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1. Devils & Dust
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2. Magic Time
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3. King of America [Expanded]
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4. Reflections: Carly Simon's Greatest
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5. Elton John - Greatest Hits 1970-2002
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6. Afterglow
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7. The Very Best of Sheryl Crow
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8. The Best of Van Morrison
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9. Life for Rent
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10. Tapestry
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11. The Essential Bruce Springsteen
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12. Moondance
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13. Nebraska
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14. Fumbling Towards Ecstasy
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15. No Angel
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16. Songs of a Prairie Girl
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17. The Lion King (1997 Original Broadway
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18. The Best of James Taylor
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19. Surfacing
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20. Awake Is the New Sleep

1. Devils & Dust
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.49
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Asin: B0007WF1WS
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 4
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

The last time Bruce Springsteen ventured West for inspiration, the result was the desolate Nebraska and its tales of serial killers and used cars. On his first record in three years, Springsteen navigates barren deserts and Old West war fields for a dozen forlorn songs that co-star the artist and his acoustic guitar. Though he's always had a knack for carving out the hooks and melodies that make each journey memorable, this time around Springsteen relies on the lyrics to carry the tune-desperate tales of tragedy, heartbreak, and lust with a Latino twist, like the boxer coming home ("The Hitter"), a distressing border-crossing incident ("Matamoros Banks"), and the Nevada hooker with good intentions ("Reno," which led to the warning sticker Adult Imagery). With no E Street Band in the mix, the album is decorated with horns and strings and Springsteen’s novel falsetto on two his best efforts: "Maria’s Bed," where the narrator comes home to his woman after 40 nights on the road, and the fast-picking "All I’m Thinkin’ About," where he has more than Carolina on his mind. A decade from now this will be an underrated record in the Springsteen chronicles. --Scott Holter


The Best of Bruce
by guest editor Steve Perry
Steve is editor-in-chief of City Pages newspaper in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


TheWild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle(1973)
The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street ShuffleAftera folk-rockish debut album that bubbled with ideas and dense lyrical play, thisis where Springsteen began to find his voice as a rocker and as a songwriter.The prisoner-of-love romanticism of "Rosalita" and "Incident on 57th Street"hinted at what was coming, and this early version of the E Street Band--jazzierand more spare than later versions, thanks largely to David Sancious's piano--soundsgreat, if a little ragged, these many years later.


Bornto Run (1975) and Darknesson the Edge of Town (1978)
Born to RunDarkness on the Edge of TownThese two records, which belong on any compilation of the top 100 rock albumsof all time, sketched the themes that he would spend his whole career chasing,and defined the expectations fans would bring to his records ever after. Thefirst chords of "Born to Run" sounded like freedom itself the first time I heardthem on the radio, and the album lived up to them. "Thunder Road" is still thegreatest rock & roll love song anyone's ever written. The record soundedso big and impassioned and propulsive it was easy to miss the dread runningunderneath it. Darkness... put the dread front and center. There aremore of his best songs here than anywhere else, even if the sound is muddy andleaden at times.


Nebraska(1982)
NebraskaAfterThe River (the best record that didn't make this list) and the ensuingtour answered his rock & roll prayers--he was a big star now, not just aperennial critics' favorite--Springsteen holed up in a rented house on the Jerseyshore, where he wrote these songs and sang them into a four-track recorder inhis living room. The tape was supposed to be a demo for the band, but afterseveral false tries he concluded that the tape he'd been carrying around inhis pocket was the record. Quiet and bleak, Nebraska nonetheless grabbedyou by the collar and made you listen as surely as his rock & roll recordsever had.


Tunnelof Love (1987)
Tunnel of LoveTheglare and hubbub surrounding the Born in the USA tour (the tour wasgreat--the record itself overrated) made him pull back again, this time to writea cycle of songs about love and fear and self-doubt. After this, Springsteen'sfirst marriage broke up, and he started a family with Patti Scialfa, disappearingfor the better part of 10 years, notwithstanding the pair of not bad, just disappointingalbums he released in 1992, Human Touch and Lucky Town.


TheGhost of Tom Joad (1995)
The Ghost of Tom JoadSome call it Nebraska II, but his second acoustic album was not a repeatof his first--the characters and settings had changed, and their circumstanceswere more expressly desperate, and social--though it did share the same interestin what happens to people whose isolation or marginal status renders them invisible.


TheRising (2002)
The RisingEverybody--including Springsteen himself--seemed to think it was a record about 9/11, but the subjectwas broader: death and loss as seen from more than halfway down life's road.Dave Marsh nailed it: "A middle-aged man confronts death and chooses life."Brendan O'Brien's production sounds great.


... Read more

Reviews (173)

1-0 out of 5 stars Unfortunately for Bruce's fans- it's over...
I have not bought this cd but have heard several tracks from it and will save myself some money. I honestly don't know how anyone can give this cd 5 stars...what are they smoking?? Bruce has NO voice left...in its place is some kind of forced muttering from someone who sounds like they ingested a large amount of rat poisen. The lyrics are uncreative and boring...nothing resembling his past brilliance. And the music...all I can do is shake my head and feel sorry for a great artist that has overstayed his welcome among the musical elite.I have loved Bruce's music and genius my whole life which makes it really hard to see him tarnish such a great career with such a woeful attempt at singing and songwriting.Please give it up Bruce- this is one fan who will never buy another one of your albums but instead will break out something from many years ago that will stay great forever.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Essential Bruce Springsteen
This is one of Bruce's best! Pared down.
It takes several listens beforeyou can fully appreciate some songs - Read the Lyrics. You will appreciate his songwriting abilities even more.

5-0 out of 5 stars Out'neath the arms of Cassiopeia
One of Springsteen's finest albums, "Devils and Dust" shows that as an artist Springsteen continues to grow. "Devils and Dust" sounds terrific on this dual sided CD/DVD. The CD side has all 12 songs. The DVD side has all 12 songs with lyrics displayed on the screen in time to the song. There's also a number of strong video performances from the album including "Devils and Dust", "Long Time Comin'", "Reno", "All I'm Thinkin' About" and "Matamoros Banks". The rustic home its shot in capture the feeling of the album perfectly. One could argue that Springsteen is "putting on airs" since he's a rich man shooting in this rural home that consist of performances about people that are far from wealthy. However, like a lot of artists Springsteen is trying to capture the anguish, despair and distant sense of hope that frequently occupies the lives of the downtrodden and desperate. It's a dark album as Springsteen notes, these are the stories of people in danger or down on their luck due to circumstance.

The video portion features Springsteen primarily performing the songs in their original incarnation; as acoustic tunes with just guitar and harmonica complimenting his singing. Just a note about the DVD--you can listen to the 5.1 Surround in 2.0 and it will sound fine if you set up your DVD player or receiver to play it back that way. Springsteen does an introduction for each song discussing a bit about his past as a performer and a bit about each song prior to performing them. I don't have a 5.1 set up on my computer and wanted to watch the performances as well as listen to the album while I was working. Unlike, say, the DVD releases of Crowded House's first album or Richard Thompson's DVD release on Capitol, it sounds just fine in the 2.0 format.

Just a warning for parents that listen to Springsteen with their kids around--"Reno" has some adult content in it (and it's noted on the DVD/CD as well). I was concerned after Springsteen's fine album "The Rising" that we might have seen a one-shot return to form due to the subject matter. I'm happy to be proven wrong. This is one of my favorite albums by Springsteen. I particularly like the way his voice has matured over the years and listening to him sing the material is a real highlight here particularly on the title tune and "Long Time Comin'". An excellent album.

4-0 out of 5 stars Subdued, broken down, haunting
I admit I really didn't like this album much when I got it on impulse figuring 'surely the boss can't give us dross'. But on repeated listenings it's really a grower. Nebraska style, acoustic tracks about all manner of subjects, with a huge deal of lyrical integrity. It's not gonna be to everyone's tastes that's for sure, but don't give up on it. To be honest I would pay the money for 'Reno' alone. Such an astounding song, lie back close your eyes and let it wash over you, nothing's ever captured something so beautifully and hauntingly.

1-0 out of 5 stars Sad sequel to a great career!
A longtime fan painfully admits: THIS IS FRIGHTFULLY BAD MUSIC. Bruce...you gotta know when to fold 'em. ... Read more


2. Magic Time
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Asin: B0009298OI
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 7
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Like a human infusion of chamomile tea, hearing Van Morrison's voice has the ability to instantly to soothe even the most stressed listener. That said, some of his releases have been so sedentary that they muted the '60s soul influences that had been a part of Van's joyful appeal. Not so with Magic Time, a wonderful balance of groove and smoothness, with a "live off the floor" feel evident throughout the disc. Right off the top, "Stranded" shows Van at his crooner best; relaxed, present, and joyful. "Celtic New Year" comes next, with a very Astral Weeks feel, leading one to believe that this disc might be sedentary through and through…until "Keep Mediocrity at Bay" kicks in, a feisty blues romp that shows that in his sixties, Morrison still has the sass of his best previous days. Van's cover of Sinatra's brassy "This Love of Mine" and Perry Como's "I'm Confessin'" are full of his cheek and charm. Morrison, as producer, has chosen stellar horn sections that elevates the music from good to great and comes from an obvious deep love of classic blues and soul. He's a lover and a fighter (the disc has two references to his disdain of the music industry ("They Sold Me Out" and "Carry On Regardless")), but ultimately true to his own musical vision. This destined-to-be-classic release will please a wide variety of his fans. --Denise Sheppard

Essential Van Morrison

Astral Weeks

Moondance

It's Too Late to Stop Now [LIVE]

Tupelo Honey

Into the Music

Saint Dominic's Preview

... Read more

Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars vanthe man ( and the voice?)
stranded, celtic new year, just like greta, the lion this time, and gipsy in my soul are five masterpiece of the most emotional voice of the popular music. van is back on top again.

2-0 out of 5 stars Waiting For The Man
I keep hoping very hard that the real Van Morrison will someday stand up again. I have been hoping for this for about the last 6 or 7 Van albums. As for Magic Time....well, where is the magic? I don't hear it or feel it coming from this recording either. I won't give up waiting though and even if Van never delivers the shivers again, I still have a vast treasure of older masterpeices to plug into. So for now, I will just keep my ears on the horizon searching and hoping for a possible full force gale.

4-0 out of 5 stars I tip my top hat to you YA!
The best part of this album is the picture of fred estaire and ginger rogers wannabes on the cover, high-stepping, kicking out, and kick boxing.Morrisson moves into the realm of would-be, could-be (has been?) crooner/swooner Rod Stewart, with an easy transition into standards, jazz, and gangsta-rap.

Did you folks know I wear a top hat?

5-0 out of 5 stars It's All Here
I have everything Van Morrison has ever recorded.Of course it's not all consistently great.Great artists who have longevity hit creative and performing peaks at different times and in different ways over an extended period of time.Some of the work on this album ranks up there with some of Morrison's best.It also brings together through different songs each of the major themes that underlie and run through his body of work as a whole.The Celtic mysticism, the incredible melodies, his bows to influences in R&B, jazz, and even popular song.His unique excellence has always (or at least since the early days with Them) been his capacity to weave it all together in a sound uniquely his.

Several of his more recent albums have more exclusively mined just one of these veins (not always that successfully), or seemed to have been more half-hearted efforts.However, to these ears, Magic Time, is an album which I believe is in line with some of his stronger work from the 80's and early 90's.

In the context of the range of music available - 5 stars.In the context of his own absolute best - 4 stars.If you like Van in the full range of his styles and influences, this is an album for you.If you favor only one or two of those personae, as seems to be the case with a couple reviewers, you will still find the few songs or more that grab you.

1-0 out of 5 stars Van Morrison Has A Great Musical History!
This man has really made many classic albums!

Listen to Astral Weeks, Moondance and Irish Heartbeat which are must-buy for all Van Morrison fans.
This man is a very skillful player, compositor and performer!
Unfornately, Magic Time is the worst record this man has ever cut. Maybe he his losing his creativity and he should soon stop his awesome musical career. Every artist has their own house of holy and Van Morrison has made his own! ... Read more


3. King of America [Expanded]
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B0007XT894
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 645
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

This plunge into blues and roots Americana stands with This Year's Model and Imperial Bedroom as Costello's greatest work. Ryko's repackaging is immaculate, natch, and this time Elvis contributes a fascinating 3,000-word essay about the recording and its dismal fate at Columbia's hands. --Jeff Bateman ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Place Were I Made My Best Mistakes
Without a doubt, KING OF AMERICA was one of Costello's strongest releases in the 1980's. And that's saying alot in light of albums like GET HAPPY, IMPERIAL BEDROOM & the underrated TRUST.Next to ALMOST BLUE (& now DELIVERY MAN) this is Costello's most Country & Folk oriented album. It's also his most acoustic. Though The Attractions play on a few cuts, they basically sat this one out. Suffice it to say, they were less than thrilled to be blown off in favor of the stellar line-up assembled here. It's enough to make your jaw drop. Legends like James Burton, Jim Keltner, Earl Palmer & Ray Brown. Just as stellar are the songs. "Indoor Fireworks" & "Poisoned Rose" are among the finest he's ever penned. Right up there with classics like, "Almost Blue". The bleak majesty of "Little Palaces" & "Sleep Of The Just" will haunt you in your sleep. And things don't get any more scathing than the likes of "I'll Wear It Proudly" or "Suit Of Lights". As for the rest, "Brilliant Mistake", "Jack Of All Parades" & "Big Light" all go to show there really isn't a dud on the album. I suppose Costello best sums it up in "Our Little Angel"---"this is the place where I made my best mistakes". He also does well on his choice of covers. His raspy take on "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" is as brooding & menacing as it gets. On "Eisenhower" he wisely lets his guest stars blow off some much needed steam. Of course, the real clincher for fans is the bonus disc. "Having It All", "Suffering Face" & "Deportee" capture Costello at his maudlin best. "Shoes Without Heels" & "King Of Confidence" would have only improved the original album. His covers of "True Love Ways" & "End Of The Rainbow" are priceless. As for the live cuts, things like "Tears Me Up" are gut wrenching to say the least. For those who found SPIKE's "Tramp The Dirt Down" a bit too preachy, meet the Pop version,"Betrayal". Sadly, this is reputed to be the last of the Rhino reissues. Well, on KING they give you the royal treatment.

5-0 out of 5 stars Crown jewel in Costello's 80's releases comes to CD again
"King of America" stands as the crown jewel in Costello's late 80's output. Rhino has finally issued this stellar gem in a deluxe edition that puts the previous version released by Ryko to shame. Although the first edition had a bonus disc with a handful of live tracks and bonus tracks, it lacked the deluxe grandeur of what this reissue deserved. This edition has all those bonus tracks, live cuts plus 14 previously unreleased tracks. The bonus tracks have all been relocated to the second disc (like all the re-releases)presenting the original album on the first disc alone.

Personally, I would have loved to see this released as a 3 CD deluxe set with a disc devoted to most of the concert the live tracks are drawn from. I always felt that the live tracks were little more than a teaser for a much bigger, better album that was never released. Since this is the last in the Rhino remasters that's going to be released (unless they put out the limited edition 5 CD live album that was put out in the 90's), I would have loved to see a limited edition 3 or 4 CD set not unlike the Rhino Handmade releases of this terrific album with additional outtakes and live tracks. Oh well, one can always dream. At least we have this fine album finally in a deluxe edition the way it should have been released in the first place. One of Costello's least appreciated but finest albums finally gets its due.

Loaded with a great set of liner notes discussing the making of the album and the bonus tracks, Rhino and Costello have done a great job at putting this classic album together for re-release. The remastered sound does sound better than the previous versions although some of that could just be the way this remastered version was tweaked. My only complaint is that, unlike some of the other notes for the other releases, it seems like we get less information about the additional bonus tracks here compared to some of the other remasters. Oh, and more importantly for Costello fans, we do get the complete lyrics for all the songs written by Costello.

