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Such a nostalgic listen today on Fangradio - Woodface, particularly, the first Crowded House album I really recall. But without Paul? Tim? Even Mark, who contributed to the album... I felt an absence...

I agree there is an absence as the sound is very different.  But we have to acknowledge there is a new sound.  Don't you think.  Neil's voice is different but it's Neil.  More lower and mature.  Nick's voice not as high and more mellow but still sounds almost the same  The new difference is Liam and Elroy.  And that's ok.  Right?   It is Crowded House as it's Neil and Nick. Liam and Elroy grew up breathing and eating Crowded House so with time there is change.  With change there must be a newness.  I like what I'm hearing but I agree the nostalgia is what brings me back to a time where things were easier, life was freer and the air was clearer

What I've been wondering recently, with all the personnel changes over the years - and with reference to this thread's subject line - is who came up with the band's name?

I know it was agreed upon in LA when the original lads were in cramped accommodation - but with many fans saying thoughts along the lines of "It's Neil's Crowded House, he can have who he wants in it" it made me wonder if it was actually Neil who came up with the name  - and therefore his to do with as he pleases. I remember years ago a discussion on who legally owns the name but I can't remember the answer! I know we often cite many other bands who have had such significant changes - sometimes even total changes! - and yet still the label / name is used.

It's an interesting question! And is it a moral dilemma or a legal one?

I think there is a general consensus that as Neil wrote the songs he "owns" the name - I wonder if that is legally how it works though.

Doesn't really seem a legal issue to me. There have been many legal battles over the years over band names (Beach Boys, Pink Floyd, Little River Band), but I don't hear anyone else claiming Crowded House.

Look, I don't always like line-up changes, and totally understand the feeling on this board, particularly in regards to Mark, but line-ups do change. And it IS Neil's band, no matter what anyone says.

Just enjoy having new Neil music, no matter how he deigns to brand it.

Doesn't really seem a legal issue to me. There have been many legal battles over the years over band names (Beach Boys, Pink Floyd, Little River Band), but I don't hear anyone else claiming Crowded House.



I guess it would take someone wanting to use the name "Crowded House" to make it a legal issue. As you say, it's happened in the past. In fact, Neil and Tim had to stop calling themselves Finn and become Finn Brothers because of a legal ruling brought by a previous artist called Finn.

What is Crowded House? A band, a brand, a superannuation fund?

I would think that that it’s all of the above, and perhaps more.

I really enjoyed the Woodface performance. I do feel that the Tim-Neil compositions require harmonies which give equal weight to both voices, particularly in It’s Only Natural and How Will You Go, where Liam is required to sing the melody.

Even when Paul Hester was singing on It’s Only Natural, I felt that his voice was a bit too low in the mix.

What I've been wondering recently, with all the personnel changes over the years - and with reference to this thread's subject line - is who came up with the band's name?

According to Chris Bourke's book (page 79)

"They even went to the local library to find a solution [the name]. Looking through books at random, Neil came across a phase which was suitable for the album's title. It seemed to reflect the lifestyle they'd been leading: Crowded House...."

So it appears the band's name was Neil's idea.

Such a nostalgic listen today on Fangradio - Woodface, particularly, the first Crowded House album I really recall. But without Paul? Tim? Even Mark, who contributed to the album... I felt an absence...

I only heard/saw the 'Whispers and Moans' which was put on YouTube.

I don't actually have the Woodface album (the five songs from the Recurring Dream greatest hits is sufficient for me) so I don't get to hear the studio version as much as recorded live versions of the song. And because of that, wow it sounded soo different!!! Because from 1990s onwards, Crowded House never replicated the song exactly (underline/bold that word a few times) to the album version.

Even the different keyboard notes from Mitchell (whom I'm sure played the song exactly key to key from the album) to Mark (just made subtle background sound so Neil's guitar could be the main focus). Fans can decide what they preferred.

Sorry, in my rattling I'm trying to say noticing an absence too. But from how they played live, not from the original studio version.

@Left Hand posted:

I only heard/saw the 'Whispers and Moans' which was put on YouTube.

I don't actually have the Woodface album (the five songs from the Recurring Dream greatest hits is sufficient for me) so I don't get to hear the studio version as much as recorded live versions of the song. And because of that, wow it sounded soo different!!! Because from 1990s onwards, Crowded House never replicated the song exactly (underline/bold that word a few times) to the album version.

