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An American Treasure (2018) - Reviews & Ponderings

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Saw this from Ryan Ulyate on another forum.......

 

Update for those with questions about the Hi-Res download for Super Deluxe ($150 version). I heard back from Warners. The link to the mp3's are automatically sent when you order. You will also get an email asking if you want to download the Hi-Res version. I'm not sure when that goes out, perhaps after you receive the box. I'll know more next week, but they promised me that they would provide the Hi-Res option for those that bought the Super Deluxe!

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32 minutes ago, TomFest said:

Saw this from Ryan Ulyate on another forum.......

 

Update for those with questions about the Hi-Res download for Super Deluxe ($150 version). I heard back from Warners. The link to the mp3's are automatically sent when you order. You will also get an email asking if you want to download the Hi-Res version. I'm not sure when that goes out, perhaps after you receive the box. I'll know more next week, but they promised me that they would provide the Hi-Res option for those that bought the Super Deluxe!

Thanks for finding the update!  I emailed the store about this but haven't heard back yet.  My super deluxe box won't arrive for a few more days.  Resisting the urge to watch any unboxing videos is tough.

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Ok, let's start somewhere.. 

The previously unreleased songs. Strikes me as a good place to start, since they're, to me, is where the real excitement was. And is.

 

Walkin' from The Fire --- Marvelous. And sad. If there's just one or two more songs of this gauge in the vaults, left off the Southern Accents project, it's fairly obvious that they were a lot closer to accomplishing this concept masterpiece Tom initially were aiming for, than they seemed to have thought. This proves what a mistake it was in many ways, to get so hooked up with Dave Stewart for additional pop songs and addtional layers of production. These sessions needed not to be buried in 85:ness the way it was, it seems here. It needed to be as naked as possible. Too bad it took all these years to realize that. This type of song, this type of sound - so much more spot on and timeless. This song is really good. (And the "gloss-less" renditions of Rebels and Best of Everything even further hits this point about the SA session home, as I see it.) I just can't wrap my head around how tangled up in confusion they must have been, came time to wrap that beast of an album up. This song.. Already feels like it has been around ever since. Which, of couse, me unbeknownst, it has. The pinacle of the set? Quite possibly. I really love the sound here. The beauty of those long sliding bass harmonies at the beginning - exquisite!  

Gainesville --- When this one shows up in the box tracklist, it's strikes me as a better song, than I thought when first I heard it. Must be I know it, now. Funny how that happens. Still think the sound and vibe here is great. Some really cool lyrics too. Melody is a bit flat, although there are a few briliant notes in there, some memorable hooks. The "Sandy, loading up the van" part of melody, for one. The first part of the bridge or middle eight (even if all "choruses" in reality feels like some sort of bridges to me) is really where the unmistakingly craftmanship of Tom's shines through in the melody, to me.) I still think the "chorus" - or rather lack of chorus - makes the song a bit unfinished in structure, though. There seem to be something missing. 

Lonesome Dave --- Perhaps a fun and impressive exercise, rather than great art or great songwriting. From what I heard about how good this song was supposed to be, I must say I did expect something else. Since it's been mentioned among the Wildflowers outtakes, I was not expecting the type of song at all. But from the context of the Gr Hits sessions though, it's a rather typical type, is it not. Sure the sessions produced the killer version of the older original that was to be Mary Jane's Last Dance, that had a very different and uniquely TP style, but for the most part those sessions where reportedely 50s/60s style rock'nroll and rockabilly jams otherwise. Some of which is released/circulated aleady. To find this original belongingto those cover heavy sessions was quite fun. Not very original tune though, but tons of energy and some frantic hammering from Ben... ! Barnburner? He said it. 

I Don't Belong --- Well, some of us have heard this before. It has been heavily circulated. Nevertheless good to hear it in full sound, so to speak. To hear more nuances revealing themselves, than is the case on my old mp3 copy of this song, actually does make it a lot better. There are some really good, if simple songwriting buried here. I always thought - from hearing my mp3 - that something was slightly off with the vocal track, but here it sounds good enough and quite finished.  A ditty. A sad ditty. There are such things, it seems.

Bus To Tampa Bay --- Fantastic song! Really grows with a few spins. There's just a few little notes, that end up in just the right, initially somewhat unexpected places, that makes the whole difference. Making the slightly generic base of it all shine with such a distinct charm. It could have benefited from a bit more of an atmospherical extension, some dreamy swagger interplay or solo... There's some type of simplistic Mudcrutch vibe to the song, may be the bass... Either way, I can just see the old timers shuffle about dancing to this one, down at the Best Western, an Wednesday night. The song is like a mature, somewhat mellow rendition of the same musical impulse that gave us the tall tale Ankel Deep. 

