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It's on youtube now - just the audio with a still photograph:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UVsPqyzthI

Great.  Much better than the first two singles. A better melody and arrangement than either 'To the Island' or 'Whatever You Want'.

The tradition of Crowded House not choosing the best opening single from their album continues.

I believe the actual video clip for 'Playing With Fire' debuts in about five hours on Youtube at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRzk3sWMxAg

@renzo posted:

So far, for me, these songs are a lot stronger than anything on the last Crowded House album. A comeback for sure. At least we got something with more edge and lasting power....probably since Together Alone,

Interesting, I really dislike Intriguer but my problem wasn't with the songs themselves. I felt like Jim Scott's production and mixing simply failed (to be blunt, sorry) and things felt limp and half-baked.

So far I'm mildly impressed with these new songs. Not blown away but not disappointed either. The production and arrangements are interesting and modern and while I'm not hearing Crowded House as much as some of you, I do hear the sensibility peeking through here and there. The opening of this song reminds me of something Wilco would do, a similar kind of angular, progressive groove.

Neil's lyrics are still rubbing me the wrong way somehow, just a different sensibility that I don't love. To the Island was more in line with classic Crowded House but Neil seems to have mostly abandoned the sort of lush sensory, impressionistic lyric style he had in the middle era of his career. His songs are more cohesive and focused than they often have been which I like, but he's more forthright and opinionated in a way that doesn't suit him IMO.

I'm thinking I'll probably like this album more than Intriguer, which isn't a high bar for me, but a relief nonetheless. But I love Time On Earth and none of these songs so far are as good as anything on that album, in my opinion.

Last edited by slowpogo

I don’t think any of the new singles sound like Crowded House.  

I do think Playing With Fire is head and shoulders above the other two.  

I really like the brass and think it makes the song. The other two singles are not to my taste and have not grown on me at all.

At this point in time, it’s less about “Does it sound like Crowded House?” and much more about “Do I like this music?”

This reminds me very much of Dizzy Heights (the track rather than the album), especially the part where the acoustic kicks in. I'm not overly fond of the horns / brass, I think they sound superfluous. All in all I think I prefer To The Island. I like the guitar sound on this recording though. Hmm, will always give anything by Neil a good few listens, but a bit underwhelmed by this one at present.

This single has quite a different sound when compared to the other two and I can’t tell which one I like more. Although I think this has more of a CH sound, especially in its quieter ending. The other two give me a Split Enz vibe, a spookier song like one step ahead, if that makes sense? Anyway, it’s not a bad start and hopefully it just gets better from here

I listen to this song then I go back to the first two and so far things look pretty good for this new release. I am anxious to crank these in the car which is a great sign for me. With 3 fairly strong songs like these is it too early to say that this album deserves some award recognition? (Not that it matters too much but it bugs me that certain albums get awarded for way less) I know we have to hear the rest but so far 3 pretty solid songs with great hooks and still original in this day and age could set the stage for an album of the year nomination in New Zealand at least. Just throwing the thought out there....I know it’s early days....

I think Playing with fire is a great track . I remember hearing I live version on Facebook and being instantly impressed . On repeated listens , I agree with Dan that its a bit remiscent of (the song ) Dizzy Heights. I think To The Island is more remiscent of the production on Dizzy Heights and indeed the Pajama club.

I think a lot that's good about Playing With Fire is down to the arrangement - not sure theres actually a massive amount to the song  - but I do like it a lot .

Whatever You Want is still for me the best track of the three . Mega catchy and memorable. I don't get how people don't think it sounds like Crowded House? For me it couls have been recorded at the same session as Instinct , Not The girl you think you are , and Everything is good for you back in '96 !

@stuartjb posted:

I think Playing with fire is a great track . I remember hearing I live version on Facebook and being instantly impressed . On repeated listens , I agree with Dan that its a bit remiscent of (the song ) Dizzy Heights. I think To The Island is more remiscent of the production on Dizzy Heights and indeed the Pajama club.

I think a lot that's good about Playing With Fire is down to the arrangement - not sure theres actually a massive amount to the song  - but I do like it a lot .

Whatever You Want is still for me the best track of the three . Mega catchy and memorable. I don't get how people don't think it sounds like Crowded House? For me it couls have been recorded at the same session as Instinct , Not The girl you think you are , and Everything is good for you back in '96 !

For me, WYW lacks the melodic strength of those three songs.

You know what? I re listened to this song and I really like it. I think Neil’s vocals are really strong and the song is structured quite well. It brings me back to Chocolate Cake days...but a lot better. This would fit on Woodface. I think it’s as strong as Crowded House song as there is. This album looks like it will grow into something quite well to fit into the Crowded House catalogue.  It seems to fit better than the last two albums...sonic wise.

@slowpogo posted:

To me, this is a shocking statement. Distant Sun? Into Temptation? Whispers and Moans? Don't Dream It's Over? you really think this is up there with the best?

I like the song fine but, wow, it's beyond me how anyone could rate it with their best.

