Tan Dun – Martial Arts Trilogy: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Banquet & Hero (Music from the Soundtracks) (2011)

It’s rare we have a release like this. Tan Dun is a famous Chinese classical composer who features on this album. For anyone who finds Chinese history and culture fascinating, here is a great way to discover some of that, at least musically. It’s a mixture of music from three different Chinese films. Let’s have a listen here to discover some of the great Chinese classical music at hand.

We begin with the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon title track. It has a haunting melody and beautiful Chinese instrumentation at hand. The Shanghai Symphony Orchestra lead on, eventually leading in with violins and other classical instrumentation. It’s so beautiful that you never want to forget this piece. Epic. A nice introduction to this sort of music, it ends sounding glorious.

The next piece The Eternal Vow is a melancholy, yet pacing piece to listen to. It is merely a continuation of what has come before, but sounds so lovely and beautiful that it demands close listening. It is surely one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever made. Terrific stuff.

Silk Road harks back to a traditional sounding piece of music that most westerners would never have the opportunity to hear in their lives. Ladies and gentleman, this is something one should listen to before they die. Chinese classical music is fantastic, and this is no exception.

A Love Before Time is a pacing and lovely sounding tune with English female vocals. It’s different for sure, but sounds fantastic. It takes the main melody from the previous pieces and makes a great song out of it. A good listen, still sounding different from anything else out there.

The next piece, The Banquet – From “The Banquet” is a subtle piano piece with some distant sounding Chinese instrumentation and melodies in the background. Some gospel vocals are here too, it’s a nice sounding instrumental at hand. It changes pace surprisingly towards the end.

After that, we have Waiting – From “The Banquet”. This is a more typical piece that one would find in a movie. It’s a piano and violin piece that soothes the soul. A nice, gentle and understandable listen for this album.

In The Bamboo Forest – From “The Banquet” is a low end piano and percussion piece that goes together well. It is propelled along with a chugging rhythm, and sounds pretty neat. It then has orchestra sections in it as well. Chanted vocals then appear. The percussion then overtakes the listening experience.

Sword Dance – From “The Banquet” is a continuation of the previous piece, yet with a more orchestrated and beautiful classical background that is more traditional of western music. It’s a lovely sounding piece, although short.

The next piece, Only For Love – From “The Banquet” has Chinese singing, which is really beautiful, along with a traditional European sort of classical music setting. It’s an interesting mixture, and is just as good as the other songs here. Nice. It’s soothing and reassuring.

The next piece, Overture, starts off with a Chinese based melody. It then has some traditional Chinese drumming propelling the piece along. It’s not as melancholy as some of the other pieces on this album, at least to begin with, but it still works effectively. It’s a nice listen all the same. Good stuff. More backing gospel harmonies are here, too.

Tan Dun’s most famous piece, For The World, arrives next. It’s a sad and beautiful piece that is extremely moving emotionally. It is a must hear if you enjoy this sort of music, undeniably beautiful. It’s a greatly orchestrated piece of emotion here. Gorgeous.

Sorrow In Desert is a lonely sounding piece that has some prominent drum sounds in it. It’s an image evoking and soundscape sort of piece for listening. Brilliant stuff here, worth a listen.

Farewell, Hero is the last piece on this album. It’s another sad and moving instrumental here. One could even be moved to tears listening to this album, but hey, that is what some of the music here is like. Gospel harmonies and violins are here to be heard.

Although this is merely a film soundtrack, it is definitely worth hearing for something different out there. It’s worth the time, and any Chinese culture fan should take a listen to this. It’s a good representation of these three films set to music.

8/10

The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds (1966)

Silly name aside, this album is one of the greatest pop/rock albums of all time.

Brian Wilson, the genius and main creative force in The Beach Boys took a break from touring due to mental health issues. Whilst the other members of The Beach Boys were touring, he was inspired by The Beatles Rubber Soul album to create this, the best album by the group, and a standout of its time. Let’s listen on and hear what it is like.