Two Men Talking --- Familiar song to all live fans of TPATH (is it possible not to be one?) But certainly new as a studio recording. One would have guessed that they tried it in session for Mojo, and perhaps they did. This 2012 take is quite good. I actually prefer this to the various live versions. Not sure when it was written, but to me, neither TMT nor Black Leather Woman, both of which showed up in live shows in the early 00s, ever felt as full of potential as did Melinda, from that same era. But this studio version TMT is really good. Certainly more than an attempt, it feels very finished and worked. Great arrangement - that "quite" segment is totally fantastic! Not sure how and where it would have fit on HE though.. so.. glad it showed up here. Still wonder if they ever tried Melinda out in studio, when and how that was arranged exactly. What all those mentioned "unreleased" songs from the early 00s have in common, is that they are typical jam songs, fit for the live treatment, not necessarily easy to work into optimal studio versions, but this one works surpisingly well.

Sins of My Youth --- Gonna include this as an unreleased song, since for all intents and purposes, it's a totally different song than what is on Hypnotic Eye. I don't think it's better, and I can understand why they did what they did with it. The final version really highlights the vocals and the sublime and unusual (for TP) work with the melody really build some strange powerful vibe. This version feels more typical in some ways, more generic TP, and there is some great playing on it, but the melody doesn't quite make the perfect fit with the lyrics, somehow, and the delivery doesn't reach that extra dimension of urgency. It loses quite a lot of it's character, frankly. Not at all as memorable. And wouldn't have worked at all as effective as a "palate cleanser" as some wise person put it, as it does in the released version. I do love Mike's little solo towards the end, though!  

 

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I'll start with a quick overview of things that first struck me...

First of all: great sound! The version of ITGWO that's on disc 3 is the same as on my old bootleg from the Oakland-shows, but sounds - hardly surprisingly - 80 per cent better.

Second: I feel a tendency of revisionism creeping in. I think this release marks the point in history where the Heartbreakers' perspective takes over, or at least Mike and Ben's (as opposed to Petty's). We're presented with mixes they didn't like, or don't like any more. I can see why in the case of Rebels, less so in the case of The Best of Everything. It's the Heartbreakers filter; but they're absolutely entitled. Also, the Lynne-period gets treated a bit superficially.

The new songs are good, some better than others. Lonesome Dave is fun, but it's a song I could do without. Gainesville is not even fun, I don't get this composition. Great arrangement, but strange writing. Musically. Not in a good way, imho.

The rest of the new ones is great, and I really like the early take of King of The Hill! Much better than the released version.

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1 hour ago, TwoGunslingers said:

the Lynne-period gets treated a bit superficially.

How else to treat it? :D 

Seriously, though. You're right. The "Lynne-period" is a bit brief. And I guess it can be due to the fact that it was Tom's and Jeff's little buddy project, that didn't fully appreciat, make use of, or even recognize the Heartbreakers dimension in Tom's music. That was sort of the point of it, to start with. (This, of course, been discussed around here to some lenght.) While Mike was certainly involved over his neck, perhaps two other things contribute to the fact that they "skim" the period over a bit here. 1 - it may not be Ben's (or Ryan's, who knows) favorite preiod and - perhaps most importantly 2 - the Lynne era is where all these HUGE hits were, that they decided (wisely) to skip this time around. Three live samples, a demo and one album track is ok, I think, given that viewpoint. 

Besides, I'm beyond thrilled that - since they choosed the perhaps dubious route of putting a few previously released album cut entries on this box - they went with You And I Will Meet Again, of all songs from this era! Fantasic poignant pick! Among the top five things Jeff ever did, IMO.  

Generally, it's quite amazing to me how they went about picking those album tracks here! (Just to have that aspect of my reviewiwing this thing, covered.) How they did, I still don't quite now, and I wonder if it's by chance or fluke, but considering how few, hardly none, of my all time favorite "deep cuts" of Tom's they ever touched live or spoke of in other contexts, I was always certain that my taste in these things were very different from theirs. And perhaps it was, from Tom's. But here this box comes out with Ben and Mike behind the wheel and they just line up my top favorite hidden gems! The Wild One Forever, Lousiana Rain, Straight Into Darkness, Deliver Me, You Can Still Change Your Mind, You And I Will Meet Again, on to Grew Up Fast and Down South.. I mean.. they are almost ALL there, most of them is, basically just Luna and Something Big are missing from the old days and then maybe some latter era track. Perhaps the only two album tracks that I wouldn't have picked myself is Accused of Love and Money Becomes King. Still it all makes perfect, beautiful sense. They certainly had their reasons and that is a big part of the great experience listening to this thing. Just saying.. they sure picked my mind for those album tracks, to the point of being spooky...    

