5.0 out of 5 stars Different than other Eels but give it a chance!
With Shootenanny, E seems to have moved away from some of the tinker toy sound effects found on the first 3 albums and gone for what is essentially a bluesy rock vibe. I love the earlier albums, but the more you listen to Shootenanny the more you appreciate it. The catchy melodies are there with a darker edge. And some of the usual lyrical humor as well. This album...
Published on April 30 2004 by S. Addison Wilhite
3.0 out of 5 stars Junkmedia.org Review - A comfortable album
With music today taking a nasty turn toward self-pity, an album filled with realization and repelled gloom is a welcome relief. Eels frontman Mark Oliver Everett, also known as E, takes a deep breath on the seventh Eels album, Shootenanny!, and blows some fresh air into the soulful funk-rock that made him famous with 2001's Souljacker. While E may no longer sport the...
Published on June 26 2003 by junkmedia
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2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointment abounds,
By A Customer
This review is from: Shootenanny! (Audio CD)I liked the song Saturday Morning, and I read a couple of great reviews of this CD. But I hated this CD. The lyrics are bland and uninpiring, the music is equally boring, and the vocals are sub-par.
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite up to snuff with their others.,
This review is from: Shootenanny! (Audio CD)The songs are great, the lyrics are great, the album is great... just not as great as the others. All of their albums so far have received 5 stars by me, until this one. Some of the songs seem out of place. It was refreshing to see some of the songs recapture the sound that was discovered on E's solo albums, but even this can't bump it up to a five.
5.0 out of 5 stars Different than other Eels but give it a chance!,
This review is from: Shootenanny! (Audio CD)With Shootenanny, E seems to have moved away from some of the tinker toy sound effects found on the first 3 albums and gone for what is essentially a bluesy rock vibe. I love the earlier albums, but the more you listen to Shootenanny the more you appreciate it. The catchy melodies are there with a darker edge. And some of the usual lyrical humor as well. This album needs to be listened to 20 times before the true beauty shines through. Unfortunately in this day 'n' age few people (or critics?) are willing to give an album time to work its magic. Shootenanny may not be immediately catchy. But it ranks as one of their best albums if not THE best. Cheers...
5.0 out of 5 stars yee-haw,
This review is from: Shootenanny! (Audio CD)I don't think America has ever fully understood Mark Oliver Everett (aka E or Mr. E) and the music he's made as part of the EELS. Shootenanny! is the band's 5th proper release and their most accessible to date. That being said, I don't think Shootenanny! is an attempt to get America to understand the EELS or for them to start selling millions of albums, but rather the opportunity for E to do something he doesn't normally do - write your typical pop/rock song without too much of the quirkiness that marked many of the band's previous releases, and for him to break free of the image of himself as a chronically depressed genius with a knack for turning generally positive phrases, such as "I love you," into some of the most devastating and defeating words ever. (Well, losing your father, mother, and sister - all within a year - will do that to you.)
"All In A Day's Work" begins Shootenanny! with a slow snarl of an electric guitar before the ominous bass guitar and drums take over darkly marching towards E's distorted vocals. The disc's single, "Saturday Morning," ironically enough is the most typical EELS track on Shootenanny! with E's switch to an almost taunting falsetto on the chorus over Butch's pounding drums leading to a wall of distorted guitars. "Love Of The Loveless" and "Rock Hard Times" despite their titles are two of the album's most upbeat and best tracks. "Loveless" includes typical EELS signatures - that casio keyboard and a bridge that slows the song to a crawl; and "Rock Hard" is one of the best unheard pop songs of all of 2003 with its bouncy rhythm, its bright electric guitar, its whistling guitars, and its chorus of self-empowerment: "everybody knows these are rock hard times / i gotta make it through / these are rock hard times." One of my favorite couplets of last year is in "Dirty Girl" with its opening lyrics: "i like a girl with a dirty mouth / someone that i can believe." "Agony" could have been on the EELS 2001 tortured opus Electro-Shock Blues (the disc written, recorded, etc around the loss of E's family) with it's vibraphone trill giving way to solitary lower chords on the casio followed by Butch's overpowering drums and the fuzzed electric guitar cutting through it all.
"Restraining Order Blues" follows in a line of tradition for E - a song that ends in "Blues" but isn't quite bluesy: Electro-Shock Blues title track, Daisies Of The Galaxy's "Grace Kelly Blues" & "Mr. E's Beautiful Blues," Soujacker B-side "Rotten World Blues," the Holes soundtrack cut "Mighty Fine Blues," and the E-scored Levity soundtrack piece "Post-Flashback Blues." "Lone Wolf" features an organ that wouldn't be out of place if it were a pedal steel or slide guitar and "Wrong About Bobby" sounds vaguely Elliott Smith-ish. There's something lurking under the surface to "Numbered Days" that is never fully realized accentuating its view that death is always around the corner. E resorts back to the falsetto and includes a string section in "Fashion Awards," a track about the recent glut of awards shows filling our airwaves and the emotions displayed on many of their podiums. Shootenanny! closes with the optimistic "Somebody Loves You" echoing "Love Of The Loveless" and its reassurance that we've gotta take care of ourselves and even though that somebody who loves us might just be ourselves, "you're gonna make it through."
