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. factory44

    factory44 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA USA
    I agree with robcar about enjoying the 2006 remix of Ghost Girl. It may be the only remix I prefer over the originals.

    I love melancholy music, and this creates a great atmosphere.

    4/5.
     
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  2. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle TEFL Lord Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    Our votes for "Ghost Girl"

    1-0
    2-1
    3-2
    4-3
    5-0
    Average Score: 3.26
     
  3. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle TEFL Lord Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    Today's song is "Albert of India", an instrumental written by Eddie Rayner.

    This song was re-recorded and re-titled (what, I can't recall) for Eddie Rayner's 1996 solo album The Horse.
     
  4. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle TEFL Lord Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    I like Albert of India and it's stately atmosphere. It's good background music and I think a good closer to the album.

    3.4
     
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  5. Paul H

    Paul H Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nottingham, UK
    I'm afraid, this is another one of Eddie's instantly forgettable instrumentals. While I admire the band's desire to include instrumentals on their albums, my own view is that they usually detracted from said albums and rarely fitted. They'd have been better served using them as B-sides, IMO. Another 2/5.
     
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  6. I really like this one- it's very calming and mellow. I toyed with a "high" 3, but I'm going to give it a 4 simply because I do enjoy more than some others that earned a 3 on this album.
     
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  7. Turk Thrust

    Turk Thrust Forum Resident

    Location:
    U.K.
    A steady 3/5. Mellow is a good word for it and it again reminds me of Rick Wakeman. This time his White Rock album for the Winter Olympics.
     
  8. robcar

    robcar Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    "Albert of India" is one of the few Split Enz instrumentals I like. I think it works much better as an album closer than "The Choral Sea" did on the previous album. The 2006 remix runs about 14 seconds longer and comes to an end rather than fading out as the original album version does. The remix highlights some of the percussion a bit more but is otherwise fairly similar to the original.

    3.2/5
     
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  9. factory44

    factory44 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA USA
    Albert is another excellent Eddie instrumental. A nice way to end the album.

    3/5.
     
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  10. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle TEFL Lord Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    Our votes for "Albert of India":

    1-0
    2-2
    3-5
    4-0
    5-0
    Average score: 2.8
     
  11. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle TEFL Lord Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    Today, we'll take a break from listening to discuss the Waiata/Corroboree album as a whole.
     
  12. Turk Thrust

    Turk Thrust Forum Resident

    Location:
    U.K.
    I mentioned earlier that it is an album that I listened to a lot as a kid. That was back in the days before downloads though and you had to get your money's worth. :)

    It is a very patchy album and only a couple of Neil's songs (One Step Ahead and History Never Repeats) lift it into the acceptable category.

    A low 3/5, but for anyone who owns a Best Of comp it wouldn't be particularly worth seeking out.
     
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  13. factory44

    factory44 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA USA
    The album is definitely a step down from True Colours. That being said, there are quite a few 4 and 5 star songs to my ears (Hard Act, One Step, Don’t Wanna Dance, Iris, History, and Ruins). Neil stepped up by contributing more songs, and most are first class. Tim stepped back, but still wrote some really good to great songs.

    I don’t usually give half points, but I’d rate the album a 3.5.
     
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  14. 4/5 - This thread prompted me to do a listen-through of the album a few days ago, and I really do enjoy it for some of the high points.
     
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  15. robcar

    robcar Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    I feel as though Waiata was a bit of a fumbled opportunity for Split Enz. It was probably released too quickly on the heels of their international breakthrough True Colours and before that precious album had fully run its course in all of the major markets.

    I think the confusion over the album title may also have diminished its prospects somewhat. Yes, it did have the two brilliant singles that were bonafide smash hits at home but didn’t really break out in other markets. Not sure why, either poor promotion or perhaps the other factors I already mentioned. The rest of the album wasn’t as strong as TC had been and, with hindsight, I wonder if they felt they might have been better off waiting another 9-12 months and releasing a stronger LP including some of the newer material that would end up on their next album.

    Personally, I like about 3/4ths of Waiata but don’t consider it an essential release aside from about 3 or 4 cuts.

    If I’m rating it, it’s a 3.6.
     
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  16. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle TEFL Lord Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    At first listen, it's tempting to just dismiss the album as a poor attempt to ape True Colours and thus hitch a ride to it's success.But I don't think that it's really fair: it does start out remarkably similar and I suppose there is some similarity in track listing and pacing...but the arrangements are much denser and more "Split Enz-y", and that makes a big difference to a lot of the songs.

    The song has a pair of Neil Finn classics and Eddie Rayner's songs are more interesting than they were on True Colours. Neil Finn was nowhere near ready to carry an entire album on his own, but when he was on, he was really on.

    The one who really seems to have dropped the ball is Tim, and that's a curious thing: his songwriting really carried most if not all of the previous three albums.

    While his melodies are just as catchy as ever, there's some kind of spark missing. Something cold and unemotional about the songs.

    It's true that the mixes of his songs are largely off a bit, but that's not really the main problem, I don't think. They just feel uninspired.

    Reading between lines in biographies, it seems that this was a dark time for Tim: marriage breaking down, drinking a bit too much, on the cusp of thirty.

    He would mention "a nervous breakdown" in the autobiographical "Haul Away" on the group's next album. Perhaps the dark period he was going through was a little too dark to write about, and so he did what he had served him so well before: he played a character. But this time his patented comic incel character is beginning to feel like forced schtick. I certainly don't believe it was any sort of honest representation of Tim.