 

 

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And speaking of overview.. not sure anyone commented on this, but the packaging is really nice for a "compact" box of this type. The old school 78rpm records style envelope album sleeves to hold the disc are very stylish and it's a bonus with lots of great photos throughout. I could wish for a bit more deep discussion/ comment on the songs, technical info like exactly when they origin and what's been done to them. The comments on some songs are really just rather... vague and general praise and a few hums. Nice and all, but I am picky that way. I want details. I am afraid I do not particularly like the Kevin Costner picture on the front either.

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3 hours ago, Shelter said:

 

Besides, I'm beyond thrilled that - since they choosed the perhaps dubious route of putting a few previously released album cut entries on this box - they went with You And I Will Meet Again, of all songs from this era! Fantasic poignant pick! Among the top five things Jeff ever did, IMO. 

It actually made me smile when I read the tracklisting and saw this. I thought, maybe someone in Petty camp discovered your thread! :-D

3 hours ago, Shelter said:

 

Generally, it's quite amazing to me how they went about picking those album tracks here! (Just to have that aspect of my reviewiwing this thing, covered.)

Yes, I agree. They are perfect picks. I'm also not sure how they did it, what their criteria were...

But the collection as such is really nicely done. It's not a Greatest Hits, which would have been somewhat pointless (an argument that does not stop other Major artists from releasing another and yet another and then yet another collection of the same well-known tunes), it's not a live collection, and it's not a collection of outtakes and b-sides, either... but it works. It's really interesting and there are beautiful things to discover on every disc.

I imagine it's very difficult to do, but they did a great job.

To put more emphasis on the Lynne years would have meant more of the all-too-familiar. It's an almost unbelievable fact - and speaks volumes - that there is no Free Fallin' here, no Runnin' Down a Dream, no Learning to Fly, and no You Wreck Me. I Won't Back Down surfaces in an acoustic arrangement (ok, we had this on the Live Anthology, but still) and Into The Great Wide Open was not played live too often in recent years, if I'm not mistaken.

So, all in all - a brave project that satisfies long-time fans and maybe will win some new ones (music geeks?) who are willing to delve deeper into Petty's rich body of work.

And, yes... the notes on the songs could have been a bit more insightful at times. Bud Scoppa's essay is also much too short, which is a shame, because he is one of rock history's sharpest writers, I think.

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Now for another aspect of the box, trying to stick to the chase here.

Some comments on the “alternative takes”

I put that within brackets. It seems indeed less than clear, exactly what constitutes a take or a version, at this point. Like Mr Timba has been pointing out, there seem to have been a whole lotta editing and remixing going on here. Many of the basic tracks, vocal tracks and so on, indeed seem to be the same as heard on the old albums. A few extended endings, full length versions (unfaded), some cases of speed correction (that seem to have more or less of the official take under the sleeve), a few occasions or typical remixing (where the familiar take has been stripped of over dub:ed elements or balanced differently between channels to highlight this or that).

All of which is totally fine, of course, and the result in general both interesting and fun to listen to, but with the aforementioned lack of technical details for each song, it does feel a bit like a mess. Revisionism, cry one of us. Yeah, well.. there something to that line of criticism. I don’t mind it too much, but I mind being lost with regards to what is what not being specified. In my opinion, it would have been a good idea to separate a bit more firmly between what is an alternative “take” and what is merely an “edit” or a “remix”, with some notes added as to who did what and when to the track other than the musician who played on the recording.

That said, I think the remastering that has been done to make it all sound top notch, is successful! Also the remixes and edits that have been done highlight interesting aspect to previously familiar songs and versions. Being it cutting out unnecessary over dubs or lifting a guitar or the vocals in the mix. Other than that, it may be worth saying that one reason that so much of these “alternative takes” may sound so eerily identical to the official versions, to anyone but the ultra fans or studio engineers, is the fact that Tom was such an incredible perfectionist. Sure, he/they may have experimented with songs and arrangements to work out what they song was ultimately gonna be, finding the song within, as it were. (Just listen to Sins of My Youth on this box, or consider how some of Mike's original song ideas or riffs may have been taken places, tweaked and bent into amazing Petty/Campbell compositions quite beyond what perhaps was imagined). Still, once they had the general outline down, once they caught that general shape that Tom had in mind, they were focused enough, professional enough and technically skilled enough (surprisingly early on) to drudge it over and over, making very small subtle changes. That’s how it works, really, chasing magic can be very routine, I suppose. Other times, I really suppose they had the basic track they wanted and decided on, but had to retake the vocals several times to get the right vibe, or trying different drum sounds and so on..