Even the different keyboard notes from Mitchell (whom I'm sure played the song exactly key to key from the album) to Mark (just made subtle background sound so Neil's guitar could be the main focus). Fans can decide what they preferred.

Sorry, in my rattling I'm trying to say noticing an absence too. But from how they played live, not from the original studio version.

Woodface is well worth listening to from start to finish, with excellent album tracks like Fame Is, As Sure As I Am, She Goes On and How Will You Go.

I first heard some of the songs live, at Ausmusic Day, then on a Triple M interview/performance around May 1991.

I became very attached to those spirited acoustic renditions of Chocolate Cake, It’s Only Natural, Fall at Your Feet and There Goes God.

When the record came out, it took me a long time to warm up to the relatively subdued album versions.

I love the warm, familial vibe of this fangradio performance. But I don’t think Liam’s voice is strong enough to really do the Finn Bros. songs justice. Maybe if it had more weight in the mix, that would make a difference.

Last edited by Byrds Talk to Me
@Left Hand posted:

According to Chris Bourke's book (page 79)

"They even went to the local library to find a solution [the name]. Looking through books at random, Neil came across a phase which was suitable for the album's title. It seemed to reflect the lifestyle they'd been leading: Crowded House...."

So it appears the band's name was Neil's idea.

I thought it was meant to be the name of the first album before it became the bands name ?

@Annie99999 posted:

I agree there is an absence as the sound is very different.  But we have to acknowledge there is a new sound.  Don't you think.  Neil's voice is different but it's Neil.  More lower and mature.  Nick's voice not as high and more mellow but still sounds almost the same  The new difference is Liam and Elroy.  And that's ok.  Right?   It is Crowded House as it's Neil and Nick. Liam and Elroy grew up breathing and eating Crowded House so with time there is change.  With change there must be a newness.  I like what I'm hearing but I agree the nostalgia is what brings me back to a time where things were easier, life was freer and the air was clearer

I don't actually hear Neils voice being any lower at all - the range is till there as far as I can hear . It maybe sounds a little "thinner" to me ?

This line up is completely valid as Crowded House . 2 of the original trio plus the producer that played keys on the first 3 albums ( as well as shaping quite a few of the songs) . It's the line up I would totally have got if Mark Hart had said he no longer wanted to be in the band. The thing is , he didn't want to leave - so other than "it's Neils band - he can do what he wants " ... I don't get it . But , it's most definitely Crowded House.

Whats' with the 3 backing singers on the TV show though ?! Since when did CH need backing singers ?!

@slowpogo posted:

to be fair, they are at the mercy of how they are mixed by the engineer

The levels aren’t usually as much of a problem as eq/effects/etc. You set up a lead vocal very differently than a backing vocal. For things like Natural and WWY, you want both vocals treated more or less the same way. Whereas when Mark or Liam or whoever take those parts, their mics are in backing mode, eq’d and reverb’d to blend in and avoid stepping on the lead vocal, and CH engineers have generally not opted to try and recalibrate that on the fly mid-show.

I think it’s still CH, sure. I saw in a long ago thread lots of questioning Neil’s decision to let Mark and Matt go. “Why?!”  “Not the same!”, etc.

But in all these various posts on the topic, I didn’t see anyone mention the obvious… Neil is getting up there in years and the work has go to be harder on him. He probably figures if he’s going to continue doing this, spending so much time on the road or wherever with the band, it might as well be with family! I think it’s beautiful that he can be on stage with his wife and kids, it has to make it that much better and easier for him.

Neil gave so much to us all over the years. Truly some of the most beautiful music and brilliant songs ever created. He do whatever he wants now with whoever he wants to do it with. I love the guy and will never question his musical decisions or complain if the output isn’t what I want or expect. God bless him and the whole Finn family!

Sorry. It doesn‘t sound like CH, never. It‘s sounds like Neil in the last 10 years, with Liam and Elroy‘s works. It‘s Finn Family sound, but never CH. Sad for Nick, who made a great effort on this album. And Mitchell... overrated in MO. Good producer and a good accompagnion, but a band member... I don’t know... Never the glass of Mark. Sorry. But understand me right: Neil Finn is one of the best songwriters of all time. But this album is average.

