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DO you think this is a good place to start your CH collection ?

I've had the Best Of... CD for a while now and various bootlegs and things but none of the albums. So I got Together Alone on the strength of the TA era bootlegs I've heard.

So far I like it but it's not what I was expecting. I get the impression that this is the "difficult" album out of the four.
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I assume you liked the TA songs that were on Recurring Dream (Distant Sun, Locked Out, Pineapple Head, Private Universe) so you can probably answer the question best yourself. Did you like those songs? If so you'll probably grow to really like Together Alone.

I don't think any of the albums is much more "difficult" than the rest, but I think Woodface is slightly more accessible than the others. And the debut album sounds really dated now in 2001, so that might take some getting past, although there are some great songs there.
Hi Slunk,
In a word...or actually four:Temple Of Low Men.In my opinion is CH's best album.Kind of dark along the TA lines,but without the angst that just seems to pervade that Cd.Their first disc is brilliant as well,and I still listen to it....although I admit I skip DDIO alot. Razzer
If TA was 'difficult' I'm assuming it was because they were simply ready to call it quits.You can even see it on their faces in the fold out.
What I'm trying to say..(I swear there IS a point)is get them all if you can.Each has one or two truly remarkable songs...and a bunch of darned fine ones.

Brandi

Oh,and don't forget Afterglow.....divine. Smiler
There is a reason why TA is such a "difficult" album. It's a poorly produced album with mostly mediocre songs, written and recorded during a tumultous & schizophrenic period for the band. Locked Out is what happens when you give a good song to Youth to produce. BTW, a lot of posters here like TA best because it was their 1st CH album, hence sentimental attachment.

I agree with the above poster; "Temple of Low Men" is the best album. Listen to "Crowded House" to hear how much fun they were having and then ToLM to hear how the music & songwriting had matured. ToLM has the right tinge of melancholy and introspection without being obnoxiously overbearing like TA. Then go to Afterglow for the songs recorded prior to Woodface. After than, well, it really doesn't matter.

Just my opinion....
I happen to love the production on TA. It combined influences ranging from the newly emerging alternative scene, such as Pearl Jam and Nirvana, to the early 90's "shoegazing" scene which emphasized ambience in pop rock, such as My Bloody Valentine, Ride and Lush, and added those influences to the tried and true basic pop format that CH had experimented with the previous three albums.

You can hear it on tracks like In My Command, Nails In My Feet, Distant Sun and Catherine Wheels in particular. They embrace rock guitar in the classic sense, which they shyed away from on previous albums, as well as adding a kind of "floating" feeling of ambience in the form of carefully crafted ambiguity, if that makes any sense. In Distant Sun there are only a few places where any one guitar line is discernible, mostly it is a kind of "wall" of guitar sounds combining to form one ambient mood.

I do agree that Temple Of Low Men is a better album on the whole but TA has its brilliant moments and I only think 3-4 songs aren't up to par, so I think it's unfair to label it an album full of mediocre songs.
I think my problem with Together Alone is that I imagined that it was made by a band teetering on the edge of brilliance. I know you could call the band brilliant in many respects but I personally feel that CH was never in full fruition. The best or maybe just the ultimate statement on their career was yet to come. I know Seymore insited that "OK Computer" could have been the next CH album. You can almost sense that on TA.

But the problem I feel with TA from listening to it non stop for the last 3 days is that the band over-reached themselves and made a patchy half arsed grasp and being the best band in the world and instead just managed to write some of CH's best material, something they achieved on the other albums too.

So all up it has some of the best music of their career but the sum of the parts doesn't make a great album.

As for production qualities, I got the impression that this album was going to be quite slick, the "Floydian" CH album. Some of the tracks I vaguely knew from bootlegs and they we're real stompers, jackboots and all. On TA I could only recognise them by the general melody and their title.

Anyway, there's about 6 tracks on the album that I'm in love with and that's good enough for me. I think I'll try TOLM next even though that album was lower down on my want list. I thought it had a slightly boring air to it but on your recommendations I'll reserve that place for the first album. I was about 6 when that came out. I have to be well entrenched in CH-fandom before I bring back that part of the 80's (the happy part) so suddenly. Smiler
quote:
I happen to love the production on TA. It combined influences ranging from the newly emerging alternative scene, .... which emphasized ambience in pop rock


Exactly, they went for style over substance. Yes, the most interesting bit about TA is its atmosphere, and it is just enough to make some of the songs listenable.
quote:
Originally posted by kid_a:
[qb]Locked Out is what happens when you give a good song to Youth to produce.[/qb]

