Profile for Michael T. Rognlien > Reviews

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Reviews Written by
Michael T. Rognlien (Chicago, IL)
(REAL NAME)   

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Coast to Coast
Coast to Coast
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 34.95
3 used & new from CDN$ 11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars You can love this CD and not have to despise other bands!, Dec 6 2000
This review is from: Coast to Coast (Audio CD)
It always discourages me to read reviews of really good material, only to see the reviewer has to fall for the oldest, most tired argument - to say that this band is "so much better than.." the others.
Westlife has truly produced an amazing CD - My Love is a beautifully written and beautifully harmonized song that delivers both musically and lyrically. It is one of the best pop ballads I've ever heard because it's not overly sexed, doesn't mention body parts, and is sweetly romantic.
Lay Your Love on Me, I Have a Dream, Against All Odds, etc are also great tracks, though it sounds as though Westlife's voices were just added in/over Mariah's since her vocals on Against All Odds sound identical to the version on her "Rainbow" CD. Hmm..
As far as American consumers go, this is a refreshing group of songs from a great group of singers. I don't subscribe to the notion that in order to like one group, I have to bash another - so I'll just say that this is yet another "boyband" (I hate that term) worth stocking in the CD changer!

Westlife
Westlife
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 29.70
17 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars A boyband that actually sings WELL!, Nov. 19 2000
This review is from: Westlife (Audio CD)
These guys are the total rage in the UK and most of the rest of the world right now. Indeed influenced by other bands such as NSYNC and BSB, they have a more unique sound. Lots of Irish melodies and influences on this album - and on their other UK exclusive album Coast to Coast (definitely pick this one up if you get the chance).
Their voices work very well together, and their harmonies are much more inventive than most of the American groups. Their newest single "My Love" isn't on this album - but you need to get it. One of the best pop ballads in years.
Get ahead of the curve on this one and pick it up - they're not too big in America at this point, but I'd be surprised if that stays the case for long.

George Michael:Best of George
George Michael:Best of George
DVD ~ DVD
Price: CDN$ 18.99
33 used & new from CDN$ 8.93

5.0 out of 5 stars George Michael's entire career on one disc..., Oct. 22 2000
OK, so maybe not the Wham! days, but those days were (officially) not about George as a solo artist.
What remains is a collection of videos from my favorite recording artist ever. The campy bootie-shaking in Faith - the boy in the tophat dancing around in Monkey - the noticeably absent pop singer in "Freedom 90" (one of my favorite songs by him) and the somewhat "out" George in "Jesus to a Child." If you watch closely, you can see the pivotal turning point in which his music becomes more honest, more fresh, and less driven by the need/desire for commercial success. Like Madonna and Michael Jackson, he is a master of video as an art form - often sacrificing self-promoting face time for the rest of the video-making process. Thankfully, he ended his career woes and personal issues and jumped out in front of the camera again to be seen by fans. Not included is one of his most controversial videos - Praying for Time, in which a dispute with then-label Columbia led him to refuse to appear in his videos, replacing himself with text on screen. I wish they'd have included this video as well, as it was one of the most powerful (if unintentional) uses of words on screen to convey the power of the song's lyrics.
I've said it before and I'll say it again here - pop music is a hugely underappreciated music form, and this video collection is a great representation of one of the true masters of pop. Indeed a must-have.

Madonna: Video Collect. 93-99
Madonna: Video Collect. 93-99
DVD ~ Madonna
Offered by Vecosell
Price: CDN$ 17.54
24 used & new from CDN$ 3.50

4.0 out of 5 stars A great collection, but once again, incomplete, Oct. 22 2000
It's hard to understand exactly why Madonna chooses to showcase or highlight the videos she does, but she is indeed a mastermind behind the art form.
Missing are some of her best videos, at least in my opinion. Erotica was one of the biggest changes in terms of videos and how far she would go to put a visual to a song - perhaps looking back, she feels about that video the way she felt about singles like "Material Girl," which she says she hates/loathes/etc.
Included are some of the best visuals I've ever seen - I can't listen to songs like Bedtime Story without seeing those doves and the floating Madonna's; Frozen, one of the best songs she's ever recorded, actually makes you cold - the picture indeed matches the song.
For any Madonna fan, this is an obvious purchase. For those not inclined to follow her every move, this collection is a good look at some of her less noticed, but truly masterful videos.