@Patrick posted:

Sorry. It doesn‘t sound like CH, never. It‘s sounds like Neil in the last 10 years, with Liam and Elroy‘s works. It‘s Finn Family sound, but never CH. Sad for Nick, who made a great effort on this album. And Mitchell... overrated in MO. Good producer and a good accompagnion, but a band member... I don’t know... Never the glass of Mark. Sorry. But understand me right: Neil Finn is one of the best songwriters of all time. But this album is average.

Agree with some aspects of your reply - but not all

I’m part of that group of fans who got into the group in the ‘07-‘10 era, and so certainly the current cycle grates at me a bit. But here’s the thing - if there’s anything Neil has shown time and again, it’s that he’s going to do whatever moves him, and he trusts his fans to follow.

The same Neil who could have made Twice If You’re Lucky a hit, but gave it a weird arrangement instead, has now assembled a group called Crowded House, and invited us to come hear songs old and new played if we want. And even if it’s not the outcome I would have picked, I still want to hear it.

I usually find that albums I don’t love at first listen later become my favorites! This album is one of them. Neil has grown subtler in recent years, not the obvious hooks and things that get your right away, but beautiful little touches that take time to even hear and get into your head. His beautiful heart and soul still come through, especially in the lyrics which are actually pretty fresh for Neil considering the degree of commentary on the state of the world. Not his usual wheelhouse but he nailed it with several songs, things I would want to say but wouldn’t know how.

@slowpogo posted:

I don't understand this point...Mitchell wrote & performed the keyboard parts of the first three albums. What's the distinction between this, and "band member" that you don't like?

First: I have nothing against Mister Froom. I don't know him and I am not legitimated to judge about him... he's a nice person and a person of integrity for sure. (But remember also, that Mark Hart was put aside from him during the production of Woodface.)

My argumentation was reffering the new role of him. He's great as a producer and important contributor to CH and the sound of CH - in the studio. He saved also the 2nd Finn Brothers record...

But as a fully member and musician in concerts - I don't know. I have the feeling that for the stage, it needs more, or something different. And I have the feeling, that because of his new role, it has affected the result of this new album not in a good way. But that's maybe only because I don't really like it that much... I could be totally false... Maybe it has nothing to do with Mitchell and the problem is, that there ist too much Finn in this new album. Maybe there were too little different opinions and contributions. Too much harmony is not always good for the creative process and the result.

@Patrick posted:

First: I have nothing against Mister Froom. I don't know him and I am not legitimated to judge about him... he's a nice person and a person of integrity for sure. (But remember also, that Mark Hart was put aside from him during the production of Woodface.)

My argumentation was reffering the new role of him. He's great as a producer and important contributor to CH and the sound of CH - in the studio. He saved also the 2nd Finn Brothers record...

But as a fully member and musician in concerts - I don't know. I have the feeling that for the stage, it needs more, or something different. And I have the feeling, that because of his new role, it has affected the result of this new album not in a good way. But that's maybe only because I don't really like it that much... I could be totally false... Maybe it has nothing to do with Mitchell and the problem is, that there ist too much Finn in this new album. Maybe there were too little different opinions and contributions. Too much harmony is not always good for the creative process and the result.

I don’t agree with you about the album , but I think you may be on to something re Mitchell . I maintain this album could have been achieved in a similar manner with Mark . Not my band of course though …

I was bummed to see Mark go, but what’s done is done. I’m hearing Mitchell’s influence more with each listen. There’s Mellotron, of course, and lots of well-placed little flourishes here and there. Nothing so obvious as a Hammond organ solo, but he’s definitely present in a different way than Mark would have been. While the band is credited with production, I’m sure Mitchell proved very valuable to the extent he was part of that.

I’m curious if they’ll play songs like Sister Madly or There Goes God, which had keyboard parts that were improvised and evolved over time. I’d like to see what Mitchell does with that.

@slowpogo posted:

I’m curious if they’ll play songs like Sister Madly or There Goes God, which had keyboard parts that were improvised and evolved over time. I’d like to see what Mitchell does with that.

I’m looking forward to seeing the video of the Auckland gig this weekend to find out how they did When You Come, for that same reason. There’s one where more or less every live version was superior to the record.