We start with Wouldn’t It Be Nice which is a nice whimsical song about loving someone forever. It has some interesting sounds here as well. This is what great music is about, the perfect quest of rhythm and melody into a great song. It’s mint. Just a really great song here.

The next song You Still Believe In Me is a melancholy sort of piece about self-doubt in a relationship. It’s actually better than expected, with some great keyboard songs, and bicycle bells and bicycle horns to boot. This is a really great listen, right here. The harmonies at the end are delicious.

That’s Not Me is about being yourself to a lover. It sounds so brilliantly wonderful and colourful. Is it any surprise the hippie movement dug these sorts of tunes? Everything on this album is done to perfection, no question about it. Even though there is an air of melancholy in the song, it’s great to hear.

Don’t Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder) is a classic tune by The Beach Boys. It’s slow, yet reassuring. It is such a beautiful piece to hear, and it is devoted to a lover. Nowadays, this sort of romanticism is lost on the postmodern music scene. This is great regardless of this fact. Some nice string sections are in the background here as well.

The next song I’m Waiting For The Day is a reflective piece. The sounds on this album are unconventional, with a great variation and structure of the music at hand. It’s good to hear if you are still in love with someone you have not been with for a long time. The song is great as well.

The instrumental piece Let’s Go Away For Awhile is brief, yet beautiful. It has a huge variety of tasty instrumentation here to listen to. It does follow a structure as well. It has sounds you never have really heard before, and that is what makes it seem so wonderful and fresh, even today.

Sloop John B was adapted from a Caribbean song from pre-Great Depression times. It’s a great listen, but the subject matter is very depressing. The song otherwise is fantastic to hear regardless though. It’s a good piece about homesickness and a series of unfortunate events.

God Only Knows is similar thematically to the other songs on the album. It is also one of the most famous and well-known songs by The Beach Boys. It is so beautiful and lush sounding that it is very hard to hear anything that would match this song elsewhere from other groups. A great pop song.

The keyboard and saxophone driven piece I Know There’s An Answer is a plea for being strong in turbulent times. The keyboard drives this one along very well. Brian Wilson is obviously a top notch genius at making music, as on here and other recordings by The Beach Boys will show. It never gets boring at all this record, not for one minute.

The next song is about having an affair. Here Today makes caution about being this way. It’s a really enjoyable listen. Considering that divorce rates are as common as Facebook accounts these days, this is a must listen for those who are cautious about these things. It had some interesting intertwined melodies here as well.

I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times is a sort of reflection about being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Again, despite the misery of the lyrics, we hear a varied, well-structured and lush musical backdrop to hear. It sounds audibly delicious, a nice sounding song, and album for the matter. There are some theremin sounds in it as well, now that is rare.

Pet Sounds, the title track, is another awesome sounding instrumental. It sounds sonically great. There are some weird and wacky sounds that are beautiful in this album to hear. A nice break from the other songs, and it is definitely worth a listen.

The last song Caroline, No was actually about a high school crush of Brian Wilson’s when he was younger. It has harpsichord, saxophone, tom-tom percussion and other wonderful instruments here. It sounds deep and meaningful, for this great piece of music. As it fades out, we hear a train rushing past us and dogs barking as we finish this truly great album.

This is a stone cold classic album. There is nothing like this in the history of music. Everything about this is very much near perfection. It was critically acclaimed and directly inspired The Beatles album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. You should listen to this if you haven’t already, it’s funtastic.

9/10

The Beatles – The Beatles (1968)

After the death of their own manager, Brian Epstein, The Beatles began to fall apart. There were many reasons why this was so, but their manager’s passing began this process. Sadly, The Beatles struggled to be cohesive as musicians together from then on in.

This album was intended to be completely different from the previous two albums released in 1967. It sounds like it as well. Sadly, it is not the best album that The Beatles ever did. There are great moments here though, so let’s examine this album, track by track.

We begin with Back in the U.S.S.R. which is a comical story of sexual romping. It’s a controversial topic about loving Russian girls. Airplane sounds are everywhere, and some really great guitar playing is here. It’s an interesting piece to kick off an album with. Nice job by the group.