Shootenanny! is a fine album that might disappoint a few long-time EELS fans since the despair isn't as pronounced and a lot of those little touches that mark most EELS releases are gone with production focused more on that of a live band rather than highlighting a glockenspiel, handbell, Wurlitzer, or particularly interesting keyboard line. E has claimed himself as "John Paul Sartre with a Marshall stack" and he wouldn't be entirely wrong as he rocks hard in these existential times.
Fave tracks: "Love Of The Loveless," "Dirty Girl," "Rock Hard Times."
2.0 out of 5 stars Too Bad,
This review is from: Shootenanny! (Audio CD)I actually caught these guys singing live at a small, local bar. Kind of a shame. I mean everything from this album was pretty blah imo. I like Daisies of the Galaxy and Electroshock Blues an awful lot. They played songs from both of these too... and "improved" them as well. The pace was sped up, the bass was cranked up, and all the interesting quirks on the CD's were replaced simply by bland, loud guitar work. Awe well, I'll just stick with what i know.
5.0 out of 5 stars Gets better with every listen,
This review is from: Shootenanny! (Audio CD)This is a rare artist where it's best not to decide which single album is best. Doing so only helps those unfamiliar with the artist decide which ONE album to buy. Spend the money and buy ALL of the Eeels albums out there - you won't be disappointed. Unless of course you don't enjoy strikingly insightful lyrics wrapped in musical arrangements that defy nearly every other artist working today. Need proof of his lyrical talent? From "Somebody Loves You":
This nagging malaise
Depressing? Yeah, when read like the poetry that it is, but coupled with the sweeping orchestral chorus that reinforces the message that "somebody loves you, you're going to make it through" - it's hard to not to feel invigorated by the talent of this artist.
4.0 out of 5 stars Who's Going To Play With Me?,
This review is from: Shootenanny! (Audio CD)I hate this type of comparison, but here goes: if you took Wilco, made a young Tom Waits their singer, and forced them to stick to more traditional Blues-based forms, you'd have something akin to Eels.
The subtitle of SHOOTENANNY!--"Everybody Knows These Are Rock Hard Times"--says it all. The album plays like a deep blue depression on a sunny day, pounding along across it's own unique aural landscape. Some of the more fatalistic stuff is hard to take repeatedly, but "Saturday Morning" is stunning and, while most of the rest of the album is sure-fire Alt Rock, there are moments towards the end, like "Numbered Days," which have some kind of late 60s/early 70s atmosphere to them.
SHOOTENANNY! has been in my short stack of CDs for a month now; it's inspiration may not be unique but the effect the Eels create is.
5.0 out of 5 stars what more do you want?,
This review is from: Shootenanny! (Audio CD)Is it the Eels' best? No.
So what? It's still great.
It's loose, it's fun, it still has plenty of moments of darkness .... for all of Souljacker's virtues it felt claustrophobic, an album assembled in Pro Tools out of little loops recorded in E's basement. The end of the line for that method of working.
So here's something the same, yet different.
Try to look on the bright side. Artists like E are dropped ALL THE TIME from labels .... Dreamworks keeps him around a little bit out of sentimentality (he was the first artist signed to DW by Lenny Waronker) ... if you'd rather have a world with E in it than without, BUY THE ALBUM and support him.
It's not really necessary or important for you to LOVE every track.
2.0 out of 5 stars Blah,
By A Customer
This review is from: Shootenanny! (Audio CD)I love the Eels and just cant get into this one. Verse-chorus-verse-chorus-chorus blah blah. I am not sure what happened here, but after the Souljacker master stroke, either the pressure or the label got in the way.
5.0 out of 5 stars E's best yet,
This review is from: Shootenanny! (Audio CD)Every review I've read of this disc has either lambasted it or lavished it with praise. Myself, I don't understand where the controversy is coming from; this is clearly the Eels' best effort to date. I've been listening to the band since 1998, and have always been disappointed with the press (or lack thereof) they have received. Before this disc, I would have named "Electro-Shock Blues" their best -- it dealt brutally honestly with extremely painful issues and managed to sound beautiful at the same time. But "ESB" had its weak spots -- and "Shootenanny!" doesn't (except, possibly, the title).
Every song has re-listening merit, from the grungy blues "All in a Day's Work" to E's traditional emotional-Pepto-Bismol closer, "Somebody Loves You". A personal favourite track of mine, and one that often receives the most vitriolic of compaints from reviewers, is "Fashion Awards". It's a wonderful satire, and, dammit, it sounds purdy too.
I love this album and you all should too.
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