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Hourglass (Limited Edition CD & DVD)
Dave Gahan - CD
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Any Depeche Mode fans that were skeptical about Dave Gahan as a solo artist would have to admit, on this evidence, that Dave is becoming an accomplished song writer in his own right. While Dave's songs still owe a lot to the lyrical and musical style of his band mate Martin L Gore (tracks like 'Endless' and 'Kingdom' are full of the religious and dark imagery so prevalent in Martin Gore's art) his own temperament and individuality really comes to the fore in songs like 'Saw Something' and 'Miracles'. Both songs might not match the ambiguity and cleverness of Gore but what they lack in this respect they make up for in desperate honesty and passion. 'Saw Something' in particular is astounding with it's melancholic sound and beautiful vocal delivery.
In short I think this is the album that Dave Gahan has really found himself as an artist and I think it's a must for Depeche Mode fans.
The Picture of Dorian Gray
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The beautiful dorian gray becomes enchanted by a portrait of himself and in a fit of childish petulance wishes that he could remain young and handsome forever while the picture could bear the signs of age and corruption. For this he cries, he would trade his very soul.
In a reinterpretation of two ancient myths (faustus and narcissus), oscar wilde explores the concepts of beauty, hedonism and social hypocrisy through his infinitely fascinating protaginist dorian gray. Drawn into a world of sin and excess we as readers witness dorian's moral degredation as he leads his soul into further and further peril. Having said this, potential readers should be aware that the novel is not simply an indictment of vanity and epicureanism but rather an exploration of individuality in a morally rigid and highly conformist society.
Written with the trademark wit and cutting insight that one would expect from oscar wilde, the picture of dorian gray is an astonishing work that stands the test of time.
Stadium Arcadium (2CD)
Red Hot Chili Peppers - CD
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I'm a huge Red Hot Chili Peppers fan and own every album they have ever released but i can honestly say that this isn't the Chili Peppers at their best. Through-out their career you can see a progression in the music from the funky perfection of 'Blood Sugar Sex Magic', to the troubled rock of 'One Hot Minute' to the emotional and mature 'Californication'. 'By The Way' was again a progression with the group experimenting with varied styles of music and it felt as though the band were creating something fresh and interesting, but here on Stadium Arcadium the music feels distinctly tired and the songs are usually by the numbers funk rockers.
Tracks like 'Hump de Bump' and 'Dani California' are hardly likely to challenge anything on 'Mother's Milk' or 'Freaky Styly' for energetic funk, and the slower numbers such as 'Snow' and 'Slow Cheetah' are good but lack the emotional impact of anything off 'Californication'.
It's not terrible (any album with John Frusciante playing guitar can't be bad) but it's a disappointing release from such a technically gifted group of musicians.
Niandra Lades And Just A T-Shirt Usually
John Frusciante - CD
A very very challenging and often disturbing work but one that provides an incredible insight into John's early artistic life (most of this was recorded when he was only 21 or 22 years of age). Casual music fans will most probably find this album incomprehensible with its shrill vocals and layered guitar tracks, and to them i would suggest the more radio friendly 'shadows colide with people' but this really is John at his most original. A genuinely excellent artistic effort.