5-0 out of 5 stars saving the best for last
As all Elvis Costello fans know, this is the last of his works to be reissued by Rhino with an extra disc of demos. outtakes and live tracks.It is also the very best, both because the original album is so good and because the extra disc is brilliant.The Ryko reissue had only a handful of extra tracks.This version, by contrast, has over 77 minutes of additional music.However, it is more the quality, not simply the quantity, of the music that makes this disc special.The solo acoustic demos which open the new disc are some of Elvis' very best work.They almost make up an album in themselves, and make one wish that Elvis would record more solo material.The Coward Brothers material is excellent, but not new.The disc closes with an exceptional live set, which ranks among the best ever live recordings Elvis has released.Buy this record! ... Read more


4. Reflections: Carly Simon's Greatest Hits
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.49
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Asin: B0001XANAS
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 516
Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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Album Description

This is the first career-spanning, multi-label single disc compilation of her career, including hits from Elektra, Arista, etc.

20 songs- every one of Carly’s top Billboard charting hits Digitally Remastered directly from the master tapes.

First single disc multi-label compilation ever!

One of music’s most influential and cherished singer/songwriters, Carly Simon has recorded and released over 25 albums and is internationally renowned as a versatile artist who is consistently breaking new ground.

Grammy and Oscar winner, her experiences in life, love and motherhood and her strive for success have translated into several of the most memorable hit songs ever recorded.

Various musicians such as Jennifer Lopez, Janet Jackson, Tori Amos, and Mandy Moore have recently covered some of Carly’s songs.

Extensive CD booklet with introduction by Carly Simon!

Includes rare photos and complete essay by Stephen Davis on Carly’s illustrious career. ... Read more

Reviews (24)

4-0 out of 5 stars Exceptionally well done
Easily the most comprehensive Carly Simon collection out there. It's in chronological order and leads off with the hits from a generation ago, including "That's The Way I've Always Heard It Should Be," "You're So Vain," "Anticipation" and the rest of the favorites. Although her pop hits dried up by the late 1980's, there are some very good songs on the second half of the disc, including "Let The River Run," "Coming Around Again," and "Better Not To Tell Her." The final track is a duet with Carly's daughter, and it's worth hearing. All in all, highly recommended, especially for casual fans of Carly Simon. The sound is great, and there's a nice booklet with great liner notes and photographs.

5-0 out of 5 stars NOBODY DOES IT BETTER THAN CARLY SIMON
With an impressive career span going back toward the 70's Carly Simon has reached an impressive outpour of fans from around the world and still continues to be one of the most popular singers of the universe. This collection set titled Reflections is far more superb compared to the Best Of Carly Simon cd cause this covers nearly all of carly's most loved songs that made her a huge success in the 70'S. From touching ballads such as That's The way i always heard it should be to popular children's tunes such as Itsy Bitsy Spider from her Arista Debut Coming around again. The gospel sounding anthem Let the River Run is also included here from the Melanie Griffith film Working Girl as well as the James Bond hit Nobody Does It Better that was also used to hawk Safeway Supermarkets in the Late 90's. While this may be a fine sample of Simon's work it would have been nice to include Carly's version Of Winnie The Pooh from Disney's Piglet's Big Movie and Son Of a Gun with Janet Jackson and also from her Holiday album Pretty Paper with Willie Nelson. If you are a diehard Carly Simon Fan or just a starter like me this is a real true collection every fan must own. For more lite fare try these albums, Shirley Bassey- The Best Of Shirley Bassey, Carole King- Tapestry, Carole King- Throroughbred, Vikki Carr-It Must Be him/For Once In My life, Melissa Manchester-Melissa, Anne Murray- The Best So Far

4-0 out of 5 stars missing one of her best songs
I have not heard this reissue as yet but i'm sure it sounds wonderful. However, any CD that omits "I've got to have you" cannot be considered definitive. When that track appears on a "greatest hits" reissue my wallet will open. Until then, this is another missed opportunity. It's about time that compilers asked for feedback/suggestions from music lovers before issuing compilations. After all, we are the customer & our views should count.

5-0 out of 5 stars WONDERFUL CD FOR EASY LISTENING!!!
REFLECTIONS: CARLY SIMON'S GREATEST HITS

1. That's the Way I've Always Heard it Should Be {From Carly Simon} (4:18)
GOOD SONG!!! 8/10

2. Legend in Your Own Time {From Anticipation} (3:46)
Not my favorite, but still good. 6/10

3. Anticipation {From Anticipation} (3:21)
GREAT TUNE!!! 9/10

4. The Right Thing to Do {From No Secrets} (2:58)
Good tune. 8/10

5. You're So Vain {From No Secrets} (4:18)
GOOD SONG!!! 9/10

6. Mockingbird [With James Taylor] {From Hotcakes} (3:48)
LOVE IT!!! 9/10

7. Haven't Got Time for the Pain {From Hotcakes} (3:55)
Good, too. 8/10

8. Nobody Does it Better {From The Spy Who Loved Me: Original Motion Picture Score} (3:44)
DOESN'T EVERYONE LOVE THIS SONG!!!??? 9/10

9. You Belong to Me {From Boys in the Trees} (3:12)
Okay song. 7/10

10. Jesse {From Come Upstairs} (4:19)
Just as good as it always was. 8/10

11. Coming Around Again {From Coming Around Again} (3:42)
MY FAVORITE CARLY SIMON SONG!!! 10/10=A+=100%

12. Give Me All Night {From Coming Around Again} (4:04)
Not my favorite. 4/10

13. The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of {From Coming Around Again} (4:27)
GOOD SONG!!! 9/10

14. All I Want is You {From Coming Around Again} (3:59)
AN OKAY SONG. 7/10

15. Let the River Run {From Working Girl: Original Soundtrack Album} (3:41)
Nice song. 7/10

16. Better Not Tell Her {From Have You Seen Me Lately} (4:46)
Don't like this one as well. 5/10

17. Love of My Life {From This is My Life: Music from the Motion Picture} (3:33)
PRETTY GOOD SONG. 7/10

18. Like a River {From Letters Never Sent} (4:46)
Relaxing song. 8/10

19. Touched by the Sun {From Letters Never Sent} (5:28)
SOOTHING song. 8/10

20. Amity [With Sally Taylor] {From Anywhere But Here: Music from the Motion Picture} (3:02)
A FEEL-GOOD SONG!!! 8/10

Total Run Time: (79:33)

4-0 out of 5 stars Definitive...
I believe the Carly Simon has a few "greatest hits" albums out there. This, however, seems to be the one to buy. The original recordings have been remastered to sound as good as they possibly can. The twenty tracks provide a comprehensive range of Carly's career - although I don't care for a few of the later songs. ALL of her greatest hits are here, so you will not need to buy another album to get one of her popular songs. ... Read more


5. Elton John - Greatest Hits 1970-2002
list price: $24.98
our price: $20.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00006RAKP
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 130
Average Customer Review: 4.18 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

This is the first attempt to consolidate all of Sir Elton's hit singles, from three labels, in one collection. It once would've required at least four CDs to own the best stuff here. Many think the legendary performer was at his best in the early to mid-'70s, and the incredible string of singles that ran from 1970's "Your Song" through 1977's "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word" remains mighty impressive. But in retrospect, as they're presented here, '80s hits like "I'm Still Standing" and "Sad Songs" add much to an already amazing legacy. Three Disney tunes, the lush "The One," and two from Songs from the West Coast, which was hailed as a return to those '70s golden days, represent the later years. Collectively, these tracks reinforce the notion that, despite Michael Jackson's later proclamations, John was once the closest thing post-'60s music had to a genuine king of pop, respected by hipsters and the mainstream alike. --Bill Holdship ... Read more

Reviews (146)

3-0 out of 5 stars Throw Another Incomplete Elton Collection Onto The Heap
If you're new to Elton John's back catalogue (or a parent looking for the perfect stocking stuffer for your child) this collection serves up 34 of his hits at a fair price. But there are ommissions here that any serious fan will miss. Key album tracks were understandably passed over, but many other A-sides and signature songs are excluded too.

Notably missing from his '70s creative peak:

Skyline Pigeon
Take Me To The Pilot
Border Song
Burn Down The Mission
Country Comfort
Friends
Michelle's Song
Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding
Harmony
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
Step Into Christmas
Pinball Wizard
Grow Some Funk Of Your Own
I Feel Like A Bullet (In The Gun Of Robert Ford)
Bite Your Lip (Get Up And Dance)
Ego
Mama Can't Buy You Love
Part Time Love

... even '80s cuts like:

Nobody Wins
Chloe
Blue Eyes
Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)
Kiss The Bride
Club At The End Of The Street
Wrap Her Up

???

The redundant live duets included on disc 3 of this set are utterly dispensable compared to these essential songs. A three disc hits package that included more of Elton's stronger '70s work would've been more deserving of the "Greatest" designation.

I'm giving this package an extra star for the cover art alone.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not Quite Definitive Collection of Elton's Biggest Hits
This 2CD plus bonus mini-CD set, released in a second straight Christmas season dominated by comprehensive classic rock reissues, aspired to be the final definitive statement on Elton John's 30-year reign atop the pop charts.

But despite a well-written essay and photographs, and an extra disc featuring duets with Luciano Pavarotti and Alejandro Safina (an unbelievably overwrought "Your Song") , this collection fails against Elton's three previously released best-ofs.

Elton's first such collection from 1974 remains one of pop/rock diamonds. He, songwriting partner Bernie Taupin, producer Gus Dudgeon (who with John coordinated this set) mixed fast and slow, hard and soft, pulling pop music and cultural influences left and right to create one of music's most fertile, creative five year success runs. Repeated here, songs from that collection are missing ("Border Song") or truncated ("Daniel" and "Saturday Night's All Right For Fighting") Moreover, "Friends," among Elton's beloved songs, is missing and would have been a great value-add.

His second volume from 1977 chronicled his three years as the world's most popular singing star. Yet two #1 radio hits from that collection missed this set, his bombastic "Pinball Wizard" and his audacious, reggae-tinged take on the Beatles "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds." Elton made those tracks from respective rock superstars his own, sealing his dominance of the era.

Elton's 1976-86 greatest hits collection, released by two different labels, covered his resurgent 80s career linked closely to the return of his piano-ballad style and acknowledgement from artists he influenced (everyone from George Michael to Guns n' Roses). Yet some remarkable songs from even that set (especially "Blue Eyes" and 1979's Thom Bell-produced "Mama Can't Buy You Love") are noticeable by their absence. Any would have formed a more compelling third disc than, say, 1990's flaccid Elton-Michael duet on "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me."

Even the artwork looks slipshod. The cover recreates a 70s pencil-style drawing on white cover, with dates (1970-2002) indicating a short life, not a long career Elton defiantly announced was "To Be Continued" on his 4CD box set. Yet its hard arguing with the songs here, most correctly chronicling Elton's gradual shift from camp rocker to soft rock balladeer to Broadway and film composer/ classical collaborator. This set is recommended for casual fans or those wanting one spot for Elton's biggest hits. But fans wanting to dig deeper into Elton John's music and the pop culture he epitomised are better served by the three individual sets.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not Quite the Definitive Elton John Collection
Music: 4.5 Stars Compilation: 3.5 Stars

There have been many Elton John collections over the years, even more so in Europe than here in the US. The release of "Greatest Hits 1970-2002" (34 tracks, 157 min.) is intended to be the truly definitive "greatest hits" collection. Did they get it right this time?

Given the time limitation of a CD, the compiler(s) had two choices: either to collect truly the greatest and biggest hits of Elton John (which would have inevitably skewed the compilation towards the earlier years), or present a "balanced" compilation that includes songs from all phases of Elton's career, regardless how big or small a hit they were. Unfortunately, the compiler(s) chose the latter route. As a result, a number of weaker songs from the later years were included, and thus a number of better known and bigger hits not being included. Just to name the biggest oversights: "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" (a top 5 hit in 1974), "Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)" (Elton's tribute to the slain John Lennon, a top 10 hit in 1981), "Song for Guy" (Elton's only instrumental hit ever, from 1978, a top 5 hit in most of Europe), "Pinball Wizzard" (1976 hit from the "Tommy" soundtrack), and even the novelty-hit "Step Into Christmas". But the biggest blunder of them all is the inexusable absence of a little thing called "Candle in the Wind 1997". Hello record company? It's only THE BIGGEST SELLING SINGLE OF ALL TIME, EVER, ANYWHERE!!!! Add those 6 songs instead of "The One", "Believe", "Blessed", "Something About the Way You Look Tonight", "Written in the Stars" and "This Train Don't Stop There Anymore", and then you truly would have had something called Elton John's "Greatest Hits 1970-2002".

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Collection Of Classic Music
As one of the most successful musicians of all time, it was only a matter of time before Elton John would would get a 2 - disc hit s collection spanning his entire career. And while it does leave out quite a few key hits, it's the best collection of his hits so far.

Disc 1 contains all the hits from Elton's glory years, the years where everything he touched turned to gold and platinum. Indeed, you can't go wrong with a cd that features "Your Song", "Rocket Man", "Crocodile Rock", "Bennie And The Jets", "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road", "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting" and many other era - defining classics. In fact, if you take this cd and add a few more tracks by The Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, Olivia Newton - John, Barry Manilow, Bread, Rod Stewart, KC And The Sunshine Band, Donna Summer and The Rolling Stones, you'll have a virtual soundtrack to the 1970s'. There aren't really any surprises here, though I was a little shocked (though not all disappointed) that "Levon" and "Tiny Dancer" were included, since neither of them made the top 20 ("Tiny Dancer" didn't even make the top 40).

Disc 2 begins with the 1976 number 1 Kiki Duet "Don't Go Breaking My Heart", before drifting into the 1989s' with the whimsical ballad "Little Jeannie". The 1980s' were not as big as the 1970s'. Elton only had occasional success, but still scored with hits like "Nikita" and "I Don't Wanna Go On With You Like That", not to mention "I'm Still Standing", "Sad Songs (Say So Much)" and "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues". Also included is his criminally underrated ballad "Sacrifice". The 1990s' were considerably more successful. In 1992, he scored a top 10 hit with the lush title track from his 1992 album "The One". In 1994, he scored a huge hit with the "Lion King" number "Can You Feel The Love Tonight", which won him an Oscar for best song along with Time Rice. The film gave him an additional top 20 hit with the stirring "Circle Of Life". 1995's "Made In England" gave him two more top 40 hits, the haunting ode to love "Believe" and the mystical "Blessed". And in 1997, he recorded "Something About The Way You Look Tonight", which became one half of the biggest selling single of all time. After the bland Leann Rimes duet "Written In The Stars", he rebounded with "I Want Love" and "This Train Don't Stop There Anymore" from the 2001 album "Songs From The West Coast".

The third bonus disc is a special treat. It starts off with the 1986 live version of "Candle In The Wind" from the "Live In Australia" album. While the 1973 version is the one that was a hit singl, peaking at number 6 in 1987. In 1992, Elton went all the way to number 1 with another live recording, duetting with George Michael on "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me". This song and "Candle In The Wind" are also on disc 1 in their original studio version. "Live Like Horses" is a haunting duet with Lucianno Pavarotti that sends shivers down your spine. Track 4 is a new version of "Your Song" recordes by Alessandro Safina.

This collection is far from complete. There are some songs I would have loved to see here, such as his number 1 hit cover of "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds". Or 1979's surprise top 10 hit "Mama Can't Buy You Love". Or the two hit ballads he scored in 1982, "Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny) and "Blue Eyes". Or his great, underappreciated duble - sided 1976 hit "Grow Some Funk Of Your Own"/"I Feel Like A Bullet (In The Gun Of Robert Ford)".
Some fans might complain that "Candle In The Wind 1997" has been excluded, but it was left off for obvious personal reasons. Still, this is the best Elton set yet. I highly suggest purchasing it.

Update: I just saw an import version of this cd at Sam Goody that has ll the songs plus adds "Blue Eyes", "Kiss The Bride" and "Song For Guy" to disc 2 and includes a 10 - song third disc including "Pinball Wizard", "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds", and the new hits "Are Yo Ready For Love" and "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word", the latter featuring some artist named Blue. Get it if you can, as it's slightly more complete.

