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Norman Brown - Celebration (1999)

Track list :
  1. Out'a Nowhere 4:52
  2. Together At Last 5:05
  3. Paradise 4:26
  4. You Make Me Feel Brand New 5:45
  5. Celebration 4:23
  6. Getting By 4:54
  7. Rain 4:14
  8. Never Again 4:39
  9. Breaking Out 5:21
  10. It's Time For Love 4:37
  11. Stay Strong 4:42
  12. Rain (Remix)
Brown is an urban jazz guitarist/vocalist with a sound similar to George Benson's. You've heard his music on the Weather Channel. (Is that a compliment or an insult?) He's got a good tone and he's a pretty good writer, so that puts him ahead of many artists in the field. One thing I've noticed that distinguishes him from most guitarists is that, when he solos, he uses the full range of the instrument, not just the upper register.

Tracks: For smooth background music, all the tracks serve their purpose well. There's a unnecessary cover of The Stylistic's You Make Me Feel Brand New which adds nothing to the soulful original. The beautiful ballad Rain is almost ruined by the unusual, distracting electronic percussion track. Still, there aren't any tracks that I want to skip. In fact, I'm usually pleased when a Norman Brown cut comes up during an iTunes shuffle on the work computer.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: I bought this used at the Hastings in Nac not long after moving. It most likely provided background music while I finished up my dissertation in '06.

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Sting - Ten Summoner's Tales (1993)

Track listing :

All songs written by Sting except where noted.

1. "Prologue (If I Ever Lose My Faith in You)" – 4:30
2. "Love Is Stronger Than Justice (The Munificent Seven)" – 5:11
3. "Fields of Gold" – 3:42
4. "Heavy Cloud No Rain" – 3:39
5. "She's Too Good for Me" – 2:30
6. "Seven Days" – 4:40
7. "Saint Augustine in Hell" – 5:05
8. "It's Probably Me" (Sting, Eric Clapton, Michael Kamen) – 4:57
9. "Everybody Laughed But You" – 3:53 (Excluded from original Canada/US releases)
10. "Shape of My Heart" (Sting, Dominic Miller) – 4:38
11. "Something the Boy Said" – 5:13
12. "Epilogue (Nothing 'Bout Me)" – 3:39

French Bonus disc - five live recordings

1. "All This Time"
2. "Roxanne"
3. "The Soul Cages"
4. "Walking On The Moon"
5. "Fortress Around Your Heart"

Ten Summoner's Tales is the fourth solo studio album by the rock musician Sting. The title is a combined pun of his given name, Gordon Sumner, and a character in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, the summoner. Released in 1993, it explores themes of love and morality in a noticeably upbeat mood compared to his previous release, the introspective The Soul Cages.

This album contained two U.S. hits; "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You" reached #17 on the Billboard Hot 100 and "Fields of Gold" reached #23.

Ten Summoner's Tales was nominated for the Mercury Prize in 1993. In 1994, it was nominated for five Grammy awards, winning Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical, Best Male Pop Vocal Performance ("If I Ever Lose My Faith in You") and Best Long Form Music Video. It did not win Album of the Year or Record of The Year.

A long form video featuring alternate musical performances and live versions of all tracks was filmed at Lake House and released in conjunction with the album. The video went on to win a Grammy Award for Best Long Form Video in 1994 and was directed by Doug Nichol and produced by Julie Fong.

The 1998 re-release CD includes a bonus video track of "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You". It also features the song "Everybody Laughed But You", which was excluded from the original 1993 release in the US and Canada. The song did appear on the original release in the UK, Europe, Japan and other territories, and the "If I Ever Lose My Faith In You" single. The instrumental track for "Everybody Laughed But You" was also used with an alternate lyric and released as "January Stars" on the "Seven Days" and "If I Ever Lose My Faith In You" singles.

The cover of the album was photographed at Wardour Old Castle in Wiltshire, England, featuring Hrímnir, an Icelandic horse Sting owned for a period. The album was recorded at Lake House, Wiltshire, mixed at The Townhouse Studio, London and mastered at Masterdisk, New York.

A different version of "It's Probably Me", featuring Eric Clapton, was featured in the opening titles of Lethal Weapon 3. This version is available as a single. In 1994, "Shape of My Heart" was featured in the end credits of Léon, replacing Eric Serra's The Experience of Love (a track that Serra eventually used in his 1995 soundtrack for the James Bond film GoldenEye).

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Sade Adu - Lovers Rock 2000 (Album)

Track listing

All songs written by Sade Adu, Andrew Hale, Stuart Matthewman and Paul S. Denman, except where noted.