The next song, Dear Prudence, is a gentle acoustic driven piece by John Lennon. The harmonies here are just fantastic to hear on this song. A good effort here, worth a listen. Some great lyrics are here too.

Glass Onion is John Lennon referencing a load of songs done previously by The Beatles. It’s lyrically a weak effort, even though the melody and instrumentation beg to differ here. It’s okay a listen, perhaps alluding to Alice In Wonderland? It’s a good, not great song though. The outro is very discordant.

Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da is truly a nonsensical piece from Paul McCartney. It’s difficult to tell what the meaning of this song is, although he sings about a family sort of situation. It hasn’t dated that well, but it’s enjoyable.

The short and random Wild Honey Pie is a great interlude in between songs. It sounds odd, as it is supposed to be. It’s over before you know it though.

The next song The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill is rather an uninspired story about which references Captain Marvel, and has kids singing in the background. It could have been reworked a bit, but it’s still listenable, despite it need some editing here.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps is a solid piece by George Harrison which features Eric Clapton playing a Gibson Les Paul. There is some story behind that. The song itself is actually very good, it’s a shining moment on the album. Good stuff.

Happiness Is A Warm Gun is a psychedelic piece with some additional twists and turns. It’s a good piece in terms of structure, and is a John Lennon classic. It talks about having a fix (of Heroin likely) and said warm gun, which is likely about love. A good listen.

The Paul McCartney piece Martha My Dear is lovely sounding. It’s a nice piece about a girl that Paul is singing about. A good song, even though it is familiar territory by The Beatles here. The orchestration in the background is a nice touch to the song.

The John Lennon piece I’m So Tired is about that particular feeling one gets when insomnia is experienced. It also refers to attempting to rectify a love based situation as well. It’s a better effort by John Lennon here on this album.

Blackbird is a great acoustic piece. It is so pure, simple and well done that it is a highlight of the album. You can hear foot tapping away in the background and the singing is fantastic here. A must listen. The bird chirping in the background is great too.

Piggies is a political song, if you know what it is about. It’s a good piece about the dog-eat-dog nature of Capitalism towards the rest of humanity. Hence the song title. It’s a really good listen. If you research this song on the internet, you’ll find something freaky about the history of this song.

The follow up Rocky Racoon is pretty ordinary. It sounds like a child’s story tale set to music, but seems a little weaker in relation to the other songs on the album. It just is disappointing in some respects. It’s still worth listening, but not by a great deal.

The Ringo Starr song Don’t Pass Me By is well written, but the fiddle is annoying and not really necessary. The rest of the song is decent but is fairly forgettable really. Goes on for too long as well.

Why Don’t We Do It In The Road? is filler. It could have been easily scrapped, but probably not really necessary. It’s a bit different to what the previous songs have been like, fortunately. Chugging piano and Paul’s singing drives this one on.

I Will is a refreshing break from the mediocrity of the previous few songs. It’s a nice love song about being devoted in love. This should be a great song for a good band to cover at some point. A nice, kind and gentle song.

The last song of side one, Julia, is a John Lennon ode to his own mother, who was tragically killed when he was younger. A nice and solid piece from John Lennon. Simply powerful here. The lyrics are fantastic for this song. Very, very good.

The song Birthday is an uptempo piece about the said topic. It’s better than lame Happy Birthday singing for sure, and is fast and pacing with some very good guitar work here. This puts us into a better listen so far on side two of this double album. Good work.

Yer Blues is supposed to be a blues parody. It does sound like a rather poor quality blues number here. It does have some great lyrics in the bridge, but once again, could be better done for sure. It’s a drag to listen to.

Mother Nature’s Son is a better effort and has some nice acoustic guitar and orchestrated accompaniment in the background. Foot tapping is here again as well. It’s a beautiful piece, one of the better ones on side two for sure. Paul McCartney does this very well here.