4-0 out of 5 stars CD 2 track 05
I recently purchased this CD and I noticed that around 43 seconds on the second CD, track 5, Sad Songs, there is slight skip. I returned the CD and received a new one, and it has the identical problem. Has anyone out there experienced this problem? ... Read more


6. Afterglow
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.49
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Asin: B0000C6E4D
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 76
Average Customer Review: 3.91 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Is Sarah McLachlan a secret punk rocker? To be sure, her rebellion is hushed. On Afterglow, her first studio album since 1997’s Surfacing, McLachlan’s music is as tempered as ever; at times, even the piano chords at the heart of the sound are tucked neatly beneath layer upon layer of strings and overdubbed voices. Listen to what’s being sung within this soothing aural bed, though, and hear the just-before-sleep murmurings of the quietest riot grrl: "I’m a train wreck waiting to happen . . . a wildfire born of frustration," "How stupid could I be . . . you’re no good for me, but you’re the only one I see," "I have to push just to see how far you’ll go." The latter song ("Push") resolves itself with the assurance "You complete me." Ultimately, McLachlan fans will be comforted again by what turns out to be her reliably untroubled aesthetic. --Rickey Wright ... Read more

Reviews (519)

5-0 out of 5 stars ReSurfacing
Sarah McLachlan's gorgeous, luscious voice is once again the centrepiece in her work. Despite most of the material being written well before life-changing events such as her mother's death and the birth of her daughter, the songs on this album are just about that -- life, death, and all the messy things in-between. Sarah's pacing and style, as always, are acquired tastes... she wraps her voice around you like a warm blanket in "Answer"; at other times, she glides coolly and effortlessly, as a glacier would over tundra, setting up an introspective mood.

Overall, the sound record to me seems to be a combination of her last three albums proper; there are the requisite Surfacing era piano-based ballads in "Answer," and "Dirty Little Secret," the Solace era melodies in "Drifting,' and the verses of 'Stupid', the Fumbling Towards Ecstasy textures and lyrical depth in "World on Fire," (mostly written by her producer Pierre Marchand) "Stupid," and the fantastic "Dirty Little Secret."

I like 9 out of the 10 songs, which, in my books, is no small feat for any artist to accomplish. "Drifing," is the only song that I'm indifferent about, but that might change after time.
Some highlights upon first listen:

"Fallen," the lead single, is about the irrevocable mistakes we make in our lives that force us to wallow within, and then move on. In terms of sound, it's reminiscent of "Building A Mystery," from her last album, Surfacing.

"World on Fire," is a beautiful song about ugliness. Being the only song written after her mother's passing and her daughter's birth, its subject matter is the reconciliation of innocence with chaos in our post 9/11 world. Sarah's voice soars, and the instrumentation is lush, harkening back to Fumbling Towards Ecstasy's layered textures.

"Stupid" is as close to a driving, straight-ahead rock song on the album as Sarah gets, and it is a great payoff. A killer chorus is bookended by Solace-style, melodic verses about being smitten by someone that you know is bad for you. Sarah's voice is raw and close to the edge; it would be amazing to see her just cut loose and let her powerful voice go completely, as it did in her cover of XTC's "Dear God." Another thing to note is that he strings and orchestration for "Stupid" are a brilliant touch.

"Train Wreck" is notable because it offers, for a Sarah McLachlan song, unusual instrumentation. There are ambient electronic sounds and beats, and hopefully this is an avenue she and her producer will further explore on her next album, when she tackles the weighty dramas that have consumed her life in the past few years.

"Answer" is, well, the Answer to "Angel." It's a low-key, very chill track that epitomizes what Sarah McLachlan's recent sound has transformed into -- an extremely soothing, maternal sound that comforts us and slows us down in our sometimes too fast-paced world. Centred around the piano, Sarah's voice is at the forefront, taking all troubles to "wash this from my mind."

"Dirty Little Secret" is a very personal song, and could well be this album's "Do What You Have To Do.' It has the storytelling quality of her work on Fumbling Towards Ecstasy. Confessional lyrics are glazed with a decadent wine sauce; the result is nothing short of epic, as she journeys through a messy relationship from the past.

It's hard to argue that Sarah is an artist that speaks to her audience, and that she is an artist who is getting more and more precise with her composing and deliberate in her writing. She conjures complex, emotional nuance in unpretentious, natural lyrics that can catch a listener offguard in a moment of vulnerability or reflection. This is an album that will surprise you on one of those nights when you're listening with headphones after one too many drinks.

In a bleak musical landscape littered with gangster rappers one-upping each other about guns, cash, and hos, cookie-cutter hip-hop beats and hooks, and manufactured pop tarts that are known best by their first names, Sarah's voice blasts across the skyline like a radiant shaft of light. Sarah McLachlan is so endearingly unphased by trends; instead, she tip-toes gently through the geography of the heart.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sarah's back (4.5 stars)
Sarah McLachlan's new album, "Afterglow", is yet another example of fine compositions by Sarah and amazing production by Pierre Marchand. I don't think the new album will top "Solace" as my favourite Sarah album, but it's a well-made album with some of the best lyrics from Sarah I've ever seen (with the exception of the hideous lyrics to "Push").

Favourite songs:

1) Fallen: Not exactly groundbreaking, but it's touching nonetheless.

2) World on Fire: WONDERFUL production! The song has a catchy chorus yet the lyrics are meaningful and beautifully written.

3) Stupid: I love the chorus! Great to hear Sarah with a bit of an edge.

4) Train Wreck: I love the intro to this song. Great lyrics and guitar work.

5) Answer: Musically very similar to "Angel", but the lyrics are far better. Sarah sounds heavenly.

6) Pretty Girl: Has a strange introduction, but solid lyrics.

My only complaint is that this album would have been better if Sarah wrote these songs on guitar. She is a boring piano player but a stunning guitarist. I wish she would have played more guitar on the album (she only plays electric guitar on "Stupid" and "Train Wreck") and less piano. Hopefully next time she'll realize she writes better songs on guitar.

3-0 out of 5 stars Give it a try, maybe┬┐.
Sarah's new album is somewhat bland. Her voice is beautiful and musicianship near perfect. So what's missing? I've played Afterglow many times for myself at home and also for Mclachlan fans/non-fans. I've compared Afterglow to Sarah's previous releases (over and over) by myself and with guests. So, what's the consensus? Well, Afterglow isn't atmospheric or insightful. The music feels like mainstream "radio friendly" pop and the lyrics are very boring. I think she plagiarized my 14-year-old daughter's diary at times!!! Here's a passage - you decide (everything NOT in brackets below were quoted directly from the CD):

[Dear Diary]:
I've messed up. Love has made me a fool, [diary]. [My boyfriend Justin dumped me]. From [his] mouth it's all that I wish, the mercy of [his] lips. [Justin,] just one [more] kiss. No matter what I say or do, I'm a train wreck waiting to happen. I can't stand to feel myself losing control [because he left.] Nothing else can cure me - [his] love is the antidote. I can only tell you what I know, [Justin]- that I need you in my life. I don't remember [why] we're fighting. [Let's get back together]. Don't tell me it's too late.
[Samantha]

Final Thought: Afterglow isn't her best work, but it's a lot better than 98% of the music on MTV/VH1 and radio. I recommend buying this album if you're a fan / semi-fan / just like her voice / curious. Letter grade: C- ( for teenage lyrics - at times - and radio friendly rhythm/chord progression).

4-0 out of 5 stars Still 4 stars, but a bit of a disappointment
I've been into Sarah McLachlan's music since 1998, when "Fumbling Through Ecstacy" provided an anchor during some difficult times in high school. I have all her other albums and have listened to them more times than I can count, so I was excited when she FINALLY came out with a new CD last year. I sat down and listened to it, again and again... and was just disappointed. Not at all with her singing; Sarah's voice remains perfectly, sensuously beautiful. Nor so much with the lyrics, which, while I had a harder time identifying with them than with many of her other songs, were still deep and well-written. I think it was the music itself. One of the things I love about Sarah McLachlan's other albums is that they have this innovative quality about them. She uses unusual rhythms and instruments, but makes them flow, makes them WORK. Here the rhythms are conventional (the opening piano and guitar in "Fallen" comes to mind here). It's as if she's afraid to take a risk, something countless people in the entertainment industry also seem to have a fear of nowadays, especially in music and television.

Yet Sarah has not completely sold out here (ahem, Jewel and No Doubt). Her lyrics and her voice are gems in a sea of cliched songs and phony singers. So compared to other CDs, I give "Afterglow" 4.5 stars, but compared to Sarah's earlier work, I'd give it 3, for an average of about 4 stars. :P

2-0 out of 5 stars Burnt out?
Ho-hum. Not as interesting as Solace and not as lushly orchestrated as Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, Afterglow is just... well, boring. Better title: "somnabulent." ... Read more


7. The Very Best of Sheryl Crow
list price: $13.98
our price: $11.99
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Asin: B0000DZ3E2
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 128
Average Customer Review: 4.11 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (128)

4-0 out of 5 stars Different song selection
Hello friends-
Im writing from Panama City, Panama in Central America. I have always been a fan of Sheryl, since All I wanna do came out. I've followed her every move, every change. Right now, i have in my hands her very first best of collection, wao how quick time goes by. I love this new collection of her best work, but my version is different from the one that is in stores in USA. This is the track listing of my version
1. All i wanna do
2. Soak up the sun
3. My favorite mistake
4. The fisrt cut is the deepest
5. Everyday is like a winding road
6. Leaving Las Vegas
7. Strong enough
8. Light in your eyes
9. If it makes you happy
10. Run, baby run
11. Picture (with Kid Rock)
12. C'mon, C'mon (feat.The Coors)
13. A change would do you good
14. Home
15. There goes the neighborhood
16. I shall believe

If i could make any changes i would include Safe and Sound (which for me is her best track ever)and her cover version of the guns and roses song Sweet child of mine-
Or to be a little more greedy i would have included a second disc full of unreleased material, remixes and acoustic versions, and colaborations of her best material. This is not too much asking......is it?????
Lots of love

Alex

5-0 out of 5 stars My review of The Best of Sheryl Crow
Sheryl Crow is probably one of the most talented songwriters and musicians out today. This CD really showcases her versatility as both. She sings about cutting loose and having fun on the songs Soak Up The Sun and All I Want to Do. They are very good tunes to dance to. I loved the hit duet Picture with Kid Rock. His voice and Sheryl Crow's voice sound great together. Sheryl Crow is so good singing about the pain and difficulty of trying to get over failed relationships. Her vocal delivery on the songs Strong Enough and The Difficult Kind are very moving. The First Cut is the Deepest sounds better than the original version by Cat Stevens.

I loved Sheryl Crow's songs about adventure and escape. Steve McQueen is a great rock song about rebellion and fast cars. I have always liked her choices of song titles too. I love the song title If It Makes You Happy and Every Day Is A Winding Road, because they always sounded interesting and somewhat philosophical to me. This CD is a wonderful collection and retrospective of Sheryl Crow's musical career. I enjoyed it very much.

5-0 out of 5 stars Truly the Very Best
I bought this CD a few days ago and I absoutely love it. I like many of her songs but my absolute favorites are 'My Favorite Mistake' & 'Light In Your Eyes'. I'm a fan of music with meaningful lyrics and Sheryl's CD has very indepth lyrics, so it you are into groovin beats and music to make you move she has a few tracks that will do that for you....but if that's all you're looking for this is not for you. Absoutely the best I'm very pleased with my choice and I highly recommend this CD.

4-0 out of 5 stars It's a "Strong Enough" collection.
It's amazing how popular "Sheryl Crow" and this collection are, but I guess she's just one of those musicians that appeal to everyone. This of course is missing a few favorite tracks, like "Anything But Down", "C'mon C'mon", and her cover of "Sweet Child O' Mine", but otherwise this is loaded with hits. All the biggies are here, like "All I Wanna Do", "Every Day Is A Winding Road", "My Favorite Mistake", and "Soak Up The Sun". Plus, "The First Cut Is The Deepest" and "Light In Your Eyes" both became really popular, and I actually like the song with "Kid Rock" too. Overall it's a great collection, and it sounds just as good as this Missouri girl still looks.

2-0 out of 5 stars BORING
Like Sheryl Crow. I suppose I like the stuff not on the radio more than what is played on the radio. Feel like I wasted my money. ... Read more


8. The Best of Van Morrison
list price: $13.98
our price: $11.99
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Asin: B000009DDJ
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 265
Average Customer Review: 4.39 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Van Morrison reputedly wasn't crazy about the idea of a greatest-hits package, and this set's haphazard programming--which leaps from period to period, style to style, tossing in two key singles by his mid-'60s band Them--speaks to his lack of involvement. Still, it rivals Moondance as Morrison's most popular album, and for a reason: like that classic, it offers one deeply soulful, spiritually and musically thoughtful track after another. Much of his more "difficult" work is ignored here; in fact, Best of... gives us an intriguing picture of a Van who's almost eager to please. --Rickey Wright ... Read more

Reviews (85)

5-0 out of 5 stars Pop Music the way it should be
Van Morrison is one of the best songwriters out there. It's awesome to hear his voice and his songwriting talent skip around in different genres, from boogie rock like Brown-Eyed Girl and the spectacular Wild Night to British invasion hookey pop stuff like Gloria and Here Comes the Night to Cat Stevens-ish acoustic reflections like Sweetest Thing and Warm Love and finally to spiritual, decidedly Christian-themed lite rock like Cleaning Windows, Bright Side of the Road, and then God Shines His Light.

There's something very cinematic about his music too. It sounds like it belongs in the movies. It has that way on perfectly capturing the mood of human emotion that seems perfect for a soundtrack.

Unfortuantely, Morrison never really had the best voice around; he sort of screams with a little rasp- like a louder, fuller Dylan, but it's unique and adds a very Van-ish authenticity to his songs. Ultimately this CD is really just beautiful to listen to as a good collection of thoughtful, well-written pop tunes of various genres.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Bard of Belfast
In the early 1990s Alan Parker filmed Roddy Doyle's wonderful book, The Commitments, about working class Irish kids trying to escape dead end jobs through the power of classic soul music. The band's lead singer--slightly pudgy but with a powerful voice and personality--reminded me at the time of a young Van Morrison. Of course, that's not much of a stretch--Doyle could very well have been basing some of his book on Morrison's early career.

The Best of Van Morrison provides a nice synopsis of Morrison's first three decades as the bard of Belfast. Those humble beginnings with the band Them presents a sound that was as raw as any of the bluesmen and soul artists that he admired and is represented by three songs: the bluesy "Baby Please Don't Go," the anthemic "Gloria," and the ballad "Here Comes the Night." Van's voice sounds more like a growl in these songs, more like Mick Jagger than the warm, smooth sound that would become his trademark.

The CD is not arranged chronologically, so I tend to group the songs by style rather than time period. Van's soul roots as a solo artist can be seen in how he favors background horns and female backup singers, as in "Domino," "Jackie Wilson Said (I'm In Heaven When You Smile)," "Wonderful Remark," "Brown-Eyed Girl," "Warm Love," and "Wild Night."

The flip side to that is his jazzy style, born from that blues beginning merging with the stream of conscience noodling that saw its fullest expression on Astral Weeks. These songs--"Sweet Thing," "Moondance," "Queen of the Slipstream," "Have I Told You Lately," "Bright Side of the Road"--often have unconventional structures, time signatures, or keys and reflect Van's experimentation.

Often the purview of country music, Van likes the "story" song. His don't necessarily relate a narrative but instead capture characters or a time period. "And It Stoned Me" is a childhood reminescence, while "Cleaning Windows" tries to capture the simpler times when he performed manual labor.

And, lastly, there's the songs of faith, not quite gospel, but like contemporary Christian with more moderate lyrics. These songs--"Full Force Gale," "Whenever God Shines His Light," "Dweller on the Threshold," and "Did Ya Get Healed"--could be maudlin, but there's something about the assuredness of the delivery that overcomes your doubts regarding the message, at least for the duration of the song.

While containing all the radio hits, the total collection of 20 songs provides a great introduction to Van, who can be a little overindulgent and uneven in his albums. Once you become a confirmed fan, you're more likely to enjoy those experiments. Until then, this is your best one album collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars In Response To IVAVARIO
The new remaster has the unedited Brown Eyed Girl with the "Making Love in the green grass...." line intact.

