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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Reunion Album
I hadn't really been a big Bangles fan, although I grew up in the 80's when they were popular and liked many of their biggest hits. I hadn't followed their post-Bangles careers and I didn't know they reformed and put out CD's since then. Watching a Bangles episode of "VHS: Behind the Music" on YouTube recently made me want to get some of their music. I got a...
Published 4 months ago by From the Musician's Pen

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3.0 out of 5 stars "Oh my love/You say this is the end..."
I quote the first line from "Between the Two", the fourteenth track off the Bangles' latest album Doll Revolution, because I'm wondering if this is going to be their last album. It's been 15 years since they recorded an album together, and when I looked at the liner notes -- actually, there really aren't any, which makes you wonder if they just rushed into the studio to...
Published on June 1 2004 by Anthony Rupert


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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Reunion Album, Aug. 14 2014
By 
From the Musician's Pen (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
I hadn't really been a big Bangles fan, although I grew up in the 80's when they were popular and liked many of their biggest hits. I hadn't followed their post-Bangles careers and I didn't know they reformed and put out CD's since then. Watching a Bangles episode of "VHS: Behind the Music" on YouTube recently made me want to get some of their music. I got a collection of their 80's material and also this reunion CD.

This is really a great CD all the way through. There are no bad songs or recordings. The sound is close enough that past fans will likely enjoy these songs as well. Their voices blend so well harmonizing together and they sound as good as ever (they don't sound "old" or definitely haven't "lost it". However, the lyrics are more mature and there's more acoustic and mid-tempo songs than rockers.

I wasn't sure if I was going to like this, even though I heard samples on-line, so I bought a used copy at a low price. I'm really glad I got this. I'm sure several of these songs would have been hits had they been released at the peak of their popularity. My wife was a fan of their music in the 80's and she likes this CD too.

Highly recommended.
Cheers!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant pop record, Jan. 4 2008
By 
Louis (Quebec, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Doll Revolution (W/Bonus Dvd 1 (Audio CD)
When the Bangles reunited to record this album, I had huge expectations. They were one of the best bands from the 80's, although they broke up way too soon to leave a lasting impression on the wide public. Would they be able to make a solid album after all these years ?

"Doll Revolution" is good from top to bottom. There are 15 songs here, so for once it's really all Bangles, meaning that each of the four members get many songs to prove their respective abilities. Michael Steele, the band's most underrated asset, once again proves that she is the best musician and songwriter of this band; her "Song For A Good Son" is a masterpiece, with its striking visual references and feelings of regrets and alienation, and her rocking "Between The Two" is so great that you can only wish there'd been more on the album. Susanna Hoffs is as great as ever, and her voice has gained a rougher, raspier edge over the years; ballads like "I Will Take Care Of You" and the debut single "Something That You Said" show the full range of her exquisite and expressive voice. Debbi Peterson also leaves a deeper impression than on the band's 80's albums; "Lost At Sea" is a high point of the album, and "Ask Me No Questions" proves that Susanna Hoffs isn't the only Bangle able to carry a ballad. Vicki Peterson's songs are the only minor disappointments of the album; songs like "Mixed Messages" and "Single By Choice" lack the tough in-your-face attitude of past songs like "Angels Don't Fall In Love" and "All About You" - but they are still great, just not as strong as her bandmates' efforts. I particularly like her "Stealing Rosemary", so original and catchy. And what can I say about "Ride The Ride", which they all sing together ? It's the album's best song, and should be released as a single as soon as possible. It's that good !

All in all, this is an album like they don't make 'em anymore. Honest production, catchy songs, expressive vocals, trademark harmonies, down-to-earth arrangements, great musicianship. What more can you ask ?

As for the bonus DVD, it's quite okay but not great. It's a nice addition, but for die-hard fans only.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond "Everything" . . ., June 26 2004
This review is from: Doll Revolution (W/Bonus Dvd 1 (Audio CD)
It doesn't seem like fifteen years have passed between Everything, the Bangles last studio album, and Doll Revolution, the reunion release from the all female pop quartet. Those who remember where the group left off, will find that the band has resumed very close to that point, playing the same light, melodic mid-tempo rock, with a tinge of 60's flavor. The band is back stronger than ever with poignant songwriting, and the trademark background vocal harmonies that thicken the mix with their sweetness.