I don't exacly know what you mean by that, would you kare to elaborate? Personally, If I had to pick 1 all-time favourite CH song (& that is a hard task), locked out would be it. & who would've done a better job @ producing the masterpeice than Youth? & what would've it ended up sounding like if someone like Mitchell Froom had produced it instead? & 1 more question: Have you heard the acoustic version of locked out? (you can get it on the .net) & do you think it's better than the Together Alone version?
quote:
Originally posted by kid_a:
[qb]a lot of posters here like TA best because it was their 1st CH album, hence sentimental attachment.[/qb]

It's (TA) my favourite album, but not because of sentimental attachment. It was actually the last studio album of theirs I purchased & even after listening to the first 3, It still ended up being my fave.

As for your comments on T0LM, I agree, it's a brilliant LP & was the best up until TA came out.

- Secret God
quote:
Originally posted by kid_a:
[qb]

Exactly, they went for style over substance. Yes, the most interesting bit about TA is its atmosphere, and it is just enough to make some of the songs listenable.[/qb]


Well, of course that's not what I meant. I think their sound changed naturally, I see no proof it was forced as in "style over substance." They did add a new guitarist (Mark), after all, which Neil has said immediately "opened up" their sound and caused them to think differently.

Maybe the band just liked some of the new sounds they were hearing, and wanted to incorporate them into their own sound. I think it only enhanced a batch of great songs.
"Exactly, they went for style over substance"

And this is said by someone called "Kid A"???? How hypocrite can you get?

There is nothing "wrong" with TA's production, it happens to be my personal favorite, but I must admit that it took me awhile to get into it.
You shouldn't say Tolm IS the best, that's just what YOUR opinion is.

My advice for Slunk: leave it in your cupboard for awhile and just listen to it when you feel like it, maybe just a few songs in the beginning, but after a while it will grow on you.
While I agree TA has it's brilliant moments,most notably NIMF and CW...overall I just don't think Youth and CH 'fit.'I'm not sure it's a badly produced album so much as it is OVER produced.I do give Youth credit however...he took WOTS from the aweful dance track it started as to the simplistic beauty on the record.As for the atmosphere..well,to be honest it's always felt to me to be a bit 'drug induced.'That hazy,dreamy...almost ethereal quality.And not to be picky,but did they really need Mark Hart?He's an okay musician,but again...he just didn't fit in my opionion.Neil was quite capable of handling lead guitar..and Mark's keyboard work seemed to get in the way,especially listening to them live from that period.
But I'm drifting aren't I?ToLM is my fave..followed by Afterglow,Woodface,CH and TA.

And Slunk,if you really want the CH experience...search out their earlier live stuff,any and everything you can get your hands on.That's where their true essence shines.(IMHO)

Brandi Smiler
While Woodface is still my all-time favourite album (it does, after all, include the best song ever written by anyone, anywhere---Weather With You), Together Alone is my next pick. I love the dreamy quality to the songs...especially Fingers of Love...and the whole back story about the making of the album, IMHO, adds to the flavour.

I think adding Mark Hart at that moment in the band's life was the exact correct thing to do---what Mark brought to the table was a style and substance that complimented Neil's songs perfectly. I wish it wasn't the "last" album. I liked the direction the band was moving in, and in time, they would have honed and perfected that new sound even more.

The fact that Neil's writing shone through so many different producers and band lineups just proves what a brilliant songwriter he is. After all, aren't we still discussing and dissecting his work with Crowded House some 5 years after the band broke up? Wink

vch
I agree, adding Mark to the band was a good choice. He made great contributions with his (slide-)guitar work. He just added something *fresh*, I think Neil knew what he was doing, he wanted to bring Mark into the band way back in 1991, but Mitchell Froom didn't want that.
Mark Harts work with CH goes even more back to 1989.
Mark Hart's slide guitar just isn't CH..and his keyboards always sounded forced and clunky.They really didn't need anyone else,but if anything...they should've brought Eddie Rayner back.Not only is he a far superior musician..his style blended much more smoothly within the context of the band.I know Eddie played on a song or 2 on TA..but I really feel it could've been better than it turned out to be. Eeker

Brandi
5ecret _ God:
quote:
Have you heard the acoustic version of locked out? (you can get it on the .net) & do you think it's better than the Together Alone version?


Yeah, I've heard that version, and I do like it better. Locked out is a well written song, but so many things went wrong with it in the studio, esp. the ending when Neil sounds as if he's straining on the toilet. Not good.