Hello all,

A friend and I---both of us fans since the Enz days---were discussing the new album, and we both questioned whether or not it is "Crowded House."

For what it's worth, he thinks DREAMERS is better than INTRIGUER, but not nearly as good as the other CH records.  I do not agree.

EDIT: I get what others are saying about this line-up being legitimate because of Neil, Nick, and Mitch's presence. And I agree that any band with those three guys in it has the right to consider calling itself Crowded House.  On paper, it works.

But for the most part, this just doesn't sound like CH to me.  There are exceptions, but mostly, the things I think of when I think of "Crowded House" (the band, not the first album) are not here.

I'm fine with experimentation.  I love hearing different influences in the music and the arrangements. But first give me songs that have unusual chord progressions, timeless melodies, and great lyrics.  Those are the foundations on which CH is built.

Neil (with occasional help from the band and Tim) has changed the way he writes songs, a process that has continued for the last 10 years.  It's not bad...it's just different.  I don't know if it's true or not, but it seems like he is consciously, deliberately steering away from his own strengths as a songwriter.  Or maybe his muse just speaks to him differently than it did from the Enz days through One Nil/One All.

I've read the interviews, and I know he was inspired by Fleetwood Mac to re-imagine his own band.  And yes, FM changed its line-up to include Neil and Mike.  But there's a huge difference with the music---FM mostly stayed faithful to the band' classic sound.

But I think I'd have liked this new material more if it had been called something else...a Neil solo project...a different, new band...?  Anything but CH.

Having said all that...

"Bad Time Good" is by far my favorite track on the record, and I simply can't get enough of the song.  And many of the others are growing on me.  I like "Sweet Tooth" a lot.  The chorus of "Too Good for This World" is fantastic.

EDIT: I was reading the "First Impressions" thread, and it made me smile because it seems like everyone loves different songs from this album.  My first impression was that "Deeper Down" is an absolutely horrible closing song, but then I read someone's comment that it was one of their favorites!  Hah!  After re-listening, I like it better when I listen to it on its own.  Still not sure about its place in the track listing...

mattl

Last edited by mattl
@mattl posted:
But for the most part, this just doesn't sound like CH to me.  There are exceptions, but mostly, the things I think of when I think of "Crowded House" (the band, not the first album) are not here.

I'm fine with experimentation.  I love hearing different influences in the music and the arrangements. But first give me songs that have unusual chord progressions, timeless melodies, and great lyrics.  Those are the foundations on which CH is built.

I was very young when the original albums came out, but I have to imagine some people felt the same way back then. Woodface is a completely different tone and production style from the previous two. Together Alone is even more different still. I can easily imagine people saying about Together Alone, "I like this but it sounds nothing like Crowded House."

Personally, I hear Crowded House in Dreamers are Waiting. Not as strongly in every track but it's there. To the Island, Whatever You Want, Start of Something, Sweet Tooth are all very compact and hook-forward in a way I associate with Crowded House. Show Me the Way and Playing With Fire sound like Neil solo tracks from Try Whistling This & Dizzy Heights, respectively. I like Goodnight Everyone, but it's basically a solo Liam song. And the remaining ones feel like an evolution of Crowded House, faintly familiar but treading new territory.

I've also allowed myself the possibility that it doesn't have to actually sound like my conception of Crowded House. As you said, if these people on paper want to call themselves Crowded House, that is totally fair. And they have no obligation to sound any particular way. That said it sounds more like them than I anticipated, and I like the ways in which it doesn't, so I'm pretty satisfied so far.

As for the unusual chord changes, I actually associate that way more with Neil's solo stuff, Try Whistling This and One All especially. I feel like a lot of the classic Crowded House stuff is pretty diatonic and standard, like earlier Beatles, but stood out for the personality of the band. (There are a few exceptions like Pineapple Head, which is pretty weird harmonically)

Last edited by slowpogo
@slowpogo posted:

I was very young when the original albums came out, but I have to imagine some people felt the same way back then. Woodface is a completely different tone and production style from the previous two. Together Alone is even more different still. I can easily imagine people saying about Together Alone, "I like this but it sounds nothing like Crowded House."