So, even as a pretty seasoned Tom Petty fan and listener, I still don’t know with any exact precision, how many actual alternative takes - that is basic tracks that the band lay down from scratch that are different from the ones on the records – are really on here?! I can’t tell, since it all been a bit “scrambled” in the presentation. At least a bulk of these “takes” certainly have different vocals, slightly up:ed or down:ed channels in the mix, corrected speed, or all of the above, but seem otherwise strikingly close to the “original”.

What I can and will say is that hearing the actual drums on Rebels is amazing! I can’t even begin to understand what wasn’t good enough with that, in their eyes then. And generally.. perhaps the main feat of this here box – and here it comes in the middle of a paragraph in a long and rambling post that no one will read in detail – is showcasing how at the top of their game they were in the mid 80s, despite personal struggles, strange times and influential friends in high places. I mean, hearing the SA material like that… While I can agree the album version of Best of Everything has a few features to it’s advantage, I still see this one has some merit, and reveal a few new welcome aspects to these sessions. Not to speak of The Damage You’ve Done.. not until right now did I realize it’s a great, great song in there! Something as simle as those harmonies! So, frankly, just try to forget about the sound production aspects and the admittedly strange (in parts) song selection process, where apparently and reportedly several great songs were left, and it’s easy to picture both SA and LMU(IHE) being every way the masterpiece level records they ended up not quite being.

Further, I also find the vocal track on Wake up Time here coming across as being a lot better (closer, sharper, intense) than the Wildflowers version. I always found that one to be one of the few occasions where Tom’s voice sounds off. (Out of key? Just strained to a state of “sour”? - If just ever so slightly, it’s off. I know most people never noticed and/or don’t even think so when they try to notice it, so it may be just me.. ) Here, the voice, as well as the phrasing, is absolutely brilliant! As is it on Don’t Fade on Me. Great song! The differences in arrangement is great, if not necessarily preferable – hard to tell – but the vocal delivery again, is something extra.

One version that really truly is an “alternative take”, separated by years from it’s official recording, is King Of The Hill. I was very thrilled to finally hear this, since the song is an old favorite. Surprisingly sharp and finished from the start. In some ways the arrangement really feels better and more raw like this. Especially I LOVE Howie’s harmonies here, so little makes the world of a difference at times and that dimension really is missing in the thick, glossy costume the song was dressed in on Back from Rio.  However, the leading riff on this early version is a bit understated and vague in shape.. Kinda cool, I suppose.. but, not really there yet? The main difference, that speaks for the final product in the end, to me, is the lead vocals, though. There’s an almost breathtaking suction to those vocals, that really pull you inside the cinematic story. The 1987 version has most of the magic, even some extra strange depths in some instruments, but it’s not quite there with the vocals and phrasing. What am I saying? A straight pure Heartbreakers version with the official vocal tracks on it would have been the best? Yes, that’s it. Thank you, you’re welcome.

Finally - the 1976 take of Surrender is a nice surprise (for me). For a song that they have left on the floor so many times, I must say all versions are adroit. This, thanks to the kinda from-the-hip-yet-slightly-desperate vocals, works as one of the better takes I’ve heard. (Still not sure where it would have fitted. I can see how the 1979 version could have fitted on DTT, but I can also, given a bit spookier sound details, hear it in the YGG context. It certainly wouldn’t work too well on the first one though, so even if this was a really cool listen, I can understand why they moved on without it at the time.)

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58 minutes ago, TwoGunslingers said:

(music geeks?)

:D

Towards whom else would you aim four discs of more or less deep matter? Right! The Rolling Stone review (I think it was) makes a very valid point, though, that, once that very rhetorical question is on the table, towards whom, then, are all those album tracks aimed? If anyone already have those and love those, it's gotta be the "geeks", right? So, I'd say it is a paradox. And taken song by song, I will never quite come to terms with the premisis. I don't like buying the same songs again. I don't particularly like mixing studio and live music. But........

