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Content by R. M. Ettinger
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Reviews Written by
R. M. Ettinger "rme1963" (Cleveland Heights, OH USA)

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Lost in Space
Lost in Space
Price: CDN$ 15.86
44 used & new from CDN$ 1.28

4.0 out of 5 stars Her Best Yet, April 22 2003
This review is from: Lost in Space (Audio CD)
Say what you will about the mastery of 'Bachelor #2', I find 'Lost in Space' to be far superior. I like and appreciate all her solo works (I *love* 'I'm With Stupid' and the 'Magnolia' soundtrack), but this one resonates with me.
Lyrically, Mann is a smart and clever writer (name another song that includes Pavlov's Bell) - which is one reason she'll never get mass radio exposure. G-d forbid you have to think to listen. I love "This is how it Goes", "Invisible Ink"....well all of them. Almost. To this day, I have not been able to get into "Guys Like Me".
Though 'The Moth' could have deteriorated into bland cliches w/the 'drawn to the flame' sentiment - it contains one of the best lyrics I have heard in a long time "...and nothing fuels a good flirtation like need and anger and desperation.." (ain't THAT the truth!).
Possibly the best album of 2002.

Live from New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live
Live from New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live
by Tom Shales
Edition: Hardcover
45 used & new from CDN$ 2.16

2.0 out of 5 stars Two Days I'll Never Get Back, April 22 2003
Tom Shales and James Andrew Miller seemingly provided an opportunity for free therapy sessions to all former and current SNL staffers. The whining, moaning and venting about how hard their lives are is more laughable than most of the SNL skits they've ever performed in.
The book provided nothing interesting in how the show actually operates. Sniping at one another seems to be the only reason for most cast member to even agree to be interviewed for the book. Missed opportunities by not interviewing lesser cast members (though they might have turned down the authors) could have painted a complete other picture.
The special on Biography (on A&E) was more interesting than this book - and was only an hour. Catch that instead.

The Dive From Clausen's Pier: A Novel
The Dive From Clausen's Pier: A Novel
by Ann Packer
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 18.63
106 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars It Had Potential, April 17 2003
The premise of the story was a good one, but it never lived up to it's potential (or hype). There were no real surprises in the book, the style or the writing. I know a book cannot be all things to all people, but the unexplored avenues that this book didn't take kept surprising me.
Characters that were never fleshed out and some introduced and disposed of immediately (most of the brownstone roommates, Carrie's library co-workers). I'm not sure why there was even a mention of Lane's employer, Mrs. Wolf and how she wrote a book about a companion who became paralyzed. No follow through on that, only the one sentence to even mention it. That could have been an interesting story arc or at least provided Carrie some insight to her struggle.
Kilroy's relationship (or lack thereof) with his parents presented no real mystery, even when Packer barely ekes that out - eventually.
I figured (guessed?) 1/3 of the way though how the book would end and the choices Carrie would make. Again - no surprises.

Say You Will
Say You Will
Offered by USA_Seller_4_Canada
Price: CDN$ 129.02
5 used & new from CDN$ 34.73

3.0 out of 5 stars Worth A 16 Year Wait?, April 17 2003
This review is from: Say You Will (Audio CD)
First thing - I am reviewing the Limited Edition CD.
I would suggest getting the standard issue CD. I do not believe the limited edition/enhanced CD is worth the extra money. The four additional songs are ok - but two are just live versions of material on the regular CD. The pictures and video clips can be or were part of their official website - so there was nothing new. The packaging is ok, but I will say that I find it annoying that though the additional players on the disk are listed, they are not specified to what song. (Ok, I'm pretty sure Christine McVie's only appearance is on "Bleed To Love Her" which was recorded back in 1997 and the impetus for getting the band back together.)
Overall, the material is solid - but nothing outstanding. Fleetwood Mac peaked between 1975-1980. "Mirage" and "Tango In The Night" had good material too (too glossy; too pop), but nothing as memorable as on 'Fleetwood Mac', 'Rumours' or 'Tusk'.
It's easy to see why "Peacekeeper" is the lead single. It is one of the most accessible songs. There are others though - Buckingham's "Steal Your Heart Away" and "What's The World Coming To" and Stevie Nicks' title song, "Smile At You", " "Thrown Down" (though this song sounds reminiscent of "No Questions Asked" for their 'Greatest Hits' CD),
There is a lot of 'ok' music - but that's it. For Buckingham's quirkiness, he clearly adapted solo work into a group effort - but they're not a band effort ("Come", "Murrow Turning Over In His Grave"). There are more elements from his mid-80s solo albums than anything he did with Fleetwood Mac - including 'Tusk'. Nicks' work has a bit more variety - which does say something for her. Much of her solo work bordered on plagiarizing herself. But "Running Through the Garden", "Everybody Finds Out" and to a point, "Destiny Rules" show real growth. She has also always benefited from Buckingham's arrangement and production.
Christine McVie is sorely missed. I think a third singer/songwriter really balanced both Buckingham and Nicks. The album probably didn't need to be 18 songs long and they may have benefited from it being stripped down a bit to make the stronger material really stand out. But figuring that there might not be another album for another 5-10 years, I guess you take what you can get.
On the bonus CD I will say this - one thing I've always liked about Fleetwood Mac is that they sound live he same way they do on record. Their sound is not all studio produced. "Peacekeeper" and "Say You Will" sound pretty much the way they do on the studio CD. The two bonus tracks Nicks' "Not Make Believe" and a Dylan cover, "Love Minus Zero", are fine - but they add or subtract nothing from the overall album.