1. "By Your Side" – 4:34
2. "Flow" – 4:34
3. "King of Sorrow" – 4:53
4. "Somebody Already Broke My Heart" – 5:01
5. "All About Our Love" – 2:40
6. "Slave Song" – 4:12
7. "The Sweetest Gift" – 2:18
8. "Every Word" – 4:04
9. "Immigrant" (Adu, Janusz Podrazik) – 3:48
10. "Lovers Rock" – 4:13
11. "It's Only Love That Gets You Through" (Adu, Podrazik) – 3:53

Target limited edition bonus disc

1. "The Sweetest Taboo" (Live)
2. "Smooth Operator" (Live)
3. "Nothing Can Come Between Us" (Live)
4. "No Ordinary Love" (Live)

Lovers Rock is the fifth studio album (sixth overall) by English band Sade, released on 14 November 2000 by Epic Records. The album reached number 18 on the UK Albums Chart and number three on the U.S. Billboard 200. It has since been certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America,[6] having sold 3.9 million copies in the United States. On 27 February 2002, the album earned Sade the Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album.

According to the booklet, the track "The Sweetest Gift" is dedicated to the Rainbow Trust Children's Charity caring for children who have a life-threatening or terminal illness and their families, both in their own homes and at the Trust's two UK family respite centres.

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Jamie Cullum - Pointless Nostalgic

Track list :
  1. "You and the Night and the Music" (Howard Dietz, Arthur Schwartz) – 4:09
  2. "I Can't Get Started" (Vernon Duke, Ira Gershwin) – 5:15
  3. "Devil May Care" (Johnny Burke, Harry Warren) – 3:24
  4. "You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You" (James Cavanaugh, Russ Morgan, Larry Stock) – 3:43
  5. "Pointless Nostalgic" (Jamie Cullum, Ben Cullum) – 4:03
  6. "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning" (Bob Hilliard, David Mann) – 6:28
  7. "Well, You Needn't" (Thelonious Monk) – 3:21
  8. "It Ain't Necessarily So" (George Gershwin, I. Gershwin) – 4:31
  9. "High and Dry" (Greenwood, Greenwood, O'Brian, Selway, Yorke) – 4:54
  10. "Too Close For Comfort" (Jerry Bock, Larry Holofcener, George David Weiss) – 3:25
  11. "A Time for Love" (Johnny Mandel, Paul Francis Webster) – 5:06
  12. "Lookin' Good" (Dave Frishberg) – 3:10
  13. "I Want to Be a Popstar" (Jamie Cullum) – 4:02
With a few hard-to-find releases under his belt, Pointless Nostalgic marks the more widespread debut of piano-pounding British crooner Jamie Cullum. Barely in his twenties, Cullum has a wise old rasp that usually takes decades of chain-smoking to acquire. Cullum's move to mix jazz standards, American songbook classics, and contemporary popular music was a risky one that could easily isolate fans of each genre. However, Cullum managed to find a unifying thread in all of the styles, tying them together in a manner that seemed like the natural culmination of a diverse record collection.

Jazz plays heaviest in the mix, but Cullum's version of it is lively and roguish. A rock & roll spirit among erstwhile snobs, he brings blue jeans to the beret set. The only real downfall of the album is that the music is often outmatched by Cullum's pipes to the point of distraction. The blaring horns are too often off-key and grating, detracting from an otherwise well-performed album. Highlights come courtesy of Cullum's diverse and well-chosen array of cover songs. While so many Harry Connick, Jr. wannabes stick to the standards and limply mimic moves lifted from Frank Sinatra's catalog, Cullum hops from Radiohead to Thelonious Monk with equal verve and accomplishment.

Closing number "I Want to Be a Popstar" is a playful rumination on the advantages of being a pop star rather than a jazz key pounder. The mischievous romp exemplifies the lighthearted approach that has become Cullum's calling card, endearing him to jazzophiles and screaming young girls alike. Cullum's popularity subsequently skyrocketed with 2004's Twentysomething, which exhibited a fuller grasp of his vocal strength and featured a strong backing band to match.

On that album, his increasingly scratchy croon wrings every sultry note out of Jeff Buckley's "Lover, You Should Have Come Over," and he puts a sly dance club spin on "I Could Have Danced All Night." Even with the expert selection of covers, however, it's his own cheeky nod to the restlessness of youth, "Twentysomething," that steals the show. 

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Norah Jones: "The Fall" (album review)

Track listing for The Fall :
  1. Chasing Pirates
  2. Even Though
  3. Light As a Feather
  4. Young Blood
  5. I Wouldn't Need You
  6. Waiting
  7. It's Gonna Be
  8. You've Ruined Me
  9. Back To Manhattan
  10. Stuck
  11. December
  12. Tell Yer Mama
  13. Man of the Hour
Even if you haven't loved Norah Jones' jazzy pop music up until now you definitely have to respect her for pushing her own musical boundaries. That's exactly the impression one gets when one first reads the list of contributors enlisted for her forthcoming album The Fall (out November 17th).

