Think there is right about now around 3 years from releasing Dizzy Heights album. What are your opinions, thought, feelings about that album now? I know that most of you listening new unreleased offerings from CH these days, and maybe because of that is right time for comparasions - is Dizzy Heights on same level? What is old, what is new? If you didnt listen Dizzy Heights for a very long time, please play it again before share your thoughts. Thanks!
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Amazing that 3 years have gone by!!!
So much has changed for me personally... Looking back, I feel like it was a lifetime ago when I was blasting all those fresh songs in my car...
I loved that album when it first came out and I love it now. I still believe those are some of the best songs Neil has ever written.
In terms of the production/arrangements; I think more people might have a better appreciation for it's sound now in 2017.
I really liked it when it came out, but I wasn't really in a Finn phase at that time. The reissues put me back in a huge Finn phase - and not JUST focused on the reissues. The scope of the bonus material dates from 1984 all the way to 2011 and songs that appear on "Dizzy Heights," which kinda glued Neil Finn's entire career together, from Split Endz through "DH," chronologically and evolutionarily.
Filling in some of the live blank areas through the Jane's website, I finally heard the "DH" songs being played live and solo in 2013, before the album was recorded and any questions I had about the songwriting (which was slightly obscured by the production) were immediately erased. "Divebomber," in particular, played alone on the piano is simply stunning. One of Neil's most spine-tingling compositions.
All of this has only made my appreciation for "DH" grow. That said, I've learned that virtually everything the Finn family releases is worth giving a chance - and then another chance - and they will ultimately reveal themselves to be brilliant and worth your time. "DH" definitely falls into that category.
It was a good season in my life generally, so I probably have rose-tinted glasses. But I think it's Neil's best solo record. From One Nil -> Intriguer, he wrote some great songs, but executed them in a pretty normal way (that's not an insult, I love those records too). DH, though, is a brilliant combination of great songwriting and adventurous sounds.
It was a good period for him live, too - that iTunes session rocks.
Dizzy Heights was - and is - a patchy affair. I love the production: I wish Neil would keep working with Dave Fridmann. However, not every song worked for me. Too many of the tunes just don't seem to gel very well. That said, there are no more songs that go in that category than any other artists'. Some of the tracks, however, are bona fide Finn classics. Pony Ride and Recluse are songs I can't live without. The coda on the latter could go on forever as far as I'm concerned. I only regret that Neil didn't play it at either of the two gigs I attended.
I love the Dizzy Heights album. Some of Neil's best songs in recent years. The production for me is hit or miss but most of them have become hits to me after repeated listens. In particular, the production for "White Lies" is incredible. That being said, the string arrangement versions of the songs were out of this world especially Divebomber as others have mentioned. Divebomber is one of top ten Neil songs of all time. I would have loved to hear a stripped down version of the album with strings like the versions they played at KCRW. My other favorites on the albums are Strangest Friends and Pony Ride although I've always thought Pony Ride sounds a bit unfinished from a songwriting standpoint. Overall it's a great album and if love to see Neil make another album like this one.
Three years on I still think that some of the song styles are not Neil's forte ("Flying in the face of love" and "Impressions" come to mind). But I do love the more adventurous stuff ("White Lies ..." and "Divebomber") as well as the one "classic Neil" ballad "In my blood". "Pony Ride" is great, too.
But for me this is a "Neil for runaways"-album, not so much a great first contact for the uninitiated.
I can't believe it's been three years! Dizzy Heights was among my favorites and I still love it today. I've even grown to like some of the tracks I wasn't as keen on in '14.
For me the album generally succeeds in melding familiar and experimental elements in way Intriguer and Pajama Club never quite could.
It's not perfect but it certainly drew me in.