Now for the review, this is a great compilation for the Van Morrision newbie. It contains his most famous songs, Brown Eyed Girl, Moondance, Gloria (with Them), Domino, Jackie Wilson Said..., Wild Night, Have I Told You Lately..., And It Stoned Me, among others.

The only song that should have been on here that wasn't is Caravan. Other than that a perfect 10.

A++

Once again, if you are irritated about the original taking out that infamous line in Brown Eyed Girl, get the remaster. It shouldn't be hard to find since the unremastered is out of print.

1-0 out of 5 stars I Hate This Dude
This horrible little idiot is SO annoying. His voice stinks and his lyrics are stupid. His music is only for idiots who are too brainwashed by outdated garbage music like this to realize that there is such a thing as a catchy beat.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Discovery
Having grown up in Generation X, I had no idea who Van Morrison was until a few years ago when I bought this CD for my father. He listened to it and loved it, and I borrowed it from him recently. I consider Van a great discovery.

I was blown away by how great the music on this album is. There are so many songs of Morrison's that I was familiar with but did not know that he was the singer. I feel very fortunate to have "discovered" such a great artist.

Though I'm not very familiar with Van's work, some songs here have become favorites of mine. These include:

'Have I Told You Lately': Later remade by Rod Stewart, this has become one of the classic love songs of all time. The original is best, with Morrison's throaty voice driving the vocals.

'Wild Night': Another song that has been remade, the original of 'Wild Night' is a bit rockier than John Mellencamp's version.

'Moondance': Now one of my favorite songs, 'Moondance' is a classic, laid-back jazzy tune with brilliant vocals and a terrific shuffle.

'Brown Eyed Girl': Year after year, the oldies radio station in Cleveland places this song at the top of their "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" list. There's a reason why.

I've read a few reviews saying that this isn't as good a compilation of Morrison's material as could be made. I can't speak for them, because, as a newcomer, I don't know much about his music. I can say that this album is amazing, and has definitely done a good job of introducing me to the magic of Van Morrison. What more could a greatest hits album ask for? ... Read more


9. Life for Rent
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000089RVR
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 177
Average Customer Review: 4.26 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Despite its somewhat polite, trip-hoppy surface, Dido Armstrong’s music frequently rests on a melancholy that can only be called courageous in the current pop world. Few singer-songwriters with 12 million record sales behind them would offer a single such as Life for Rent’s "White Flag," which is in part an apology for the "mess and destruction" the narrator has left with her lover. Emotions are even stickier on other tracks, with Dido’s Dusty-ish voice coolly sweeping through "Don’t Leave Home," one of the creepiest codependent-love songs since "Every Breath You Take," and in "Who Makes You Feel," ticking off a list of reasons why an affair is dying, while also admitting that she still loves the guy. It’s a hard-won romanticism, too, that pokes its head up in the tough-minded "This Land is Mine" and "Do You Have a Little Time" ("I’d like to hold you still/Remind you of all you’ve missed"). A knotty and rewarding album. --Rickey Wright ... Read more

Reviews (381)

5-0 out of 5 stars im not expecting this at all!
i grew up with artists like britney,madonna,kylie,
dido never once entered my thoughts as a pick. instead i was sick oF her "but that was before" way back with "no angel" im just twelve back then so i find her really boring but when i heard "white flag" i was blown away and i found out that it was dido's song and it shocked me i knew i was gonna buy "life for rent" the songs are infused with mild electronica reflected in the song "stoned" soulfulness of the words are present in all of the 12 tracks which includes a hidden track 2 minuites after the last track "see the sun" stand outs are "white flag", "see the sun", of course "life for rent" pretty touchy track it makes me teary everytime i hear it "mary's in india" a funny ballad, "sands in my shoes" about an unforgotten lover, "this land is mine" is a sweet song,"dont leave home" is a great one and the rest are really soft mild and relaxing songs

I ADVICE THAT YOU A GRAB A COPY OF THIS CD IT IS WORTH FOR YOUR MONEY AND ALL THE SONGS ARE SWEET AND REAL HER VOICE IS SWEET AND SOOTHING I RECOMMEND THAT YOU LISTEN TO THIS EVERY MORNING BEFORE GOING TO SCHOOL IN PREPARING YOUR SELF AND IN THE EVENNG WHILE HAVING A HOT BATH OR BEFORE YO SLEEP OR BETTER YET AT YOUR PAST TIME WHEN YOU WRITE POEMS OR SONNETS AND MAYBE LYRICS THIS CD IS INSPIRING DIDO IS A GREAT WRITER AND HIS BROTHER TOO! SO WASTE NO TIME AND GRAB A COPY AND YOU'LL BE AMAZED!

4-0 out of 5 stars Life for Rent, Room to Grow
After the brilliance of No Angel, Dido fans were naturally left with great expectations for a follow-up. Unfortunately, Life for Rent, the end product of a 4-year wait for the sequel to No Angel, fails to build upon the watermark set by Dido's debut.

This collection consists of eleven songs (plus a hidden twelfth track) that, while graced with heavenly vocals, buckle under the weight of clunky computer wizardry for music -- much different from the viscous electronica that gave No Angel such a unique sound.

That's not to say that Life for Rent is lacking in its moments of utter beauty; the title track seamlessly blends acoustic with digital, creating a charming air of "folktronica." Elsewhere, "White Flag," "See You When You're 40," "Don't Leave Home," and "Stoned" captivate with undeniable hooks and melodies, and the swelling soundscapes of "See the Sun" serve as a breathtaking climax to the album. These songs easily match -- if not surpass -- Dido's sonic accomplishments on No Angel.

The remainder of the album, however, lurches along to an uninspired backdrop of beeps and thumps, making for songs that aren't that distinguishable from any of the trip-hop/hip-hop/pop/techno fodder in the Top 40 charts.

All in all, Life for Rent is an album mostly of songs that sound like above-average B-sides; but when the album clocks around to something good, there's a little slice of perfection that shows Dido is still capable of outdoing herself. Here's hoping for a shorter wait for Dido phase three than there was for her sophomore outing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Bland?! No way!
Let me just start by saying that there is some really crappy music out there. Shopping for music these days feels like you're walking in a mine field...I'm constantly faced with the question "Do I really wanna shell out 18 bucks for this?" usually I don't. That's how I felt when I picked up this album. In the end I'm glad I bought it. It's the best thing I've heard in a long time, sure Dido's not all that edgy, but not everybody has to be. Personally, I'm sick of listening to political music. Some musicians should stop campaigning and make music. In short, I urge people to buy this album. It does what pop music should do: take you do a better place. While she's not going tyo be nominated for the Nobel prize Dido brings peace into my life` and that's why I'm so glad she's around and so pleased th at I bought this CD, and no, I'm not some accountant in their mid 30's contrary to the Dido fan stereotype. I'm just a teenager who loves music.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best CD of the 21st century!
Really great CD it's perfect! Didos best by far.

4-0 out of 5 stars nice
as good as no angel, nice voice and different feelings.one of the best pop albums of da year ... Read more


10. Tapestry
list price: $11.98
our price: $8.99
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Asin: B00000J2PH
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 394
Average Customer Review: 4.66 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

Carole King was famous as a writer of girl-group hits in the '60s. In 1971, shebecame more famous. That's the year Tapestry became one of the biggest-sellingLPs of all time. It's easy to hear why--the music is loose, earthy, L.A. session-pop. Kingis casual, intimate, and tough; she covers all the emotional ground of the post-liberatedwoman with ease. She brings adult nuance to "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?" andcomes up with hits ("It's Too Late," "I Feel the Earth Move") whose white-soul realismand maturity put pop hits to shame. --Steve Tignor --This text refers to an out of printor unavailable edition of this title. ... Read more

Reviews (115)

5-0 out of 5 stars Carole┬┐s everlasting tapestry with a rich and royal hue
OK, I've finally gotten around to reviewing one of the most popular albums of all-time. I've had this for a while but... Definitely Carole King's masterpiece, the thoughtful, comforting, inspiring, and richly-woven Tapestry shows not only her songwriting powers at their best, but proves she was able to turn out inspiring tunes for herself instead of sundry others as she did in the 1960's. She even does a few of those songs here as well. And behold the result. Tapestry yielded no less than four Grammy Awards for 1971: Album of the Year, Record of the Year for "It's Too Late", Song of the Year for "You've Got A Friend", and Pop Female Vocal. But I see in Tapestry, with its jamming piano and rolling rhythm a template for the sound of the 70's that influenced countless others, such as the Eagles, James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, and Karla Bonoff.
That familiar jamming keyboard starting off "I Feel The Earth Move" whose catchy rhythm will make one feel "as mellow as the month of May" if it catches one in the right frame of mind, of course. It maintains an upbeat jamming until the song's end, when the tempo gradually winds down. Martika and more recently Mandy Moore are at least two artists who have covered this song.

"So Far Away" is a slow, thoughtful, introspective song, well, "one more song about the highway" asking "doesn't anybody stay in one place any more?" Carole is on piano, and her friend James Taylor on guitar.

Then comes the Grammy-winner "It's Too Late" which is basically about how two people tried, but "something inside has died," and all from being "light and breezy" down to "look[ing] so unhappy." The key here is that something inside happened to one of the party, "or maybe we've just both stopped trying." Gloria Estefan covered this on her cover songs album, Hold Me Thrill Me.

One of my favourites here is "Home Again," about wanting to return home and having someone to talk to after being on the road. If Carole King was my psychiatrist, she'd give me an F for not following the mindset adopted in "Beautiful." She's clearly wondered why people are always sad but she believes that one is as beautiful as one feels. In that case, I'm ugly down to the bone at times. However, she comes up with an answer: "maybe love can end the madness/maybe not, oh, but we can only try." I'm still skeptical at her belief that a smile will get people to treat you better.

"Way Over Yonder" is a search for a true utopia without troubles, a place of "the sweet tasting good life." The sun shining down is nice, with the rivers of honey having some biblical connotations. "A garden of wisdom from long ago dream", huh? When's the next train?

The universally ever-inspiring "You've Got A Friend" would definitely have a place in my top 100 songs. This came out the same year as James Taylor's version. Apart from Carole's piano and Taylor's guitar, there's an accompanying string quartet. Ofra Haza did a cover of this on her last album but it didn't top this rendition. The words of the chorus are immortal, but my mind latches on to this particular verse: "Ain't it good to know that you've got a friend/when people can be so cold/they'll hurt you and desert you/and take your soul if you let them/oh, but don't you let them."

"Where you lead I will follow" goes the chorus on "Where You Lead" on this nice number on emotional fealty. Simple but comforting lyrics.

The oft-covered "Will You Love Me Tomorrow", originally done by the Shirelles, is done in a mellowed piano ballad, again with help on guitar by James Taylor, without the polish and extra sugar of the original.

The most uptempo song here is "Smackwater Jack" of someone who loses his head and shoots down the people in a church, only to be captured by a posse, but is hung instead of being brought to trial. While I note her belief in law and order and the injustice of justice without trial, I wonder if King embodies more traditional values. What would today's society think of "You can't talk to a man with a shotgun in his hand?" And if one thinks about it, isn't that the mentality which the US had in Iraq last March? The live version, one of two bonus tracks for the remaster, isn't bad.

It's only Carole here on piano with the title track, where she uses a tapestry as a metaphor for her life and that of a man of fortune whose ups and downs she sees in that tapestry. There's a degree of sadness when the tapestry unravels, just as the song starts to end. She does her own take of "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman", making it less brassy than Aretha Franklin's rendition.

With a sound that matches the rest of Tapestry, the bonus song "Out In The Cold" is a nice afterthought which doesn't spoil an album that's one of the most popular of all time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Massive Hit Album Matches the Hype
The track listing for Carole King's "Tapestry" almost makes it look like a Greatest Hits package. A collection of songs that includes singer-songwriter staples "I Feel the Earth Move," "It's Too Late," "You've Got a Friend," and "(You Make Me Feel) Like a Natural Woman" would be a nice career for many artists. King accomplished them all on one album, selling 11 million copies and winning 4 Grammy awards in the process. Like Fleetwood Mac's similar sounding massive hit "Rumours," every song on "Tapestry" is instantly familiar to the ears.

King assembled a group of musicians including James Taylor and many of the top luminaries of the early 1970's West coast studio scene to back her up. The result is professional and polished with the trademark laid back feel from that period. The current CD edition that is now available augments the original recording by adding two bonus tracks (one a live version of "Sweetwater Jack") and recently penned liner notes from Taylor.

Overall, a stunning success that marked the high point of this remarkable singer-songwriter's career.

5-0 out of 5 stars Home, warmth, love and sincerity
Four words spring to mind whenever I hear this classic 1971 album from Carole King - home, warmth, love and sincerity. Even the half-lit album cover of a barefoot Carole with her cat sitting by a window somewhat evokes this. There's just something very reassuring and familiar about this album, perfect for listening to if you're feeling sentimental on a rainy day, or optimistic on a spring morning. "Tapestry" arrived at something of a strange time for music. The idealism and politically-inspired music of the 60's had come to an end, and as if to let everyone know the 60's had well and truly finished, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin had all passed on while the Beatles, the Supremes and Simon & Garfunkel had all gone their separate ways. Music seemed unsure where to go until glam rock and progressive rock developed, along with disco later. It was during this "void" in 1970/71 that songwriters of the 50's and 60's seem to emerge as the hitmakers of the day with songs that often told stories; people such as Neil Sedaka, Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, James Taylor and Carole King. "It's Too Late" was one of those songs I'd always hear on the radio and I bought "Tapestry" on the strength of liking that song alone. I recognized the titles "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" and "You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman" from the versions made hits by The Shirelles and Aretha Franklin respectively, and when I listened to the album I discovered "I Feel The Earth Move" was the same song as that made a hit by Martika in the UK in 1989. There isn't one song on this album I don't like, but "So Far Away" is probably my favorite on the album. "You've Got A Friend" is another track that particularly stands out for me. I read an interview with Alanis Morissette in 1996 in which she said the middle 8 in that song just killed her every time she heard it, and I know what she means. You look forward to hearing it as much, if not more so, than the song itself. The simplicity of the recordings on this album by using just drums, piano and bass is very effective and what give the album it's weight in gold as much as Carole King's brilliant songwriting. In this case, less is definitely more. Terrific album.

5-0 out of 5 stars Carole King's 1971 Masterpiece!
If you remember listening to radio back in 1971 there was no way you wouldn't hear Carole King's beautiful "It's Too Late". This album contains that hit plus other gems such as "Smackwater Jack", "I Feel The Earth Move" (one of my all time favs), the beautiful ballad "So Far Away", the song James Taylor made so popular "You've Got A Friend" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman". All classic songs! This edition of Tapestry also includes two unreleased songs "Out In The Cold" and "Smackwater Jack" (a live version). The entire cd is remastered and sounds great. Carole King was one cool and talented lady (she also wrote songs for The Monkees among others). If you like Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon, Linda Ronstadt then you'll love Carol King's classic "Tapestry".

5-0 out of 5 stars She's great, but there are others!!
I was just reviewing the reviews on Amazon of Carole King's "Tapestry" album (that's what we still call those discs) to get some info on something I'm putting together.

I see alot of people have just discovered this album in the last couple of years, at least judging by the Amazon.com hits/reviews. Great!

This was a HUGE LP when I was in H.S. (Class of '73)! And it was a great LP then and it still is. So, for those who liked that LP, have you tried "Between The Lines" by Janis Ian? Great lyrics & musicanship! 'Course, she'll make you want to slit your wrists with that album. But, I still throw it into the CD player, now and then.

For those of you who are willing to venture far(very way far)afield, for melancholic, but great writing, try Sinatra's "In The Wee Small Hours" LP/CD, or his happier "love" CD (and also with great writing) "Songs For Swinging Lovers." These two albums, like Carole King's, are also "concept" albums, wherein the whole album is like a "story", or they are trying to evoke a certain and specific mood.

Later, in the mid Seventies, I discovered the probably ultimate "concept" album. That is Willie Nelson's "Red Headed Stranger" album.