Personally, I hear Crowded House in Dreamers are Waiting. Not as strongly in every track but it's there. To the Island, Whatever You Want, Start of Something, Sweet Tooth are all very compact and hook-forward in a way I associate with Crowded House. Show Me the Way and Playing With Fire sound like Neil solo tracks from Try Whistling This & Dizzy Heights, respectively. I like Goodnight Everyone, but it's basically a solo Liam song. And the remaining ones feel like an evolution of Crowded House, faintly familiar but treading new territory.

I've also allowed myself the possibility that it doesn't have to actually sound like my conception of Crowded House. As you said, if these people on paper want to call themselves Crowded House, that is totally fair. And they have no obligation to sound any particular way. That said it sounds more like them than I anticipated, and I like the ways in which it doesn't, so I'm pretty satisfied so far.

As for the unusual chord changes, I actually associate that way more with Neil's solo stuff, Try Whistling This and One All especially. I feel like a lot of the classic Crowded House stuff is pretty diatonic and standard, like earlier Beatles, but stood out for the personality of the band. (There are a few exceptions like Pineapple Head, which is pretty weird harmonically)

Regarding the release of the early records...

I can't speak for anyone else, but I clearly remember the feeling of anticipation when each of the early records was released.  Honestly, I think TEMPLE was probably the biggest surprise for me.  The first album was overall just so FUN, and TEMPLE was a big departure.  Nearly the entire album was melancholy (not a bad thing; on most days, it remains my favorite CH album).  But the album wasn't a complete shock, because fans had already heard the band playing "Better Be Home Soon" and "Sister Madly" live. That definitely helped with the transition.

That was back when magazines were our primary source of news, although they occasionally got a mention on MTV News.  When the band played MTV Unplugged, they made the bold move of playing "Four Seasons" and "Chocolate Cake," plus a cover of "Throw Your Arms Around Me," a song that few people in the US knew.

"Four Seasons" was breathtakingly beautiful, but it wasn't a huge departure from TEMPLE and "Into Temptation." "Chocolate Cake" was a shock, for certain, with all its pop culture references and zaniness. Still, getting to hear a preview of those songs helped with the transition to WOODFACE, so, again, it wasn't a huge shock.

When "Cake" was released as the first single from WOODFACE, it was instantly recognizable from MTV Unplugged.  Smarter people than me have argued about whether or not it was the best first single from that record or whether it was representative of the album as a whole.  But the fact that the hardcore fans already knew the song from MTV Unplugged made it easier to accept, I think.  And the rest of WOODFACE felt, to my ears, like a combination of the first two albums.  Still a bit of melancholy, but also some fun.

You're correct about TOGETHER ALONE.  Sonically, it was a departure.  Froom and Blake weren't big fans of reverb, but that clearly wasn't an issue for Youth.  The album absolutely had an expansive sound, and I admit that I didn't love it at first.  But this album, too, had help with the transition.  The band appeared on a US morning TV program playing an acoustic version of "Distant Sun" (and they also played it live on the previous tour), so fans recognized that one.

But the thing about those first four records is that the songwriting is consistently stellar.  Even with TOGETHER ALONE---yes, the clothes they're wearing are different, but the songs themselves are of a similar style and quality to the first three albums.  There's not a huge departure in the songwriting department.

So, maybe others felt differently, but I felt like those first four records were of a particular style, and they felt like a progression to me.

Slowpogo, you wrote, "And they have no obligation to sound any particular way."

I disagree.  If a music fan finds a recording by a band with a familiar name, that person has a clear---and fair---expectation that the music on the album will sound somewhat like the band's previous work.

I supposed we are getting into the difference between obligation and expectation, and there IS a difference.  I mean, in that respect, you are correct.  No artist is obligated to do anything.  But I believe, for better or worse, that artists create expectations that obligate them to create in certain ways.  In the old days, a record company signed a band based on that band's sound and style and talent.  And the record company marketed that band based on those things, and fans became fans based on those things.

So, maybe the band isn't obligated to continue using a particular sound or style.  But if they want to continue being contracted with the label and if they want to retain their fan base, they have to consider those expectations.

If there's one thing we've learned over the last 10-15 years, it's that a Neil Finn project can and probably will sound different from what we expect.  So I would agree that Neil (solo) is under no obligation to sound a certain way.  He's basically acclimated us to the idea that he is restless, creatively.