What we are taken on here, is something bigger. The Whole justifies the rehash aspect big time, as it turns out. It's a type of honorary journey, isn't it. Like a grand song in itself. Where the full listening experience iof the whole 63 track run, is made simply to paint a larger, more complex picture, than any normal, tightly held together collection could. This is a living  monument of sort, from the family/band to us. And as such, a sprinkle of familiar, yet overlooked album songs, to put the unreleased, the work in progress, the alternative and the live stuff into perspective, is not a bad way to go.

Personallly, I would perhaps still have prefered a straight collection of the rare stuff, to keep my vaults clean, so to speak.. (speaking of "geek")*, but I can really see what they try to do here, and I love it more and more - that is show this dynamic and very deep and soulful music man, through a fuller and more diverse prism of his work, all that stuff that was the substantial matter surrounding those worn out hit, everybody knows. By lifting those hits away and sampling the other dimensions - including both released and unreleased - makes for a strange and beatiful ride, must say. A very personal and genuine collection is the result. You hear even the familiar through a new and slightly different angle.

 

 

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8 hours ago, Shelter said:

From what I heard about how good this song was supposed to be, I must say I did expect something else.

 Lonesome Dave's a strange one. The opening riff is one of the most generic awful blah things they've done, and yet it's quickly buried under Tom's vocal melody which is really good, especially the way it slides out of the chorus into the next verse, that musical shift is really good. The energy of the band carry it the rest of the way home, so that even some moments veer back towards 50s rock never last long enough. Forgotten Man and Saving Grace have that derivative feel but it's worse here, mainly in the intro and under some of the singing.

Nice rollicking piano at the end!

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7 hours ago, TwoGunslingers said:

Second: I feel a tendency of revisionism creeping in. I think this release marks the point in history where the Heartbreakers' perspective takes over, or at least Mike and Ben's (as opposed to Petty's). We're presented with mixes they didn't like, or don't like any more. I can see why in the case of Rebels, less so in the case of The Best of Everything. It's the Heartbreakers filter;

 I don't know. My impression is they want to honor Tom and they would know more of what he said he liked or thought of regarding alternate takes from a while back. It may not be revisionism per se as more them acting on things mentioned by Tom or discussed by all of them over the years. Or not. Who knows? For sure, at some point, unless Tom left definitive written instructions the band will pretty much take over even if it is just Mike and Ben primarily. 

For me, there's a definite line drawn, TPATH albums begin with self-titled and end with Hypnotic Eye and everything else is just extras, bonus, etc. Tom had the say on all those records, everything else is a well intended approximation of what he may have wanted them to do. I guess my long-winded point is at some point they're going to do the best they can and you're right, it'll be Heartbreakers filter. But also, in the end, there's a finite amount of material they can release.

Can you expound on your point on revisionism?

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8 hours ago, TwoGunslingers said:

Gainesville is not even fun, I don't get this composition. Great arrangement, but strange writing. Musically. Not in a good way, imho.

Interesting. There's a roughness to it I like, almost as if different parts were kinda meshed together; I think this feature I like is just a bug to others.

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8 hours ago, Shelter said:

A ditty. A sad ditty. There are such things, it seems.

 Yes, you could track a progression into depression on this record or the songs made at the time of Echo, Gainesville, the nostalgic look, I Don't Belong, the self-pity or perhaps alienation, precursors to things like Accused of Love and Room at the Top. A while ago I thought to look for unreleased TPATH or rare songs and found this one and Don't Treat Me Like A Stranger. I'm glad they both made it onto this disc. Anyway, sad ditty is an apt description.

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On September 29, 2018 at 7:55 PM, Mr Timba said:

A world that Tom saw through his hypnotic eyes. The bass line in this song is awesome, just like a heartbeat when you see this crappy world.

 It's not a feel good song I'll freely conceded that but I think Tom's farewell at the very end is what makes it the perfect end to the record, that despite any amount of shadow people or suffering in the world, pointless conflicts, on and on the list could go, that he sings of a better time, it's a necessary final grace note to what I think is their best record and as it turns out, the last TPATH record. I agree, the bass is good, all the playing just fantastic.

cheers

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8 hours ago, Shelter said:

Sins of My Youth --- Gonna include this as an unreleased song, since for all intents and purposes, it's a totally different song than what is on Hypnotic Eye.

 Yes, now this sort of thing I like, well...releasing this sort of  material. It is a completely different song. The playing is just great, what a good sounding mix of instruments and yet another tasteful guitar solo. The lyrics and vocal melody just don't really fit though, I agree. I'm quite glad they reworked the song into what's on the finished album.