Try these albums, even if you "think" you don't like these "genres". ... Read more


11. The Essential Bruce Springsteen
list price: $24.98
our price: $20.99
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Asin: B0000E1ALR
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 573
Average Customer Review: 3.78 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Vastly expanding 1995's single disc Greatest Hits, The Essential Bruce Springsteen easily surpasses the earlier best-of set by serving up all its true essentials and tossing in less appreciated treats and a full disc of rarities. Disc one spans the first decade of Springsteen's recording career, serving up at least two tracks each from the six albums that laid the groundwork for his '80s burst into superstardom. Disc two picks up with his mainstream breakthrough, 1984's Born in the U.S.A., and carries on through 2002's The Rising, tossing in live recordings of "American Skin" and "Land of Hope and Dreams" for good measure. The selections and sequencing surpass those made on Greatest Hits, though there's not too much in the way of surprises, other than that it appears that Born in the U.S.A. hasn't aged all that well for the Boss; here, he selects only three songs from the hit-laden smash, one fewer than is found on the skimpy Greatest Hits. Disc three is where the fun really starts for all but neophytes. The live "Held Up Without a Gun" is as gutsy a one minute and 20 seconds as Springsteen as one could ask for, and the likes of "Trapped," "Countin' on a Miracle," and a cover of "Viva Las Vegas" rank with his signature songs. --Steven Stolder ... Read more

Reviews (117)

4-0 out of 5 stars One man's coffee...
In any body of work there are obvious high points, says Bruce Springsteen in his foreword to the "Essential" booklet. The rest depends on who's doing the listening. You know..."one man's coffe is another man's tea, one man's whiskey..."

No doubt Springsteen has had a hard time choosing these thirty songs, and his choices won't please everybody. Why "Tunnel Of Love" is chosen to represent the album of the same name instead of the much better "Tougher Than The Rest" is a mystery, as is the omission of "Waiting On A Sunny Day", "You Can Look (but you better not touch)", and the criminally underrated rocker "Sherry Darling". The nine-minute live rendition of the good-but-not-great "Land Of Hope And Dreams" could certainly have been sacrificed in favour of one or two better songs.

If you're a casual fan, and just want one Springsteen disc in your collection, "The Essential Bruce Springsteen" is a fine choice, since it manages to include most of the highlights from his twelve studio albums.
So should you get this one rather than the single-disc "Greatest Hits"? Well, depending on what it is you are looking for, "The Essential Bruce Springsteen" is a better career summary in the sense that it is much more comprehensive, and also includes songs from his first two albums. But if you just want the radio hits, "Greatest Hits" is probably more your thing.

The "free" rarities disc includes some great songs, some good ones, and some utterly forgettable ones as well, particularly "Missing" and "Lift Me Up". But I was certainly happy to see that the glorious three-chord rocker "From Small Things (big things one day come)" finally available in an official Springsteen version, and the acoustic rockabilly of "The Big Payback" and the live "Trapped" and "Held Up Without A Gun" are very nice as well.

Hard core Springsteen fans will want this collection for the rarities disc, and newcomers and casual admirers will find "The Essential Bruce Springsteen" to be a comprehensive, if not exhaustive, career overview. The sound is excellent (some remastering and revision has been done by former Bryan Adams and AC/DC-associate Bob Ludwig), and even though the omission of "Waiting On A Sunny Day" and "Tougher Than The Rest" really bugs me, almost all of the thirty songs on the first two discs are excellent examples of the talent and versatility of Bruce Springsteen.
And the fact that only a few songs from "The River" and "Born In The USA" are included means that you can get those two as well without too many overlaps :o)

4-0 out of 5 stars One man's coffee....
In any body of work there are obvious high points, says Bruce Springsteen in his foreword to the "Essential" booklet. The rest depends on who's doing the listening. You know..."one man's coffe is another man's tea..."

No doubt Springsteen has had a hard time choosing these thirty songs, and his choices won't please everybody. Why "Tunnel Of Love" is chosen to represent the album of the same name instead of the much better "Tougher Than The Rest" is a mystery, as is the omission of "Waiting On A Sunny Day", "You Can Look (but you better not touch)", and the criminally underrated rocker "Sherry Darling". The nine-minute live rendition of the good-but-not-great "Land Of Hope And Dreams" could certainly have been sacrificed in favour of a couple of better songs.

If you're a casual fan, and just want one Springsteen disc in your collection, "The Essential Bruce Springsteen" is a fine choice, since it manages to include most of the highlights from his twelve studio albums.
So should you get this one rather than the single-disc "Greatest Hits"? Well, depending on what it is you are looking for, "The Essential Bruce Springsteen" is a much better career summary in the sense that it is much more comprehensive, and also includes songs from his first two albums. But if you just want the radio hits, "Greatest Hits" is probably more your thing.

The "free" rarities disc includes some great songs, some good ones, and some utterly forgettable ones as well, particularly "Missing" and "Lift Me Up". But I was certainly happy to see that the glorious three-chord rocker "From Small Things (big things one day come)" finally available in an official Bruce Springsteen version, and the mean, punchy little rockabilly tune "The Big Payback", the grand rocker "None But The Brave", and the live "Trapped" and "Held Up Without A Gun" are very nice as well. (The tune of "None But The Brave" is at times very similar to "I Wanna Marry You", a song from "The River", which may be why it was cut from "Born In The USA", the album for which it was recorded.)

Hard core Springsteen fans will want this collection for the rarities disc, and newcomers and casual admirers will find "The Essential Bruce Springsteen" to be a comprehensive, if not truly exhaustive, career overview.
The sound is excellent (some remastering and revision has been done by former Bryan Adams and AC/DC-associate Bob Ludwig), and even though the omission of "Waiting On A Sunny Day" and "Tougher Than The Rest" really bugs me, almost all of the thirty songs on the first two discs are excellent examples of the talent and versatility of Bruce Springsteen.
The booklet is nice, too, by the way, featuring the lyrics to every song, including the ones on the bonus disc.
4 1/2 stars.

1-0 out of 5 stars Beware!!! Corporate Sellout!
I'll have to admit that I don't know much about Bruce Springsteen. So when I saw this for sale at Walmart, I put the "Essential Linda Ronstadt" down that i was going to buy my mom for mother's day and grabbed this for myself instead. From the first track I was loving it! I thought this man is truly a talent and couldn't wait to see how he had matured as a songwriter by the third disc. Sadly I didn't get that far, and by the second half of disc one I realized that "The Boss" had done like so many other....he sold out! Just like Pink Floyd had done with "Dark Side Of The Moon," Springcan'tsing was making generic bottom-line-only music. Its sad to think what he could have been.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Compilation Yet.
This compilation is first rate. It includes much of the essential Bruce. In the past, many of the offerings were far from being as thorough as this one. I picked it up for less than twenty dollars which is pretty amazing when you consider how much is included. A "can't go wrong" selection.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great set for the unbruced or for the fanatic
After reading all the comments by hardcore fans complaining about what should or shouldn't be on this set I have one thing to say to them: The first 2 CD's are not for you! Everbody has their own favorite Bruce songs. Pull out your couple dozen Springsteen cd's and burn your own 2,3 or 5 cd best-of set. This set is for the person who doesn't have all the albums and wants a simple 2 cd's of Bruce's best. Yes, it will have to contain Glory Days, Dancing In The Dark and Hungry Heart. Not my idea of his best work but these songs sell cd's. If you like some of the more serious songs on here go out and get Born To Run, The Wild The Innocent and Tunnel of Love and be truly inspired. And for the longtime listener who owns everything - Bruce has kindly included a bonus cd of great unreleased songs. So you have to pay $21 to get it? Not a big deal. You used to pay more for a bootleg not that many years ago. And you can give the first 2 cd's to your kids to teach them about good music. ... Read more


12. Moondance
list price: $11.98
our price: $7.99
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Asin: B000002KHF
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 492
Average Customer Review: 4.85 out of 5 stars
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Van Morrison went a long way towards defining his wild Irish heart with his first two classic albums: the brooding, introspective Astral Weeks (1968), and the expansive, swinging Moondance. If the first was the work of a poet, its sequel was the statement of a musician and bandleader. Moondance is that rare rock album where the band has buffed the arrangements to perfection, and where the sax solos instead of the guitar. The band puts out a jazzy shuffle on "Moondance" and plays it soulful on "These Dreams of You." The album includes both Morrison's most romantic ballad ("Crazy Love") and his most haunting ("Into the Mystic"). "And It Stoned Me" rolled off Morrison's tongue like a favorite fable, while "Caravan" told a tale full of emotional intrigue. Moondance stood out in the rock world of 1970 like a grownup in a kiddie matinee. --John Milward ... Read more

Reviews (124)

5-0 out of 5 stars My Own Private "Moondance" with Van.....
This review refers to the Warner Bros. audio tape of Van Morrison's "Moondance"....

I have to confess...I bought this "fantabulous" album on tape so I could pop it in my walkman and have my own private time with Van Morrison, his band and the exhilarating music. But alas, I always get caught. The music and the lyrics are just ones that I can't help singing aloud with(you know...'LA LA LA LA... LA LA LA'...), and playing on my own air instruments!

The familiar and soothing voice, the soulful and oh so recognizable tunes, will "let your soul and spirit fly Into The Mystic". It's always "a marvelous night for a Moondance", and who could ever tire of "Come Running" and "Caravan". So 'rock your Gypsy soul', 'turn it up',and fall in love again to "Crazy Love".....'she give me love love love love...crazy love'.It'll 'seem like and feel like' a "Brand New Day" every time you play it.

All the great sounds of the vocals and the band, including the wonderful solos sound great on this tape.If you are just starting to collect Van Morrison, start with this one.It's definitive of his work and one that you just won't be able to get enough of... 'And so you know, it's got soul'(see buying info for complete list of songs)

Van..."Can I have just one more 'Moondance' with you"??? Just let me know and I'll "Come Running"....
enjoy...Laurie

5-0 out of 5 stars It's a marvelous night for "Moondance"
Moondance is a wonderful album. Van Morrison is a truly gifted songwriter, not to mention his wonderful, yet unique voice. If you want to hear music that is more flash and glitz and commercialism, give Moondance a listen. Just reading the lyrics to this album could stir your soul. The lyrics are amazing, and the music is great too. In addition to the great acoustic guitar playing, bass and drums, Van has also added saxophones, flutes, clarinets and pianos to many of the songs, giving the album a rather distinct sound. My favorites are Come Running, Moondance, These Dreams Of You, Caravan and of course, the BEST song on the album, maybe Van Morrison's best song: Into The Mystic. This album would get 5 stars just for Into The Mystic even if all the other songs were bad. Fortunately though, that's not the case. Moondance is marvelous from start to finish.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ice cold audio orange juice
It's not as complex, beautiful and enigmatic as "Astral Weeks" and it's not as much of a soulful, one-two-punch workout as "Blowin' Your Mind," but for sheer, consistent, horn-driven happiness, you can't do much better than "Moondance."

But because of my affection for those other two disks, I admit, I generally tend to underrate this album. But "Moondance" keeps coming back to me in the most unexpected ways at the most unexpected times: I'll hear "Caravan" in "The Last Waltz," or "Everyone" at the end of "The Royal Tenenbaums" or "Glad Tidings" three times in the "Sopranos" Season 5 finale, or notice "Into the Mystic" on the PA at the grocery store and be reminded that I need to let it out to play more often. That's the sign of a truly great musical work.

1-0 out of 5 stars he got stoned all rite!
yo my parentz lissen tu dis cd! i mean theyre old, and i am an informed consumer uv hot topic clothing! so i must have a better taste in muzak, rite? i mean, da shtuff i lissen too is on da billbored chartz! like, American Idol peeps so bust Van da man fer rekord salez!

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction in Van Morrison
I was only familiar with the Brown Eyed Girl and Gloria Van Morrison but bought this because of the strong 5 star rating with nearly 130 reviews. They are right. This is a great CD filled with easily listened to (not easy listening) music. The lyrics are absolutely heartfelt. The speed of the music fluctuates from not to fast to slow and cool. This would be great entertaining music for a small group of people or just for that one person. ... Read more


13. Nebraska
list price: $11.98
our price: $10.99
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Asin: B0000025T6
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 4115
Average Customer Review: 4.61 out of 5 stars
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Hot on the heels of The River, his commercial breakthrough, Springsteen's decision to release the stark, demo-quality Nebraska seems downright perverse. But the genius of the album is unmistakable--with just an acoustic guitar and his howling harmonica to back him, Springsteen tells the stories of characters walking on both sides of the law, some of them directly on the line in between. The effect is that of a powerful series of black-and-white photographs--the details are bleak in and of themselves, but they ignite the imagination in ways that are more satisfying than full-color shots would be. "Mansion on the Hill," "Highway Patrolman," "Atlantic City," and the frightening "Nebraska" are among the most sharply rendered and memorable works of Springsteen's career. --Daniel Durchholz ... Read more

Reviews (95)

5-0 out of 5 stars Bruce's Finest
I always preferred when artists go acoustic, and record a low-quality album. Albums like Nebraska capture an artist at their most intimate. This was Bruce Springsteen's stark, low-key acoustic record. It was very dreary, as it was beautiful. His tales of suffering and being on the wrong side of the law was profound and you can feel it in his howl and his singing. He already had the reputation of being a high-energy, bombastic satdium act but Nebraska captured him in a whole new light. It was more reserved than Born to Run, and it had more personality than many of his albums. Songs like "Atlantic City," "State Trooper," and "Highway Patrolman" send chills down my spine, whereas other songs like "Nebraska," "My Father's House" and "Used Cars" express Springsteen in a more vulnerable, yet very striking voice, particularly Nebraska's tale of a serial killer. Even non-fans of The Boss can appreciate this album for its sense of intimacy and depth. Springsteen would never be this bare after this album, although certain subsequent works do show his profound side (particularly Tunnel of Love and the Rising).

5-0 out of 5 stars Not for Everyone
"You wanna know why I did what I did; well, sir, I guess there's just a meanness in this world." So ends the first and title track of this album. The song 'Nebraska' is based, like Terrence Malick's 1973 movie 'Badlands', on the story of the 1950's killer, Charles Starkweather. As with all the songs here, Springsteen sings in the first person, becoming the characters he breathes to life. The first song, chilling and nihilistic, sets the tone for the rest of the album, which portrays the stark working class existance of small town life.

Here we meet people living on the edge. People with a thin sense of hope running on empty. Yet out of the initial depression and bleakness of his landscape, Springsteen can find a humanity in many of his people, still shining just beneath the surface.

This is not an album for everyone. Certainly, it is different from most of Bruce Springsteen's music, perhaps finding it's closest echo in 'The River'. The sound is raw, apparently recorded in Springsteen's own basement, and features a solo performance with only guitar and harmonica. It's tone and sometimes despair recalls the desperation of the dust bowl blues; the lyrics resonate like Raymond Carver stories put to music. Never before or since has Springsteen created such evocative slices of life with such an economy of words.

All in all, an extraordinary album. Unique, wild, raw, and beautiful. Deceptive in its simplicity, and disturbing too. A great album.

4-0 out of 5 stars Shows his true artistry and ability
Bruce decided he had to make this album to further himself as an artist, as to not get stuck in a routine of writing typical pop songs. It took a lot of guts to do, especially because he knew that it wouldn't be an immediate big smash, and because he also knew that he could have easily remained in the same vein he had been in and sold more records at the time. In the book "Howling At The Moon," Walter Yetnikoff, who was President of CBS Records when Nebraska came out, described the first time he listened to it with Bruce. He said Bruce was very nervous, because he knew it wasn't a commercial album, and so Yetnikoff, who was drunk at the time, listened to it, and responded by calling the album the wrong name, "Yeah, I really like 'Omaha,' Bruce." A mistake in the name, but it was not a mistake to release this album. It allowed Bruce to explore darker and different areas of his craft, and to master them, while showing people that he is not the one-dimensional caricature that many make him out to be. Highlights on this album include: Nebraska (very scary), Atlantic City (it's interesting to listen to the original version and compare it to the version on the Live in NYC DVD; really one of his best songs ever), Highway Patrolman, State Trooper (his visceral screams are the highlight of the album), and Open All Night. You can really hear his influences on this one, including Dylan, Orbison, and Buddy Holly. It paved the way for him in the future by opening up his creativity, and for fans of typical "Born in the USA" Bruce, this is a realy eye-opener, and it might take a while to grow on you, but believe me it will!