But using the name "Crowded House" comes with preconceptions.  And Neil himself surely thought the same thing, because he wanted to bring in Nick and Mitch.  He must have included them because he wanted that chemistry and sound.  The alternative is that Neil used the name because he knew it would be more financially successful under the CH banner, but Neil has never seemed to make such decisions for purely financial reasons.  And besides, he surely increased his retirement fund exponentially with the Fleetwood Mac tour money.

I just listened to DREAMERS again, and I have to admit, I liked it more.  It's growing on me.  And there are definitely parts that sound like the next progression of the classic CH sound.  But I think the album is missing a "wow" song or two that clearly feel and sound like "Crowded House."  There is no "Distant Sun" or "Mean to Me" or "Don't Stop Now" or "Twice If You're Lucky" here.

And maybe that's my fault, not the band's, because I think it's pretty clear that they made the album they wanted to make. Neil and the band deliberately chose to move toward a new sound.

As for chord progressions, in terms of theory, I'm sure there are few CH songs that are groundbreaking.  I simply meant that Neil often writes chord progressions that are different than the usual three and four-chord rock standards.  And he often goes in different, unexpected directions, melodically, which calls for interesting chord changes.  Not every song, but enough to keep things interesting.

matt

Last edited by mattl
@mattl posted:
Slowpogo, you wrote, "And they have no obligation to sound any particular way."

I disagree.  If a music fan finds a recording by a band with a familiar name, that person has a clear---and fair---expectation that the music on the album will sound somewhat like the band's previous work.

I supposed we are getting into the difference between obligation and expectation, and there IS a difference.  I mean, in that respect, you are correct.  No artist is obligated to do anything.  But I believe, for better or worse, that artists create expectations that obligate them to create in certain ways.

I'm reminded of Wilco and Radiohead, who both released albums that were considered big experimental departures around the same time...Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and Kid A, respectively. Wilco was a smaller band so they had more leeway, but Radiohead was a stadium band and drastically upended expectations, right when their fame was peaking.

This is just to say, even upending expectations is a fair play. And remember, Neil is friends with Wilco! And Dreamers is nowhere near the departure of the two I mentioned.

People may never agree what "sounds like Crowded House" but between the band and its fans, I guess I ultimately think it's the band's decision to make.

Respectfully, Crowded House isn't Wilco or Radiohead.  But those are excellent examples of bands that clearly didn't feel an obligation to continue following a certain musical path.

I have friends who absolutely love the first two Wilco records but can't stand any of the others.  Another friend loves A GHOST IS BORN and thinks the current band is super-talented but a little boring.

Another example is Guster.  For years, they were a trio---two guitarist/bassist/singer-songwriters and a percussionist.  After a few records, the percussionist shifted to a drum kit, and it changed their style and sound.  But, similarly to the first four CH records, I think their songs remained their strength, so the changes were easier to accept.

And you're right.  It's completely the band's decision whether or not they should try to meet fan expectations or shake things up.  Or rather, it's Neil's.

Calling it "Crowded House" doesn't make it Crowded House.  Does Neil have the right to call it "Crowded House?" Sure.  I assume he owns the name (not sure how the corporate entity is set up?).

But if the line-up is substantially different and the sound is somewhat different, is it "Crowded House?"

I had my doubts until I saw those videos the new band recorded where they performed some of the classics.  They sounded fantastic!  They brought great energy to the songs, and it really increased my enthusiasm for the new record.  I didn't expect them to re-write "Something So Strong" or "Fall at Your Feet."  But I hoped that feel...that energy...would carry over to the new album sessions.

And what I hear on the new album isn't that.  It's a different feel and a different energy.  Not bad, just different.

mattl

The same Neil who could have made Twice If You’re Lucky a hit, but gave it a weird arrangement instead ...

So spot-on! I digress here, but I've tested this on quite a few guys in the music biz who are not CH fans: I played them one early live version of the track (2008) (the one when Neil asks the audience to sing a "C" note to let the band take off from there) and asked them whether this one could have become a radio staple or a hit song. Consistently the answer is "are you kidding, this is a classic!" -- and then I play them the studio version and they go "meh".

Never understood that. The original version had a fab wash of electric guitar chords under the chorus that had created an energy and yearning simply missing from the later versions.