The years have naturally brought maturity and introspection to the songwriting, but the music retains a mostly positive vibe. As before there is balance, with the vocal duties divided between the band's members. Also as before, the singles feature the luscious voice of Susanna Hoffs. Something That You Said is a touching musical gem, with a breathy vocal that is Susanna at her best. Changing pace, she leads the band as they rip and tear into Doll Revolution, showing that these ladies can still rock. Her gentle ballad, I Will Take Care of You, with its light accompaniment and orchestral backing, is reminiscent of the group's last #1 hit, Eternal Flame.
While Hoff's voice may strike the most familiar chord with those who remember the Bangles only for their hits, she is just one of four gifted voices in this remarkable band. The wealth of talent results in great diversity and range in the music. Stealing Rosemary, sung by guitarist Vicki Peterson, is simply one of the best Bangles songs ever. Drummer Debbi Peterson's Here Right Now, with its groovy beat, optimistic message, and catchy chorus, is destined to become a classic. Ride the Ride is a bouncy rocker that just elevates your spirits. Vicki's anthem Single By Choice, is a song that reverberates, and resonates its message. And she scores again with The Rain Song, a moving tune about triggered memories.
Michael Steele steps up big time, adding some darker flavors and intriguing lyrics with her contributions. The melancholy Song for a Good Son, tells a fascinating and ambiguous tale of death and destiny. The hypnotically captivating Nickel Romeo, draws you in to get a glimpse of a man who habitually uses women. Despite not being a great guy, you'll still probably find yourself singing "Hey Mister ...Nickel Romeo". The production is reminiscent of George Martin's, with an eastern flavor. Parting can be rough sometimes, and Between the Two chronicles one such instance, covering again the theme of coping and overcoming.
If you liked Everything, you will love the diversity of Doll Revolution. Dedicated to "George" (Harrison), it is quite simply the best thing the Bangles have ever done. Many years removed, the band has continued along the same musical direction, showing both growth and maturity. The melodies, the harmonies, the emotion, and the beat, are all there. The Bangles are now seasoned veterans who can still connect with their audience, make them warm and comfortable, and bring a tear to the eye. "There's no place better than here right now", and it's wonderful to have them back.
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3.0 out of 5 stars "Oh my love/You say this is the end...", June 1 2004
This review is from: Doll Revolution (W/Bonus Dvd 1 (Audio CD)
I quote the first line from "Between the Two", the fourteenth track off the Bangles' latest album Doll Revolution, because I'm wondering if this is going to be their last album. It's been 15 years since they recorded an album together, and when I looked at the liner notes -- actually, there really aren't any, which makes you wonder if they just rushed into the studio to put this album out. Also, this album is on Koch Records, and Koch seems to be the place where everyone eventually ends up -- well, either there or TVT.
All the other three-star reviews for this album are pretty accurate, and each person seems to have a different opinion of which song(s) stands out. To me, the best song on here is the song they have out now, "Something That You Said" (its video also appears on the bonus DVD). And "Mixed Messages" is pretty catchy despite the lyrical shortcomings. But the rest of the songs aren't that great.
A lot of these songs really could have been written better. At times the lyrics go from lazy ("Ride the Ride", "Ask Me No Questions") to crazy (Elvis Costello's "Tear Off Your Own Head"). "Grateful" is tolerable, but it's the kind of song you'd expect to hear from them when they were still in their teens, not in their forties. And sorry, but the ballad "I Will Take Care of You" sounds like a watered-down version of "Eternal Flame".
People say a lot of the songs on here sound better live than they do on the album, and if that's the case, then you should just see them in concert. Or else if you're still feeling nostalgic about the Bangles, then just pull out their '80s albums or their Greatest Hits package. The ladies can still play and sing, but I wouldn't really call Doll Revolution a revolutionary album.
Anthony Rupert
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5.0 out of 5 stars Jangle-y, Bangle-y perfection!, April 6 2004
By 
Eric J. Anderson (Ankeny, Iowa) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Doll Revolution (W/Bonus Dvd 1 (Audio CD)
Al Stewart (had a big radio hit with the song Year of the Cat) said recently that he still has a great fondness for "jangle-y bands" -- guitar-based good time pop music that rocks, but not too hard. What the Bangles have produced on Doll Revolution is a classic of the jangle-y genre.
