Stranger than Fiction, Larger Than Life: the Finn Brothers song-by-song discussion thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Lance LaSalle, Jan 21, 2019.

  1. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle TEFL Lord Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
  2. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle TEFL Lord Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    Live on Rock Arena: ABC TV (Australia) 12-12-86, with Eddie Rayner on keyboards:
     
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  3. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle TEFL Lord Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    This song certainly sticks out on the album, both lyrically and musically. Yes, Paul Hester is certainly a lesser songwriter than Neil Finn. Nevertheless, I like it as I feel it's a pretty good showcase for the funky side of the band, and especially for Nick Seymour's bass work, which really is great here. The live version above is pretty rocking, and lets all members of the band (including Eddie Rayner) show off.

    I suppose I prefer the original lyrics. I assume they were changed to avoid getting tagged by the PMRC back when they had real power. A new band like Crowded House couldn't afford to be tagged as obscene.

    I like the song, though it is certainly the least of all the songs on this album.

    3.3/5
     
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  4. robcar

    robcar Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    "That's What I Call Love" is the odd one out on Crowded House. A lot of you have said that "Can't Carry On" sticks out as sounding like it comes from a different session or band. I don't hear that at all. To me, THIS one sounds as if it was ported onto the album from an alternate universe. It just doesn't fit on the album. I don't think it's a bad song -- it's just not very Crowded House. The funky R&B groove isn't really them and the lyrics are rather pedestrian. I actually like the opening few bars of the song but not a whole lot after that. If it weren't for the fact that the vocals were so half-arsed, I'd actually much prefer the demo version that was released on the 2016 deluxe edition reissue of the album as a bonus track. From a musical standpoint, I find it much better than the finished album version. The demo has a rock steady beat that lacks the stops and starts of the album version. Also, the annoying synth/synth horns and that cringe-inducing note sequence that is played right at the ending of the song (as well as once earlier on) are absent on the demo. The demo has a better guitar sound to me and I also like the piano tinkling on the instrumental break. If only it had been sung properly, it would be the definitive version of this song to my ears. I agree that the Melbourne 1986 concert version is quite good; pity it has only been released on a fan club CD.

    3.3/5
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2019
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  5. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle TEFL Lord Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    Are those synth horns? I thought they were just horns. AS synth horns go they sound pretty good, compared to, say, those synth horns in "Spiritual Hunger" or "Breakin' My Back."
     
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  6. robcar

    robcar Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Not sure. They didn't sound very horny to me, but could be the way the mix was done.
     
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  7. Turk Thrust

    Turk Thrust Forum Resident

    Location:
    U.K.
    I think this is a really anti-climactic way to end the album and I can't really see any merit to the song. Some of Paul's songwriting credits I can enjoy in a lighthearted way, but this falls falt. It probably doesn't help that it's not my sort of music, but it all feels like a joyless exercise. And I agree that the brass at the end of the song doesn't work.

    1/5.


    I will be away tomorrow so hopefully it's ok to post my thoughts on the album now...

    There are certainly some really high points to this album (particularly the 2 big hit singles), but I don't think Neil was yet capable of writing a consistently strong LP. The best moments are the songs that were included on Recurring Dream and there are a few other solid album tracks. There are also a couple of weak links that should have been used only as b-sides.

    Not an album that I tend to listen to from start to finish, but the singles lift it to 3/5.
     
  8. StefanWq

    StefanWq Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vallentuna, Sweden
    I am not keen on "That's What I Call Love" which sounds like a mishmash of ideas - a bit of funk, a bit of dates 80s sound ideals, a bit of pop/rock, some call-and-response singing and experimenting on the keyboards - but not really having a memorable melody. A real B side, certaintly not a strong album closer. "Tombstone" would have been a great final song on the album, as would "Recurring Dream". This track comes across as an afterthought, safely tucked away at the end of the album so it wouldn't interfere with the other songs.

    We have discussed "Can't Carry On"/"I Walk Away" and how they appeared or not on the LP in various countries. Both are vastly superior to this track, as is "Recurring Dream", and the 11 track CD with both "Can't Carry On" and "I Walk Away" clocks in under 40 minutes. I can only assume that the band and/or the record company felt that the LP must have exactly 10 tracks and that one of them must be a Paul song (he has written so many better songs before and after this one).

    The live version is quite good though.

    2/5.
     
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  9. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle TEFL Lord Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    I enjoy "Does Anyone Here Understand My Girlfriend" more, but this one fits this very dark album better, I suppose. I doubt if the record company was all that enthusiastic about Paul's song: they wanted the band to be called "Neil Finn and the...", after all.
     
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  10. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle TEFL Lord Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    Well, certainly the dissonant horns in the instrumental break are real, but I'm not sure about the flourish. That instrumental track of this is pretty cool, I think, it's the song itself that is weak.
     
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  11. D.B.

    D.B. Forum Resident

    I've never owned or really listened to the debut Crowdies record, but I do have That's What I Call Love on the Don't Dream It's Over single. Not a track I liked much, as someone mentioned above it does have the "certified B-side" feel. But just having listened to the three versions now, I quite like it! Having Nick Seymour's bass work pointed out certainly made me listen and very much appreciate it. I love him as a melodic player, but the groove and feel he has here are wonderful too. I like the chorus part, including Paul's lines, and just maybe not too keen on the verse vocal melodies too much. But anyway, I'd now consider this a good solid listen, maybe even something I'd look forward to (if I had the album, ha)... I'll even give it a 3.6, since we've got our ratings on...
     
