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The Understanding Import

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 12 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Wall of Sound
  • ASIN: B0009RQRP6
  • In-Print Editions: Audio CD  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
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1. Triumphant
2. Only This Moment
3. 49 Percent
4. Sombre Detune
5. Follow My Ruin
6. Beautiful Day Without You
7. What Else Is There?
8. Circuit Breaker
9. Alpha Male
10. Someone Like Me
11. Dead To The World
12. Tristesse Globale

Product Description

One of the most beloved and best selling artists in the electronic genre, Royksopp returns with this highly anticipated 2nd album The Understanding. Combining lush atmospherics with swoonworthy pop, the Norwegian duo deliver a delectable follow-up to their worldwide hit Melody AM. Contains 12 total tracks. Astralwerks. 2005.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Why this album gets slammed by so many is a mystery for the ages. Everyone seems to make these odd comments about Melody AM being the better album. Strange. Yes, Melody AM is a good record. There are about 4 REALLY beautiful tracks on there and a bunch of pretty filler. It's flaw is that it's so "loop based". This is a sound that went out when Moby's "Play" finally died (another great but now dated release). With The Understanding, Royksopp have released two of the finest electronic laptop tracks EVER created. Only This Moment and Beautiful Day Without You. These tracks alone have been played in my car or home stereo (without exageration) at LEAST 200 times or more since buying this CD. Being as old as I am (38), I figured that my "all time favorite" songs were pretty much wrapped up with songs like "Alison" by Slowdive, or, "Nowhere Man" by the Beatles being the top two since forever. Then The Understanding arrived... To be fair, it's ONLY flaw is the half baked Alpha Male (the only filler on the record). The rest of the album is, to use a rather cheezy expression, "all killer - no filler".

Maybe it's the producer in me that appreciates just how complex these tracks are. In "Only This Moment" alone, there is more going on than 99% of pop records today COMBINED!

All I can say is, THANK GOD we got away from the loop based stuff before we all died from it. That being said, I would rank the top three laptop albums of all time (so far) as follows: 1)The Understanding, 2)Angel Milk by Telepopmusik (their first album "Genetic World" was three great tracks and a bunch of throw away stuff), and 3) Out Of The Loop by I Am the World Trade Center (a loop based album, ironically)...

Royksopp's "The Understanding" is a 8 out of 5 star album (it's docked two for Alpha Male being SUCH a waste of time, and for the last two tracks being so similar with no real beats. Just bad song placement, really).
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Format: Audio CD
This is a decent album on its own, but it's very disappointing as a follow up to one the greatest electronic albums of the new millenium. Half the the tracks sound like Erasure, while the other half sound like latter-day Alan Parsons Project. None of the tracks have the transporting quality of the best songs on Melody A.M.
The less said about 49%, the better. My Lord! NSync would be hard pressed to write something that insipid.
2 stars, 3 stars if you rip it into MP3s and delete 49%
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.8 out of 5 stars 65 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars batting a thousand so far... April 24 2008
By Firefly - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I guess I must be batting a thousand right now. It seems that every CD I buy I can't put it down, and this one is no different. I heard "Melody A.M." and I thought it was okay. But after hearing "The Understanding" I realized that we (Royksopp & myself) did in fact have an understanding. They keep making music that I enjoy listening to and I'll keep buying it. Though there are a few songs that I don't jump up and down for (true of all music) this CD is very pleasant to listen to, at home, in the car, or from my LG Voyager phone. I love "Only This Moment", Sombre Detune" and "Follow My Ruin". But my two absolute favorites are "Beautiful Day Without You" and "Someone Like Me" whose lyrics remind me of why I'm still insanely in love with my wife. What are the odds?
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Cruising Music Aug. 6 2016
By Emmett1909 - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Understanding and then some
4.0 out of 5 stars good snack for hungry ears May 22 2009
By East Bay Dave - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
made popular by geico. good hooks and beats. unique vocal styles and good songwriting. other albums are tolerable as well. just another european artist/duo/group continuing to ejaculate musical spunk into our u.s.a. next thing you know, we'll have a black commander-in-chief.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars IT'S NO MELODY AM, NOT BY A LONGSHOT, BUT GOOD. April 13 2007
By Tony T - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Let me start by saying that I really wanted to give the album a 3 1/2, but whatever. Now, I'm sure I'm not going to say anything new that the previous 50-something reviews haven't already, but as I'm a new fan of Royksopp, I feel that maybe I might not be as biased as the long term fans. I'll admit that until I saw the Geico commercial, I never knew Royksopp existed. Hate me now long time fans; I care not in the least. Anyway, I think I purchased Melody AM about 2 or so months prior to The Understanding and was floored by it-ABSO-FREAKING-LUTELY FLOORED. So naturally I was going to grab The Understanding (although I'll confess, that I put off buying The Understanding for months because I wanted to hear Melody AM first).