It's called an opinion. We are all allowed one.  Music is subjective.  I've personally never  been a big fan of Distant Sun.  At this point I prefer Playing With Fire.

It's called an opinion. We are all allowed one.  Music is subjective.  I've personally never  been a big fan of Distant Sun.  At this point I prefer Playing With Fire.

I wasn't trying to set anyone off, and of course opinions are allowed (as are reactions to them). This was just such an honestly bizarre statement to me that it leaves me a little flabbergasted. Kind of like if someone said "Free as a Bird" was up there with the best Beatles songs...like, seriously?

I'm glad, I suppose, if people get that much enjoyment from the new songs. Who knows, maybe with time I'll get there. Just feel a little disoriented in my fandom right now.

I guess I was saying that it is as Crowded House sounding as any Crowded House song created. But I did say “as strong as...” so maybe I have to stick to that lol. I guess a lot of people list songs like Chocolate Cake, It’s Only Natural and like you did: Whispers and Moans as some of their best. To me this one stands beside those no problem. Neil’s voice in this song actually has more urgency and is stronger...whatever he is singing about (maybe US politics again) he definitely feels quite strong about and it comes across in the song well. Then the musical arrangements to me sit well with many of what people say are the top Crowded House songs....not the very top though like Don’t Dream.

@renzo posted:

Neil’s voice in this song actually has more urgency and is stronger...whatever he is singing about (maybe US politics again) he definitely feels quite strong about and it comes across in the song well.

I agree that it's vocally quite strong. I am rubbed the wrong way though by some of the political lines, like the last line, "Next generation's got the wheel, driving us into the wall".

Partly because it's got an "old man yells at cloud" vibe and partly because regardless of how I feel about the sentiment, it's just a boring way to say it. I feel in the past Neil was more clever and artful in how he made "statements" in his songs. Now he's just kind of saying it and it feels kind of lazy and toothless..

I'm not one of the "stick in your lane" types who are bothered by artists who get political. Hell if anyone should, it's probably them. I also probably agree with the great majority of Neil's politics. But I wish it was delivered differently.

I'm not sure he is actually being curmudgeonly, I actually thought he was telling people to be quite and listen to the next generation:

'And this time, let's all be quiet
The next generation's talking
We're behind the wheel
We're driving straight to the wall'

I could be wrong though, I've just come round from a general anaesthetic!

Last edited by Welsh Dan

His time spent at his new home in California sure influenced Neil's songwriting and his latest songs.  I'm sure the time spent there during the Trump era left him and family shaking their heads many times.....and left them quite happy to head back home to NZ until the dust settled.  But we got a lot of song gems from the whole thing.  Always a silver lining....(that and a new chairman!)

@slowpogo posted:

I agree that it's vocally quite strong. I am rubbed the wrong way though by some of the political lines, like the last line, "Next generation's got the wheel, driving us into the wall".

Partly because it's got an "old man yells at cloud" vibe and partly because regardless of how I feel about the sentiment, it's just a boring way to say it. I feel in the past Neil was more clever and artful in how he made "statements" in his songs. Now he's just kind of saying it and it feels kind of lazy and toothless..

I'm not one of the "stick in your lane" types who are bothered by artists who get political. Hell if anyone should, it's probably them. I also probably agree with the great majority of Neil's politics. But I wish it was delivered differently.

I do not agree with Neil politically. The "don't let him win" chorus around election time was particularly cloying to me, and put a sour tone on an otherwise great performance. Still, he's an artist. and if I can't abide with AN ARTIST sharing their opinions, that's some pretty closed-minded thinking.  If you don't like what I just wrote, please note that I'm an artist as well.

@c.houser posted:

I do not agree with Neil politically. The "don't let him win" chorus around election time was particularly cloying to me, and put a sour tone on an otherwise great performance. Still, he's an artist. and if I can't abide with AN ARTIST sharing their opinions, that's some pretty closed-minded thinking.  If you don't like what I just wrote, please note that I'm an artist as well.

I always admire artists who share their political views and are prepared to stick their necks out. Neil is principled and authentic, as well as a great songwriter and performer.  

I always admire artists who share their political views and are prepared to stick their necks out. Neil is principled and authentic, as well as a great songwriter and performer.  

I think this is one of the very few times in history where an artist like Neil has to speak out....essentially against a man that tried to warp the world (and convinced masses) and scarily enough, did a good job of it. Its something our grandkids and next generations will be absolutely stunned that someone like that led a country and convinced so many. If Neil didn’t allude to this in his songs now it would have really would have not looked good on him....especially considering he has voiced his political views in the past.

Wowee very interesting post on how the words, lyrics are taken, read, misread and mulled over. Great to see I’m not the only one that tunes in to what the meaning behind it all may be ✌️ On Facebook Twitter and Instagram the lyrics are there straight from Neil’s sword 😉 love how it’s there and the crossed out words too. Thanks Team NF and Crowded House for sharing all 👌

Last edited by Annie99999

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