8 hours ago, Shelter said:

This version feels more typical in some ways, more generic TP, and there is some great playing on it, but the melody doesn't quite make the perfect fit with the lyrics, somehow, and the delivery doesn't reach that extra dimension of urgency.

 Yes, what you said,  it sounds like it could've belonged on Mojo or even Echo. Maybe Echo especially. The finished song is as unique in its way as Full Grown Boy.  I think this music could've worked with different lyrics and melody over top it and been something good as well.

Perhaps this sort of thing should've been relegated to downloaded tracks, pay as you go. The hardcore fan has the option, then instead of a giant box set you have the unreleased tracks or hard to find b-sides on one cd. Anyway, nice piece of music but as is would've been too similar in feel to Mojo, the band (and/or Tom) was smart to keep working at this, changing it to the airy and thoughtful final version on Hypnotic Eye.

cheers

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4 hours ago, TwoGunslingers said:

It actually made me smile when I read the tracklisting and saw this. I thought, maybe someone in Petty camp discovered your thread! :-D

:) I was happy to see it made it on here as well. Who knows, maybe someone did. Certainly the band is now again aware of the tune if they weren't before. Maybe down the road they'll be a different take of this song or one with the extended playing before the fadeout; I can't quite tell when I turn the volume up if the band stops playing right at the end of the fade out or not. Anyway, glad it's on here.

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5 minutes ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

Should've hired Shelter.

Jeeze... I'm sure they wanted the damn thing to sell, though.. don't you think. Very kind of you though, to think of my employment status!

26 minutes ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

Yes, what you said,  it sounds like it could've belonged on Mojo or even Echo. Maybe Echo especially.

I'm pretty sure I did not say that.

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3 minutes ago, Shelter said:

Jeeze... I'm sure they wanted the damn thing to sell, though.. don't you think. Very kind of you though, to think of my employment status!

The most challenging thing would've been editing it down and losing good points for space. I'm being serious here.

4 minutes ago, Shelter said:

I'm pretty sure I did not say that.

 Whoops! I meant what you said here: This version feels more typical in some ways, more generic TP,

 I agree with that and on my own think the music could've fit on Echo with different lyrics.

cheers

 

 

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5 minutes ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

losing good points for space.

I love space. I went there once. For the most parts, it's nothing. Yet it's so full of good points.

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1 hour ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

 It's not a feel good song I'll freely conceded that but I think Tom's farewell at the very end is what makes it the perfect end to the record, that despite any amount of shadow people or suffering in the world, pointless conflicts, on and on the list could go, that he sings of a better time, it's a necessary final grace note to what I think is their best record and as it turns out, the last TPATH record. I agree, the bass is good, all the playing just fantastic.

cheers

About the coda... I don't know what to think. For me the coda is a beautiful exercise of cynicism. I guess the meaning of that end depends of the mood of the listener. A hopeful end or a cynical end. In any case one of my favourite tracks from HE.

I feel like a shadow's falling over me.

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17 hours ago, Shelter said:

I also find the vocal track on Wake up Time here coming across as being a lot better (closer, sharper, intense) than the Wildflowers version. I always found that one to be one of the few occasions where Tom’s voice sounds off. (Out of key? Just strained to a state of “sour”? - If just ever so slightly, it’s off. I know most people never noticed and/or don’t even think so when they try to notice it, so it may be just me.. ) Here, the voice, as well as the phrasing, is absolutely brilliant!

 I prefer this slightly more uptempo version of the song over what made the album...but the version on the album fits the record best. After so many heavy emotions the album needs to close with something slower paced, reflective, plaintive. This version almost sounds as anthemic as Can't Stop the Sun. Again, the perfect song to close out that record, it first what came before it and brings things to a close. Same with Wake Up Time. While this song has more urgency to it, the other's more gentle nature matches the themes, while closing them off in a way, as if the entire album of Wildflowers was indeed a dream, or a tumble from dream to nightmare and back again, heavy moments, sad, funny, loving...but now it's over. Or perhaps metaphorically for one to stop looking within as much of Wildflowers does and now look without, the time for self-pity, contemplation, sadness while necessary is now over and it's back to life, hopefully as a stronger person.

This version is just too damn jaunty. I like it, but they made the right call with the other version for the finished record.

As to the vocals...I like both, they fit their respective takes; never really noticed anything really off with the original, but if there is, perhaps that slight distance between musical and vocal keys are key (pun intended) to what makes the song work, that imperfectness giving it charm.

cheers

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