"When our spelling is perfect, it's invisible. But when it's flawed, it prompts negative associations." - Marilyn vos Savant

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Pet Shop Boys Elysium art review

The vinyl and double CD of Pet Shop Boys Elysium.
The rainbow was coincidental on there from my crystal statue by the window.

Recently, I have been listening to Pet Shop Boys latest album Elysium and I must say I was truly impressed.  It is the eleventh studio album produced by the band as well as Andrew Dawson, the producer beyond Kanye West, Jay-Z, etc. I gotten my copy at the Amoeba store, as I’m finding myself in the store a lot lately, the price wasn’t so bad either. I actually ordered mine on Amazon but apparently they didn’t have one at stock, so basically I waited for nothing. So I called and checked and finally came to the conclusion to just cancel it and then go to the store.  I guess it was a reason for me to get it there because I not only gotten the double disc but also the vinyl, as well as “Suburbia”(Chris on the front cover) and “Opportunities” (Gray cover).  I’ll be frankly honest, when I first saw the cover, I wasn’t all that enthuse about it because it did look like an image slapped on something or wasn’t thought of properly. But when I saw it in person, it looked beautiful and after knowing what it was about, it made much sense. The vinyl looks so beautiful it was a submerged of the regular edition (the water and sand) and the double disc edition (the sky) together like a mirroring image. And the choices of the colors amazed me even more: the blue and orange kind of gave me a Very/Can You Forgive Her? Type feel and ironically at the closing ceremonies, they had the cone hats but they were in black but still. But the album itself is more of a Behaviour-esque sound than any of their albums; the whole part of reflecting and calmness and about afterlife and death and depicting a story it a fascinating way. The sleeve covers as well really intrigued me because I would discuss about primary and secondary colors and now it’s like it’s a coincidence. The sleeves on the vinyl are orange and a deep purple which are secondary colors and then on the double disc it had one primary color which is blue and the other two are secondary colors: brighter purple and green. The packaging for the deluxe edition is nice just, like the Format and (so I have read) like the PopArt 3 CD set. And it gets even better about the album, is that it was very unusual that they released the second CD with all instrumentals, because I adore a lot of their instrumentals it’s like they seriously read my mind or something or it was a pure coincidence. Even though Relentless does have instrumentals, but it’s not a full instrumental CD or album, that’s if you want to make a comparison between the two. But it would make sense because after listening to the instrumentals, it was really good. It gives the songs a different tone verses Neil’s voice along with the back up singers. I personally listen to the instrumental versions a bit more because it gives a heavenly sound or the idea of being in the afterlife or peacefulness. My favorites on Elysium is “Leaving”, “Invisible”, “Your Early Stuff”,  “A Face Like That”, “Ego Music”, “Memory of the Future” and “Requiem in Denim and Leopardskin.” For the instrumentals the whole CD is good. It just really takes you there in euphoria. It’s like a journey of going back and for on life, afterlife, and so forth.  I also gotten the commentary last night, I didn’t want to come out of pocket because I heard about a promotional code but it’s okay, since my aunt gave me a gift card, thank God for aunts right?  It was a short but funny commentary about the songs with the Boys as well as David Walliams. I found out the Water sisters not only sung with Michael Jackson as backing vocals but also as well for Adele too or “Ego Music” is like the second part to “How Can You Expect to be Taken Seriously?”

A few comments I would like to point out that sounded like something familiar to me on a few songs in my honest opinion. “Leaving” on the beats or sound, it reminded me of Soft Cell’s “Bedsitter” 12-inch mixed with Dusty Springfield’s “In Private” well her version of the song. “Ego Music” actually reminded me of their demos where Neil be talking or having a dialogue conversation almost like “Closer to Heaven” demo or “My Night” demo. Then there’s a song on the Bratz movie where the antagonist sings a song called “It’s All About Me” kind of reminded about that, even though it doesn’t have anything to do with the song itself.  “Memory of the Future” is almost like a second installment with the word Future, because on Yes, their previous album, well the limited edition it had “This Used to be the Future” featuring Philip Oakey (Human League). I know the songs are different but the title alone sounds like some kind of trilogy thing about future, first on what it used to be, two now Memory of the Future. So it would almost go hand in hand. I would also point out that I didn’t like “Invisible” at first but it finally grow on me; however,  “Winner” won’t unless I hear it live, used in the proper context or the HappySad remix. It just doesn’t sound like something they would put out and it is a cheesy song unless it was used properly like at the Olympics Parade or something like that. And the other songs I haven’t mentioned, they would have to grow on me but the instrumentals are good, so it’s best to get the double disc if you can. My views on this will change but this is how I feel at the moment. Overall It’s a nice album minus a few songs, it does give me a Disney soundtrack vibe just a wee bit but still good.

