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on January 12, 2002
I can't stand reading all these negative reviews of this album! First of all, I just got into Morcheeba within the last couple months. I have no idea why it took me so long, but I am SO glad I finally did. I started with Big Calm because everyone said that was the best. I loved it instantly. Every song was catchy. BUT - everyone had said it was an ultra-chillout album, in sort've a trip-hop vein. That's ridiculous. It's a catchy, mostly upbeat album. Which is great - I was just mislead by reviews. So, loving Big Calm, I thought I'd check out Fragments of Freedom, even though it got such horrible reviews. My expectations were low, but upon first listen, I fell absolutely in love with it. I don't know what is wrong with you guys! It's one of the catchiest and most fun albums I've ever heard. EVERY song on it is great (except for the 1 1/2 minute-long Biz Markie song). Many people have said that Fragments is such a huge departure for Morcheeba. Let me just say that they're nuts. After Fragments I bought Who Can You Trust?, and the change in styles was a hundred times more drastic between that (their first) and Big Calm (their second). Take the more upbeat songs from Big Calm, and that's what Fragments is like. They did NOT sell out. They did what they do best. Each Morcheeba album gets better and better. I cannot wait til the next one!
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on August 2, 2000
So Im at the store, the CD in my hot little hand ready to go to check out when in the corner of my eye I see a listening booth where i could have a listen to Fragments - so I think, what the hell. This decision saved me the cost of a brand new cd because what I heard next almost put me into tears. As the reviewer mentioned, listenting track by track to the shallow, disco'ish, Boney M'ish Fragments of Freedom I was really hoping (praying), waiting, that the band would finally let out a great big laugh and say that it was all a big joke and start playing some of the music which this band is brilliantly capable of. This never eventuated. I never bought the CD. Its fair to say I was in mild shock after the final track. Morcheeba knows what they are good at. Their first album 'Who Can You Trust' is an absolute masterpiece and ranks in my top five ALL TIME favourites. So tri-hop might not be fashionalbe but who cares. There are still people that will eat this style up if its done well - and Morcheeba are the kings at this. 'Big Calm' was a move away, with a more commercial approach but they got away with it because the songs were strong, and they still maintained the 'essence' of the band. Listeners knew it was Morcheeba but on Fragmenta they have moved away so far that it really is a different band. Sky's beautiful vocals lose the spotlight, the range of instruments now fight for a voice, when once they all bounced off each other so delicately. The biggest lesson here. A band needs to know what it is that made the fans like them in the first place. If they really, really know this, then they can have the freedom to experiment and develop their music, but they must understand that the elements which represent the 'essence' of the band and their sound need to be maintained from album to album. The fans need to know straight away that they really are listening to Morcheeba and not....... Boney M.
Criticism aside, its just very disappointing.
PS: And yes, I have listened to the entire album later (my friends cd) and my thoughts havent changed.
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on September 6, 2000
Firstly I have to say I am a big Morcheeba fan.I loved the first two albums and was really looking forward to this one after the amazing 'Big Calm'.And I have to say what a terrible dissappointment this c.d. 'Fragments of Freedom' is. The c.d. starts off nicely with an excellent ,smooth,opener-'World Looking In',which is as good as any of their other songs.Then it starts to go downhill with the 2nd song and the first single 'Rome Wasn't Built In A Day'(but this c.d. was probably written in one!).The lyrics on this track are the daftest I've heard in a long while-e.g.'One Fine day, we'll fly away,don't you know Rome wasn't built in a day,Hey,Hey,Hey' -ingenious (It's a real case of 'how do we finish this silly chorus'?)The next 2 tracks are o.k.Trade mark slow paced grooves with a nice mixture of acoustic,electric guitars and on track 4 a nice brass section.Then we have track 5 a dreadful steel drum instrumental which starts off with a dialogue about Florida being hot and violent place. Track 6 takes a sample from Grandmaster Flash-'The Message'-it's not a bad song.Then we have some dreadful songs featuring some weak rap artists-these songs are neither funky or catchy.'Shallow End ' is my 2nd favourite song on the c.d. and it has an excellent disco riff,so currently in vogue.The remaining songs sound like b-side rejects,with nothing particularly good about them. I hope this c.d. is just a temporary abberation for Morcheeba and hopefully the next c.d. will be a big improvement.One final thing is I suppose groups should be admired for trying something new and this c.d. certainly sounds like a group experimenting with a newish sound-but in my opinion they just don't carry it off very well.
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on August 8, 2000
Yeah, it's not Big Calm but if Morcheeba came out with another Big Calm, you would've said, "Aw, they didn't progress at all; they're just using the same formula."
Anyway, it's hard to dismiss an album simply because it may not live up to the expectations of the general public. After I bought the album and listened the first time, I was a bit disappointed, as I am with most new releases. It just takes some time to get used to something new. Shortly afterwards though, upon further listening, I did come to appreciate the musicianship on this album. If this was the first time you'd heard of Morcheeba, it'd be an impressive debut. Fragments of Freedom is definitely more upbeat. The album moves away from the Tricky and Portishead references Morcheeba has been plagued with during their career. The album is upbeat, jovial, and still focused, though slightly scattered. The introduction of horns and Biz Markie are examples of this.
Overall, Fragments is definitely an album worth getting. I don't think you'd be disappointed, unless of course you were expecting a band to recycle their own material. If you like the fact that a band has moved on and is brave enough to move on and support bands who challenge themselves as well as their listeners, then you'll love Fragments.