Among the heavyweight rock talent performing are guitarist Marc Ribot (Tom Waits), the legendary Smokey Hormel (Elvis Costello, Johnny Cash), and many more. A pair of co-writers from the indie world were brought in for a couple of songs in the form of alt-country star Ryan Adams and Okkervil River's Will Sheff.

Jones eases into the change with "Chasing Pirates", a charming mellow soul number. Quickly thereafter though, we do get some hints of exploration. Hints of reverb and dissonance can be heard clearly on "Even Though". Sounding mostly like a typical Jones number "I Wouldn't Need You" sees her traditional piano replaced with Ribot's aching country-tinged guitar to great affect. The influences are also clear on "It's Gonna Be", a tracks that begs comparisons to Tom Waits' loungey "Ice Cream Man".

However, as the album goes on it becomes clear that Jones really hasn't ventured too far from her roots. Jazz and pop are still the solid foundation of her music. Songs like "You Ruined Me", "December", and the playful "Man of the Hour" are vintage Jones. The incredibly dull "Back To Manhattan" is also a jazz-based ditty.

The songwriter contributions of Adams and Sheff are also disappointing. "Light As a Feather" sounds like any one of a hundred plodding half-thought out tunes Adams probably has laying around his living room. Sheff's contribution is better, but it translates as little more than a slightly rockier Norah Jones number.

The Fall is a pleasant enough album, but it's one that promises more change and expansion of Jones' sound than it actually delivers. In the end, who really cares if it doesn't endear her more to the indie rock world? It's not like she's hurting for fans.

Best tracks: "I Wouldn't Need You", "It's Gonna Be"

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Norah Jones - Come Away With Me

Track Listing

1. Don’t Know Why
2. Seven Years
3. Cold Cold Heart
4. Feelin’ The Same Way
5. Come Away With Me
6. Shoot The Moon
7. Turn Me On
8. Lonestar
9. I’ve Got To See You Again
10. Painter Song
11. One Flight Down
12. Nightingale
13. The Long Day Is Over
14. The Nearness Of You

Album Highlights

”Don’t Know Why” showcases Jones’ range and depth as a singer. She’s definitely got the jazz ingénue thing down to a science and her voice sounds years more mature and polished than 23. “Don’t Know Why” is mellow and seductive without being overtly sexual which is a theme that pretty much runs through the whole album.

”Seven Years” and ”Cold Cold Heart” have more of a bluesy feel than a jazzy feel. The latter is a Hank Williams remake that I think stretches a little bit, but I really like the music on both tracks. ”Feelin’ The Same Way” picks up the pace a bit

”Come Away With Me” reminds me of a lullaby. Sweet, endearing and child-like – it just sounds sweet. It should be said that Norah Jones isn’t some flash in the pan pretty girl with no talent. Not only does she play the piano but she writes also. “Come Away With Me”, “Nightingale”, and “The Long Day Is Over”* were written by Norah and are some of the stronger cuts. (* = co-writer credit).

”Turn Me On” reminds me of country singer Shelby Lynne for some reason. If you listen to Jones’ inflection and pronunciation you might think she grew up in Kentucky or somewhere in the deep south (she was born in New York and transplanted to Texas). She has a voice that’s thick as honey and sweet too. Although I’ve noted “Turn Me On” as an album highlight, I think some of the problems with the tracks are that they seem to end a little abruptly or be incomplete – but my hunch is that was done to leave you wanting more.

”I’ve Got To See You Again” is one of those songs that you wish there were more of. It’s a bit dark and mysterious but so beautiful. Also at 4:18 it is the longest track on the album and to me seems to be the most polished and stands as my favorite. ”The Nearness Of You” reminds me of a Saturday morning. Just the relaxed, lying in bed, laziness of it all – and this one is evocative of old school jazz legends like Billie Holiday and Etta James.

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Epica - The Phantom Agony the Album (2003)

01. Adyta (The Neverending Embrace)
02. Sensorium
03. Cry For The Moon (The Embrace That Smothers - Part IV)
04. Feint
05. Illusive Consensus
06. Façade Of Reality (The Embrace That Smothers - Part V)
07. Run For A Fall
08. Seif Al Din (The Embrace That Smothers - Part VI)
09. The Phantom Agony
10. Veniality [bonus]
11. Triumph of Defeat [Japanese bonus]

I guess that no one hasn't heard that Mark Jansen had to leave After Forever in April 2002; it was quite big news in the Metal world. And then did his little side project, Sahara Dust become his fulltime band, Good or bad? Well, I guess good, now we have two bands in the same genre, even if I like Epica a bit more than After Forever.