Pet Shop Boys Concrete review


 While also listening to Elysium, I was listening to Pet Shop Boys Concrete. Another material that moved me, words cannot describe how this album sounded! It is their 17th album released on October 23, 2006. It’s a double CD, and mine was from Amoeba Music; imported. It was the first live concert to be put on audio CD. It was located at the Mermaid Theatre for Radio 2 with the BBC Concert Orchestra. Monday May 8th, 2006. Musical Director: Trevor Horn. It was an interesting choice of title Concrete, it was going to be called Concert but they announce as Concrete, which sounded way better. I guess because concert is a common word and then by them having more than one concert, it’s best to give a unique title. I like the context of the word for it, even the booklet had the sense of gray scale color scheme and pictures of place with concrete or cement on the foundation. It seems it’s like the title for me is like a “permanent” type of meaning of revealing material from the past and newer recent music at the time and also having special guest performances by Robbie Williams, Frances Barber, and Rufus Wainwright. The choices of the songs were fascinating. I mean there’s no “Go West” or “Domino Dancing” or even “Opportunities”. But instead songs like “It’s Alright”, You Only Tell Me You Love When You’re Drunk”, “Nothing Has Been Proved” or “Dreaming of the Queen”, “Friendly Fire” and “Indefinite Leave to Remain.” Some were blast from the past and they still sounded good as well as their newer material. I felt like I gotten a minimal glimpse of Closer to Heaven musical because of Barber’s version of “Friendly Fire” or “After All” from Battleship Potemkin score/soundtrack. That was unusual choice for the concert but I didn’t pay that much mind to it really. I must say that honestly, that “Friendly Fire”, “Casanova in Hell”, and “Jealousy” actually sounded way better than the Pet Shop Boy versions of the track. It just that these individual musicians bring the actual feel to the song, and frankly, these are on my few least favorite tracks but for now, these are probably the only versions of these songs I will truly like rather the Pet Shop Boys’ versions.  “Rent” even though it was sung by the Pet Shop Boys; but it also did a mini bring back of Liza Minnelli’s version, which by far is the best version of the song, I believe. I hate to even admit that “It’s a Sin” and “Numb,” sounded really good on here too because those are also my least favorites of theirs. Not to mention “Nothing Has Been Proved” sounded good because I prefer Dusty Springfield’s version of the song. When they write a song for someone, most of the time I would prefer the version of the musicians it was for versus their version. Then ending it with “West End Girls” of course as the encore was done really well. I can actually just listen to this on my way to school sometimes and it just gives the reminder that they still have so much to offer even at their age, it’s incredible! Fans told me about this concert and they weren’t lying, it was brilliant. It’s good to actually own this, I highly recommend it; those competition winners were really lucky to be around that much art. I haven’t been able to see the music scores, and musical but honestly just by listening to these small glimpses, for me it’s not that much of a rush because this is really that good! 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Authorized Biography of Soft Cell by Simon Tebbutt (full review)

I have finally completed this particular book today. I was determined to finish this book before the month was up. I read a little bit here and there. Since I started school, I was a bit busy focusing on homework to enhance my writing and logic abilities. Speaking of, working on a paper for class that's due in a couple of days and thought to finally do some blogging to warm me up. 