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  12. Squealy

    Squealy Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Vancouver
    The song has a different flavour from the rest because Paul wrote the original version of it... but Neil still clearly reworked it for the album, as he sings it, the verse melody and most of the words are different, and he has a writing credit on it. So if you hate it... it’s not all Paul’s fault!
     
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  13. Paul H

    Paul H Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nottingham, UK
    It's the song that single-handedly put me off investigating CH for five years. Need I say more? It has no redeeming features that I can see/hear. A really sad end to a fantastic debut album. ignoring the previously unreleased bonus tracks, it's by far the worst song in their catalogue. I very rarely rate anything as a 1/5: I reserve that rating for things like rap, thrash metal and Lennon's "experimental" work with Yoko :). So this gets a 2/5.
     
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  14. That's What I Call Love swings. The drums and bass make this one. Plus many of the extra noises sound like zoo animals. I think it fits with other contemporary tunes on the radio back then. 4/5
     
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  15. This is a tough one. Everything on the album is at least "really good," so it's hard to mark it down too much. In a vacuum this might get quite a high score, but as a good track on a record full of great to legendary tracks, let's call it a 3/5.
     
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  16. dthomas850

    dthomas850 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cleveland, Ohio
    "That's What I Call Love"
    Kind of a strange way to end the album, but I really like it. 4/5
     
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  17. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road

    I don't dislike this song, but it never really gelled with me. It sounds like they were trying to write a hit to some degree. It is ok, but I could miss it easily enough. 3/5
     
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  18. blastfurniss

    blastfurniss Forum Resident

    Location:
    Marion, OH, USA
    I'm a little late to the game with this thread so I apologize for jumping in at the end of the conversation regarding the debut. That's What I Call Love isn't my favorite song off the album but I don't mind it. Has a good groove and Neil delivers a good vocal. Unlike a lot of the album it sounds very much of the time it was made. Always thought it would have made a great song for ABC as it has that horn part, a funk groove and sounded like a new romantic band song. I give it a 3.8 which would be the lowest I'd give anything on the album if I'd been keeping up.

    As an album the debut is one of my all time favorites by one of my favorite bands and songwriters. The first few times I heard Don't Dream It's Over I was 16 and I thought...that's nice but it didn't make a huge impression. Then the more I heard it the more I wanted to hear more. The album has remained a constant in my life ever since and if I had to pick the last song I heard before I died it would be DDIO. The last "hey now" at the fade still sends chills down my spine. I am not one for nostalgia but I miss the era when labels knew that breaking a band could take time. Always glad Crowded House got the time to breakthru. Debut is a 5 for for me.
     
  19. SteveMac

    SteveMac Forum Resident

    That's What I Call Love is one of the best songs on the album, and far from being an anti-climactic way to end, it's perfect.
    5/5
     
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  20. StefanWq

    StefanWq Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vallentuna, Sweden
    I agree entirely with this. Paul's drumming is superb on this album and it's very interesting to hear how much he developed between "See Ya 'Round", the Mullanes demos and this album. He and Nick were such a great rhythm section who really contributed a lot to the Crowded House sound. To me, this album is truly a "band" album, not just Neil and two hired guns who played what they were told. When I hear this album I hear great musical empathy between the three members. Much has been written and said about Paul's banter on stage, his funniness, but I think his musical contributions have been somewhat undervalued.
     
  21. therunner

    therunner Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    The only thing I like about "That's What I Call Love" is that it's the last track, so I can eject the CD before it starts. I agree with PaulH that it has no redeeming features, but I'm not sure if it's the worst song in the CH catalogue or whether that title goes to "Kill Eye" or "Skin Feeling".

    1/5
     
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  22. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle TEFL Lord Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    Marmite.
     
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  23. HitAndRun

    HitAndRun Forum Resident

    I quite like That's What I Call Love. It is different from everything else on the album, and it's an interesting move left from the other songs. An interesting thing to do on a debut album. I like the arrangement and the instrumental sections. For me, it's a very interesting move to a different genre, and they do it well. In the same way that Straight Ol' Line is.

    3.5 / 5
     
  24. NorthNY Mark

    NorthNY Mark Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canton, NY, USA
    I'm a bit surprised by the extreme reactions to this one. While I don't think it's among the very best tracks on the album, I think it's far from the worst, and to me it works pretty well as a sort of big closing number. The vocal back-and-forth is probably my favorite aspect.
     
  25. robcar

    robcar Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    I'm jumping the gun a bit on my overall thoughts on Crowded House, but I will be busy later this evening getting ready to go out of town so figured I'd post my album summary now. I like the CH debut a lot, but, in the end, it is my least favorite out of their six studio albums. The album doesn't seem very unified stylistically and, as I've mentioned, I think Neil's lyrics leave something to be desired on several of the songs, at least as compared to the other CH albums and his later solo work. Also, the sound of the album isn't as pleasing to my ears as that of the next two CH albums. It's not quite as crisp and clean as Temple of Low Men or Woodface (the best sounding Finn albums of them all) and there are a few too many of those intrusive mid-80s touches (albeit nothing like on Conflicting Emotions or Big Canoe) evident here.

    My ranking of the songs on the album from best to worst:
    • Can't Carry On
    • Hole In The River
    • Something So Strong
    • World Where You Live
    • Don't Dream It's Over
    • Now We're Getting Somewhere
    • I Walk Away
    • Tombstone
    • Mean To Me
    • Love You 'Til The Day I Die
    • That's What I Call Love
    Overall, I'll give the album a 4.5/5.
     

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