I read something about Epica and decided to brought their album, and believe me, I was highly surprised of what I heard, Gothic Metal, with classic singing mixed with growls, and the songs sounded damn good too.

On vocals, the young and beautiful Simone Simons does a great job, with her classic singing style, make Epica reach another level, and with no other than Tarja Turunen as her idol. And Mark does a great job to, as songwriter, singer and guitarist, his growls fits perfect with Simone's clear and powerful voice. The albums it self is a very serious story, based on stuff like 9/11 and so.

As I said, the band was in the beginning named Sahara Dust and was a side project that Mark was working on, in the same time, as he was a member in After Forever. The only Sahara Dust release to see daylight was a two-track demo called "Cry for the Moon" after that; they changed to Epica (Taken from the Kamelot album with the same name, Kamelot is one of their favorite bands). "The Phantom Agony" was recorded in Wolfsburg with Sascha Paeth, the same guy that recorded with Kamelot and Rhapsody. (And he was a member of the old Power Metal act, Heaven's Gate). So the production is out of complains, but what could you expect from Mr. Paeth?

The Phantom Agony gives us 9 songs, 2 of them was included on the Sahara Dust demo that I was talking about. ("Cry for the Moon" & "Illusive Consensus"). And 7 new written songs. And to give the album an extra push, they added 8 strings too (3 violins, 2 violas and 2 cellos) which gives the album even more Gothic feelings and some extra power. And together with Simone, they fit perfect into the album. The lyrics are filled with feelings, precisely as the music, and it very easy to take Epica to your heart and really love them.

So all of you, that want Gothic with Tarja alike vocals and some growls, check up Epica, and all After Forever fans, that miss Mark, this is for you, even if you don't miss him, this is for you too, 'cause it's close to After Forever, even if Simone is a better singer than Floor (It's my opinion).

Killing Songs: "Cry for the Moon" will kill you, believe me. And the rest of the album too, it's hard to do such a solid album.


Source : metalstorm

Iron Maiden - The Number Of The Beast (1982)

Disc I
01. Invaders
02. Children Of The Damned
03. The Prisoner
04. 22 Acacia Avenue
05. The Number Of The Beast
06. Run To The Hills
07. Gangland
08. Total Eclipse [1998 remastered bonus]
09. Hallowed Be Thy Name

Disc II [1998 remastered release]
01. Total Eclipse
02. Remember Tomorrow [live]

At that time, Iron Maiden had already released two studio albums, Iron Maiden and Killers, which had made them known in the British metal scene. However, vocalist Paul Di Anno was fired from the group due to his uncontrolled alcoholic problems. Although this could have been proved a painful strike, Iron Maiden's golden era was about to start. Soon, vocalist Bruce Dickinson joined the group and in 1982 they released the historically important album The Number Of The Beast.

The number Of The Beast is one of the best Iron Maiden albums and one of the best creations in the heavy metal history. It consists of nine memorable songs based on a wide variety of melodic riffs performed by guitarists Adrian Smith/Dave Murray. The bass parts prove for another time that Steve Harris is one of the best bassists and Clive Burr's drumming couldn't have worked better. In the end, Bruce Dickinson's operatic vocals send every song to the limit. Notice that some people find his vocals annoying while some others consider him as one of the greatest vocalists ever.

The song themes are usually taken from history or generally they are about situations taking place in past. Each song has a story to tell and the lyrics, which are full of imagination, are emotional and melodramatic. From time to time they can be dark or even indicate the presence of an evil entity. My favorite quote is: "When you know that your time is close at hand, maybe then you'll begin to understand, life down here is just a strange illusion".

As far as song highlights are concerned, this album contains the emotionally loaded song 'Children of the Damned" with Dickinson being very persuasive. Also, there is the totally classic song 'The Number of the Beast', which is about evil powers overtaking the world. Additionally, it contains 'Run to the Hills', which is an anthem/song written about the Indians. The intro is one of the most unforgettable riffs ever and the solo is one of the best [if not the best] in this album. In the end, you'll find the seven minutes long song 'Hallowed be thy Name', which describes the last moments of a man who's going to be executed.

The Number Of The Beast is an album with excellent artwork and the booklet contains liner notes and info, lyrics for all the songs and a very interesting collection of pictures [notice that we are talking about the 1998 remasters]. The CD is enhanced, which means that you can play it from your CD-rom drive. Also you will be able to view the interactive content including the two video clips 'The Number of the Beast' and 'Run to the Hills'! Also, There are photos, bios, album information, samples from other Iron Maiden albums and even an Iron Maiden Family tree!

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