The weird song Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except For Me and My Monkey is a random piece. It’s enjoyable, but rather trashy. It’s worth listening to anyway, but lyrically isn’t inspiring.

The song Sexy Sadie is a great sort of tale about said woman who John Lennon lusts after. Fictionally of course. It is actually well written and there is some great piano work here, which Radiohead were inspired to write Karma Police from. But that song is completely different to this one, it’s a nice number here.

Helter Skelter is a proto hard rock/heavy metal piece. It’s not quite that, but sounds fantastic compared to everything else on this double album. It just kicks ass. Everything about it, from Paul’s singing to the harmonies and drumming, is just spot on. A must listen for anyone who wants a reference point for heavier rock and roll. It’s an extended piece with many twists and turns. The ending is fantastic.

Long, Long, Long is a subdued piece compared to what was offered previously. It works very well here. It’s an acoustic and organ keyboard based number with very quiet and subtle singing. Maybe Miles Davis got the idea for his album In A Silent Way from here? But it’s a good listen. The ending is different, too.

The directly political Revolution 1 is an interesting one. It’s one of the highlights of the album, and has some very decent lyrics in it. “If you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, you ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow,” is a great line, for example. It rocks very well, and is worth listening to for sure. Catchy too. It cautions about any sort of political revolutions of any sort, brilliant.

The next song Honey Pie is very much an old fashioned piece by Paul which harks back to pre-1960’s jazz and big band music. If you are a fan of this sort of thing, you may enjoy this one. It’s not outstanding, but still, it’s okay. The lyrics are very whimsical.

Savoy Truffle is a rather silly piece about food and the experience of different tasting desserts. It’s a foodie anthem that is quite catchy. Good work from George Harrison. The brass section here is great.

Cry Baby Cry is a nice childlike song with some psychedelic lyrics for us to hear. It refers to a medieval setting with kings, queens and other noble like characters. Simple and effectively done, the calm before the storm here.

The extended piece Revolution 9 is a weird one. It harks back to John Lennon’s experiments on his own experimental albums done around this time with Yoko Ono. It sounds like a strange LSD trip, and is not really necessary here. Sure, it is well pieced together. But it isn’t needed here at all. Only worth listening to once for most people here.

We finally finish here with the beautiful ballad Good Night. It’s a good way to finish off this album. It’s another childlike lullaby here. Good stuff.

This album is a big mish-mash of things. Unfortunately, it is not as good a listen as the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band or Abbey Road albums. Still worth having in your collection as a history based record, but even then, this could have been bettered.

7/10

Cream – Disraeli Gears (1967)

The late 1960’s was a very interesting time for music. Psychedelia was in fashion, but then again even if that weren’t so, great records were being made.

This is often considered Cream’s best album. It probably is not as good as Fresh Cream. But hey, it still rocks well. Let’s have a listen, track by track. It’s trippy for sure.

Strange Brew kicks off the album. It’s an ode to dangerous drugs right from the outset. It has some proto Black Sabbath style riffs and psychedelic imagery in it. It’s a good starting point, the band sound top here. It’s a great start to a great album. Very enjoyable.

Sunshine Of Your Love was likely written for and inspired by Jimi Hendrix, who was one of their contemporaries. Funnily enough, Hendrix loved this song and covered it live from time to time. It’s a terrific tune, and we go into interstellar overdrive with this number. It’s the best song from the album, and a great listen as well. The solos here are fantastic, typical Eric Clapton goodness.

The more modest piece, World Of Pain, actually is a lot more cheerful than you’d expect. It talks about difficult emotions, yet is just simply a solid piece on the album. It sounds so mellow that it is essential listening. Good wah-wah guitar is here, too. It’s a nice tune.

The next song, Dance The Night Away, continues our surreal adventure into a fantasy based world. It’s different, and still very very good. Jack Bruce’s subtle singing is fantastic, better than belting out the lyrics too harshly or loudly. He just sings – and this song is one of his best examples of singing here.