Well, The Understanding...takes some understanding. After Melody AM, you wonder "Why the heck did they go in this direction?" You may feel like they spit in your eye with this one. I guess it takes an open mind. If you're the type of person who enjoys many genres, I can't see why you wouldn't like at least half of this album. I liked "Only This Moment" the moment I heard it; the vocals work so well together and it makes me feel...I don't know...hopeful or something (corny, I know). "Circuit Breaker" is funky and I like its energy, much like "49 Percent". "49 Percent" is my tie for fave with "Only This Moment". "Alphamale" does nothing for me, personally. "What Else Is There" was hard for me to swallow at first, but then it grew on me. It has a sort of desolate, macabre feel to it for me...I can imagine being in a desert at night, full of hallucinogenes and feeling insignificant against nature when I listen to it...and the chick singing really sounds a lot like Cindy Lauper, though not as eccentric. I feel that if you're truly a lover of music, you'll at least like this CD.

I noticed reviewers saying things like "I liked this until I heard it in Electronics Boutique" or "I loved it until it went mainstream." I really hate when people say things like "I loved this until it became mainstream," or "I wish everyone else would stay away from my genre of music." Good music is good music and no one has the right to try to horde music like some stingy troll or rancid dragon hording a stolen treasure. Personally, I feel that if you can't like something simply because other people like it or "play it out" then you're just a fickle supporter at best.

That being said, The Understanding doesn't compare to Melody AM, regardless of how aware I am of the different paths the two CDs follow. You won't suffer a great loss if you don't pick it up, like you would if you ignored Melody AM...but you won't be buying the worst CD on the planet if you get it. I don't know if that helps much, but there it is.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Smooth and introverted, but pleasant July 14 2005
By majorka - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I've had this record for several weeks since it was released earlier here in the US, so I've had a while to get used to it. And this is the kind of record that takes a few listens.

Reviewers here in the newspapers have rated this record usually at 4/6, with the occasional 5/6. The album has a very different feel to it compared to "Melody AM", so it's clear that some old fans might be dissappointed. But it's nothing like Abba, A-ha or Erasure, like some of the reviewers here have suggested.

If you prefer your Ambient to be mega-groovy or edgy, then look elsewhere! This album starts with it's livelier tracks and then gets gradually more and more introverted. Even though some of the later tracks have beats, their mood is mostly softer than the starting tracks.

Also, some tracks, especially 49%, can be experienced as poppy in a "camp" way - but it still is defintely not Erasure! However, it's also a catchy tune, so it depends on your taste.

Although Erlend Øye does not sing on this album I'd say that Röyksopps musical kinship with bands like Kings of Convenience grows with this album - more focus on sensitivity and quiet expressiveness, except accompanied by electronic beats, not guitars. The main male vocalist sings in a soft, muted way, and sometimes uses the upper part of his tenor range (but it's not a falsetto), which I think is what some other reviewers didn't like....The sound itself is a matter of taste, but there is nothing wrong with the vocals - he does a very good job. (And 49% has a guest vocalist whose voice is even higher pitched).

Compared to Melody AM, I'd say this album relates to it's dreamier tracks like "Sparks" and "Remind me", so if you liked those you should try the new album, but if you favourite was "Eple", then don't expect to find anything like it on here. It also does not have quite the same sparkle of originality that "Melody AM" had, but it's hard to perform like that twice in a row! Röyksopp have clearly expanded their range, and developer a slightly richer sound, which is why this album deserves a thorough listen before writing a review - and can probably stand many more listens once you own it better than albums which have a more immediate appeal.

My favourite tracks are "Only this moment" - the single they have released, "Someone like me", "Sombre detune", "Beautiful Day without You" (all these are clearly related to Röysopp of old), and "Triumphant" could have been written by Moby with the prominent piano theme.

I was also lucky enough to get a bonus disc with an additional five tracks which are also definitely worth having! "Go Away" has beats and flutes like the some of the best of the Melody AM tracks - it also has vocals. "Clean sweep" has one of these edgy, outer space feels, which you can't find on the album itself. "Boys" is also darker and edgier. "Head" is definitely danceable with emphasis on the changing beats. "Looser now" has a compelling, lightly danceable "flyaway" rhythm a la Talvin Singh - I don't think there is a real tabla here but they do imitate the sound of one.

I wonder if they made the wrong decision when they edited the album: These five tracks should have been on it, and some of the most obviously camp stuff which got a place should have been left out. But I guess they wanted to prioritize reinventing themselves....

Nevertheless "The Understanding" is a thoroughly pleasant listen and is highly recommendable, but especially WITH the bonus disc!