I listened to Try Whistling This, One All, Dizzy Heights and Out of Silence recently. It was the first time I'd heard any of them in a while.
My ranking of the albums didn't really change but I was surprised how much better TWT sounds to me than any of the others. It's far and away my favorite solo effort of Neil's. He's stretching his style a bit but it feels under control not forced, and still holds up without sounding too 90s. The singles like Sinner and SWHHW are still great but I also LOVE Souvenir, Astro, Twisty Bass and Addicted. A very successful album and still among Neil's very best efforts.
As for One All, compared to One Nil I prefer the newer songs that were swapped in (Lullabye Requiem, Human Kindness). But otherwise I prefer the older mixes on One Nil. The newer versions sound overly fussed with by comparison. While I liked it a lot at the time, the album doesn't do that much for me now. There are a handful of obvious standouts including one of Neil's very best, Into the Sunset, but as an album it doesn't hold up that well to my ears.
Dizzy Heights is...interesting lol. The overall quality of songs is not up there with the previous two solo efforts. The production by David Fridmann is a bit disappointing; I was excited for that collaboration at the time but it serves mostly to dress up dull songs or over-complicate the good ones (like White Lies & Alibis). As always, a handful of standouts but even the best songs don't compare to the previous two albums.
Out of Silence, I think I appreciate a bit more than when it first happened, and I liked it alright back then. The novel recording-all-in-one-day approach is mostly successful, although I don't feel he chose the best takes for every song. There's a certain autumnal, reflective quality to it which is unique among Neil's work. Terrorise Me is one of Neil's best-written songs of the last 20 years. Chameleon Days and Independence Day are strong but I can't help but wonder how much better they'd be with a more thorough studio recording process. Still not an album I plan to return to often but it certainly has a lot of merit. Although the cover is still very amateurish and poor and probably the worst album cover of Neil's career.
I do feel like the period of Neil's work between Time On Earth and Dreamers Are Waiting (both really good albums) was mostly a meandering bore, although every album has at least a few worthwhile tracks.
What do you guys think?