Last edited by Dorthonion
@Dorthonion posted:

So spot-on! I digress here, but I've tested this on quite a few guys in the music biz who are not CH fans: I played them one early live version of the track (2008) (the one when Neil asks the audience to sing a "C" note to let the band take off from there) and asked them whether this one could have become a radio staple or a hit song. Consistently the answer is "are you kidding, this is a classic!" -- and then I play them the studio version and they go "meh".

Never understood that. The original version had a fab wash of electric guitar chords under the chorus that had created an energy and yearning simply missing from the later versions.

Thank you for the digress as I have been looking for that particular version, it seems to have dropped off Youtube. Was that the one performed at the 9:30 club in DC?

I’m looking forward to seeing the video of the Auckland gig this weekend to find out how they did When You Come, for that same reason. There’s one where more or less every live version was superior to the record.

Mine would be Private Universe. I’ve seen Elroy belt that out on drums superbly but would be interesting to hear how the other instruments play out ..

Thank you for the digress as I have been looking for that particular version, it seems to have dropped off Youtube. Was that the one performed at the 9:30 club in DC?

Sure was. I was there! What a great gig. But I think we might be over simplifying the process of transferring a live performance into a terrific studio recording. There have been plenty of bands that have sounded amazing live but couldn’t translate it into a great studio recording. The opposite is of course also true.

from what I’ve read and heard, Neil was actually trying very hard to nail, “Twice If You’re Lucky” in the studio and recorded it several different ways. It’s easy for us to sit back and think, “oh if he would have just had more rocking guitar it would have been perfect.” But we weren’t there and we didn’t hear the various takes. But I don’t think he gave it a strange arrangement. I think he tried to make it a straight forward big chorus pop song and he got it maybe 85% of the way there.

This thread has a lot of healthy discussion I think, even though we don't all agree. There are so many criteria we might individually choose to answer this question.

I've been loving Start of Something, which is as gorgeous a track Neil's been involved with since the 00s. After listening to it for the third time in a row, it occurred to me, THIS is Crowded House to me. Not the song itself, but me finishing the track and thinking "that was catchy and beautiful and I want to hear it again." Of course I've felt that with a lot of music, but in a certain distinct way with Crowded House. I probably can't really verbalize it.

The way a band's music makes you feel is a fair enough definition I think, regardless of the actual sounds or lyrics or anything quantifiable. And for what it's worth, several songs on this album are giving me that feeling.

Last edited by slowpogo
@slowpogo posted:

This thread has a lot of healthy discussion I think, even though we don't all agree. There are so many criteria we might individually choose to answer this question.

I've been loving Start of Something, which is as gorgeous a track Neil's been involved with since the 00s. After listening to it for the third time in a row, it occurred to me, THIS is Crowded House to me. Not the song itself, but me finishing the track and thinking "that was catchy and beautiful and I want to hear it again." Of course I've felt that with a lot of music, but in a certain distinct way with Crowded House. I probably can't really verbalize it.

The way a band's music makes you feel is a fair enough definition I think, regardless of the actual sounds or lyrics or anything quantifiable. And for what it's worth, several songs on this album are giving me that feeling.

It's a good point you raise and I think it helps with the mindset of going into it.

For example, despite most of TOE being a solo project, the fact that it is branded Crowded House (and helped by Nick's bass throughout) makes it a Crowded House album.

If it had been a solo album, you would have come away with the feeling that is was his most CH sounding solo album.

Totally with you, Slowpogo, on Start of Something. That song is a monster grower, and I’ve been playing it again and again.

As for the topic raised by mattl: I’m not at all the same person I was when I first listened to Crowded House in ‘86.  But I still answer to the same name.  Ditto with Crowded House.  I’m fine with them retaining the name even if they sound rather different now from what they did when they started — and from their many subsequent incarnations, for that matter.  I’ve enjoyed watching them change and grow over the years.  I’ve not loved or even liked every version — I’m talking about YOU, Intriguer — but I’ve always remained interested in hearing Neil, Nick et al reimagine what is musically possible during their 35 years together.