Master G:
quote:
You shouldn't say Tolm IS the best, that's just what YOUR opinion is.


Well I did say in my post that it was 'just my opinion'. Anyway, Neil did say at one point (post TA) that ToLM was the best CH album. No surprise, considering that it's the only album that he wrote entirely by himself!
quote:
Posted Originally by kid_a:
[qb]...the ending when Neil sounds as if he's straining on the toilet. Not good.[/qb]

I don't particually like th@ bit either, but they had to have something there, or else the song would've gone for well under 3 minutes.
Wh@ I like about the song is the intro to where the drums come in right through to the chorus & even the verses & bridge. The bit where he sounds as if he's straining on the toilet @ the end dosen't make or break the song, it's just approximately 23.57 seconds (from a wild guess) towards the end until the song comes to a dead stop. It's still my fave CH track of all-time (& up until now, it's been my fave upbeat Finn song by a long shot (until HitICE which is equally brilliant)) & the acoustic version is just a good as the TA original (In my opinion)

P.S.) Do you (kid_a) like the Radiohead LP - KID A? Because of the 4 CH LPs, TA would be the closest to anything RH have ever done.
P.P.S.) Do you like the RH song everything in it's right place?
Someone made a good point, kid a, about the possible hypocritical nature of some of your comments...after all, your namesake, the Radiohead album, was an attempt by the band to do anything different, as long as it wasn't what they did before. That is more or less a direct quote from Thom Yorke.

So isn't Radiohead's preoccupation with things "new" a far more blatant example of what you claim to not like about TA?
I think together is their best album, and that's not based on sentamentality since I bought the albums in order - TOLM would come a close second though.
Locked out obviously went through the mill, but it still has a cool, upbeat feel to it - the acoustic version is much better though as with Black and White Boy.
Also if anything I think Mark came into CH too late - according to the SSS book, Neil, Paul and Nick all thought he'd be the perfect 4th member for ages, but as Master G said Mitchell Froom didn't want to loose his keyboard role...
Slunk, if you want my opinion (which you may not, but tough luck! Smiler ) then I would say that TA is the House's best album- although every album takes turns at being my fave once in a while. It depends on your mood. I think that TA is the better produced album, but sometimes it is that crass recording that gives a song character. Anyhow, like I said, TA is my fave album though, like all the House's albums, it can take a while to get into it.

I think that the best way to start any CD collection is in chronological order, that way you can value the group's progress from start to end.

Like someone else said (soz, can't remeber or find) if you can, get all their CDs. Every single one is fab in some respect. Ok? Big Grin
Hard to say where you should start collecting Crowded House. Together Alone is very inconsistent, at it's best it matches anything CH did, but at it's low points is amongst the worst stuff they did - the rocky stuff sounds too forced, Locked Out and Black And White Boy are just ballads rocked up a bit. Youth's production allows odd sounds to grow and move away from the 'polished' nature of Mitchell Froom's production of the previous three albums. The two outtakes (I Am In Love and You Can Touch) on Afterglow show how CH could turn up the amps and make a good sound. Walking On The Spot is a mistake, the piano and vocal version that appeared on B-sides in 1992 is far better, but the 'kitchens' lyric is (as Neil says himself) stretching it one album too far.

So what would I buy first - Temple Of Low Men. Then Crowded House, followed by Together, then Woodface and finally Afterglow...
well personally, TA is one of my fav crowdies albums. i like the feel of it and locked out is also one of my fav songs all time.

im still trying to get a hold of some good crowdies bootlegs. anyone care to help???? plz!!!!!! everyone keeps talking about how good they were live but i dont have heaps of there live stuff. only the live album with Recurring Dream and farewell to the world. i would really like more. lots more!!!!
quote:
P.S.) Do you (kid_a) like the Radiohead LP - KID A? Because of the 4 CH LPs, TA would be the closest to anything RH have ever done.


The more appropriate comparision would be between TA and U2's Achtung Baby. Lyrically, Neil tried more to be like Morrissey but musically the band became more like U2, attempting to re-invent themselves with TA being their Achtung Baby. I'm just surprised it took until TWT for Neil to copy the "ready for the laughing gas" voice.
I agree with Kid_A,those 2 albums really do sound alike.Maybe it's something about recording in isolated places that brings out those eerie sounds.I've played my copy of Together Alone to many of my friends around the world,and they all loved it.One guy from Benan in Africa said that Private Universe gave him chills down his spine,which I thought was cool. Eeker
Well......i like to pay out Neil every chance I can get, but i really dont know what all you people are on about!
Together alone is easily the best thing Neil has ever been involved with. And i think part of that is that the production is great! The songs are way better than on the other albums, and the production just puts the icing on the cake (lemon merangue pie!).