    It was time for him and Enz to strip away the arty pretense and goofy characters and get more personal, as they (and especially Tim) did on the next album and I think that's a real part of why these songs don't quite work as well as other songs. As it is only "Hard Act to Follow" really is an unqualified success for me, and I don't think it's any accident that it feels more from the heart than the other Tim songs.

    Having said all that it might seem I am more negative about the album than I actually am.

    The fact is, I've listened to the album many a time and I've always enjoyed it. It was probably the worst Split Enz album to date, but it's still an enjoyable and quirky New Wave album that I wouldn't be embarassed to play for anybody else. I'll give it a 3.4/5
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
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  17. Paul H

    Paul H Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nottingham, UK
    For me, the album is one of extremes: I either love a song or dislike it. Half of the album is excellent, the remainder throw-away. I think that if I'd come to it when it was released (and I'd have been 11/12) I probably would have enjoyed it more because I owned so little music that it was precious and one had to squeeze every last ounce of pleasure out of an album. Now, I don't have the time nor the need to invest so heavily in a record and, if it doesn't grab me, I just move on. This is one of those albums where I'm happy to cherry pick the best tracks and discard the rest.
     
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  18. candyflip69

    candyflip69 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Melb, AUSTRALIA
    Yeah, a 3/5 from me too.
    It's too patchy an album to be rated consistently good, and the timing to get the best writing from Tim just wasn't there.

    They'll do better, later.
     
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  19. ericthegardener

    ericthegardener Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    My only opportunity to see Split Enz live was on the Waiata tour. I love the album to this day and I was super excited to see them at the time. The show was at an outdoor venue in Dallas that was kind of like a mini Hollywood Bowl. There were three opening acts: local heroes The Telephones, Robin Land and the Chartbusters, and The Plimsouls. The Plimsouls were particularly great. Right before Split Enz were to take the stage, the heavens opened up, the rain poured down and their set was cancelled. So bummed. I checked the papers every week for the next year for a rescheduled show, before I finally gave up. I did get to see Neil in the late 90s and he was great, but I'm still disappointed that I never actually got to see the band.

    I'll give Waiata 4/5. Maybe not quite as consistent as True Colours, but some of my favorite Enz songs.
     
  20. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle TEFL Lord Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    Since most of us rated the album, I'll put the scores up:

    1-0
    2-0
    3-3
    4-4
    5-0

    Average score: 3.5
     
  21. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle TEFL Lord Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    Today's song is "In the Wars", written by Tim Finn.

    "In the Wars" was released as a the B-side to "One Step Ahead". It was also part of the Rear Enz collection from the nineties box set, and was remixed and released as a bonus track on the 2006 version of Waiata/Corroboree.
     
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  22. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle TEFL Lord Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    In the Wars works better for me than a lot of the songs on the album. Great 80s new wave rock song with a rocking guitar solo, and the melody is sweet as can be. Love that shuffling beat, too.

    The lyrics are great too, and I'm sort of puzzled why it wasn't included on the album. I don't think that it would have been out of place -- neither musically nor lyrically.
    4/5
    ----


    In 1981 there were also a couple of live B-sides released (already mentioned at least once on this thread

    • "What's the Matter with You"
    • "Shark Attack"
    • "I See Red"
    The first two tracks are available on the Other Enz compilation as is Mal Green's "Follow Me" from this era and Phil Judd's Swingers only number one hit (and almost their only hit) "Counting the Beat.".

    I've never heard the "I See Red" B-side. I dont mean to rate these live tracks but if anybody wants to say anything about them, why not?

    Both the live tracks I have heard are packed with a fleet energy and I think the "What's the Matter with You" is quite a lot of fun featuring Tim and Neil sort of scatting at the end. Other Enz is well worth hearing if you are a hardcore fan.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
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  23. In The Wars always feels like stock/background music to me- well executed background music, but background music none the less. 3/5
     
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  24. mark winstanley

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

    I enjoy this track, and have not heard it before, I don't believe. Certainly could have been on the album.
    I think we have a nice beat and some nice riffs and melodies. I think it has a great sound too. 4/5

    I never seem to get notifications from this thread, forgive me missing so much. Enjoying revisiting the Enz, and thanks for all the tracks I have never heard! :righton:
     
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  25. robcar

    robcar Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    "In The Wars", released on the b-side of the "One Step Ahead" single in late 1980, is a decent track that certainly sounds of its time. It has that 1980 New Wave sound. I don't think it's a particularly special song and probably would not have placed it on the Waiata LP at the expense of any of the other songs, with the possible exception of "Wail". Of note is that the 2006 remix (included as a bonus track on the CD remaster) runs about 30 seconds longer. The remix is a lot better than the original b-side mix and highlights several "warlike" sound effects that were buried on the original. The runout is lengthened (a section was edited out for the original release) and the track comes to a cold end rather than a sudden fade. 2.9/5

    The live "I See Red" mentioned was recorded on 3-30-81 (or 30-3-81 for some of you!) at the Regent Theatre in Sydney, but wasn't released until 1982 when it was placed on the b-side of the "Hello Sandy Allen" single in NZ and the b-side of the "Never Ceases to Amaze Me" single in AUS (neither single was released in the other country). It's a typically frenetic version, with the band playing so fast they are on the verge of falling apart.

    The other two live tracks I've already discussed and they come from Hammersmith Apollo, London, in September 1980, the same show as the also previously mentioned live version of "Missing Person". "What's the Matter with You" and "Shark Attack" were placed on the b-side of the "I Don't Wanna Dance" single, while "Missing Person" was on the b-side of the UK-only "Poor Boy" single, which illustrates how the promotional campaign for Waiata was overlapping with the continuing international promotion of True Colours.
     
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