Dreamers Are Waiting may not be dripping with the sing-along hits of the early years.   But it is, to my ears, the most satisfyingly consistent and interesting box of audible chocolates they have released since Together Alone.  And it feels, in a way that neither Time on Earth (a record I love) and Intriguer did, like a record by a BAND.  So many of its songs are tapping me on the shoulder and saying “listen to me again — and again.”  Bad Times Good, Playing with Fire, To the Island, Sweet Tooth, Show Me the Way, Start of Something, Love Isn’t Hard At All: each feels like the work of a band that is gelling magically, truly listening to each other, and creating songs far richer than the individual parts of its contributors.

For me, much of that has to do with the presence of Liam and Elroy.  I wasn’t delighted when I heard that they, with Mitch Froom, had usurped Mark and Matt.  But the Finns-fils have brought to the band fresh ears, tastes, and musical palettes that have pushed Neil and Nick in deeply rewarding new directions.  After hearing Whatever You Want I had worried that Elroy’s drumming might be too simplistically 4 by 4 to match Matt’s virtuosity.  I was wrong. He has transformed the feel of so many songs — Show Me the Way and Love Isn’t Hard At All have a younger, groovier feel because of what he has added.  And Liam’s harmonies, which I’d found weak on Time on Earth, are much more confident and resonant — something that has been missing since Woodface.

Of course, mattl might feel that this proves his point: that the decisive contributions of the newcomers make this an album by a new band, not one by Crowded House.  But I think that both Elroy and Liam have listened sympathetically and creatively to their Dad — and to Nick — and forced them to up their games in exciting and rewarding ways.  Neil doesn’t seem like an embarrassing grandpa trying on his trendy sons’ clothes; rather, he seems reinvigorated.  So do I, as this is the first Crowded House album since 1994 that is sounding, from start to finish, like an ALBUM.

Last edited by Watney Sideburns

Yes it is Crowded House…. Liams position came about the same way as Mark Hart…It’s more Crowded House now than the last incarnation.

I do miss Mark though but he has a solo career so I will still follow him.

Sorry for being pedantic but just in case there will be new Crowded House who read this thread some years down the track and didn't know anything about Mark Hart...

Mark came into the band unexpectedly (no interview, no audition!) to cover the live keyboardist role when their regular touring keyboardist Eddie Rayner was suddenly unavailable for family reasons (US Temple of Low Men tour March-April 1989).

Staying on keyboards for a few years (dropped for almost about a year) and playing additional keyboard parts on Woodface, he started playing guitar on some songs live when Tim Finn left the band (It's only Natural, Weather with You).

Then as a permanent member onwards (late 1992), on Together Alone the band used his skills as a guitarist too on the record and introduced the lap steel to some of the songs.

Now it's almost mandatory for there to be two guitarists in the band.

(...more after that...!)

So basically, we were slowly introduced to Mark as a multi-instrumentalist. I'm not sure one could say Liam came into the band the same way.



Another solo album from Mark would be great, but I would really love a instrumental album (like a lot of Zen Roxy 'songs').

... back to the current lineup thread!..

@slowpogo posted:

This thread has a lot of healthy discussion I think, even though we don't all agree. There are so many criteria we might individually choose to answer this question.

I've been loving Start of Something, which is as gorgeous a track Neil's been involved with since the 00s. After listening to it for the third time in a row, it occurred to me, THIS is Crowded House to me. Not the song itself, but me finishing the track and thinking "that was catchy and beautiful and I want to hear it again." Of course I've felt that with a lot of music, but in a certain distinct way with Crowded House. I probably can't really verbalize it.

The way a band's music makes you feel is a fair enough definition I think, regardless of the actual sounds or lyrics or anything quantifiable. And for what it's worth, several songs on this album are giving me that feeling.

I love the fact that we can have respectful, decent conversations about this band that we love so dearly.

I absolutely agree with your description of what draws us to this band.  It's the feeling more than anything else.  I absolutely got that feeling with the opening notes of "Bad Time Good."  What a feeling.  And I guess I wanted...and expected...to feel it as I listened to the rest of DREAMERS.

But I didn't really get that from the rest of the songs.

At least, not at first. "Start of Something" is a good example. When I first heard it, I thought it sounded fine enough, but I didn't hear the CH magic. I heard it again yesterday, and I thought, "Wow, what a great song."

I can admit when I'm wrong, and I was definitely wrong about that song!  I genuinely hope I'm wrong about the rest of DREAMERS and that each song finds its way into my heart, too.

mattl

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