5-0 out of 5 stars "Deliver me from nowhere..."
Raw and unrelenting, Nebraska is a shock to the casual Bruce fan's system. Alike nothing he had created before, it was a true testament of Bruce's artistry. He rarely gets enough credit for the chances he took musically through the years--Nebraska being probably his biggest one. This album could have been awful. It could have cemented the notion that Bruce could never be anything close to "Dylanesque." This could have done to him what going electric did to Dylan. But...it didn't. Not only does Nebraska prove Bruce's lyrical talent, but it also proves that he is not just the electric guitar wielding, theatric stage performer that we all know and love.

Recorded on his own tape recorder, in his bedroom, it's just Bruce and his acoustic guitar yearning for redemption, deliverance, and a reason to believe. The lyrics on this album will get inside you immediately, within the first few lines of the title track. They will pull you into the desolate world of his disparaged and lonely characters. Bruce is a master at painting portraits of life in his words by creating characters you can feel, see, and love. On 'Nebraska', he creates antiheroes for the common man. In "Johnny 99" you start to empathize with the main character as he descends toward madness after losing his job at the plant in Mahwah late last month. In "Highway Patrolman" Bruce displays the moral ambiguity of an honest man torn between his duty as a law officer and his own flesh and blood. Others like "Used Car" and "Mansion on the Hill" are Bruce's retelling of his childhood memories. They will leave you feeling lost in time, like you are looking into the soul of an old black and white portrait.

"State Trooper" is a song like no other. Bruce himself wasn't sure if it could be even called a song, but he threw it on the record anyway. I wouldn't recommend listening to it while driving alone, especially after midnight, because it might scare the s*** out of you. Either that, or you will go mad and drive endlessly trying to escape from nowhere.

'Nebraska' is one of those albums that takes on a whole new persona depending on when you listen to it. In the daytime, it is a realistic journey into the past, a walk with each character down the street of hopelessness towards a meaningful existence. At night, however, it turns into a descent into loneliness, desperation and uncertain fear. Listening to this record will definitely take you somewhere. It may be somewhere unpleasant, somewhere to close for comfort, to real to discern. It may take you to a place where everything you've ever known in life fails you. And it may strike you kind of funny...but at the end you'll somehow be left with more of a reason to believe.

4-0 out of 5 stars Taped it off the radio in 1982
Maybe it's got something to do with my frame of mind at the time, but I really found myself able to enjoy Nebraska while not having much use for The Ghost Of Tom Joad past "Youngstown". My original tape of Nebraska came directly from radio when it first came out. I had to sacrifice one of my precious Beatles tapes for Nebraska, but I considered it a good trade. I was about to leave work as it was starting and wasn't going to make it home in time to tape it there, so I stuck the Beatles tape in and let it record on my boom box while I listened in the car on the trip home. I wound up sitting in the car and listening to the whole thing, then went to work to retrieve the tape the next day. I know people who absolutely hate Nebraska because it "depresses" them, (these people also consider BITUSA his best work,) but I've always just considered it moody. It's perfect for late night drives on dark and lonely highways, and that's where I was back in 1982. It always reminded me of a Johnny Cash album, something that hit home years later when Johnny recorded "Johnny 99". ... Read more


14. Fumbling Towards Ecstasy
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B000002VN7
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 716
Average Customer Review: 4.82 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

Pre-Lilith Fair, McLachlan had critical acclaim and a cult following but was otherwise just another hard-working female singer/songwriter--one who wasn't blasting down doors with overt sexuality or popping along in front of a male Svengali. Similar in their emotional urgency to her more recent work but delightfully less polished, these folk-rock songs are surprising gems. If not for McLachlan's poignant vocals, lyrics like "Your love is better than ice cream" (on "Ice Cream") would sound childishly absurd (especially alongside deeper material like "Hold On"), but here they're given just as much respect as the weightier issues she explores. A great album to accompany your moments of introspection. --Rebecca Wallwork ... Read more

Reviews (301)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Have Purchase
Forget Lilith Fair. Forget, while still a very good record, the overplayed music that the subsequent 'Surfacing' brought. 'Fumbling Towards Ecstasy' is a fantastic cd. Lyrically and musically it's a very good disk. Sonically, it's a great album. Pierre Marchand did a fantastic production job w/both instruments and vocals. McLachlan does a pretty incredible job at her layered vocal tracks and singing her own harmonies.

Though not the most 'up' album in thematic terms - but who cares? 'Solace' seemed to have a water theme running through most of the songs. 'Fumbling...' seems to have a theme of fear that dominates the record.

Each song conveys McLachlan's emotions - and to get that across is pretty substantial, regardless of musical style. Stand-out cuts include (in no particular order): "Fear", "Elsewhere", "Possession", "Ice" and "Good Enough". "Ice Cream" seems a bit too lightweight for this disk - considering the other material.

I highly recommend this disk. 'Solace', 'Surfacing' and 'Rarities, B-Sides and Other Stuff' are good purchases too.

5-0 out of 5 stars Took my breath away
For a long time I was reluctant to buy "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy". The reason for not buying it is that I wasn't too particularly keen on the potent single "Possession". I loved "Solace" too pieces (and still do to this very day) and was disappointed to hear Sarah incorporate a more electric feel to the album as opposed to the minimalist, acoustic sound of her previous album. Well after hearing the remix version of "Fear" off Sarah's remix album, I thought I would give "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy" a chance since I loved "Fear" and had to hear the original version. So awhile back, I acquired "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy" and I must say that I am glad that I bought it. This album definitely is vastly superior to the overpolished work of "Surfacing" and matches the haunting quality of "Solace". "Possession" is by far not my favorite song but it isn't my least favorite any more. The song itself has grown on my I will admit. My least favorite is "Ice Cream" and only because I heard the live version on the radio one million times back in the days of Lilith Fair. "Wait", "Fear", and "Good Enough" are my personal favorite songs off FTE, "Fear" in particular. What I love about FTE is the overall sound. There is a more organic sound than "Surfacing". Plus Sarah begins to incorporate electronic beats with her style of folk/pop. While "Solace" still remains my favorite Sarah McLachlan album but "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy" has managed to prove me wrong with the great collection of raw lyrics and haunting melodies. Sarah's vocals sounds incredible on this album. This is probably her best work vocally. I am looking forward to her new album (probably next year) and hopefully it will have Sarah return to a more raw and organic sound found on "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy".

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best albums ever recorded in the history of music
I have been a fan of Sarah's since 1992, and have always been blown away by her flawless and unique voice. Since then, I have seen her four times in concert (trust me, she's not just great in the studio--her live stuff sounds just as good), and own every album and b-side she's ever recorded. She is on my list along with Lisa Gerrard, Enya, Caroline Lavelle, Kirsty Hawkshaw, and Loreena McKennitt for best female vocalist of all time. Fumbling is Sarah at her best (although I love all of her stuff). From start to finish, this album is perfection. When I bought it when it was first released years ago, I don't think I took it out of my CD player for 2 years straight. I've listened to these songs so much that they've become ingrained in my psyche. This is an album that people of all stipes and likes will love. If you have not heard it yet, fork over the cash, because you will be amazed by the talent of this artist.

5-0 out of 5 stars She'll Take Your Breath Away. . .
Every few months or so, I come across an artist or band that I previously would not have taken much interest in because their music genre didn't fit what I see as my preference. Usually, the artist blows me away and becomes an obsession of which a race swiftly brews where I must buy nearly every album they've released. Examples from the past few years are Alanis Morissette, Bjork, Sheryl Crow and Lauryn Hill. And then there's Sarah McLachlan, my latest discovery. Being an avid Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan, I always knew who Sarah was, but couldn't really put a face to the voice. I'd heard her songs, but never thought about exploring her music. For some unknown reason, I went ahead and bought two of her albums on the same day. These were "Solace" and "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy." The former has received few spins on my CD player, but only because the latter has been hogging all the time...

Let me just say that once I heard this album, I was completely sold. Sarah's angelic vocals warmed me from the inside and enveloped me in a trance, and in that moment I knew I had to own her entire back catalogue. Released in 1994, Fumbling Towards Ecstasy was the third studio album from Sarah after her debut "Touch" and the sophomore set Solace. Sarah was still a fairly unknown with the release of this third album, but since its 1994 release it has gone on to become a masterpiece of the decade and touched millions with its beautiful lyrics, gorgeous vocals and soothing harmonies.

The album opens with the beautiful and sly "Possession." This song is trademark McLachlan and still one of her most popular songs. The song is a real life encounter that Sarah experienced of a stalker who constantly sent her letters. The song is unique because she sings the song through his eyes which must take courage and strength, along with a stunning voice that makes you believe everything she is singing. When she states "I'll take your breath away," you better be ready because she means it! "Wait" is a gorgeous mid-tempo song with gentle percussion and some brilliant vocals from Sarah. Her vivid lyrics paint awesome images in your mind and you can't help but love every second. "Plenty" is perhaps my favourite song on the album - it definitely has the best introduction. That sound of a door slamming after the 16th second sets the mood and the percussion coming in is eerie and masterful. When she sings finally after one minute, it's a complete revelation and the chorus is just majestic.

"Good Enough" is the first real ballad of the album. With its sombre opening and gentle beat, the song has a gorgeous composition and Sarah's voice fills the set with passion and emotion. "Mary" is a bar down from the previous four songs, but is great nevertheless. The song opens like a flickering candle and sets the soothing tone for the rest of the song. Sarah's airy vocals rise and fall all over the percussion creating a scenic and calm scene. "Elsewhere" took a while to grow on me, but once it did I was in love as with the rest of these great songs. The song takes a while to get going, but the chorus is amazing where Sarah cries, "I believe!" after around 90 seconds. "Circle" is the most up-tempo song on the album and start off with a cute laugh by Sarah. The song has a great beat and some amazing lyrics. The chorus makes this song a kind of anthem, because you can sing along to "What kind of love is this that keeps me hanging on?!"

"Ice" brings the upbeat mood down a peg or two, as Sarah sings with an icy and frigid tone in her voice. The song's title presents a chilly and Arctic feeling of loneliness and longing. The song is rather depressing, but Sarah handles the song so well by wrapping her voice around the lyrics in the most amazing way. "Hold On" is definitely one of the best songs on the album and is a fantastic song about true love and loss. Sarah has lost her man, and the section where she sings, "Oh God the man I love is leaving! Won't you take him when he comes to your door? Am I in Heaven here or am I in Hell?!" is mind-blowing! That voice. It's just stunningly professional and overpowering! "Ice Cream" is what fans see as probably the worst song on the album, even though it's still good. I have to agree - the lyrics are a tad childish, but once again, Sarah's voice save it from becoming cringe worthy.

"Fear" is another brilliant masterpiece from this album. The cello and keyboards set the atmosphere and the song peaks when Sarah sings, "There's nothing I'd like better than to fall!" She thrusts the song higher with her vocals, as they climax and gently fall down as the percussion sets in. It's superb, really, you won't have ever heard anything like it. The album closes with the brilliant album title-track "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy." The song is heavily emotional and a great album closer with more of the same that we've heard all the way through the album.

OVERALL GRADE: 10/10

I had initially wanted to review Touch first, then Solace and then Fumbling Towards Ecstasy - I had wanted to review all her albums in order. However, since I don't own Touch yet, I got down to business and got this review written for this album. It's my 300th review, so I though Why not?! And also, the music on this album is just too damn good to wait to express myself on! I adore Sarah and this masterpiece, so it's hard to contain the love I feel for it. Anyone interested in exploring Sarah's music should do so instantly, starting with this.

5-0 out of 5 stars McLachlan's Best
This album is the pinacle of Sarah McLachlan's career. I love you Sarah, but you'll NEVER be able to top this one! McLachlan's newer cds are good, and feature several excellent songs apiece, but every song (except "Ice Cream") on this one is fantastic. This cd is powerful and poetic, and it never gets old!. I cannot think of a better album by ANY female artist. ... Read more


15. No Angel
list price: $18.98
our price: $9.99
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Asin: B00000IAU3
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 402
Average Customer Review: 4.58 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Dido's debut is molded from Sarah McLachlan's intimate soul, Sinéad O'Connor's Celtic yelp, and Beth Orton's morose resolve--with all the sharp edges rounded out. Sculpted by producers Rollo (her brother) and techno-scientist Youth, No Angel is dream-pop mixed with Portishead-esque trip-hop; the results are midtempo ballads that would feel at home in Seal's neighborhood. The melancholy opener, "Here with Me," incorporates acoustic rhythm guitar, fluid strings, and a snare-driven tempo that simulates the slapping of rain off a windshield. "My Lover's Gone" is ethereal and misty, sounding at once ancient and modern with its synthesized ocean sounds and seagull cries. The only clunker is "Don't Think of Me," a passive, soft-bellied cousin to Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know." These songs play out beautifully in that quiet zone between slumber and consciousness--where you can see everything behind closed eyes. --Beth Massa ... Read more

Reviews (714)

5-0 out of 5 stars I've Finally Found Her!!
For the past 6 months, I have been looking for the artist that performed the song "Thank You" in the HBO Movie "If These Walls Could Talk 2"...you know, that infamous scene between Ellen DeGeneres and Sharon Stone. Well...I've found it! And I was so happy to find that the entire CD met and then exceeded all of my expectations for this Sarah McLachlan-like artist.

If you listen to this CD, from cover to cover, you realize that Dido is telling us a story...of love, commitment, relationships. You hear her go from desire, to new love, to love, to the break up, to the post-break up. She is able to combine every emotion I've ever experienced (or heard of another girl experiencing) into amazing lyrics, soft but powerful music and an overall feeling of sensuality. Her voice, and the way it fluctuates from husky and breathy to almost hard and forceful really adds to the entire feeling the CD emits.

I suggest that you keep this CD in your car, for long drives (alone or not...), in your Discman, in your stereo...everywhere...so you don't miss a chance to hear this splendid artist. You'll start to feel that she's really Here With You...

5-0 out of 5 stars The year's best debut
At first listen, Dido sounds like a cross between Sarah Mclachlan and Sinead O'connor. If Lilith Fair were still around today, she will fit right in. However, after listening to this album on my car CD changer several times, her wonderful voice has come to mystify me. All the tracks on this album are poignant, beautiful pieces about love and heartbreak. Dido mixes many different styles together, including folk, rock and even electronica. On the opening track "Here with me", the electronic keyboards add a surreal, dreamlike quality to the song. Other standouts include "Hunter", "Isobel" and "Honestly OK". Although "Thank you" is her big hit right now, I honestly prefer the Eminem version "Stan" which has a more funky hip hop beat. Otherwise, this is a perfect debut that should help Dido win over many critics and make her an important female artist in the years to come.

4-0 out of 5 stars A terrific album
This is one of those albums that deserved to sell millions of copies. I understand why so many people compare her to Sarah McLachlan and Sinead O'Connor, but that isn't a bad thing at all. Would you rather hear someone who sounds like those two great artists or someone who sounds like the latest cookie cutter teen pop tart? Dido's voice is not interchangeable with most of what's out there right now, and that's what I like about her.

1)Here With Me: this song never gets old. It's one of my favorite songs on the album.
2)Hunter: a really good song. She sounds really good here.
3)Don't Think of Me: could have been a really big hit. She nails this song.
4)My Lover's Gone: very cool song. I really like it.
5)All You Want: worth the price of the CD alone. I like the little twist at the end.
6)Thank You: this song was deservedly a big hit. Somehow I never got sick of it.
7)Honestly OK: another really good song.
8)Slide: I like this song a lot. It is very good.
9)Isobel: she finds an interesting way to sing about a controversial topic. It's a good song.
10)I'm No Angel: I like this song. It is a good song for her.
11)My Life: one of my favorites. She sounds really good here.
12)Take my Hand: another great song. It could have been a big hit.

You can't go wrong with this album. It is very good and it's about as good as debut albums get.

5-0 out of 5 stars Worth every penny
This girl is sensational. I've read the other reviews comparing Dido to Sarah McLachlan, Fiona Apple, Sinead O'Connor, etc. But in my humble opinion: She stands alone as a unique artist with an incredible soul to share with the world. Her lyrics are poetry, and the music has beat. "Thank You" and "Here with Me" are just two great songs that we've heard around; but this entire album has the same bittersweet and heartfelt emotion. Clive Davis definitely had insight when he signed Dido up for Arista Records. I've listened to this album everyday since I ordered it from amazon.com (two months ago), and still haven't tired of it.