Me Talk Pretty One Day
Me Talk Pretty One Day
by David Sedaris
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.47
137 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Laughed Out Loud - In Public, April 8 2003
This review is from: Me Talk Pretty One Day (Paperback)
I read this on two plane rides to a conference and could not help but to laugh out loud. I'm sure the other passengers thought I was absolutely nuts. I didn't care.
Sedaris' style is easy and funny to read, but harder to explain. If you haven't read some of the stories, it's extremely difficult to relay them in any decent manner. Though too many to point out here - two that spring to mind are the ones having to do w/his sister Amy (on the Chicago L and at a photo shoot) and the explanation of Easter during a French class.
It's a quicker read that will make you smile (and laugh out loud) the entire way through.

Price: CDN$ 8.13
49 used & new from CDN$ 1.45

5.0 out of 5 stars First Great Album of the 80s, April 8 2003
This review is from: Pretenders (Audio CD)
I first heard "Brass in Pocket" right around the beginning of 1980. I thought to myself - 'man, the 80s are gonna be great when it comes to musics'. I immediately went out and bought the Pretenders debut album.
The irony became that "Brass in Pocket" is possibly the weakest song on the recording (though I have little use for "Space Invaders").
"Precious" and "Mystery Achievement" are possibly the best opening and closing numbers on a record ever. Sandwiched inbetween are some wonderful, underrated recordings that rarely got played. "Lovers of Today" and "Private Life" are much more subtle than "Tattooed Love Boys", but it works. And the almost pop of "Stop Your Sobbing" and "Kid" really fit in nicely without becoming sell-out material.
Everything else is just as good - though as mentioned, "Brass in Pocket" may have become too overplayed for me, but that's just quibbeling on my part.
The Pretenders have put out a lot of other good work (their 2nd and 3rd albums), but it does pain me to say - they've never matched the accomplishments of their debut disk.

Home of the Brave
Home of the Brave
Offered by importcds__
Price: CDN$ 7.02
21 used & new from CDN$ 2.74

5.0 out of 5 stars First CD I ever purchased, April 7 2003
This review is from: Home of the Brave (Audio CD)
This CD is the sole reason (well, I got Kate Bush's 'The Hounds of Love' the same day) I purchased my first CD player back in 1985. I actually bought the CDs before the player.
Sure, I had heard "O Superman" from 'Big Science' a few years prior, but it did not do enough for me to go out and get the album. Excerpts that I heard from 'United States Live I-IV' were great, but I was a poor college student and could never justify purchasing it.
A friend (thanks Jon) had turned me on to "Language is a Virus" and "Smoke Rings" and we went to go see the movie and I was majorily in awe. Some of the soundtrack items are more clear and concise than the movie ("Language is a Virus". Conversely, somethings worked better on film ("Radar", "White Lily").
But either by video or audio - Laurie Anderson never fails to keep me interested and/or entertained.
It is unfortunate that the movie is not out in DVD - because as companion pieces, they soundtrack and movie are phenomenal.

The Lovely Bones
The Lovely Bones
by Alice Sebold
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 34.00
216 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars interesting, but that's it, March 27 2003
This review is from: The Lovely Bones (Hardcover)
The first 2/3 of the book are interesting, fast paced (let's face it, it's a one afternoon read). The last 1/3 of the book breaks down and falls apart and gets into territory that isn't consistent w/the rest of the book. And the last 1/3 crams too much and changes the pace of the rest of the book just to wrap up the story.