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on August 3, 2000
Second question: What the hell happened here? Where did Morcheeba go? First off, just so people have a point of reference, I'd give everything Morcheeba has done before this a 5 out of 5. I love it, listen to it constantly, relax to it, etc. etc. etc. I couldn't believe it when I walked into a store the other day and saw a new album sitting there. Usually I know about new stuff from bands I love for weeks or months beforehand. Why hadn't I heard about this? Probably because someone wisely decided to bury it. It's not that it's awful, though most of the lyrics are painful to listen to, it's just not good. I don't think we need an 80's synth-pop tribute album, and that's what this often felt like, with nasty synth cords and bad drum machine pops in the background. And when I heard something I really liked (3-4 times on the album) I was struck by the sudden realization that it was a musical homage to bits of the Beastie Boys Paul's Boutique.
All I ask for from Morcheeba is flowing music, a little mixing it up, and some of the most beautiful vocals known to man. On this album we get none of that. I think there are 2-3 songs where Skye just sings, and because of the awful lyrics they don't transport me like they should.
So to sum up... buy it if you have to have everything (like I do) from a band that you love. But if you don't really care or you're new to Morcheeba... veer off and buy Big Calm.
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on August 7, 2000
I'm only giving this album 3 stars because I think it has potential to grow on me a little. Other wise, I'd say it was a 2. I became a HUGE Morcheeba fan after listening to Who Can You Trust and Big Calm, so I rushed out and bought Fragments as soon as I could. I paid just under $20 for it and am slightly sorry. It is definitely more "up-beat" than their last 2 albums. The dreamy, trippy, psychedelic mood music is not to be found on this album. I don't want to be too harsh on Morcheeba. I believe artists creativity is bound to change and sometimes fans aren't okay with it. I think it is also a matter of personal taste. My best friend LOVES Fragments better than Big Calm (although I think if she does, she hasn't listened to either of them enough) and was truly inspired by some the feel-good lyrics. I must admit, the voice of Skye Edwards is as beautiful as ever on this album. I'm just a little disappointed that I don't like the album as much as the others. I will probably buy any other albums Morcheeba puts out - after I listen to them first.
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on August 26, 2000
I've read some ridiculous reviews, but the things people were saying about this album make me sick. I had never heard of Morcheeba and bought "Fragments of Freedom" on a total whim based on a recommendation from a friend. I haven't heard their previous albums and so have nothing to which I can compare this album. All I can say is for an album I bought on a total whim, I have never been more happy or regretted it less. This album is just funky and fun to listen to and so what if the lyrics aren't Pulitzer Prize-winning feats of complexity? For pete's sake, hasn't anyone heard of fun just for it's own sake? Old school R&B and Funk didn't always have great lyrics, they were just wonderful to dance to! I am going to buy Morcheeba's other albums because I think this album has great grooves and an uplifting vibe. All you old school fans need to chill out! New fans who like funk/disco/old school rap will like this album as long as they can remember not to take themselves too seriously. My favorite tracks: "Let it go", "Love is rare", "World looking in", "In the hands of the gods" and "shallow end."
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on October 12, 2001
Man, i have just got into Morcheeba in the last year, and i was very pleased with 'Big Calm' and 'Who can you trust?' was decent but when i heard that they've released a new cut i was very pleased.
I couldn;t believe what i was listening to when i put this on. Man it is poor. I just about managed to extract three decent tunes from this album, but they only sound decent when played against other tunes on 'fragments of freedom'.
AVOID at all costs, i cannot stress this point more. You are only allowed to not listen to my warning (and about 60 other reviewer's), if this is the first Morcheeba album you've heard or if you like more sophisticated pop. Yes, i hate to admit it but Morcheeba are now a pop band, like ALL SAINTS or SUGABABES.
There is this trend that is really annoying me. Good bands bringing out poor albums, because they want to make more money.
They therefore aim at the pop market and the charts, and so make unimaginative, poor music. This has happened to HOOVERPHONIC'S latest release. Lamb's latest 'What sound' (only available in england for the moment), hasn't turned to pop album, its just poor as is Tricky's 'Pre-millenium Tension'.
I just hope the same won't happen to Portishead (if they ever get around to maing a new album).
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on August 6, 2000
WOW...these other reviews are harsh! This is not the gorgeous trip-hop of Big Calm, and I'm sure the true fans are let down.
Big Calm was one of the best in 1998 and I was hoping for a trip into mellow electronica with those amazing vocals. Instead I recieved a slice of old school funky-plastic pop circa mid 80's! If you're old enough to remember this time, it was a time when music was fun and party soaked. No serious message needed, just the beat! This CD has some pretty silly lyrics - I agree. However, I thought the first Morcheeba had some dumb lyrics such as "tape loop"...gimme a break!
Step outside your box, and give it a try. For anyone under 30, you may need to get some education from your parents on the old school first so you have a complete understanding! Morcheeba give a nod to their past role models such as Grandmaster Flash...what could be more beautiful :) ! Beware though, if you like your music serious and with a point, you will not enjoy this (hence the prior negative reviews). I do hope they return soon with the proper follow-up to Big Calm. For now, I will fully enjoy this one!
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on January 4, 2004
I was perusing my enormous cd collection over the holiday weekend and came across Morcheeba's "Fragments of Freedom" cd. I haven't listened to it in a couple of years. "Fragments of Freedom" is the only Morcheeba cd that I own so I can't compare it to the group's other albums. I honestly didn't think that "Fragments of Freedom" is as bad as a lot of people say that it is. I'm not a big fan of funk music but surprisingly enough I found myself enjoying the group's more funk-laden tracks like "Love is Rare" and "Let It Go". "Fragments of Freedom" is by far not perfect because the way that the songs flow together which is a bit on the choppy side. I mean the first two tracks are gorgeous your traditional icy trip hop songs and then the next two are '70s funk-laden tracks. The fifth track is a dancehall/reggae-influenced track. I thought the various sounds made the album. Overall the sound on the album was uneven. Nevertheless I did like all of the songs despite the fact that they made the album sound very uneven.
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