Blue Condition is a riff driven piece that has piano in the background of the song. It’s a nice piece about being blue. Despite the troubled emotions in the lyrics, the band sounds really happy to play these songs. A little strange, but fortunately it is another good song to hear. Ear candy.

Tales of Brave Ulysses is the most psychedelic piece out there on this album. It is so tripped out lyrically especially, that one cannot help but think the amount of drugs these guys consumed. In other words, a lot of drugs. “Tiny purple fishes, run laughing through your fingers…” is a totally great example of these tripped out lyrics. A great effort indeed.

The next song, SWLABR is a nonsensical piece that sounds rather bluesy and complex structurally and musically. It’s a good listen and although seemingly is more of the same, it is not in any way inconsistent or unlovable. All these songs are great here on this album.

The follow up We’re Going Wrong is a subtle and interesting piece to follow onto. Some brilliant tom-tom drumming by Ginger Baker is here. All three members of Cream excel fantastically at their craft here. It’s a great listen about love lost. Nice. The interplay between the vocals and guitar is nice here.

Outside Woman Blues is about the nasty topic of cheating partners. It’s not an easy subject to talk about. But it’s a great listen here, and indeed a subtle reminder of what damage cheating actually does. Of course, divorce rates were much lower in those days. But still, the sentiment remains the same here. A good little blues number here.

Take It Back sounds rather country-esque. It shows the band had many influences in their work. It’s a cheerful number with some harmonica here as well. This album is very enjoyable listening, and this song is no different whatsoever. It’s a dance-able and fun piece here.

The last piece, Mother’s Lament is a cynical satire about a mother and her malnourished infant. It’s simply taking the mickey out of those who have large families. There is just singing and piano here. We end this album feeling satisfied and happy with our listen.

This was Cream’s greatest commercial success as an album. It sold well and took the band into the history books. Unfortunately, Eric Clapton and the others in the group fought fairly frequently, causing Clapton to eventually leave the group in search of a new sound. Despite all that, this is a fine album to listen to.

Short and sweet.

8/10

Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)

It was a strange time for music. The mid 1970’s was all about progressive rock. This was both positive and negative at the time. Of course, Pink Floyd took notice and crafted a more progressive rock style into their music. This album is proof of that.

It’s actually devoted to Syd Barrett, their original guitarist and songwriter. Apparently after recording The Dark Side Of The Moon, Pink Floyd were stumped to know where to go musically. Memories of their old band mate inspired this album’s material. Ironically Syd himself walked into the studio when the band were recording the Shine On You Crazy Diamond parts. How sad and strange…

That being said, this is a superb listen. Let’s dive in and have a listen to the album.

We begin with Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Pts. 1-5) which has ethereal sounds, a keyboard based flute and the feeling that we are going to be transported into something really great here. The lonely flute melody sticks out, it’s not a fast track, and it never was intentionally so. Some trippy keyboard sounds back up this part of this song. David Gilmour’s Fender Stratocaster then enters. My God, it’s good. His playing sounds fantastic here. The sound is nice and bright. Mysteriously, the sound almost fades into oblivion, before we hear THAT four note guitar figure, which sounds ghostly. Nick Mason and the others come into play afterwards, driving the song rhythmically. The song just flows and evolves here. It sounds mega emotional, even though there are no lyrics here just yet. The sound slows down once more, just before going uptempo again. Pink Floyd sound like a solidly united musical front here, not willing to back down for anyone or anything. Then Roger Waters finally starts singing the chorus, and goodness, it is mind blowing. A nice development of things, clearly being about Syd Barrett. It’s a lament for their lost band member, and the performance here is fantastic. After all this, we have Dick Parry playing a beautiful saxophone solo and some trippy and interesting guitar parts in the background. The song then fades out gracefully and nicely as well, before we jump into the next piece on the album.