The cover is from the "Soul Inside" sessions, I really love this photo; very expressional. This biography of Soft Cell is an excellent brief but detailed book of important facts and opinions of the artists’ views of music and just being an artist in general by Simon Tebbutt. I was on a insanely, dramatic adventure of the Soft Cell world seeing the sweet and bashful side of them; while on some parts the raw and crazy side of them. It includes a lot of exclusive pictures of the musicians and associates. The brilliance of the choices of words brought out how bizarre the life of an artist was. Especially actually having direct quotes from situations that were only mentioned but not thoroughly investigated by human ears or the eyes of the Internet. But the tongue-in-cheek twist and turns this book have, you in for one insane roller coaster ride. You can honestly tell that Soft Cell were one of the few real artists that really wanted to be seen as artists and reveal how hard life can be especially struggling through so much at a young age. Such occurrences like Dave Ball losing his dad at 17, same thing happened to me at 19, or having the doubt of being famous or to the point you explode at someone because they keep making accusations for nothing, or even keep stating to retire. It’s hard when no one encourages you, especially after going through so much. I didn’t even know Soft Cell’s third album The Art of Falling Apart, Marc lost money and friends just to make the album. It seems that this biography book was released before their last album was out because it wasn’t mentioned. It only stopped at their third album. It can be difficult when you want to establish an image for yourself. Knowing why their album art was unique than mainstream artists because of rebellion of wanting your own style or what depicts you personally. And this band was very emotional at what they did even when Marc went from different bands back to back, it was an outlet to do things that Soft Cell couldn’t produce as a whole. Ironically, the song that I play constantly or played constantly “Tainted Love” was the bands shadow and nightmare to the point it was considered “that song” or that song. Tebbutt gave intense biographical features from the rise and falling apart of Soft Cell by using exclusive pieces from different materials and what not. The sexual content wasn’t shocking because that was the Soft Cell image at the time and whatever that was left from the band. This is another piece or something extremely rare that obviously the musicians have changed and so on, but this is a glimpse of the life of this band. I mean I didn’t even know they were in Spain and at the time “Bedsitter” was more popular than “Tainted Love” or Phil Oakey of Human League stated this “Marc Almond has got a twenty times better voice than mine.” Or when Marc was talking about how musicians slag his voice but this quote really was deep,” I have been told by classically trained singers that I have an exceptional range.  And I’m getting better all the time. I listen to all the singers who slag me off and I can tell by the way they are singing that they are doing it all wrong. They’re singing from their throats and wallets, not their hearts and souls at all.” Both quotes are on page 122. That’s truly a deep quote and that’s how an artists should be, thinking about the heart and soul and not money and being pretentious. I am truly fortunate to have this as a gift. I can’t seriously thank you enough Elaine! I have six books to go, I’ll get a move on another book but this time it’s the unauthorized biography of the Pet Shop Boys and it will be a post about that one too, so stay tuned! I know this biography book is rare and harder to find but if you come across this book, if you love different, unique, raw, organic, sexual related stuff and hard working and real true artists, then this book is definitely for keeps! I truly apologize for the repetition but this book really moved me.

Tim Pope (And Friends) - I Want To Be A Tree review

While having some Pet Shop Boys related drafts underway, I thought I discuss about this video. This was one of the videos I saw when I became a Soft Cell fan. Quite interesting because this is Tim Pope and friends that made a video of his song called "I Want to Be a Tree". The song is quite funny and you get a whiff of different artists from well known bands that he directed videos from. The artists includes Style Council, Freur, Robert Smith, Lauren Tolhurst, Siouxsie Sioux, Budgie, Soft Cell, Paul Young, and Mark Hollis. The video is hilarious and silly, you get to see the artists' shy, crazy side in the video, like Soft Cell threw pies at Pope. I'm glad it's still on here because it captures such rare moments like this because artists often change, believe me, I know. This is a video of interest and the director too. He did a lot of videos with artists you are more likely familiar with.

Rare rough copy of the original video for director Tim Pope's song I Want To Be A Tree, shown on The Whistle Test in 1984. According to Pope: "my bloody office at cowboy films lost the original of the tree video", and this is all that survives. Kudos to anyone who can name each member of the all-star cast. << This is what YouTube or the person that uploaded the video said about it, well more like the information about it.