When a band takes a break of over a decade and then re-forms for a new project, there is always justifiable worry that the old magic can't be captured again. The Bangles proved an exception to the rule by producing the strongest work of their career on this long-awaited new album. Granted, not every tune on Doll Revolution is a solid gold gem, but there are at least ten well-turned songs on this record, which is about the most anyone can reasonably ask.
If you liked the old Bangles, there is no reason you shouldn't be happy with the new Bangles. They can still rock, and sing beautifully produced and sincere love songs. If anything, their harmonies are sweeter and more perfect than ever. The recording does not have state-of-the-art clarity, which is a bit of a disappointment, but the fidelity is at least equivalent to their previous records from the eighties.
There is one sour note, not in the music, but in the fact that if you want the lyrics, you won't get them in the booklet. They are found only on the limited edition DVD version -- on the DVD. So you are supposed to run to your DVD player every time you want to check out the song lyrics? Not cool.
The Bangles have shown that you *can* go home again. They recorded this album on their own terms, took their time, and carefully crafted something they could be proud of. And they should be proud. This is good stuff. It isn't revolutionary, despite the title. They sing of love, loss, confusion, frustration, and loneliness. They make it rhyme, and they make us tap our feet and smile. I can't ask for more than that.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not just your ordinary reunion, Jan. 25 2004
By 
Louis (Quebec, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
When the Bangles reunited to record this album, I had huge expectations. They were one of the best bands from the 80's, although they broke up way too soon to leave a lasting impression on the wide public. Would they be able to make a solid album after all these years ? Well, duh ! Yes, of course !
"Doll Revolution" is good from top to bottom. There are 15 songs here, so for once it's really all Bangles, meaning that each of the four members get many songs to prove their respective abilities. Michael Steele, the band's most underrated asset, once again proves that she is the best musician and songwriter of this band; her "Song For A Good Son" is a masterpiece, with its striking visual references and feelings of regrets and alienation, and her rocking "Between The Two" is so great that you can only wish there'd been more on the album. Susanna Hoffs is as great as ever, and her voice has gained a rougher, raspier edge over the years; ballads like "I Will Take Care Of You" and the debut single "Something That You Said" show the full range of her exquisite and expressive voice. Debbi Peterson also leaves a deeper impression than on the band's 80's albums; "Lost At Sea" is a high point of the album, and "Ask Me No Questions" proves that Susanna Hoffs isn't the only Bangle able to carry a ballad. Vicki Peterson's songs are the only minor disappointments of the album; songs like "Mixed Messages" and "Single By Choice" lack the tough in-your-face attitude of past songs like "Angels Don't Fall In Love" and "All About You" - but they are still great, just not as strong as her bandmates' efforts. I particularly like her "Stealing Rosemary", so original and catchy. And what can I say about "Ride The Ride", which they all sing together ? It's the album's best song, and should be released as a single as soon as possible. It's that good !
All in all, this is an album like they don't make 'em anymore. Honest production, catchy songs, expressive vocals, trademark harmonies, down-to-earth arrangements, great musicianship. What more can you ask ?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Tim Sendra is clueless, Jan. 15 2004
By 
"kriskadh" (Norfolk, VA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Doll Revolution (W/Bonus Dvd 1 (Audio CD)
If you are like most people you cannot stand today's glutton of Disney Corp backed cute for the sake of cute so called pop artists. The Bangles were a refreshing and harmonious guitar crunching band that left an eternal mark on the fabulous music of the 80's. There reunion could not have been better timed.
Some critics have blasted the group for displaying no new sound just a return to their old sound or doing more covers. I say; Good call, Bangles!
The 15 years without them shows in the style and sound but this is all for the good. Michael Steele's dark side adds depth and character. Sussanna Hoffs' sweat girlish vocals are complimented by Vicki and Debbie Peterson's more rugged ones.
Several of Amazon's reviewers have given their thoughts on each of the tracks and my opinion mirrors many of them. Ride The Ride, Lost At Sea, and I will Take Care Of You catapult me right back to the mid-eighties. Doll Revolution, Single By Choice, and others hark back to those years but show the benefits of experiance and the passage of time.
