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Reviews Written by
Bjorn Clasen (Rollengergronn, Luxembourg, Europe)
(REAL NAME)   

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The Viking Manifesto: The Scandinavian approach to business and blasphemy
The Viking Manifesto: The Scandinavian approach to business and blasphemy
by Steve Strid
Edition: Paperback
22 used & new from CDN$ 5.54

2.0 out of 5 stars An idea is not enough, Nov. 9 2011
I picked this up in Copenhagen Airport, thinking I'd have a good laugh while learning something as well, and being inspired.

I was wrong. I think the authors actually do try to be funny, but they are not. It becomes artificial and superficial. The result is not even mildly entertaining, just plain indifferent.

Few of the stories in the book are interesting or educating, let alone useful. And as you work your painful way through the book, they increasingly give the impression that the authors really had to come of with something. SOMEthing. To fill out 50 'chapters'. Another typical disease of this type of books: Why dos it have to be 50? Or 33? Or even 10? If you only have 7 or 8 things to actually tell, then only tell those, and tell them well. Or, in this case even better: Don't write a book!! Please.

What's more, it is not about Vikings. Not even about Scandinavia. Almost only about Swedes. No surprise, as one author's name sounds Swedish ' but t(he)y could at the very least have had the decency of taking the trouble to do a proper research. A couple of examples: Denmark has 4 million inhabitants? ' no it doesn't, it has more than 5.5 million, or a mere 37.5% more than stated in the book. And not only one Skype's founders is Scandinavian, they both are ' a Dane and a Swede. Need I say that only the Swedish guy is mentioned in the book?

Why two stars then? Well, because I'm generous. The short chapters and the easy (though not always correct) wording makes for an easy read. A loo read.

But certainly not more.

Team Magic
Team Magic
by Iris Clermont
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 21.33
15 used & new from CDN$ 13.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A multi-facetted approach to make a multi-facetted team a great one, March 27 2011
This review is from: Team Magic (Paperback)
Length:: 6:10 Mins

'Team Magic' is a great and easy-to-read book on the basics of improving relations and efficiency in your team. In this clip, I philosophise a little about what makes it a recommended read, and how it might be even more useful.

Fallen
Fallen
Offered by samurai_media_JPN4CA
Price: CDN$ 103.74
7 used & new from CDN$ 9.34

2.0 out of 5 stars Why all the fuss?, March 22 2004
This review is from: Fallen (Audio CD)
It is amazing how many awards one can win by writing one song!
When the album appeared in my local music shop, I listened to it instantly. Something, the name, the cover intrigued me. But like with so many other albums, only a couple of songs caught my ear, so I did not want to waste my money on it. Life is too short - and my music collection already far too big - for so-so music.
But now, a few months later, it seems like I bump into the band (not literally) and its music constantly. For example when I was in Vejle for a conference a few weeks ago and got to my hotel room, switched on the television (by curiousity as I don't have one at home myself) and stumbled over the totally rubbish programme 'Danish Music Awards'. Evanescence again. The band was given the award for best foreign album or something. [But did, understandably, not show up!]
Back in Luxembourg where I live, I therefore took the opportunity to borrow 'Fallen' from the Record Club, as it had after all been re-intriguing me.
But what IS the fuss?! The only special thing about Evanescence's music is lead singeress Amy Lee's voice. It is emotional and kinda sexy, and she sings pretty well. But after two songs (no, not half a CD, but two songs!) I was tired of it. The voice, the music... Evanescence.
It IS amazing... this band has written one song - the hit 'Bring Me To Life', which I in fact find a pretty good piece of nu-rock - and then made it into an album by copying it 8 times and adding the two obligatory ballads. Which are not particularly inspired either. So much for shooting stars.
And for that they get overloaded with awards. I don't get it. Evanescence basically sounds like an aftermath of Linkin Park, only with a female singer. Writes one song. Records it ninefold. And sell zillions.
I do not get it.
Me, I grant the album two stars out of five.
So much for shooting stars.

GN'R: Lies
GN'R: Lies
Price: CDN$ 9.50
40 used & new from CDN$ 2.79

4.0 out of 5 stars A Classic, Nov. 6 2001
This review is from: GN'R: Lies (Audio CD)
»G N' R Lies« makes the link between Guns N'Roses' debut album »Appetite For Destruction«'s garage-like rock with no compromises, and the two more polished and very artistic »Use Your Illusion« albums.
The first four songs, from 1986, are pure hardrock'n'roll. Especially track 3 and 4 - the rocking and melodic »Move To The City« and the swinging »Mama Kin« with its great rhythm (try to listen to this one with headphones on!) - are very worthwile.
The 1988 songs are more balanced and varied. »Patience« remains one of Guns N'Roses' most beautiful and fragile ballads, and the funny »Used To Love Her« as well as the lyrically very interesting »One In A Million« (the latter is not featured on new pressings - so be sure to buy the original version of »G N' R Lies« before it's too late!!) are tracks which highly justify the quality of this album.

