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One positive thing I can say, is that the lyrics at least have a direction in these new songs. You can have an idea of what they're about. In the last 10 years or so Neil has sometimes seemed lyrically adrift to me. I like when songwriting is open-ended enough that the meaning is debatable... but there's a vast difference between the gorgeous impressionism of Nails In My Feet and the vapid shruggery of Saturday Sun and its throwaway garbage lyrics like "my head is alright." I was also quite skeptical of something like Archer's Arrows, which was compelling enough musically but felt like a vague and toothless collection of images which suggested some kind of ideological statement but never really got there.

These new ones strike a good balance between having a discernible theme but getting there through interesting imagery.

Last edited by slowpogo
@slowpogo posted:

One positive thing I can say, is that the lyrics at least have a direction in these new songs. You can have an idea of what they're about. In the last 10 years or so Neil has sometimes seemed lyrically adrift to me. I like when songwriting is open-ended enough that the meaning is debatable... but there's a vast difference between the gorgeous impressionism of Nails In My Feet and the vapid shruggery of Saturday Sun and its throwaway garbage lyrics like "my head is alright." I was also quite skeptical of something like Archer's Arrows, which was compelling enough musically but felt like a vague and toothless collection of images which suggested some kind of ideological statement but never really got there.

These new ones strike a good balance between having a discernible theme but getting there through interesting imagery.

Don’t have a problem with “ my head is alright “ !

Saturday Sun is a fantastic song .

@stuartjb posted:

Don’t have a problem with “ my head is alright “ !

Saturday Sun is a fantastic song .

Different strokes, etc. It just strikes me as lazy and boring. I don't think the song is terrible or anything, but I personally would reserve "fantastic song" to describe songs like Into Temptation, Distant Sun, I Feel Possessed, etc and compared to those classics Saturday Sun can't help but seem mediocre to my ears.

I don't want to get too down on something I haven't heard yet, I'll listen with optimism when the time comes. But I won't exactly be dying of anticipation for the next 4 months.

@slowpogo posted:

Different strokes, etc. It just strikes me as lazy and boring. I don't think the song is terrible or anything, but I personally would reserve "fantastic song" to describe songs like Into Temptation, Distant Sun, I Feel Possessed, etc and compared to those classics Saturday Sun can't help but seem mediocre to my ears.

I don't want to get too down on something I haven't heard yet, I'll listen with optimism when the time comes. But I won't exactly be dying of anticipation for the next 4 months.

I remember when Saturday Sun came out we were all pretty down on it - but listening back to the first performance we heard (https://youtu.be/HGuSMer1zjo), these days I really like it. These songs grow on you. I think the new ones will as well.

So far, it’s only the album versions of both of the new songs which haven’t particularly grabbed me, the live takes have been great. I think the studio versions will get under our skin in time.

I remember when Saturday Sun came out we were all pretty down on it - but listening back to the first performance we heard (https://youtu.be/HGuSMer1zjo), these days I really like it. These songs grow on you. I think the new ones will as well.

So far, it’s only the album versions of both of the new songs which haven’t particularly grabbed me, the live takes have been great. I think the studio versions will get under our skin in time.

Not me I have to say . I was blown away when I first heard Saturday Sun . I’ve never understood the lukewarm response it got ...

@slowpogo posted:

Different strokes, etc. It just strikes me as lazy and boring. I don't think the song is terrible or anything, but I personally would reserve "fantastic song" to describe songs like Into Temptation, Distant Sun, I Feel Possessed, etc and compared to those classics Saturday Sun can't help but seem mediocre to my ears.

I don't want to get too down on something I haven't heard yet, I'll listen with optimism when the time comes. But I won't exactly be dying of anticipation for the next 4 months.

Yes it’s all opinions . You mentioned “ I feel Possessed “ as a classic . Good song , but it’s not an example I would have reached for when listing a crowded house “ classic “ . Saturday Sun for me is a far better song.

@stuartjb posted:

Yes it’s all opinions . You mentioned “ I feel Possessed “ as a classic . Good song , but it’s not an example I would have reached for when listing a crowded house “ classic “ . Saturday Sun for me is a far better song.

Had to have a listen to Saturday Sun as it had been so long. Aaaaand still don’t like it. :-D

What’s distinctive about a Saturday Sun anyway, as opposed to suns on other days of the week? Nuthin. It’s just a memorable title.

I’ve always felt that I Feel Possessed is such an intriguing opener to TOLM, compared to the skip-button tapper that is Saturday Sun.

Had to have a listen to Saturday Sun as it had been so long. Aaaaand still don’t like it. :-D

What’s distinctive about a Saturday Sun anyway, as opposed to suns on other days of the week? Nuthin. It’s just a memorable title.

I’ve always felt that I Feel Possessed is such an intriguing opener to TOLM, compared to the skip-button tapper that is Saturday Sun.

The chorus melody of I Feel Possessed exemplifies what I love about Neil’s songwriting...catchy as hell but also really pretty. The lyrics are a great example of what I was talking about earlier too...the song (as I see it) is about how unknowable people can be and the ineffability of human relationships. It’s expressed impressionistically but cracks open a chasm of thought & feeling for me, all against a comfy Paul Hester groove & Mitchell Froom’s spooky & lush vintage keyboards...deliciously dark & provocative but also a total ear worm. Those are the heights Crowded House’s best songs reach, and for better or worse, a yardstick Neil’s newest work will always be measured against. I just haven’t heard much that was half as interesting in Saturday Sun or most of Neil’s newer work. There are bright spots, as one example I do think Terrorise Me is a pretty stunning song.