Rules Of Travel
Rules Of Travel
Price: CDN$ 16.50
32 used & new from CDN$ 4.17

5.0 out of 5 stars Get It. You Won't Regret It., March 26 2003
This review is from: Rules Of Travel (Audio CD)
I think it would be difficult for Rosanne Cash to make a bad album. She's one of those artists that don't really fit into one particular genre, which is a good thing. This album is no exception. Her vocals are strong. Her song choices are good. She's always been a more than credible songwriter (check out "44 Stories") and a great interpreter of other songwriter's work ("Hope Against Hope" and "Beautiful Pain" = A++). 'Rules of Travel' has a good mix of both.
While perusing her, tracking the making of this album and listening to the few songs Captiol Records put on their website, a few things irked me. The inclusion of two previously released tracks ("Western Wall" and "September When it Comes"); the amount of 'featured artists' on this recording and some production values. For the most part - all were laid to rest upon a full listening of the CD.
I had figured that 7 yrs between albums it would be all new material. "Western Wall" isn't much (at all?) different than it appears on '10 Song Demo'. I thought maybe it would be more fleshed out - but it's not. Still a great song though. I will admit no one probably picked up 'Transatlantic Sessions' (a compilation CD) to hear "September When it Comes". The song is absolutely wonderful - on that original recording.
After listening to 'Rules of Travel', all but one of my 'featured artists' concerns vanished. "Beautiful Pain" is a good opener and Sheryl Crow (whom I like, but seems she will appear on anything for anyone at anytime) is a good fit. She's almost backing vocal and her name was slapped on for name recognition and potential sales tie-ins. "I'll Change for You" w/Steve Earle is extremely good and his rougher voice compliments hers perfectly. I'll be the first to admit that I don't know from Teddy Thompson, but I really really like his harmony vocal on "Three Steps Down". And maybe I'm too wedded to the original (and solo) version of "September When it Comes" (and I will probably be the only dissenting vote on this), but the addition of Johnny Cash not only doesn't add anything, but takes away from the original. The 'Rules' arrangement/instrumentation is altered from the 'Transatlantic Sessions' - the latter of which I found different than most of Rosanne's previous work.
My production concerns came with the few songs I had heard before the album's release. It is nothing horrid, just a bit distracting at first. John Leventhal seemingly incorporated familiar production values in the music. I swear I hear Shawn Colvin's "84,000 Different Delusions" in "I'll Change for You" and "The Rules of Travel" has elements of either Colvin's "Sunny Came Home" or "Facts About Jimmy" or "Get Out of This House". I can't quite place it. Also, the opening measures of "Three Steps Down" is extremely reminiscent of "Our Little Angel". Though Leventhal didn't produce anything for Cash earlier than 'The Wheel' - some things seem holdovers from earlier productions ("Closer Than I Appear" could have been from 'Rhythm and Romance'). All of this is good. I find the balance of new and old very appealing.

Whole New You
Whole New You
Offered by Polar Bear Store
Price: CDN$ 2.95
50 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Here's How it Works...., Jan. 9 2003
This review is from: Whole New You (Audio CD)
I've found that I need patience to listen to music. For the most part, I am not drawn to radio-accessible music. Though I do not consider myself a music snob, rarely do I 'like' much on a first listen. And this is equally true of Shawn Colvin's music. I like Shawn. I like her style. I love her music - eventually.
As a whole (no pun intended), I had a hard time getting into and appreciating 'Whole New You'. MULTIPLE listens were required to get to the point where I wanted or needed to hear a song or the entire disk. Some songs easier to latch onto than others, but that's true of all her disks.
'Matter of Minutes', 'Whole New You' and 'Bound To You' have immediate appeal. But my biggest draw to the record was the unconventinal 'Another Plane Went Down'. Immediately, I found myself playing that song repeatedly. I cannot adequately describe it - but there is some hook in the song that just grabs me. I can honestly say there is only one song that has never grown on me - "Roger Wilco". Maybe it's my aversion to Edie Brickell, who co-wrote the song.
I find John Leventhal's production and arrangments to be understated and dark, but ultimately extremely fulfilling ("Bonefields", "Mr. Levon"). Parts of the disk are so low key, you almost miss the nuances of the music.
It still rates extremely high on my play-list and continues to sit in one of my players (home, car, office or portable cd player) 18 mos after it's release.
I say get it - but do not listen to it casually. It's a disk that takes effort and concentration to truly appreciate.

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