All the Way...A Decade of Song
All the Way...A Decade of Song
Price: CDN$ 5.00
62 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars As if there's anything else BUT great hits from her.., Oct. 20 2000
I remember being abroad @ school in France in '93 and coming across this French-Canadian singer who was all the rage at the time. Her voice was so beautiful that I bought one of her CD's, even though I barely spoke a word of French.
Fortunately, she was discovered by a larger audience and broke into English-singing CD's, and what an amazing career she's had since. I, too, was disappointed that some of her earlier hits were not included, but overall this is a very strong set of some of the most widely-purchased pop music of the last decade.
Her new songs are beautiful, too - the cover of "The First Time.." is absolutely hauntingly beautiful. She's obviously learned that her voice has power, but that there's equal beauty when she scales it back and just lets the music take her where it will. I'm over the "duets with dead people" so "All the Way" was a non-event for me.
A definite must-have for any and all Celine fans, but don't miss her earlier work - which is great, but under-represented on this set.

Rainbow
Rainbow
Price: CDN$ 5.00
37 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Not the best, but pretty darn good.., Oct. 20 2000
This review is from: Rainbow (Audio CD)
So Mariah has been one of the most prolific artists in the last 10 years. She's released, on average, an album a year, which is one of her strengths, but also one of her weaknesses.
The good part is that we don't have to wait too terribly long between sets. The bad part is that in many cases, she puts a lot of "filler songs" on a CD to fill it up and get it to market.
Heartbreaker was a fun song, but didn't hold up to songs like Honey in terms of instant pop likeability. Unlike the (lame) Amazon.com reviewer, I think that Mariah's cover of "Against All Odds" is one of the best she's ever recorded - her amazing range and obvious personal ties to the song were never clearer in any of her previous work.
To sum it up - a great artist would have to work hard to make a bad album - and this is not a bad album. Hopefully, now that Mariah's been out of the public eye for a while, she'll come out with a more well designed album with more strong material. But, given the huge amounts of "filler" on most CD's, she still delivers a great performance.

Christina Aguilera
Christina Aguilera
Price: CDN$ 5.00
109 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Great voice, mediocre material, Oct. 20 2000
This review is from: Christina Aguilera (Audio CD)
What's with the Amazon.com reviewer? Get someone to review these things who actually has an understanding and general like for this type of music!
OK - so my take.. this is an artist with a lot of promise who will surely develop her material as she develops as an individual. I disagree with the comparisons to Mariah and Whitney - must we compare any female who can sing to other popular female singers? Aguilera's style is unique, and her voice is strong - all except that horribly annoying song from Mulan.. it sounds like she's straining on just about every note. Great words, bad delivery.
Her next English-speaking album should include much better material (Celine Dion's first English albums were mostly horrible, too). Good first start!

Affirmation
Affirmation
Offered by importcds__
Price: CDN$ 11.98
63 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars What's not to love?, Oct. 20 2000
This review is from: Affirmation (Audio CD)
Another great CD from Savage Garden.
Affirmation is truly one of the most positive songs I've ever heard, in a non-We Are the World-way. A permanent fixture on every workout CD I've burned since this album came out.
I don't think I need to go into a song-by-song as my rating speaks for itself.. the only song I didn't care for was "I Knew I Loved You ..." I think it was the range of the song vs. the range of the voice behind it - not a great match.
Other than that - don't listen to the words about it being depressing. Truly good CD's have songs that can play to whatever emotion you may be feeling at the moment.. those of us with a pulse feel many, so a diverse CD such as this one is a great soundtrack for everyday life. :)

No Strings Attached
No Strings Attached
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 32.95
46 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Don't judge an album by the "demographic" of the group., Oct. 20 2000
This review is from: No Strings Attached (Audio CD)
OK, so I am probably too old to listen to this type of music. However, I think that bands like NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys are trying to break out of the screaming girl demographic while at the same time retaining some of that hysterical following (and album sales) to keep things interesting.
That said, this is a great album. I disagree (as did many others) with Amazon's canned review of this album. I think most of the tracks are fairly inventive and do a great job of showing the strenghts of the individual voices alone, and when singing together.
This I Promise You is the quintissential pop ballad, and will surely hit (and stay at) No. 1 for quite a while. Space Cowboy is another really good song - very danceable and very unique. My only real disappointment was "Digital Getdown" - not really the most appropriate "topic" to put on an album that's listened to by 8 year olds, guys.
Other than that, a great pop album, which is becoming a rare art form in current pop culture. If Duran Duran was a guilty pleasure in the mid-80's, this is it for today.

Trick [Import]
Trick [Import]
VHS
7 used & new from CDN$ 4.76

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best gay films in years.., Oct. 20 2000
This review is from: Trick [Import] (VHS Tape)
Finally, a gay movie that isn't depressing, isn't preachy, doesn't take a stand on anything at all, really. It's just pure fun - something straight people have gotten in "their" movies for decades.
I won't re-cap the plot, as it's been done a hundred times already. I will say that if you're looking for a movie that is light-hearted yet serious, cute without being cliche, and with a great cast of lead and supporting characters, you can't go wrong. Tori Spelling is great - something that is also echoed by other friends who have purchased the movie.
So far, every one of my friends who has seen the movie has also purchased it (and the soundtrack)! Definitely one for the permanent collection.

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