I've read some very critical reviews of this album and I have but one comment to them; If you expected something other than classic Bangles then you missed the point.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Glad they're back, now somebody give them catchier songs, Dec 3 2003
By 
This review is from: Doll Revolution (W/Bonus Dvd 1 (Audio CD)
The Bangles rattled off a series of exciting upbeat pop rock hits in the eighties and now they are back...for the fun, I guess, and for 2 extra seconds of fame. Does this album compare well with their better-known work from their younger years? No, not really, but then perhaps it isn't fair to compare, so let's look at this album on its own. It's fair to say that the band can still play; they were always good musicians. Unfortunately, what I hear here isn't a joyful reunion, but rather a group of solo songs by the band members, thrown together on the same (long) album. The opening track is a suitably raw version of Elvis Costello's "Doll Revolution," which is not one of Costello's best songs, but it's pleasing enough to hear the girls give it a bash. The radio-ready hit "Something That You Said" has the slick hook it needs, but the production kind of lets it down; it lacks crucial punch, and Susanna Hoffs' fine voice sounds muted and restrained. Debbi Petersen's "Stealing Rosemary" is an intersting song after a few listens. Michael Steele's songs are mostly forgettable dark folk numbers. Indeed, after about four tracks I began to tire of the lack of sonic variety and the dry, modern digital sound of it all; I think the producer needed to give it some warmth somehow. So, Bangle fans will be glad the band is back, and they do play well, for a fairly ephemeral offering.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A More Mature & Cohesive Band Returns To The Fold, Nov. 28 2003
By 
Jef Fazekas (Newport Beach, California United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Doll Revolution (W/Bonus Dvd 1 (Audio CD)
I have long thought of the Bangles as a second tier band, sort of the ugly stepsisters to the more enjoyable GoGo's, and nowhere near in the same league as the Cinderella of all groups, Fanny (still the premiere all-female band). I've always liked the group, I just wasn't moved by them. Too much of the time they seemed like four individuals fighting for the solo spotlight, versus a tight, together unit. Well, all that has changed with DOLL REVOLUTION, the new release from 2003's Most Improved act. Tight, cohesive and intelligent, this is a group to be reckoned with. This is clear right from the start; the disc opens with a blistering cover of Elvis Costello's "Tear Off Your Own Head." Susanna Hoff's opening "HEY!" only hints at things to come in the rest of the song...hand claps, a pounding rhythm section, tinkling piano and soaring vocals coalesce, resulting in one of the Bangles' best, hardest rocking songs to date. "Stealing Rosemary" has a rockin', neo-folk vibe to it, while "Something That You Said" has a delicate (yet fresh) techno groove behind it's hushed vocals and tender lyrics. This touching song of true love ("Showing you every weakness and feeling strong for it/I used to run from real love now I long for it/Now I know what I've been missing/Since I've been listening") features an assured lead vocal from Hoffs, probably her best to date. The same could be said about Debbi Peterson and her aching take on "Ask Me No Questions." Gorgeous harmonies round out this beauty. "The Rain Song" has to be one of my favorite tracks. A mid-tempo rocker, it sports a gutsy lead vocal from guitarist Vicki Peterson and smart lyrics ("I don't think about us much anymore/Frankly the topic has become a bore" and "I don't think about us when I'm sleeping/It doesn't even cross my dreamlike mind/And I don't think I see your face through the curtains/Hell, I don't even miss you half the time"). This is an AC hit waiting to happen! Bassist Michael Steele steps into the spotlight and shines on her groovy "Nickel Romeo." This cut is a great example of how much the group has grown into a more unified musical unit. "Ride The Ride" is a rollicking group effort, while "I Will Take Care Of You" is another gentle Hoffs number. "Here Right Now" is a real gem that slowly grew on me. Drummer Debbi Peterson was always kind of "the kid sister who has to be in the band" to me, sort of a female Ringo, but she has SO come into her own on DOLL REVOLUTION, both as a vocalist and lyricist ("In and outta town/Time for you to settle down/Stand back, take a look around you/You're runnin' from the pressures of the restless world/Hush for a moment, baby just be still"). Captivating....simply captivating! From here we segue into another favorite, Vicki Peterson's hauntingly dark "Single By Choice." With it's opening chorus ("Single by choice/Never married, never ever divorced/Listen to the solitary voice/Tell you I'm single by choice"), one might think there's a bitterness to the song, but nothing could be farther from the truth...as you get deeper into the track, you see there's an intelligence and life-experience to it that's missing from much of today's music ("I know what you're thinkin'/She can't