Tribute to Rem
Tribute to Rem
Price: CDN$ 12.24
15 used & new from CDN$ 7.82

1.0 out of 5 stars Useless (Or: Too Much Of A Tribute...), Nov. 5 2001
This review is from: Tribute to Rem (Audio CD)
Reviewing an album like this will not take up a lot of space. For all that is happening here is that a cover artist simply, well, copies the R.E.M. song.
And how can you pay tribute to a band by copying its songs, attempting - completely unsuccessfully - to sound like the band that is paid tribute to, rather than let yourself INSPIRE by the band's songs, interpreting them, and performing them!?!
Pity. There is absolutely no need to invest in this album. It is copies. Bad ones. Who can imitate Michael Stipe's voice anyway?!

Connected
Connected
Offered by Rainy Day Games
Price: CDN$ 9.99
28 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1.0 out of 5 stars Uninspired Soft-Hop, Oct. 31 2001
This review is from: Connected (Audio CD)
All that's worth mentioning on this album are the hits 'Connected' and 'Step It Up' which, sadly, form the highlights along with the mellow 'Chicken Shake'. But it's all the same. Soft hiphop, slightly electronized, and with the interesting, kinda deep and electronic-sounding, lead vocals. All through the album. Buy a single instead, that's enough by far.
When Stereo MC's do their best, they try to sound like LL Cool J, or like Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, as on 'The End'. But it's simply not that great.

Beta Band
Beta Band
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 26.30
9 used & new from CDN$ 4.41

2.0 out of 5 stars More Funny Than Actually Good, Oct. 31 2001
This review is from: Beta Band (Audio CD)
The Beta Band is THE example of alternative music. Simply impossible to categorize.
It is very artistic indeed. However in general, it is more funny to listen to rather than actually great music.
There are even a few 8 minute tracks like the pretty good 'It's Not Too Beautiful' or 'The Hard One' which has lyrics from 'Total Eclipse Of The Heart'. The melodically joyful 'Round The Bend' is quite good too, as is the near-acapella 'The Cow's Wrong', and the rap 'Dance-O'er-The-Border' is among the less unusual songs on this highly original album.
The stars are mainly for originality.

Grace
Grace
Price: CDN$ 8.14
35 used & new from CDN$ 4.14

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring Pseudo-Hybrid, Oct. 31 2001
This review is from: Grace (Audio CD)
It seems like Jeff Buckley attempts to sound like a crossing between Elton John, Gary Moore, Montserrat Caballé and Muse, with a twist of progrock.
He does not succeed in any of those attempts.
His very little voice - whining and weeping, turning to distorted screaming during the refrains - is only partly compensated by the all but original acoustic guitar play, and only little more by the progrock inspired drums and electric guitars.
Therefore, Jeff Buckley is at his best when he doesn't sing.
But he does. So...
The only OK song on 'Grace' is the final 'Dream Brother'. And still, it is only OK, not exactly brilliant.

Showbiz
Showbiz
Price: CDN$ 11.35
35 used & new from CDN$ 2.48

4.0 out of 5 stars Not Their Best - But Unmistakably MUSE, Oct. 31 2001
This review is from: Showbiz (Audio CD)
'Showbiz' is an archetypical Muse album. Songs like 'Muscle Museum', 'Hate This & I'll Love You', and most of all 'Escape' are symbolic for Muse's trademark: artistically prepared songs in which the chorus explodes in near-hard rock.
Though the album contains great songs - like the opener 'Sunburn' with its pearling piano and energetic chorus, the catchy 'Cave' which you will have a hard time NOT to be carried away by, and especially the simple yet nicely roaring 'Uno' with the distorted chorus and the flickering guitar - 'Showbiz' lacks REALLY great songs. And thus it does not come up to the level we are used to from this one of the truly greatest contemporary rock bands.
The Muse sound though, is intact. Enjoy the exploding 'Fillip', the mysterious title song, as well as 'Sober'. The latter is noisy, refreshlingly rocking, yet not that promising in the beginning... but with a certain charm which increases. And increases.
So, yes, it IS a worthwhile rock album. Slightly below Muse standard. But way above most contemporary rock band's standard...

Moon Safari
Moon Safari
4 used & new from CDN$ 9.94

4.0 out of 5 stars Not Air's Best - But Already Very Good, Oct. 26 2001
This review is from: Moon Safari (Audio CD)
Air's first album 'Moon Safari' is the least brilliant of the band's albums so far.
Still, it is a very worthwile buy.
Sometimes it sounds like music which can be used for tv series, like 'Talisman'. Or 'Ce Matin Là' with its horn sounds and bubbling synths.
The spacey 'Sexy Boy' is very early-1980ish and must be a dance floor hit. Funny and great track, a lot more optimistic and relaxed than most Air stuff. 'Kelly Watch The Stars' is another great song - the favourite song of many an Air fan. The way it uses the synthesizer effects is simple but well-arranged in the smallest detail.
At the lower end of the scale are the two songs on which Beth Hirsch sings the lead vocals. Her far to fragile and not particularly charming voice bore these compositions down to close-to-nothing.

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