The next song Welcome To The Machine begins with some mechanical noises, before launching into an acoustic number about railing against the record industry. It’s easily the weakest song on the album, and even then it’s worth a listen. Some brilliant playing is here, Pink Floyd had no equals with the sort of music that they were making in this era. It’s more a sonic journey this one, but hey, Pink Floyd were experts at this sort of thing. After more Theremin like noises, the song ending is rather strange. Without spoiling it, it is worth following along for the listen.

Have A Cigar is a very funky piece again about the trappings of the music industry. It is musically better than the previous song, with a friend of theirs (Roy Harper) singing this song. There are many descriptions of the nasty business of the album based record industry of the time: “And did we tell you the name of the game, boy? We call it riding the gravy train…” Obviously Roger Waters was fed up of being prodded by record executives to sell more records. Indeed, this is true of many rock bands, why sell out to compromise artistic integrity? There is no point, but the funky guitar solo at the end rocks hard, segueing into the next song.

Wish You Were Here is a sad acoustic ballad about missing someone who you have not seen in a very long time. It may or may not be specifically about Syd Barrett, but is likely so. It’s a great radio ready number for the masses. It uses a comparative analysis to observe different situations at hand. The slide guitar and melodies here are beautiful, a very nice song indeed. The wind blows this track away at the end, before we enter into the next piece.

The next piece, Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Pts. 6-9) revisits the first part of the album, just in a very different way. We have some different keyboard and guitar based melodies here this time, whilst still keeping the theme of the album going. It is very well structured here. It then suddenly burst into a shuffle sort of groove based section here, before leading us back into the main melody of the song. It sounds a bit more messy a mix than the first sections of this song, but it is intended to be so. High pitched keyboard sounds propel this number along. We then go back to David Gilmour’s stunning guitar parts, and Roger Waters sings about the long lost Syd Barrett legend that the band dearly missed. The backing vocals are mint here as well. The whole piece is thoroughly consistent throughout. The trippy riff comes in after the singing is complete, and then we finalise our musical trip with a beautiful, almost jazzy section to boot. The keyboard brings a groove based piece to light with more funky, quacky sounding guitar playing. We then return to familiar territory with the ethereal keyboard sound, and lastly enter the final, very relaxing section of this song. After some gentle music, we conclude the album here, feeling very satisfied.

This album is just as good as Dark Side Of The Moon, although not as popular. It should be essential listening for Pink Floyd fans though. A very decent and overall excellent musical accomplishment. Pink Floyd were at their best with Dark Side Of The Moon and Wish You Were Here. It’s a great listen here, don’t miss it.

9/10

The Verve – Urban Hymns (1997)

This is it, ladies and gentleman. The greatest of them all. It’s a musical nirvana here, and no, we are not talking about Kurt Cobain either.

This possibly could be the greatest album ever, or at least in the author’s opinion here. The reason? It’s the most positive and bold statement out there from an artist in all history. Yes, we are talking from classical music onto today’s postmodern 21st century offerings. It’s just great. So, here we go, let’s observe this, track by track.

The most famous song from here begins this album. Bittersweet Symphony is no doubt a great tune from the word go. It has a beautiful string section and pounding drumbeats, before launching into modern poetry about the beauty in life. Literally. Some great and memorable lyrics are here, concluding by saying: “I’ll take you down the only road I’ve ever been down…” A truly great piece of music. It sounds semi psychedelic too. London was swinging again in the 1990’s for sure.

The next song is so wonderful. Sonnet is just that, modern day English poetry. It has some lyrics which are so inspired. “Eyes open wide, looking at the heavens with a tear in my eye.” It’s a very nice piece indeed. Great to listen to as well. The album sounds so well produced and mixed, a good example is this song.

The Rolling People is a psychedelic and hard rocking number. The lyrics here are really trippy and interesting. Guitarist Nick McCabe does really well here, showing that despite the tensions in the band, he could do an excellent job at artistry. The whole band pulls this off fantastically. A great job here, never a dull moment in the whole seven plus minutes or so that this goes on. A great piece. The outro is out there in terms of sonic production.

