What do you think of the new album: RAIN?

 
    • Jeube sa...
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    • 22 feb 2008, 16:00

    What do you think of the new album: RAIN?

    I bought the CD a week ago, and can't stop listening...
    Even heard "The Invisible Man" on a Dutch Radio Station!

    So the man (or 3 men) is back.
    Was a bit scared is was as rough as Volume 4, but this CD turns out to be very different:

    - much piano
    - different tempo on every song
    - 3 tones of Erik Satie!!

    Wasted Time is my favourite; both lirycs and music.
    Throughout the whole album I have a "Big World" deva-vu.

    So,
    Who's next?

    Jeroen

    • rtreynor sa...
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    • 25 mar 2008, 12:47
    I love that it mainly is the trio. "Summer In The City" is probably my favorite Joe album, and "Rain" feels like a natural extension of that.

  • My scattered, long-winded, tangent-laden, run-on-sentenced thoughts on "Rain"...

    Most people forgot about Joe Jackson after he “ecclectified” (though if you think about it, even “Look Sharp!” had all sorts of things going on stylistically) and started releasing less genre specific material. Loyal fans of the first few albums show up to shows and want to hear ‘Is She Really Going Out w/ Him?’ and ‘Steppin' Out’ and all the classic radio hits, which is fine, but some of those people (and I’ve sat next to them at countless shows – not only at Joe Jackson) start to get lost (and restive when drunk) when the setlist strays from those albums that defined their relationship with his music. This has been apparent in several reviews I’ve read for Rain (out of the 5 or 6 I’ve read, 3 have it portrayed in a negative light and pegged as a “could have been great, but falls short” sort of deal - what a ratio...); low ratings and harsh words for deviating from the style of the “Joe Jackson Band” and not following the same formulas from thirty bloody years ago. If they’d have paid more attention to his career, they would know that lack of repetition (stylistically) is one of Joe’s strongest suits (hell, he’s constantly revising the old songs, and he’s doing most of them better than ever, and definitely not that damn same)! But I suppose when he’s back with the boys some folks get a certain idea in their heads of what to expect, and when it doesn’t fully comply – uh oh!

    There was one reviewer who was extremely negative about the lack of guitar and the generally trio format, also citing that Joe’s voice was weak and that his falsetto was overused and annoying:

    “The practice nearly kills the enjoyable ‘Uptown Train.’ Jackson isn’t Prince. He isn’t a smooth soul singer, so he has trouble pulling this off. But he does it multiple times on the album. “Invisible Man,” the record’s opener, is only mildly hurt by this since he only sings in falsetto for a brief moment.”

    Since I nealy blew a head gasket from just copying and pasting that, we'll swiftly continue...(even though I'll continue to rant on the theme of his criticism's)

    He conveniently ignored the majority of the collection, citing only the first two albums, "Night and Day", and the latest two, giving no mention to the countless releases inbetween that have helped create the sound of "Rain." You have to keep in mind that Joe is a classical composer at the same time as he's a balls-out (albeit pop) rocker, and you have to recognize and be open to his ability to genre-bend and EVOLVE! Don't get me wrong, I fuckin' love the old stuff, but this album just wasn't written to include guitar, and you've got to listen to it with that in mind! Joe's aim was minimalism; songs that are good songs in the most basic form because the songwriting is good, the players are good, and the compositions are fanfuckintastic! Every one of these songs could be played with just a piano, or with a 7-piece band. In my opinion, the trio executes this perfectly and 'Rain' is my favorite album since...shit, probably his last one, or maybe William Shatner's...

    I think the album really showcases his skill as a pianist, and his voice is spot on (even in it's slightly raw form). 'Invisible Man' and 'Too Tough' were immediate favorites from the first Trio tour, but upon the first listen on the day of release I found that 'Wasted Time' (the underdog, along with 'Uptown Train' and 'King Pleasure Time') and 'Rush Across the Road' had me hooked immediately, with 'Good Bad Boy' and 'A Place in the Rain' soon to follow.

    'Invisible Man' opens strongly as Joe calls out [to the Verizon network…?], "Hey, can you hear me now?" as the song's character falls out of fame and into obscurity, but regaining freedom in his illusiveness. 'Too Tough' – an equally matched follow-up - is a classic Joe tune about gender roles as they pertain to a particular romance. I also really like Joe's take on wasted time (that such a thing doesn't exist, and call "it" this and that, as long as you don't call it wasted time) but didn't think the lyrics were consistently terrific throughout the piece.

    'Citizen Sane,' (jumping back a track) for me, is the strongest song lyrically and conceptually (how can one stay sane in a world where you look to authority figures for all your answers, but can't trust any of them?), with 'Invisible Man' and 'Too Tough' closely following as runner's up. I don't think Jackson's lyrics are the best he's ever written (as he claims), but they are very well suited for the compositions; for me, he produced his most consistently good lyrics on "Night and Day", "Laughter and Lust" and "Night Music" - tracks like 'Real Men', 'The Other Me' ("used to be Joe's personal favorite, don't know where that stands anymore though) and the hauntingly beautiful 'Sea of Secrets' respectively. Anywho...

    'King Pleasure Time' is catchy and successful as the most stylistically similar to the old material, but is an obvious attempt at recapturing some of that energy. I do like the basis for the song (that king pleasure rules all, but not everyone knows it in an increasingly "un-fun" world - it transcends politics, religion, etc. but at the same time those things are trying to conceal it) but it always leaves me wanting a bit more (maybe that's good though, eh!?).

    The bridge (which also includes my favorite line of the album - "Time after time I'm reminded that it's a crime to say I've lost, when I decline just to find out the final score") and outro coda on 'Rush Across the Road' - a song detailing a single moment in a past-lovers head as he sees an old flame walking down the other side of the street and he's trying to decide whether or not to cross the road - break loose and aid in the climax of the album, 'Good Bad Boy.' The album finishes with 'A Place in the Rain,' a beautiful ballad about a lover's refuge that counters the satirical tone of the majority of the album.

    I realize I didn't touch on all the tracks, but it was getting pretty long-winded so I tried to wrap it up as quickly as possible, which makes me laugh now, looking up at how effing big this is...I wrote this specifically for this thread, but will probably post it elsewhere now since I spent over and hour on it!

    T minus 6 days 'til the Chicago shows!!! WOOT!

    • bobby0 sa...
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    • 24 apr 2008, 01:12

    Rain and beyond

    TerminalMF's review of Rain and general overview of his experiences at Joe Jackson's concerts are spot on. I've experienced the same people shouting out requests (which Joe usually ignores) for the older more famililer hits of old. Joe's strength is his ability to produce music as diverse and unique as any artist locked in a particular genre. The piano trio recordings and tour of late, is yet another facet of an artist capable of doing everything from solo performance to big band and everything in between. My personal favorite incarnation of Joe was seeing him play by himself while on tour with Todd Rundgren. Hearing the songs stripped down to piano and vocal was amazing. Joe most likely writes his music at the piano and it was refreshing to here them, as they were created. His versions of songs by his favorite songwriters, which he liked to include on the last couple of tours, was another highlight. His rendition of The Beatles For no one, Crowded House's Possesed and XTC's Mayor of Simpleton are brilliant covers.
    Looking forward to seeing Joe May 13th in LA. Cheers!

    Bobby "O"
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