Thanks everyone for join in this topic (and in front)
Well, with everyone who spoke, I can share same feelings. At first, I was pretty thrilled with DH, speccialy with its sound. But, it was partly because I was affraid that DH would be much more infulenced by Pajama Club album which I really didnt like. Luckily for me, there is only a little influence (speccialy in opening Impressions), but DH goes his own way. Production of D. Friedmann gave this album and songs itself excitment and adventerous sound. But, I can partly agree with statement that production is hit or miss in some cases. First come to my mind Flying in the face of Love wich to me sounds much much better in live than on album - slower tempo and not so much things happen under the surface, suits much better to my ears. Next cases are Better than TV and Pony Ride. Better than TV, altough I enjoy that song sometimes, sounds too much like some staff stuck in 80s, and not in a good way. Since it sounds almost awfull in live to me, I presume its more problem in arrangments than in production itself. Than Pony Ride for which I can agree that is somehow unfinished. And again in that song, too much things and sounds happening speccialy in second half which letting things down for me. Also bridge in that song is pretty bad to my ears and spoiling the song, which is not often case in Neils songs. Strangest Friends and Lights of New Yorks stays waeakest points of this album to my taste. First is all messed up and again too much 80s and second is too slow and little bit boring, unmemorable. But, on the other side, Dizzy Heights song and In my Blood growed on me as excellent songs. I just adore sounds of violins in Dizzy Heights, warm me every time. In my Blood is another example of Neils peak of his game, terriffic rising of atmosphere of song, from open lyrics to refrain. Recluse and White lies stay also as excellent songs, dark and electric sounds of White lies managed to create claustrophobic and desperate atmoshpere behind the lyrics.
But, altough I pretty much like DH album, I find pretty difficulty to return to it, and I cant put precisely my finger on why is that. I didnt listen it from time of releasing till these days. I consider it as much better than One Nil, more excited than Everyone is here, but when I listening these days unreleased CH staff, I feel that somehow these DH songs are just not at the same level as Neils work with CH (including TOE and Intriguer). I dont know why is that, but non of this songs just doesnt have for me deepnes and emotions as English trees or Falling Dove for example. Somehow, I feel that all of that emotions and deepnes which we got with CH, is partly replaced with adventerous production. But, that is sadly missing and obviously made a deal for me.
How about Dizzy Heights 7 years on? I've been catching up on Fangradio and there are a lot of performances of Dizzy Heights songs. I guess that album is Neil's most recent full band album so it still carries a lot of weight with him and his family who recorded it with him.
When it came out, I was super excited and ready to love everything. I'm pretty much like that with every Neil release. Seven years later and there are probably more songs on DH that I would skip than any other Finn release. I count four - Impressions, Divebomber, White Lies & Alibis, and Lights of New York.
Too bad about White Lies & Alibis. The orchestra and acoustic performances are phenomenal, but that product on the album is just unlistenable to my ears, 7 years on. In addition to there being 4 tracks I don't care for, there are also now 4 b-sides that I think are comparatively quite good and have aged well for me - Your Next Move, Animal vs. Human, Artist in Residence (ft. Todd Rudgren), and You and I Know. So, I put together an alternate playlist and I've been really enjoying it this week. I think it's a much more upbeat and fun album to listen to. See what you think:
- Your Next Move - Opening the album with this instead of Impressions gets you way more excited for the album ahead. Impressions kills the momentum right out of the gate.
- Dizzy Heights
- Better Than TV - moving this up for reasons of pacing
- Recluse - Moving this up because as one of the best songs on the album it shouldn't be buried at the end.
- Flying in the Face of Love
- Animal vs. Human
- Pony Ride
- In My Blood
- Artist In Residence (ft. Todd Rudgren) - The only version of this available is from Todd's podcast. Would love a higher quality version, but this still great.
- Strangest Friends
- You and I Know - featuring the extended piano intro played on Fangradio April 26, 2020.
I also include a "second disc" of acoustic and orchestral versions that looks like this:
- Impressions (October 2013 webcast)
- Dizzy Heights (October 2013 webcast)
- Flying in the Face of Love (January 2014 webcast)
- Divebomber (2015 Auckland orchestral performance)
- Better Than TV (KCRW performance)
- Pony Ride (January 2014 webcast)
- White Lies and Alibis (October 2013 webcast)
- Recluse (KCRW performance)
- Strangest Friends (ABC Radio performance)
- In My Blood (October 2013 webcast)
- Lights of New York (2013 London orchestral performance)
This way I still get to enjoy the songs from Dizzy Heights that I think are somewhat ruined by questionable production choices on the album.
I also loved the demos of Pony Ride and In My Blood which I rate over the released versions, I have created a similar alternate and acoustic version of the album. I love Divebomber, one of my faves I’d never drop.