I read other people's reviews and appreciate them, but never thought I'd write a review myself - until now. So take my opinion for whatever it's worth, but Dido's "No Angel" is worth the money and the all the hours of play that you can get out of the CD.

3-0 out of 5 stars This is much better then 'Life for Rent'
My sisters got 'No Angel' and 'Life For Rent' before I did, so I'm just going to use their copies.
1.Here With Me-I think this was the first single. It's not really a favorite of mine, it's sort of bland. 7/10
2.Hunter- Better then previous track, but still only ok. 8/10
3.Don't Think Of me- Great! I love it! It's sort of a sad track, but it's still really good. 10/10
4.My Lover's Gone- This is really good. Sad, sort of empty, thoguh, I guess. 9/10
5. All You Want- This song is ok, but wouldn't be a favorite for me. 8/10
6.Thank You- Overplayed now, but was excellent before being overplayed. 10/10
7.Honestly OK- The title describes the track. It is honestly ok. 7/10
8.Slide- My favorite track. The chorus is really cool. 10/10
9.Isobel- Ugh, awful. I like her message, hate the song. 3/10
10. I'm No Angel- Pretty good. 7/10
11. Take My Hand- SO AWESOME! 10/10 ... Read more


16. Songs of a Prairie Girl
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0007UMMHC
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1435
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Album Description

One of the most important and influential artists in contemporary music, Joni Mitchell is a legendary icon of unmatched significance. The Canadian-born star and five-time Grammy-winner has released a long string of stellar albums as emotionally powerful as they are stlistically diverse. For this latest, very personal compilation, Joni handpicked an exquisite set of music that she felt thematically spoke to her varied experiences growing up and how it shaped both her life and music. ... Read more

Reviews (7)

3-0 out of 5 stars Paprika Plains - the remix
This is the latest in a series of Joni Mitchell repackagings, and consists entirely of previously released material. However, engineers went back to the original tapes to remix the epic Paprika Plains anew. This new mix will mainly be of interest to Joniphiles and those who love this 17 plus minute opus.
I've had the opportunity to do some careful listening to the new mix of Paprika Plains on SoaPG, and to compare it to the first pressing CD (not the HDCD version).
This is only the second time an original catalog Joni song has been remixed, the first being the Big Yellow Taxi version without the doo-wop vocals from the Big Yellow Taxi Remix EP (I'm not counting the espresso/taxi remixes since those were essentially new recordings).
I consider Paprika Plains to be a religious experience. It is Joni's longest composition, and unique in it's conception. It started with 4 half hour piano improvisations recorded in LA at a time when Joni was feeling very 'in the groove' musically. These were edited to form one seven minute piece, then seven months after starting the project, she wrote a song inspired in part from a conversation with Bob Dylan, and inserted the original improv piece into the middle of this. Jaco Pastorius, Wayne Shorter and John Guerin were added to the last section, recorded in London.
It was orchestrated by English composer Michael Gibbs who also conducted the sessions in New York.
[A little background on PP is in order. When Joni met Charles Mingus, he commented that the strings on PP went in and out of tune. Joni had been saying this all along, but no one else involved in the project could hear it. The reason given for the pitch variation is that the beginning and end piano parts were recorded seven months after the center section, and the piano had been retuned. Joni specifically refers to the edit points where the new and old pianos start and stop, where the orchestra plays over the edits, as being out of tune. I can't really hear this. See if you can-the center section "January piano" starts at 5:14, the "August piano" comes back in at 11:13 on the original PP (11:11 in the new version). I don't know if anything was digitally retuned for this new mix, or if it's even possible, given that the orchestra players would probably automatically adjust their intonation as they played to the tape.]
A couple of hard to explain oddities: One of the vocal lines, "I gotta get some air" is missing. Also, there is a pop sound at 9:56 that does not appear in the original mix.
The sonic dynamics are handled differently on this new mix. The problem (if it is one) is that, in the old mix, if you turn up the volume in order to clearly hear the first part, then when the band comes in at the end, it's REALLY loud. So the new mix makes the volume on both parts more consistant.
The old mix was fairly dry, with the vocal right up front. The new mix has more ambient space, and sounds very 3D, and the vocal is not as loud. The orchestra has dimension, and feels more unified with Joni's parts. The piano has a nice stereo spread. Joni's voice is clear and detailed, and has a reverb ambience around it. Maybe a little too much compression, robbing her voice of power during a few louder refrains. The orchestra sounds excellent, much better than the original. Strings have texture, percussion is deep and natural.Also, different orchestra mikes are emphasized, resulting in different sounds at times. My one complaint about the orchestra is where Joni sings "I dream Paprika Plains" and the orchestra hits a big crash (twice). On the original mix, especially the second hit, there is a luscious, wicked, thunderous roll looming ominously. This effect is tamer on the new mix. (Rolling Thunder may have been a literal inclusion-PP is based on a dream Joni had while on the Dylan tour of the same name. The poem written inside DJRD and reprinted in SoaPG is that dream.)
Another thing about the new mix is that it has much more low frequency information. This was not audible without a subwoofer, but it is there. You can hear the orchestra room breathing. Jaco's bass at the end is the voice of god, you can see the notes slither through the air. On the original, Guerin's drums are a bit more in your face, especially the snare. On the new one, they are more refined. The cymbals are pristine, the toms rich, and a good stereo panorama. Shorter's soprano sax is more detailed and nuanced; you can hear him squeezing and stretching the notes out of his horn. Joni's piano sound on the first and end parts is very present and crisp, a beautiful piano sound.
The piano in the center part has a darker sound, perhaps because the lid is down. This section sounds better and has a better stereo spread than the original, but still sounds markedly different than the "August" piano. You can hear the change in sound at the edit points mentioned above.
On the new mix, check out around 4:45, the recording is so clear you can hear Joni's nails clicking on the ivories.
All in all, very well done, and a great way to spend 17 plus minutes.
I don't know how much difference you would hear on a boombox, but through headphones or on a good stereo, you will.
Concerning the package, it's a digi-pak (boo). But the layout is very nice, mainly due to the B&W photos of Joni on skates, in her black crow dress, and, contrary to the seriousness of Hejira, looking playful. Thankfully no Joni self portrait this time. The sticker on the cover says "A new collection curated by Joni Mitchell. Musical Tales of Long, Cold Winters. With a Hint of Short but Glorious Summers." Art direction and design are credited to Joni Mitchell and Masaki Koike. The photos are great, and would make a good print series.

4-0 out of 5 stars A beautiful prairie...
Joni Mitchell's latest compilation of songs are very well done, especially in view of the fact that it's an homage to the land of her roots. The cold, the brittle frost are warmed by Joni's sweet sometimes harsh tales of childhood and womanhood .

"Urge for going" is a previously unreleased song ( except for the HITS album ) which beautifully explores the innocence of childhood and that feeling of first love." I had me a man in summertime. He had summer colored skin...He got the urge for going and I had to let him go". The need to leave, get out, grow up comes through very strongly. If you remember your teens...you'll know exactly what Joni is talking about. To me this song is one of the highlights.

SONGS OF A PRAIRIE GIRL has a good enough balance of old and new Joni. The theme seems to transcend time. I've never been a fan of her later voice, but somehow it works very well on this album. "Come in from the Cold" from her 1991 NIGHT RIDE HOME album, is a great example of older Joni but still remains one of her greatest songs. Another favourite of mine will always be "Chinese Cafe/Unchained Melody". It's clever and sad - Joni's best song from her questionable 80's catalogue. Other favourites include the evergreen "River", "Raised on Robbery","Let the wind carry me" and "Don Juan's Reckless Daughter". I'm not sure which other songs might have made the cut to fit the album's concept but I kinda miss "Coyote" and "A Case of You".

A remarkable album by one of the greatest female singer/songwriters of all time. Not for new fans, but certainly a welcome collection to all Joni-philes. To me, next to HEJIRA, this is the new album to listen to on the road.

4-0 out of 5 stars Mitchell's Third Personally Chosen Collection
As you may know Joni Mitchell has decided a while back to stop writing and singing -sad, sad news- so since Travelogue, her album of full orchestra arrangements of many of her great songs, fans of her stunning songbook have been confined to compilations like this.
Now, the question is why would you add this album to your collection? Well, if you are relatively unfamiliar with Mitchell, or do not own much of her discography this release or the earlier"Beginning of Survival," are valuable places to go for surveying such extensive and extraordinary body of work.
In both cases, Joni has selected each of the songs included herself and, rather than doing so based on personal preferences or sentimental attachments, these anthologies were created with a certain theme in mind.
Whereas the earlier, above mentioned predecessor focus on songs that showed Ms. Mitchell's personal philosophy on the state of the world through her lifetime," Songs of a Prairie Girl reunites those songs, through the years, where she's looked back at her childhood growing up in Canada.
In that sense, this collection is quite revealing of someone's life, a diary of how a powerful and sensitive soul came to be what it is, moments of youth that may even bring to mind memories of yours. Certainly, a more interesting proposition than the typical "greatest hits" fare that merely tries to milk past successes.
Still, other than a remix of "Paprika Plains" and the beautiful "Urge for Going" which was released before on a prior anthology, there's nothing "new" here. And this fact, for someone like me who owns most of her albums, it's hardly enough to justify its purchase.
All that said, most of the selections contained here, spanning over thirty-plus years, are remarkable proof of the breadth and longevity of Mitchell's talent. Quite a feat given the praise bestowed to people who do not have half the track record and influential power of Mitchell's music.
Four stars, then, on the strength of these stunning songs, the nature of the anthology and the gorgeous packaging in which this CD is presented.
As far as the complaints some other people have expressed about Mitchell compromising of her values by releasing anthologies, I believe Joni's integrity over almost forty years of honest and intelligent songwriting outweigh any indictments. Besides, would you accuse a painter of selling his soul for mounting a retrospective of his earlier works?
So, buy it or don't buy it. Either way, celebrate a woman who gave us some of the most touching and courageous music of the last four decades.

3-0 out of 5 stars Geez Louise
What's with all the rehashing? She's written some great songs, but it's not like she has 40 albums to pick from for a thematic album ... at this rate in a few years she'll have more compilations and greatest hits than actual albums. At the very least she could dig up a high-fidelity live recording from an overlooked era.

1-0 out of 5 stars SKIP THIS ONE UNLESS YOU'RE OBSESSIVE!!
Here we have yet ANOTHER in the long line of Joni Mitchell
compilation CD's.First there was "Hits", then "Misses",
then "Travelogue" where she reinterpreted (with a syrupy
orchestra to enhance what's left of her voice) her catalog,
then "Dreamland", then "The Beginning of Survival", and now
"Songs Of A Prairie Girl".I find it interesting that an
artist who has criticized corporate greed on many occasions
feels the need to milk her fans for yet another $15 bucks a
pop.Yes, the songs are strung together to present them in
a different context, but so what?Anyone can do that themselves.
Joni, if you're serious about retiring, then RETIRE.If you
want to release a legit boxed set with rarities, live cuts,
etc. I'm all for it.But enough of these stale repackagings
of your songs!You're using up a lot of your fans' goodwill. ... Read more


17. The Lion King (1997 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.49
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Asin: B000001M1B
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 369
Average Customer Review: 4.36 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

An Oscar win might suggest a score that would need a miracle to be bettered--but this colorful stage adaptation of Disney's The Lion King does so with flair. Composers Mark Mancina and Lebo M worked closely together to fuse the movie's many disparate elements. Where there was a veritable army exercising creative influences for the animated tale, this brings it all under the wings of a like-minded few. This is genuinely apparent as one track flows into the next. The African rhythms--both vocal and in instrumentation--come across as authentic and original all at once. No doubt this is largely through Mancina's passion for peculiar instruments and the possibilities suggested from nightly live performances. "Grasslands Chant" is a good place to hear this. The hit favorites are here of course, but both "Circle of Life" and "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" are pleasingly unrecognizable with chorus and shifting beats. Better still is the likelihood they will now be eclipsed by some of the new numbers. Mancina's own "He Lives in You" being a strong contender. With a sound mix as crisp as you'd hope to find, this is rousing stuff. --Paul Tonks ... Read more

Reviews (102)

5-0 out of 5 stars Innovative Theatre Meets Family Entertainment
First of all, to address some of the other reviewers who didn't believe "The Lion King" deserved the Tony: What the American Theatre Wing recognized is an historic and important step in theatre history. "The Lion King" on Broadway didn't attempt to merely transfer the cartoon images of the movie onto the stage (a la Beauty and the Beast). Instead, through the guidance of genius director and designer Julie Taymor, the glorious story was lifted and transformed through mask, puppetry, and dance into a multi-disciplinary wonder. I'm a professional puppeteer, and the response of the puppetry community to this show is staggering. Curriculums are being reworked, new parterships are forming, and a puppetry renaissance has begun.

Now, onto this CD: I can understand that if you haven't seen the staged version, you wouldn't expect to hear the changes that have been made to the soundtrack. Fortunately, I was given the CD "Rhythm of the Pridelands" before seeing the show. Many of the new songs are from that album, which was new music inspired by the movie "Lion King" and written by Lebo M, the talented African artist whose voice you hear in the movie version of "Circle of Life." This soundtrack is a unique and exciting blending of the original soundtrack and "Pridelands," and has an organic and harmonious feel to it. The new African chants serve to balance the more cutesy tunes from the movie. In the end, there is something for everyone. Listen without prejudice, and discover the beauty of the music.

5-0 out of 5 stars FOLLOWING A BAD TREND, BUT JERKING THE TEARS
If you're thinking of not buying this CD because you already have the movie soundtrack, HOLD IT RIGHT THERE! Not only does the Original Broadway Cast Recording have more songs than there are in the movie, but the original songs have been adapted and, in some cases, lengthened quite a lot. To be honest, there are a few poor attempts of "filler" and trying to add something with a rock edge, but the beautiful, rhythmic african chants and additions such as "Shadowland" and "Endless Night" bring tears to my eyes. They're worth paying for the entire thing. This CD gives you more of an emotional look at all of the characters and their despair. Disney followed the same trend they did with BEAUTY by adding a dozen songs with only a couple worth listening to, but they're tear jerkers and if you just sit back and listen to the chants and ballads, they're sure to touch your heart as they did mine... just skip the stuff in between. But it's a MUST HAVE for anyone even SLIGHTLY interested. Cuz I'm not even a Lion King Movie fan.

5-0 out of 5 stars THE BEST BROADWAY MUSICAL SINCE EVITA!
AS YOU SEE, THERE ARE A LOT OF BROADWAY SHOWS ON BROADWAY NOW. YOU KNOW, YOU GOT MAMA MIA, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, AVENUE Q AND SO ON AND SO FORTH. YOU KNOW WHAT'S THE BEST? THE LION KING OF COURSE! AND THIS CD SPOTLIGHTS ALL THE CLASSIC CAST LIKE JOHN VICERY, [THE MAN I USED TO LOOK UP TO.] JASON RAIZE, [HE DIED A FEW MONTHS AGO. I MISS HIM SOOOOOO MUCH.] AND THE REST! IF YOU HAVE TO BUY ONE BROADWAY SOUNDTRACK, BUY THIS ONE! IT ROCKS! AND THEN GO SEE THE MUSICAL! SURE, IT'S ABOUT 200 DOLLORS...BELIVE ME,IT'S SO WORTH IT. THIS CD HAS AN AWSOME BOOKLET INCLUDING SOME PICTURES IN THE BACKROUND, LYRICS, AND SO MUCH MORE. AND IF THATS NOT GOOD ENOUGH, I DON'T KNOE WHAT TO TELL YA.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Really Good CD
I bought this because because I wanted a soundtrack for the Lion King and I was tempted just to buy the Disney one, but I thought this might be more interesting. I was paticuarly interested in the fact that there was more African music. It was really great. Even stuff like Circle of Life had a slightly different sound to it, and the whole thing had a much better atmosphere than Disney gave the film. What I love about it is that it isn't just another Disney soundtrack, but it really has it's own interesting sound. Go buy it!

