Thursday, January 23, 2003
Paul Young | Columbia Legacy
Golden-voiced golden boy and perhaps the only "genuine" singer to come out of the Brit-pop movement, this great interpreter was chart king back in the middle ''80s. Covering what must be the widest palette of material in the shortest amount of time, Young blazed in at one end of that decade and exited the limelight at the other end. He never really came close to a comeback, passing away in 2001 of cancer.
This collection highlights the incredible oddity that he was. While the music and vocals are silky and rather slick, his gamut, from Daryl Hall to Crowded House to Joy Division, was outright eclectic. Pretty much anything with a grabbing melody, he''d try.
But this is pop music and the stabs at the edgier material, like "Love Will Tear Us Apart," and "Don''t Dream It''s Over," miss the stately grandeur of the originals; a better man that Paul Young would have trouble eclipsing those indelible arrangements. But Hall and Oates themselves could never top "Everytime You Go Away," and Young makes mincemeat out of other would-be Brit soulmen like Simply Red on the balance of the tracks. Gone, but never forgotten.
Loud Like Nature
Add N To (X) | Mute Records
With their fourth album, "Loud Like Nature," Add N To (X) is invading the music scene with electro-terrorism of dysfunctional, sampledelic creations.
Add N To (X) is difficult to define and doesn''t fit well into any particular genre. It''s best not to attempt to pigeonhole the twisted, abrasive, synthesized freakout that best depicts the band''s sound. Composing music primarily with keyboards, Add N To (X)''s Barry Smith, Ann Shenton and Steve Claydon find their inspiration in random, spasmodic noise that has appropriately become their trademark sound.
Being grouped into the neo-electro revolution, the members of Add N To (X) consider themselves as part of a linear progression in music, as opposed to part of the rebirth of the sounds of the ''80s. "We''re trying to physically embrace the future rather than replicate the past," Smith says. "We''re aggressive futurists." The band describes its electronic mayhem as "Avant-Hard".
Hard being an understatement to describe the harsh, analog grunge of electro guitar riffs, sleazy bass throbs and uptempo propulsions that make up "Loud Like Nature." Adding tinges of twisted electro-pop to the exploratory noise-synth, Add N To (X) also fancy natural drum sounds, which clarifies the carnal rock-like tendencies.
Add N To (X) does, undeniably, have electronic tendencies, although I wouldn''t necessarily be able to visualize a DJ dropping a track from "Loud Like Nature" on the dancefloor. The music is too dirty. Many of these tracks sound like unfinished sketches washed over with a veil of grim.
While Add N To (X) could be considered somewhat bizarre and experimental, many of their tracks are quite catchy underneath all the odd sound effects and scuzzy noise settings. With various influences meshed together, the approach is usually the same--all genres and styles are warped to the max. In a downright strange manner, Add N To (X) challenges its listening audience to find the melody in the midst of the noise. This is radical music for an extremist age--an edgy substitute for the mundane fluff that is everywhere these days.