The Drugs Don’t Work is a sad lament about Richard Ashcroft’s father dying. It still sounds great, and was a hit single. But, all the same, it’s a melancholy piece about that subject. It’s a nice piece about losing a loved one, and has a beautiful string section to boot. Nice work here.

The next piece, the wah-wah and feedback heavy looped guitar parts of Catching The Butterfly arrives and we are dazzled as a result. It’s a great piece that has some great drumming in it, too. It has some artistic lyrics in it too, “In my lucid dreams”. Boy, can these guys make music! The band does very well here.

The brief glimpse of an urban trip Neon Wilderness arrives. It’s a short trip into oblivion with some great sound effects and heavily drug influenced lyrics. It’s a nice addition to the album, although not the best song on it. It’s still very good listening though. The harmonies are great here.

Space And Time is a beautiful piece. It combines destiny with love, and is so reassuring sounding that it makes you want more from the group. Richard Ashcroft pleads that he cannot make it alone, and has some romantic sensibilities in the music here at hand. It just sounds wonderful. A great tune.

Weeping Willow is a trippy song. It is much more rhythmic based than previous songs, and just seems a little weaker than the other songs. But, it is still a powerful statement nonetheless. It has some deep introspection here, mind you. “I hope you see what I see, I hope you feel what I feel…” It’s a great statement from Richard Ashcroft, with drug references towards the end. Like you noticed though.

The next song is so beautiful and wonderful, you will be dazzled in awe. Lucky Man should be a depression killer for anyone going through struggles. If you ever listen to this piece, consider yourself lucky. It’s an audio treat for everyone to hear. Brilliant. “I hope you understand,” sings Richard Ashcroft. We sure do on this record. It will bring tears of happiness to your eyes.

The slow ballad One Day is surreal and impressionistic in its approach. It’s another great piece to sink your teeth into. Some melodic riffs and Richard Ashcroft’s simple singing drive this piece along very well. It some ways it talks about personal sacrifice for happiness. But the song sounds so cheerful that it is a great listen indeed. There are repeated lyrics are here towards the end, giving the song emphasis. Another good song by The Verve.

This Time is a great melodic and wah-wah pedal based piece with melodies that are unforgettable. It’s about making things happen in life, and Nick McCabe’s playing on the guitar will inspire you to take your own musical interests further. It’s a great number here, and like all the others on the album, a great listen. There are some great arrangements here on this song for sure.

Velvet Morning is a super trippy piece with some subtle slide guitar as well. Sounding like a million dollars, it’s a drug influenced trip that will take you into the next dimension of music listening. It just works so well, along with all the other cuts on the album. The string section here is beautiful too. A nice effort by the group.

The last track is the Come On/Deep Freeze hybrid.

The former is a great jam based tune with great bassline and guitar parts to boot. It’s unlikely we have ever had something so good in musical history for a simple jam. Still, it sounds musically accomplished and thorough here. Even after the majority of the singing concludes, the jam breaks down musical barriers for us to enjoy. Brilliant.

After several minutes of silence, we have the interesting second part of the hybrid, which is a montage of excellent sounds. It sounds intellectually well thought out, and we finish the album here.

This album is damn near perfection, at least musically. Anybody who had a glimpse into the music of Britpop in the 1990’s, or who may just want a great positive spin on life musically should check out this album. It’s really that good. Fans should check out the deluxe remastered re-releases with loads of extra tracks, rarities and goodies on them.

An awesome listen.

10/10

The Prodigy – Music For The Jilted Generation (1994)

The Prodigy broke free of the old UK Hardcore scene that they were a large part of, with this album. It’s also a very good EDM album, and has aged very well and has its own sound. Let’s dive in and have a listen to this masterpiece. It’s also a semi political album as well.

We begin with the dark sounding Intro with a typewriter and some dark sounding electronic textures. It’s a great piece to hear, short and interesting.

The first tune is Break & Enter. It’s an excellent introduction to the album, with the sound of glass smashing and a dirty, dark electronic riff. This album is completely different to the previous album by The Prodigy and kicks ass. The beats are bigger, the textures are more unique and the breakdowns are intense. This piece in particular sounds dark and eerie. A great piece, even though it goes well over five minutes. A must listen.