As other people have said, this was the last CH album i heard and it's easily my favourite. I think the addition of mark hart is what kept the band going for the amount of time it did. Kinda like how Billy Preston "joined" the beatles at the end. Mark's slide guitar sounds fantastic! And he's a far better guitarist than neil.

Can you imagine Together Alone being produced by someone like Mitchell Froom??? The most boring producer in the history of recorded music! I cant really listen to the other CH albums just because the production is so crap. The rule Mitchell Froom seems to live by is
"Hmmm.....lets make the drums sound as thin as possible, and i think this song needs something else, lets try a hammond organ, or maybe an accordian.."!

Im just rambling now but yeah, TA is possibly the only interesting recording by neil and it's a shame that he'll never make anything half as good as it again.

Donovan.
Well......i like to pay out Neil every chance I can get, but i really dont know what all you people are on about!
Together alone is easily the best thing Neil has ever been involved with. And i think part of that is that the production is great! The songs are way better than on the other albums, and the production just puts the icing on the cake (lemon merangue pie!).

As other people have said, this was the last CH album i heard and it's easily my favourite. I think the addition of mark hart is what kept the band going for the amount of time it did. Kinda like how Billy Preston "joined" the beatles at the end. Mark's slide guitar sounds fantastic! And he's a far better guitarist than neil.

Can you imagine Together Alone being produced by someone like Mitchell Froom??? The most boring producer in the history of recorded music! I cant really listen to the other CH albums just because the production is so crap. The rule Mitchell Froom seems to live by is
"Hmmm.....lets make the drums sound as thin as possible, and i think this song needs something else, lets try a hammond organ, or maybe an accordian.."!

Im just rambling now but yeah, TA is possibly the only interesting recording by neil and it's a shame that he'll never make anything half as good as it again.

Donovan.
quote:
The rule Mitchell Froom seems to live by is "Hmmm.....lets make the drums sound as thin as possible, and i think this song needs something else, lets try a hammond organ, or maybe an accordian.."!


That's a rich statement considering that the drums sound muffled throughout TA. Youth is a bassist, and TA is a guitar and bass heavy album with the amp distortion set on high: "it doesn't matter if the song is a ballad, just set the distortion on high!" BTW, isn't that an accordion in Walking on the spot? Okay....
although I'll probably be poked again for "drifting off topic," I happen to like Froom's production, usually. And keep in mind, the producer's job is first and foremost to help the band realize their vision, not realize his own vision. I know Froom has been accused of flipping those roles, but if the band isn't assertive enough to keep him at bay that's their fault. I'm sure Neil kept him in his place. So if you don't like the production on earlier albums, realize the majority of it was probably Neil, Nick and Paul's ideas.
quote:
Originally posted by Tommy J:
[qb]And keep in mind, the producer's job is first and foremost to help the band realize their vision, not realize his own vision.[/qb]


Are you sure there? I could debate you on this, but I won't because it would be off topic. A general debate on whose vision producers realise would go in All I Ask, but let's just say that my previous career in a major recording studio says that what you've stated is more often false than true. If you want to go through this one, feel free to start a topic in All I Ask, and I'll meet you there.

quote:
[qb]So if you don't like the production on earlier albums, realize the majority of it was probably Neil, Nick and Paul's ideas.[/qb]


This seems like a strong statement to make... I don't have my albums in front of me. Did the band produce themselves on the first three albums? If they didn't produce themselves, then I would ask what factual info you have to back up your statement that anything anybody doesn't like about production on three albums were ideas from these three guys. If they were the sole producers on their first three albums, then I guess I'd have to say that your statement is factually accurate, but still seems a bit harsh!

And guess what, it's not off topic. Smiler But I would say a general discussion of producers' roles would be off topic.

Thanks,
Deb
Well I based my conclusions on what I read in "Something So Strong" (the book). Woodface was coproduced by Neil Finn, and all their albums might as well have been, according to the book. Crowded House didn't just walk into the studio and say, "OK, Mitchell, here are the chords. What are you going to do with this?" They walked in with a lot of ideas, and used Froom as more of an arbiter to filter through ideas and to find the best way to use their ideas to fulfill their vision. Crowded House weren't working for Froom, it was vice versa.