I didn’t hear any of the early versions before release, so I didn’t get attached to them only to be surprised by the album version. I love the production of DH - White Lies is one of my favorite tracks, and while done in a more straightforward way it would have sounded right on Out of Silence, instead the beeps and boops fit the lyrical themes really well I think.
Recluse sits up there with Twice If You’re Lucky on the list of songs which could have been hits if he’d wanted them to be. It’s begging to be used in a film. He played it on a Fangradio show and said he wished he’d cut the Howard Hughes bit at the end, I’m glad he didn’t, it’s a nice little coda.
Your Next Move is one of his most Enz-y solo songs. Elroy(?)’s completely mad balls to the walls drumming gives it an energy we haven’t heard from a Neil song in a good long while.
Where can one find the demos for DH (or, at least Pony Ride and In My Blood, which were mentioned above)? I still have a huge backlog of of Fangradio to listen to, so I'm assuming they're in there somewhere. I re-read my "3 years since DH" response above and still feel the same way. It's funny/remarkable how Finn-related songs have such rich, long lives beyond their "official" releases on albums - from early live versions, demos, post-release live versions, webcast versions, Fangradio, etc, these songs morph and shape-shift to various degrees of subjective (even the same version in a different year or time of day) better/worse/different unlike almost any other artist. Dylan is sort of known for inventing/establishing this "a song is never really finished" idea as he continues to push and pull on them over the years, but there are a ton of artists I love who I listen to as deeply as the Finns where I just think of the official release as "the song" and then there are live versions that are sometimes really cool/interesting - or not. Like, I'm as HUGE an Elvis Costello fan, but, while, there are some GREAT live/different versions of "I Want You," the "Blood & Chocolate" version is "real" version - yet, it somehow seems like the 2013 solo piano version of "Divebomber from Largo is just as "real" or valid as the version on DH. It seems like, judging by other responses above and the way Finn fans talk about the songs, that I'm not alone in seeing almost every version of these songs as being just as "valid/real/official" as the actual versions on the albums - I mean, not really in an intellectual, serious way, but just as a reflexive, emotional response to Finn material over the years - it's all somehow official. Or is it just me (which is fine)?
The Pony ride and In My Blood demos were in the Sep 19 Fangradio show.
By the way I totally get what you mean about the sings existing in different forms but all being a valid part - totally with you re Dylan. I love that songs can exist in different forms and arrangements. It's a total treasure to me to enjoy say the example of Dizzy heights from demos to acoustic and versions with an orchestra as well as the released album. Fang radio and the Crowded House deluxe editions have been a total bliss out for me. Just now listening to the TNT For Two fangradio demo, so cool.
While I like Dizzy Heights alright, I've rarely revisited it. A handful of songs stick in my memory...In My Blood, Strangest Friends, White Lies, Lights of New York. I think I was a little disappointed that Dave Fridmann didn't go full-Flaming Lips with the production. White Lies & Alibis, and Divebomber bear his mark most obviously but I don't know that they work that well, and most of the album sounds like typical Neil Finn fare.
I think it's lyrically one of his weakest albums. Interestingly he did an interview not long after where he confessed to feeling insecure about his lyrics & wondering sometimes if they were up to snuff. Recluse may be "a bit much" lyrically but I prefer that color and spirit to most of the album. A lot of the songs just don't seem to be saying anything. What I love about Neil's songwriting is how he mostly leaves things impressionistic and open-ended, but provides just enough concrete or direct detail to clarify things out of complete abstraction. But I think he didn't quite do that with a lot of these songs...Impressions, Pony Ride, Flying just seem bland and unfocused. There's just nothing to latch onto in a lot of the songs, I barely can recall many of them despite listening to it a fair amount.
White Lies & Alibis is a big exception, a gorgeous and thematically/lyrically cohesive song that really blossoms with a more traditional arrangement, as in the version he performed with orchestra. In My Blood zeroes in on a particular feeling and theme that seems to resonate a lot with Neil, being haunted by the specter of unfinished personal business & missed opportunities.
As always, there are a handful of highlights even if I don't love most of it. I think that's how I'd characterize pretty much all his work since Time On Earth, the last album of his I really loved. I'm not exactly wowed by the two singles from Dreamers are Waiting but it's at least a new energy with hints of the Crowded House of old. Hoping I find more to love there.