All in all, with the first two songs, I really like that they are upbeat, quirky, fun....something that has been missing within the last two Crowded House albums.  I did like Inside Out from Intriguer and that falls into this category.  She Called Up I guess does too although I have always not liked that one....tries to hard to be a Crowded House song.   Most of the other songs on the last two have a down feel to them....even when they are faster pace like Saturday Sun and Don't Stop.  These new ones get the blood flowing again.  I measure these types of things by having other listen and the "non fans" like them.....like they liked Pajama Club songs for the same reason.  Quirky, fast, upbeat, fun, unique etc.

Alot of this is probably from getting Neil's sons on board.  I think it was a fantastic move and it shows in the music....and the incredible versions of the old songs (I am in awe of the Youtube versions recorded in the past couple of months).  We are in for a treat when they play live in front of us again.  So let's get rid of this dang virus once and for all and start up the shows again!   (and make to Winnipeg again.....Western Canada needs you Crowded House!)

Listening to the acoustic Fangradio version of To The Island now - there’s a really good song under there.

Thom, I thought the same thing.  I was a little under-impressed with the studio version.  Like "Whatever You Want," I thought, "This is a good Neil Finn side project song, but it just doesn't have the Crowded House magic."

But the acoustic version on Fangradio feels MUCH more like true Crowded House, which makes me think its the production and arrangement that make the studio version feel less like CH and more like one of Neil's other projects.

So, the question is...

Has Neil released these two songs *because* they're a little different, and he wants to surprise us and maybe grab some modern radio airplay/streamplay?

My hope is that the album reveals a classic ballad or two as well as a rocker or two, but more than that, I just want melodic, well-written tunes that have that classic CH magic. (For the record, I don't think the magic was exclusive to the pre-breakup version of the band. "Don't Stop Now," for instance, really plays to the band's strengths.)

My fear is that these two songs are actually quite representative of the overall record, meaning we're getting 10 more songs like this.  Hmm.

I recently stumbled upon a podcast called Political Beats.  Normally, I'd have ignored it based on the title, but I was searching for CH-related episodes, and episode 78 of their podcast showed up.

The three hosts spend over two hours discussing their favorite Crowded House songs and albums.  It's fascinating because all three of them discovered CH after the band's commercial peak, so they have a much different perspective.  For instance, they seemed to generally feel that the reunion albums stand nearly shoulder-to-shoulder with the first four records.  At the end of the episode, they each picked their five favorite CH songs.  It was interesting to see their choices, which didn't always fall in line with what I see here on frenz.

Anyway, hearing them talk about the band's entire catalog reminded me once again just how strong the band's records are.  The hosts repeatedly stated that, unlike most bands, CH hasn't made a bad album.

That's an incredible legacy, really.  So, calling this new band "Crowded House" invites comparisons to the band's previous work.  And it creates the expectation that this new material somehow fits into that band legacy we all know and love.

I genuinely hope that's the case.

matt

@Whysus posted:

I really like the song, mainly because I find it interesting on a number of levels. I’m not sure if it’s a great single, but DDiO was the 4th single of the debut album and SSS the 5th. And Weather With You was the 4th off Woodface. So there could still be some real gems to come. I do like this significantly more than Saturday Sun (and Either Side of the World) though.

I think I can hear some Phil Judd influences throughout it, which took me by surprise. I can easily imagine Phil singing the verses with Neil coming in on the chorus. This is exactly what I imagine a song would sound like if Neil and Phil got together to write.

Interesting that it references the Island of Real too. This was a music venue in the late 70s in Auckland. It was way before my time so I don't know much about it. It closed in 1980. I have heard in referenced in regard to gigs from some of the NZ punk bands. Neil’s name most likely would have been on the door list! The Suburban Reptiles definitely played there, and Neil had close links there through Buster Stiggs.

As soon as you mentioned Phil Judd I thought yes! I could see  to the island sung together too!👍

Had to have a listen to Saturday Sun as it had been so long. Aaaaand still don’t like it. :-D

What’s distinctive about a Saturday Sun anyway, as opposed to suns on other days of the week? Nuthin. It’s just a memorable title.

I’ve always felt that I Feel Possessed is such an intriguing opener to TOLM, compared to the skip-button tapper that is Saturday Sun.

For me I could never skip Saturday Sun . It’s totally a single ( or what a single should be to me ) It’s up tempo , exciting - full of hooks and little unexpected chord progression/ melodies than only Neil can come up with that make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck .

The subject matter always made me think of going to a football match on a Saturday , and as the tannoy guy at my local team , I used to often play it .

I Feel possessed is just a good album track - no more no less. It fits nicely into the aesthetic of TOLM , maybe like “ Fixing A Hole “ does on Sgt Pepper ...

Back on topic , To the Island sounds a bit like Tame Impala to me ( who themselves sound a bit like Pajama Club ! )

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