be complete/Til the right kind of man/Comes sweep her off her feet/Well I've been there before/Times four, times five/With the right kind of man/Barely made it out alive"). Brava, Ms. Peterson (kind of ironic, though, that Vicki just got engaged)! "Lost At Sea" is another winner from Peterson's baby sister...Debbi once again shines on this heartfelt ballad that builds and soars, with spot-on lyrics that everyone can identify with ("Can we try to salvage what we can/From the weight of water and sand/Lift us up again", "Well,you walk/Never ever looking back/One defends and one attacks/There's a thousand reasons to begin again"). "Song For A Good Son" is a great story-song from Steele. Intense and propulsive, the lyrics are stunningly visual - sort of a mini movie! - and Michael delivers them with conviction and in a strong, authoritative vocal. "Mixed Messages" and "Between The Two" are probably my two least favorite tracks on DOLL REVOLUTION, not because they're bad, just because everything else is so strong. "Mixed Messages" has a nice enough 60's feel to it, while "Between The Two" has a soaring (albeit slightly forced) intensity. The disc closes with the gorgeous "Grateful." Be it an ode to her children or a musical thank-you to her fellow band members for a successful second chance together, the song is delivered from Hoffs' heart and gut. Floating out of your speakers, it makes you thankful for unexpected opportunities and small surprises. Much the same could be said about DOLL REVOLUTION!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Lukewarm, Nov. 28 2003
This review is from: Doll Revolution (W/Bonus Dvd 1 (Audio CD)
The best songs on this record are written by Michael Steele. She is a true artist, with a lot of integrity. She wouldn't write a song just to sell it and she makes no compromises. Unfortunately, she is almost ignored by many Fans and Journalists. Just read the reviews here. She is also a very versatile songwriter and each of her songs has a unique sound, yet she has a distinguishable style.
The Album itself is quite okay, but nothing special. It's certainly not as good as their older records, because there are some forgettable songs on it. "The Rain Song", "Mixed Messages" and even "Here Right Now" just sound the same, I couldn't tell them apart in the first 30 seconds, except for Debbi's and Vicki's voices. No other Bangles Record had so many songs without a specific "personality," this one has three already, which is very sad.
Vicki Peterson was once a great songwriter and "Stealing Rosemary" proves she still is. The two Continental Drifters songs the Bangles covered are lukewarm at best and worse than the originals. What was her point in re-recording something if it isn't better or at least as good as the original? Vicki's "Single by Choice" is quite a good song.
I always thought Debbi Peterson is an underrated songwriter, "Here Right Now" *was* excellent played live, but on this disc it is very bland and doesn't do much, it comes, goes, who cares. On "Lost at Sea" she shows off her great singing, but songwriting-wise it's very formulaic. Maybe, because it was co-written with Susannah Hoffs.
"Something That You Said" is one of the worst songs the Bangles ever recorded. It just screams PLAY ME ON THE RADIO, and is completely compromised. With Big, Fat and Ugly Keyboards right from the start, sterile Drum-loops, it is a song that is recorded to sell records and shows no artistic vision whatsoever. Very alien and commercial. The whole song is almost a clichè Bangle-song, the way an outsider would have written it for them to record. I'm amazed that two band members actually got a hand in the song writing.
"Song For A Good Son" by Michael Steele is just genius, this Woman knows how to touch her listener's hearts. Whenever I listen to it, I find something new and interesting, a detail here, the ticking of a clock there, those screaming guitars in the background and more. She wrote that song on her own and that proves she is just an amazing artist. How sad that most Bangle Fans concentrate on Susannah Hoffs and ignore this great, talented musician. Nickle Romeo and Between the Two are a bit less inventive but great nevertheless.
Susannah's songs are all very boring, she sings an okay-cover version and the other songs are just ballads. While there is much noise about the cover song (written by Elvis Costello) it covers (pun intended) the fact that the Bangles haven't done much with their version. It's just a carbon-copy of the original, with a different sounding singer. That they even use the song title of a cover-tune for the title of the record says a lot about their current state of creativity.
All those Studio-musicians and silly toys like drum-loops are just a waste and didn't add anything to this record. Less would have been more.
I gave that Album three Stars because Michael Steele's songs save it from an abysmal fall into the hell pit of failed comebacks...
My suggestion is: Buy this record for Michael's songs and give the rest a chance too, maybe you will like it. ... The Bangles are still a great band and deserve at least one try by the listener.
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