5-0 out of 5 stars LOVED IT!
The Lion King (1997 Original Broadway Cast) soundtrack is amazing. When I went to the play, I knew I wanted to buy the CD. I loved the music live and from the CD. I listen to it everyday. The people singing are wonderful. They sound great. I think any and everybody should buy this CD. You'll love it! ... Read more


18. The Best of James Taylor
list price: $18.98
our price: $9.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00007IT8S
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 314
Average Customer Review: 4.24 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Any good singer can interpret a song, but it takes a stylist to make it his own. James Taylor is a stylist. This 20-track anthology obviously can't chronicle much more than the hits and high points of Taylor's career, but it nonetheless captures the artistic essence of a performer who's become a virtual synonym for "singer-songwriter" since his emergence in the late '60s. A lot of ink has been spilled ruminating about Taylor's role in soothing a '60s-burned generation, but given his own well-known demons (depression, addiction) his gentle voice often sounds like the physician wisely healing himself. His muse seems fully formed from the opening "Something in the Way She Moves," a track cut for the Beatles' Apple label in late ‘68 (and one that seems to share some symbiotic relationship with George Harrison's own classic "Something" from the period), its tone at once familiar and inviting--if ripe for a few decades of parody--as it wends its way from his seminal early '70s hits through a slate of later originals, R&B ("How Sweet It Is," "Handy Man") and pop ("Up On the Roof") covers. Tellingly, he delivers those chestnuts with an offhand confidence and illumination that makes them his own, a sense that informs even his jazz and Brazilian ("Only a Dream a Rio") flirtations. The set's newly recorded bonus cut, John Sheldon's "Bittersweet," is a pleasant pop confection that showcases Taylor's knack for being laconic and upbeat in the same breath. --Jerry McCulley ... Read more

Reviews (46)

4-0 out of 5 stars One for the JT Newbies
Couple of notes: the version of "Something In The Way She Moves" is the Apple Records version from 1969, but "Carolina In My Mind" is the 1976 re-recording. Also "Steamroller Blues" is the live 1975 cut. Among the odd surprises on this Collection are "You Can Close Your Eyes" a great album track from Mud Slide Slim, and "Golden Moments" a forgotten track from 1976's In The Pocket. This CD swallows the whole of the first Gr. Hits album, save for "Something" which is remade on the first (but not this) Hits CD. Because this is a WB Records release, 15 of the 20 songs are from JT's WB days. The Columbia years are sorely lacking. Where's "Her Town Too" or "Copperline" or "Secret O'Life" to name three. So, if you're a beginner to JT's catalog and you like what you hear on this CD then seek out his Greatest Hits Vol. 2 on Columbia Records. The one new song, "Bittersweet" is a good uptempo song that wasn't written by Taylor. There are no liner notes, except for a quick paragraph from JT. If you're a JT newbie this is for you. The rest can do with the other 2 Greatest Hits albums.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great remastering, just a few flaws...
Ok, so if you're like me, you've been waiting for a newly packaged remastered edition of JT's earlier work. All in all, this cd sounds great.. much better than the classic "James Taylor's Greatest Hits" (white cover) that's been on the shelves for such a long time. My only glitch though is that "Something In The Way She Moves" is the original version from his '68 debut, and not the recut (and better) version on the old greatest hits. The version for "Country Road" is also different, and not nearly as good. However, they did manage to include the old greatest hits version for "Carolina In My Mind" (thank God). Songs like "Up On The Roof" and "Only A Dream In Rio" are good, but not needed since they're already covered on the James Taylor Greatest Hits 2 (Columbia) release. It would have been nice to have other older tunes. The cd is great though.

5-0 out of 5 stars True talent and ability
This CD is great! The collection is perfect for any James Taylor fan.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!
This CD has all my favorite James Taylor songs all in one high-quality compilation. What a great addition to any music collection! My entire family enjoys James Taylor and it is wonderful to take on roadtrips. I highly recommend this CD!

4-0 out of 5 stars easy listening
The Cd was great and it has all the songs i like although it would have been a better cd if it was a double because he's missing a lot of songs that should have been on the cd other than that it was a great cd ... Read more


19. Surfacing
list price: $18.98
our price: $9.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000002VT6
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 620
Average Customer Review: 4.68 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

There's the requisite number of gorgeously melodic and deeply heartfelt songs here--the addictive "Sweet Surrender," the Hollywood-style ballad "I Love You," the sad, profound "Angel," the flat-out spectacular "Witness." McLachlan's not prolific, but this short, bittersweet album proves again that what she and producer Pierre Marchand do release is cut from the finest of cloth.--Jeff Bateman ... Read more

Reviews (549)

5-0 out of 5 stars The most exquisitely beautiful album in my collection
Sarah McLachlan's fourth album is a breath of fresh air in today's stale music industry. Although released in 1997, I haven't heard a better produced album. Pierre Marchand, Sarah's long-time collaborator, keeps the production simple and exquisite, allowing Sarah's voice and lyrics to shine. As for the lyrics, they're far simpler than the lyrics to McLachlan's previous albums. They're more to-the-point and direct and I think that's great. I love every song here, but I have my favourites: "Building a Mystery" is my favourite Sarah song ever. It's exceptionally produced, sung and performed. The lyrics aren't my favourite, but I love the catchy chorus and the simplicity of the music. Another favourite is "I Love You". I know many Sarah fans hate this song, but I love Marchand's keyboard work here. Sarah's voice is absolutely radiating - she probably has one of the most beautiful voices in the music industry today. I also love "Sweet Surrender", "Witness", "Black & White", "Full of Grace" and "Last Dance". I don't mind "Adia" and "Angel" at all, but I've just heard them too many times. Sarah McLachlan's "Surfacing" is, at least in my opinion, an almost flawless example of what music should be: simple, honest and breathtaking. Sarah McLachlan and Pierre Marchand have certainly achieved that with this album.

5-0 out of 5 stars Haunting
Sarah McLaughlan, Surfacing (1998). A map of heartache - a history of a breakup. The album chronicles the loss of someone who seemed so integral to your life you literally don't know what to do with yourself alone. Every aspect of what you hear on the CD communicates the ache of knowing they aren't coming back: Sarah's voice is ethereal, seemingly insubstantial - even when she embellishes on a single word with a lot of notes, you never once feel like she's overdoing it - with the songs themselves quiet landscapes of dark green and deep woods, each one slow, soft, unhurried. The album doesn't so much strive as it does haunt; it would be bloody and raw if it wasn't so graceful. It's as if, instead of actually working to get her message across, she simply opens up a window on a night-time breeze: if you stand still, it will give you goose bumps.
Fine instrumentation doesn't eclipse penetrating lyrics, however, which capture pretty perfectly unbearable heartbreak: "Shaken by the violence of existing for only you/I know I can't be with you/I don't know how to let you go," she confesses; and on the song titled "I Love You," she mixes strings, soft percussion and helpless desire ("The world around us disappears") with her inability to express it to the one she wants ("Let me surround you/My sea to your shore/Let me be the calm you seek/And every time I'm close to you, there's too much I can't say/And you just walk away"). When she says, "It'd cold here without you," it's hard not to shiver. The second-to-last song is painfully poignant (she finally comes to say "It's better this way"), but the last track, a instrumental with a sole piano, doesn't end the album with much hope - it conjures up an image of a dancer going through her moves extraordinarily gingerly (perhaps because of her bruises?); the final chords hint at the dancer's final collapse, showing a kind of desperate end instead of rest or resolution.
I bought this album on a whim - a CD club had overcharged me, so I picked it without expecting much. I promptly concluded that all the songs were basically the same (in fact, there didn't seem to be much song there to begin with). It wasn't much longer before I experienced for myself the whole subject of Surfacing; and suddenly each track left me blinking in its blaze, each song delving in to one aspect of this kind of loss. It was almost one year before I was actually able to listen to the album without wincing, much less just hold my head in my hands. Time heals (or at least blurs), but even after having regained some equilibrium, I have never been able to listen to Surfacing without that haunting prickling over me again.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another Excellent Sarah Album
Sarah McLachlan is probably the most consistent artist in the business. Every single one of her albums are not only some of the best music you could possibly buy, you can also listen to them over and over. This album is no exception.

This is probably Sarah's biggest hit. It spawned several hit singles and stayed near the top of the charts long after its release date. In a time when a huge chunk of the albums being released sell pretty much all they're going to sell in their first few weeks before falling quickly down the charts, that makes this album even more of an accomplishment.

As always, the songs are excellent. Her skills as a songwriter have only gotten better over the years, and that is very evident here.

1)Building a Mystery: the first single off the album. I love this song and it is the perfect way to start a spectacular album.
2)I Love You: terrific love song. I think this was in the movie Message in a Bottle.
3)Sweet Surrender: really cool song. Smart choice for a single.
4)Adia: one of my favorite songs on the album. Her voice sounds excellent here. Whenever this was played on the radio, I always cranked it up.
5)Do What You Have To Do: very good song. I love the live version that was on her CD Mirrorball.
6)Witness: the highlight of the album. This is one of the best songs Sarah has ever done. The lyrics are great, and it is an incredibly moving song. She's rarely, if ever, sounded better.
7)Angel: probably the biggest hit off this album. It was on the City of Angels soundtrack. It's been played a lot since its release, but it hasn't lost any of its power.
8)Black & White: I love this song. Her voice sounds really cool here.
9)Full of Grace: another great song. Everything works about this song.
10)Last Dance: I like this song. The piano sounds very good here. A great way to end the album.

I love this CD. It may be short, but here it's quality, not quantity, that matters. There is absolutely no filler here, just 10 great songs. What more can you ask for from an artist?

5-0 out of 5 stars Sarah's voice will touch the depths of your soul.
All these reviews are accurate and useful, but if I may add one thing: few songs (much less anything in my life) are so moving as to make me cry, and "Witness" does it almost every time. Few albums have the raw, powerful, emotional quality that this album displays. Even the coldest heart cannot resist the penetrating vocals of Sarah McLachlan's Surfacing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Music at its very best. 5 stars is a given.
Sarah McLachlan truly inhabits one of the most beautiful voices I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. I tend to think of her songs as if I'm out at sea in the middle of the night, gazing up at the stars while her music just seaps into my body. I just feel incredibly calm and relaxed whenever I put one of her songs on. The lyrics just seem to dance their way under your skin and linger there.

This is just one of those CD's you *need* to own. I especially love the following songs: "Angel", "Full of Grace", "I Love You" and "Do What You Have To Do".

You need to experience Sarah McLachlan's music for yourself to understand what I'm talking about, but trust me, there is no way you can possibly be disappointed with this CD.

This is beauty in its purest form. ... Read more


20. Awake Is the New Sleep
list price: $17.98
our price: $13.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00078GIAQ
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 702
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Ben Lee has been a mainstay on alternative rock airwaves; it’s hard to believe the Australian singer/songwriter is still only 26. For album number six he comes full circle on a decade of recordings, working with producer Brad Wood (Liz Phair, Smashing Pumpkins) who spearheaded the sound of Lee’s debut record Grandpaw Would in 1995. Awake… follows a comparable blueprint of 2002’s Hey You Yes You: uncomplicated, unassuming, no-gloss pop songs. But there is evidence of a newfangled wisdom in Lee and his sketches of songwriting dexterity, which include the distinctive pop-rocker ("Catch My Disease"), the persuasive ballad ("Get Gotten"), the adoring folk number ("The Debt Collectors") and an indulgently experimental nine-and-a-half minute opus ("Light"). Code one could be the riff-fully sanguine opener ("Whatever It Is") in which the author proposes we chase our instincts, then verifies on the ensuing 13 songs that he does just that. "They might tell you that you shouldn’t," sings Lee, "But do it. Whatever it is." --Scott Holter ... Read more

Reviews (10)

3-0 out of 5 stars In response to Human "Master Critic"
After reading your review of Ben Lee's `Awake is the New Sleep', I was so taken aback by its stupidity and short-sightedness that I had to write a response.
I don't think it is valid to criticize music purely on the grounds that it doesn't conform to "certain rules of songwriting and music in general that must be obeyed".Should we be calling the police?
For your information HMC, good music ignores what it popular, what it expected and what is safe.Luminaries from Mozart to The Beatles to Eminem defied expectations on what music should be and as a result, changed the face of music for the better.
If we don't have artists who break these "rules", either by trying to fit five words where only four will fit or using non-scale notes and chords or fusing discordant styles of music, nothing changes and as a result music becomes stale.
Don't criticize an artist for trying something different, for trying to be individual.
And what's all this about non-western scales sounding strange to our ears?How is this relevant?
"Hmm, I was thinking of buying the new Ben Lee CD but after reading all this about non-tonal pentacostic scales, I think I'll buy something by an accomplished artist".Please.This seems to me as someone may have taken a music course at community college and wants to show off.
Awake is the New Sleep is a solid pop-rock album that is evidence of a songwriter not scared to wear his heart on his sleeve.It is sure to please Lee's solid fanbase.For new listeners, it won't change your life but it does have its moments.

5-0 out of 5 stars Pleasant Surprise
I hadn't heard of Ben Lee until I saw a review for Awake Is the New Sleep in a magazine, and I gave it a listen on my Napster to Go account. It's a catchy, captivating album with some great songs (Whatever It Is, We're All In This Together, Begin, Catch My Disease).

I'm a big David Gray fan, and this reminds me a little of his style. Not his sound, but his style.

I'll have to hear some of his other stuff before I determine whether this measures up to it or if he's "trying too hard" as others have said, but I do know this is a well-produced album that I keep listening to again and again.

1-0 out of 5 stars He sucks...read more to find out why
Ben Lee sucks.When you listen to his songs, you can tell that he takes his "craft" much too seriously.I've pinned down the primary reason why his songs are so bad.Here it is.His lyrics aren't actual lyrics, they're more like bad poetry forced to fit in a song.Let me explain.It seems like Lee sits down and writes a poem, or some lyrics (if you can call them that) and then tries to force the lyrics to fit a certain tune that was also written separately.So his songs don't sound like actual songs, but rather just words sung to some music.Lee's songs lack cohesion.Many of the words don't rhyme or fit the structure or precedent set by the words which came before.I'm an accomplished musician, and there are certain rules of songwriting and music in general that must be obeyed, or else the result sounds strange to ears that are used to the norm.Yes, originality is good, but it must exist within the confines of the rules, or else the result suffers.Have you ever wondered why traditional music from other parts of the world sounds just a little but off to our Western ears(think music from India, the Middle East)?It's because those cultures use a different tonal scale in their music.Instead of having the familiar "do ray me" scale based on octaves, they have a pentatonic scale or something even more radical.That's why their music often sounds a little strange to our ears.Lee does use the octave scale, but it's his lyrical flow that's off.The words and the music don't get along very well together.He simply says what he wants and forces it to fit the music.Lee truly sucks.I hope he rots in hell for innumerable centuries.

3-0 out of 5 stars Trying Too Hard
I saw Ben Lee last night at the Independent in SF. While I enjoyed his show, the songs he played which were all off of this CD were not as great as anything he's done previously starting with Noise Addict (Meet the Real Me, Young and Jaded) through his first 2 solo efforts (Grandpaw Would, Something to Remember Me By). As he said of his first solo album " i didnt try very hard to make good records in those days, and thats why they are so good i guess. pop pop pop. songs about girls. sunshine. sadness."
-Ben Lee
I think on this album he IS trying too hard. Maybe that's why it's not his best effort. I still think lyrically he is a great songwriter...i.e. very personal, witty and heartfelt... musically this album repeats itself a bit much for my taste. Having seen him 4 times now, even while I was watching him I kept thinking this song sounds too much like the last song. I would not recommend this album except for diehard fans that must have all of his stuff. I am however still a fan of Ben Lee!! No mistake about it.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Surrender" to Ben's Disease
ben lee is just amazingly talented and I was just gobsmacked when i first heard this album (and haven't been able to stop listening)
I would list my favorite tracks, but there really isn't any that I don't love.
Ben Lee is all about surrendering.Surrendering to love, surrendering to faith.His music is about opening your heart and "awakening" yourself to truly live life.There are risks, you will get burned, he sings, but the joy and peace that comes from surrender is worth everything. ... Read more


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