That's the definite impression I got from the book, anyway, and from reading lots of books about bands and recording industry magazines that seems to be the producer's role much of the time. And that's all the more I'll say about that...
As for the drums sounding 'thin' on the first 3 albums..my friend is a drummer,and she loves to play to CH and ToLM.TA is where the drums sound muffled and fuzzy..I don't know if that was Youth's doing,or Paul just wasn't playing as hard as he used to.Neil's voice also sounds weaker on TA..for the most part he just isn't singing with the same passion or delivery he had in the past.I happen to like when he screams and sounds like maybe he's in a bit of pain. Big Grin
And this might be off topic,but I've read the other posts here..and am I the ONLY one that thinks adding Mark Hart was just a plain bad idea? Roll Eyes

Brandi
Wow, I am going to have a word with the people who wrote this board software. I just wrote 10 pages explainin the difference between the engineer and producer and so on since Tommy is not really accurate... and the whole post just disappeared and I have nothing left from it. Ouch.

Probably for the best as it was off topic. 10 pages on the role of the producer, engineer, band, and record company is interesting, but off topic. But the bottom line is that Tommy is factually incorrect about what the producer does and what the engineer does and for what the band is responsible. I am a sound engineer, and I've worked in a major NYC recording studio. I've seen it all, and I promise you in most situations, you're not correct. The producer is ultimately responsible for it all, and if the band is listed as the producer, there you go. If it's someone else, it's that person and not Nick or Paul or the person who delivered lunch that day. Smiler

Deb, frustrated that my 10-page brilliant essay is gone. Frowner
Wow, you're really eager to bust my chops aren't you Deb? I guess that's what happens when you disagree with the webmistress on a regular basis. And I'm sure rather than let me defend my position you'll just delete this, but anyways..

I've sat in the corner for a few sessions at Smart Studios in Madison, WI (the place where Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, and many others recorded albums) and I'm confident in my assessment, as nobody there said anything or acted in such a way as to indicate anything was out of the ordinary, and what I said above is what I got from that experience.

Also, I've been educating myself the past few years on engineering and production...the engineer's job can be summed up as: getting the best possible signal to tape. Now, the band or producer will likely try to give them an idea of what "best" will mean for that session, but ultimately the engineer turns the knobs.

If you disagree with what I have to say, then you disagree with what U2, Old 97's, Freedy Johnston, Luna, The Cure, and others I can't remember say about the roles of these various people.
I think you guys are going off the topic a bit correct?!?!?!?! As warly said about the drums on TA, i actually like them. They are a warmer sound. they dont sound like they were recorded in a glass room!! But thats just earlier recording's in general. I think the drums have a nice depth to them. very rich. but thats my opinion. i also like the production. and for anyone who read 'something so strong,' it did say that there was a debate as to who produced TA. crowded house fought that they co produced it but youth said it was solomnly him. (i hope i spelt that right and if not, i hope you get it!) When the album finaly came out, it read 'produced by youth.' so obviously he won.

and as for this topic about engineer v producer, in my experiences and knowledge, the engineer gets the best possible sound to tape (as already siad) and the producer puts foward their ideas. As an example, on TA, the engineer may have wanted the drums to sound that way and it was their choice. But the producer or band may have stepped foward and said we want the drums to sound like this.. so it could have been anyones decision as to how the drums came out.
ntl is right. It looks like off topic stuff comes with the tommitory Smiler so this is my suggestion. Keep this topic here to talk about TOGETHER ALONE (as in a major rule of this board is to stay on topic), and I will start a new thread in All I Ask. I'll try and recreate what I wrote yesterday, but it was long and I want to get it right.

See you there!

Deb
Well Together Alone happens to be my favourite Crowded House album (or of any band for that matter) but clearly, you can see that a lot of people disagree.

So I figure that there might be a better reason to buy this one next and that is that I think it will be the first one to be deleted from the catalogue and may already have been done so in certain markets. I'm not sure where the original poster of this question came from but I know that in the US it's next to impossible to get in the stores.

Though you're probably not in any danger of all copies vanishing off the face of the earth just yet...
i think TA is the best crowded house album, i think the songs and the production took everything that went before to a whole new level and could have been the start of something phenomenal, it is a shame that ultimately it was the end - mark hart's contribution to the album must not be underestimated either. Listening undisturbed from beginning to end is a beautiful, emotional and rewarding experience everytime - my desert island cd without a doubt

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