whatever. At least we have this, and it's a good listen.
Those whose interest is piqued by this compilation can seek
out the original albums, all of which have been reissued on
CD....

Yellow Album
Yellow Album
Price: CDN$ 8.31
21 used & new from CDN$ 0.24

1.0 out of 5 stars Unredeemed junk, March 15 2002
This review is from: Yellow Album (Audio CD)
I'm as big a Simpsons fan as anyone, but this is hideous.
There are four Simpons-derived albums on the market.
Two are comprised of excerpts from the TV show. Those are
both terrific 4-5 star albums. There is another album of
all original (not from the TV show) material, The Simpsons Sing
The Blues. That album was weak and a major disappointment, but
it did feature a few (and only a few) amusing moments.
This? The best moments on this CD are the bands of silence
that separate the tracks. How anyone thought this was worth
recording is beyond me. Why anyone spent money to release
and promote it is WAY beyond me. It isn't funny and the music
[stinks].
Even if you are a completist, you don't need this. Trust me:
I am a completist. I bought it and wish I hadn't. There is
NOTHING on this album that merits your time or money.
dap

Song Review: A Greatest Hits Collection
Song Review: A Greatest Hits Collection
Price: CDN$ 29.77
34 used & new from CDN$ 10.93

2.0 out of 5 stars A head scratcher..better compilations are available, Dec 23 2001
First things first: Stevie Wonder's album output of the '70s is
among the finest continuous strings in the history of
popular recorded music. Of that there cannot be any
argument. What can be argued is that there has never been
a wholly satisfactory compiliation that summarizes his entire
career, save for the 4CD set "End of a Century". Admittedly,
it's a difficult task, since you need to cover the '60s
Motown "factory" era, which yielded a lot of great pop/R&B
singles, the '80s and '90s which yielded a few delights,
though they are too sparsly scattered, and the '70s which
are hard to distill at all, since the original albums are so consistently strong.
That said, this collection is just not very good. The
sequencing is ridiculous (starting with the disposable
"Part Time Lover"?) and the track selection is questionable
(a lot of grade A tracks were left off so that...what?...they
could include "Ebony and Ivory"?) Ounce for ounce, Original
Musicquarium, a good if too-short compilation of the '70s
is a better bet. You could couple Original Musiquarium
with a '60s hits compilation (unfortunately, there's not
good definitive '60s set, but I guess you could go with
Greatest Hits Vol I [too bad Motown & Stevie haven't seen fit
to reissue the excellent 3LP "Looking Back" which DID cover
the '60s stuff properly) and get most of the essential Stevie
Wonder. But at that point, you'd still be missing the few
highlights from the 80s and 90s. For example, the brilliant
Overjoyed (good tune and dig that incredible phrasing) and
Stevie's terrific cover of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song" which
is available on no other compilation but this one.
At the end of the day, the Stevie Wonder compilation catalogue
is still something of a mess (due in no small part to the
fact that Stevie has veto power over any Motown reissue), and
IMHO you're left with only two good alternatives: The 4 CD
"End of a Century", which is quite good, even if it is also
completely obvious in track selection, or the 2CD Original
Musiquarium. Or, heck, go back and buy the '70s albums, since
they are truly all worth owning in their entirty anyway, then
maybe break down and buy In Circle Square because you HAVE
to own Overjoyed. Maybe.

The Pledge (Widescreen)
The Pledge (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Jack Nicholson
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Price: CDN$ 43.49
10 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars A must see!, Aug. 5 2001
This review is from: The Pledge (Widescreen) (DVD)
This movie is a delight all the way through: Good acting, good, slow-but-deliberate pacing, undestandable motivations, unpredicatable plot.
The end is incredible, both from an acting point of view, and from the view that it fits so perfectly with the rest of the movie, but is so unexpected from a Hollywood film.
I was thinking about the film for days...
Bottom line: The film would be best described with the phrases dark, slow paced, actor's showcase, good dialogue, unconventional ending. If that describes your kind of film, see this, 5 stars. If not, stay away.
dap

Reindeer Games (Director's Cut) [Import]
Reindeer Games (Director's Cut) [Import]
DVD ~ Ben Affleck
Offered by Warehouse105
Price: CDN$ 14.75
13 used & new from CDN$ 1.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent popcorn movie, Aug. 5 2001
I went into this with a "well, this is all they had at the video rental store at 11:55pm on a Saturday night and I know better but I want to watch SOMETHING" attitude. But I came out pretty pleased. This is not a great film. But it's well paced, suspenseful, and boasts some good plot twists.
The acting by Affleck and Sinese is top rank. Theron doesn't so much act as provide delicious eye candy. If you look like Theoron, and you don't have to carry the movie, you get a pass and she gets that pass here.
This is no Arlington Road (a movie that share's the same writer); that is an example of a GREAT movie in this suspense-with-clever-plot twists genre. But this movie is a terrific popcorn movie. Sit back and be entertained. Note: be sure you engage your willing suspension of disbelief before starting the movie.
dap

Touch of Schmilsson
Touch of Schmilsson
Offered by @ ALLBRIGHT SALES @
Price: CDN$ 22.86
9 used & new from CDN$ 7.77