Their Law (feat. Pop Will Eat Itself) is the best electronic political piece you will ever hear. It has drum and bass style breakbeats, chugging metal guitars and that refrain, “Fuck ’em and their law!”. It is definitely a political piece, although main man Liam Howlett denies this. The UK Conservative government implement a law around this time preventing underground raves and parties from occurring, and The Prodigy reacted very well in this respect. A classic tune.

Full Throttle is a more upbeat and textured piece that sounds mega. It contains some truly great samples and instrumentation. The laughter is actually sampled from the original Star Wars movies (it’s Emperor Palpatine laughing). The piano is a wonderful riff throughout and it’s never a dull listen. Truly great, maybe some of today’s EDM artists can take note of pieces like this more often? We hope so.

The hit single Voodoo People actually has the Very Ape Nirvana riff, but like people really recognised that. The piece is great though. Some great breakbeats and samples here brought this song into the charts. It’s awesome, and a trip as well. A must listen for fans of The Prodigy. It’s another rather long piece, but never dull for a moment.

The next piece, Speedway (From Fastlane) is a great piece designed for high speed driving. It has some wicked sounds in it, mainly car sort of noises. There are more pounding beats, plenty of acid squelches and science fiction sort of sounds. The breakdowns are intense, and this album is very consistent throughout. A great job here done by Liam Howlett. It sounds urgent all the way through.

The Heat (The Energy) is a good piece to return us back to more ambient style sounds here. It’s a really intelligent sort of album this one, with twists and turns you’d never expect. Case in point, tunes like this. There are liquid and surreal sounds throughout, a great listen. It then morphs into a good dance tune. A great listen all the way through.

Poison was a big hit. It begins with cocaine being chopped up by Liam Howlett. Yes, really. It then kicks off as a killer EDM classic. This may be even the best piece off the album. It was designed to be a punchy, slower than drum and bass sort of thing. It works well and the sampled phrases and the beats just make this a classic tune. Mint. The Prodigy really come into their own here.

The next tune is an older one from this era, but it’s great. No Good (Start The Dance) is a great piece which is a transitional piece between the first two albums by The Prodigy. It’s a very good piece indeed, and sounds killer. It has some great sound effects here, and is fast and pacing. Nice effort here. It sounds a little cheesy and dated, but so what? It’s a good listen.

Following up is One Love (Edit) which is a good tune, although the vocals at the start are super annoying. But then it gets 10 times better, with some likely drug influenced acid noises and pounding beats. Proves that even a bad sounding tune at the start can get better over time. Unfortunately the vocal samples ruin this piece as it is reoccurring.

The Narcotic Suite:

3 Kilos begins this three piece song kit without any vocal samples. But it’s mega. It’s sounds like the song was done under the influence of a lot of drugs. It’s a chill piece with flute and other great melodies in it. A more kind sounding piece than the stuff beforehand. It ends with some strange sound effects, including some frequency modified sounding wind. Excellent.

Skylined is a more concise piece from Liam Howlett’s brain and sounds much more exciting in general. It’s a non vocal piece again, but has some reassuring melodies within. It slowly builds and releases, a bit of a proto Narayan here. It transforms from structure to structure and just sounds epic. A good listen. It ends with crashing waves before entering the last piece on this album.

The last piece of the suite and album, Claustrophobic Sting, begins with creepy laughter and launches into a great sonic based and textured piece, with some really great samples here. Definitely worth listening if you can hear it. It has a vocal sample, “My mind is glowing!” which makes it seem partially psychedelic. A great tune, and we finish the album after this seven minute track.

This album brought The Prodigy closer to the mainstream of music, and gave them the success that they deserved. It’s probably better and worth more of your time than The Fat Of The Land. If you want to hear some darker EDM and want a good starting place for it, here will do. Try the More Music For The Jilted Generation if you can, a re-release with some extra goodies with this album too.

9/10