5.0 out of 5 stars Simply brilliant, Jan. 23 2001
This review is from: Touch of Schmilsson (Audio CD)
When this album was released in the early '70s--a collection of songs that were already decades old, carefully arranged by Sinatra's best ballad arranger Gorden Jenkins--it wasn't clear if this was intended as a loving tribute or an ironic statement. Coming from then poster boy for hip music lovers and years before this type of record would be popularized by people like Linda Ronstadt, and in light of Nilsson's well-known sense of humor, it just seemed this couldn't be serious.
Or could it?
Well, the truth is, it doesn't matter. Because context becomes irrelevant over time, and what's left is the music. And, what beautiful music it is. Tremendously well-chosen standards from throughout the first half of the 20th century, tremendously well orchestrated by a master, and sung with passion AND precision by a man of great vocal talent. Who cares what anyone was thinking? All you ever need to know is on the record.
Time has only been kind to this album, and to these ears it has dated not a whit in the more than quarter century since it was released. Perhaps because it was never of its time in the first place. Lush romantic music from a happier, simpler time--something we all need.
dap

Pussy Cats: 25th Anniversary Edition
Pussy Cats: 25th Anniversary Edition
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 44.95
8 used & new from CDN$ 39.89

2.0 out of 5 stars A sad document from two major talents, Jan. 23 2001
I love Harry Nilsson, really I do. There's more than a little genius scattered among his catalogue, and nearly all his albums have something to offer, even the spottier later era stuff.
That said, Pussy Cats is really a travesty. A waste of Nilsson's hiterto amazing voice... And a waste of Lennon's formidable talents. Barely passable effort applied to barely passable material...
This has remained in print, on-and-off over the years, primarily for the Lennon name in the marquee. But there isn't another proper Nilsson album (or Lennon album, for that matter) that I would hesitate to recommend over this one...
This album makes me sad, but for all the wrong reasons.
dap

Ultimate Collection
Ultimate Collection
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 29.95
11 used & new from CDN$ 11.99

3.0 out of 5 stars ULTIMATEly a quickie label cashin, with some good b-sides, Nov. 12 2000
This review is from: Ultimate Collection (Audio CD)
OK, first off, what this is NOT: It's not the "Ultimate" Aimee Mann collection. It justifies that title neither in scope (it includes only two 'til Tuesday tracks and nothing from her most recent album, "Bachelor #2"), nor in judgement regarding track selection. On that latter point, where to even start...OK, the 'til Tuesday years are represented by three tracks: "Voices Carry" (a no-brainer, and as a nice bonus, the 45 mix is included here), "Everything's Different Now" (a dumb choice, given only three inclusions, as it has the dubious distinction of being one of the few 'til Tuesday tracks that Mann didn't even write, and while it's good, it's certainly not as good as other 'til Tuesday songs--start with "Coming up Close" and move on from there),and "Other End (Of the Telescope)" (in a recent live version that would pale in comparison to the original studio release even if it weren't annoyingly off key).
Moving on to the solo years, why is there so little from her first solo album "Whatever" and so much from the inferior followup "I'm With Stupid"? Where are superior "Whatever" tracks such as "I've Had It", "4th of July", Could've Been Anyone", "Mr. Harris" or "I Know There's a Word"?
So this is far from being the Ultimate anything, except possibly the ultimate cash-in. That said, there ARE reasons to own this collection, all of them the scattered b-sides that have been larded in to entice long-term fans. If you don't already own the "Whatever" era b-sides "Take It Back" or "Jimmy Hoffa Jokes" you NEED them--these are brilliant songs that in a brilliantly perverse decision appeared only as bonus tracks on CD singles and promo items--and since the original sources are now hard to find, this is a convenient way to get them. Silly title be damned, "Jimmy Hoffa Jokes" may well rank in the top 10 Mann songs of all time, and "Take It Back" is not far behind. Mann's cover of Badfinger's "Baby Blue" is faithful and terrific as well. "Driving With One Hand on the Wheel", which appeared as both a "I'm With Stupid" b-side and on the "Safe and Sound" benefit compilation, is merely adequate Aimee Mann (which is to say essential by the standards of lesser artists). Sign of Love is an insignificant pop cover that originally appeared on the "Back to the Beach" soundtrack. Mann completists will want this, but everyone else can pass. And as for the aforementioned live version of "Other End (of the Telescope)", well, the less said the better.
Overall, then, completists and committed fans will want this for the b-sides if they don't already have them. Everyone else is directed to purchase her original solo albums in their entirety, starting with "Whatever".
The three stars are entirely for the two brilliant original "Whatever"-era b-sides that appear here and nowhere else (nowhere else in print, that is), and for the Badfinger cover.
dap

Tonight and the Rest of My ...
Tonight and the Rest of My ...
Offered by marvelio-ca
Price: CDN$ 6.75
16 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Surprise! Former Veruca Salter delivers a powerful pop album, Sept. 3 2000
Label me surprised. Terrifically surprised. And happily. I had few positive expectations for this debut solo album by the former co-leader of Veruca Salt. While that group's two albums held a few pleasures, they were uneven (to say the least), and certainly did not suggest in any way that there was a repressed power popster in their midst.
But there was, and here's the fruit of her newfound liberation. Imagine a cross between Aimee Mann, Juliana Hatfield and latter-era Bangles, with a dollup of Joan Jett tossed in for good measure, and you have a good idea of what you'll find herein. Catchy-as-heck songs, big budget widescreen production, big energy, good vibes, good singing, good playing, good gosh. There are a few duff lyrical couplets ("He likes to try on my clothes but not my underwear"...ugh) and a few too many coy plays on the word "blow". Lyrically this ain't Aimee Mann, but that's hardly more than a quibble when the music is this good...
This album is radio friendly in all the best ways, and Gordon seems more than a bit photogenic. With any luck this record will lead the charge against the moronic factory teen pop that kidnapped popular music a few years ago.
Now more than ever, we all need a Nina Gordon at the top of charts.
dap

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