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. The best thing I can say about this is that it's only 90 seconds long.

  2. BeSteVenn

    BeSteVenn little-known member

    I like Shallow Breathing. It's not great, but it's good if you reverse it. The trumpet isn't quite as aimless, and the chording makes more sense. There is still some backwards stuff going on, but that adds to the charm for me.

    I had to jump through some hoops to hear it that way, but it's fun what Neil and Jesse came up with on a lark. It's still not a song though.

    Anne_G, drewrclv9, HitAndRun and 3 others like this.
  3. iarla

    iarla Forum Resident

    Providence, RI
    Shallow Breathing

    F'ing love this.

    (I hear a 2 second snippet in it that might sound sort of like something from Laughing Stock but that's a VERY, VERY high bar to hit, and while this Jesse Sheehan track is great to my ears, it hasn't even had lunch in the same state as Laughing Stock, let alone entered the same ballpark. Sorry, Jesse!)
  4. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Our votes for "Shallow Breathing"

    Average: 2.2875
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  5. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Today's song is "The Last Man Standing", written by Neil Finn and Jesse Sheehan; produced by Neil Finn.

    Struggling to focus on a line that I've forgotten
    Can't help but feel so useless
    While I'm staring at blank pages

    I could be so happy if I only took the time
    I could feel so worthy if I just let this heart unwind

    You were the last man standing
    You took your bow as curtains drew
    And when the last plane landed
    The fear of death soon consumed
    The last one

    I've overstayed my welcome
    I'll admit that I"m still learning
    So I'll be on my way now
    I don't want to be a burden

    I could be happy if I only took the time
    I could feel so worthy if I just let this heart unwind

    You were the last man standing
    You took your bow as curtains drew
    And when the last plane landed
    The fear of death it gripped your heart and pulled
    You were the last man standing
    No man to run
    Your back against the wall
    When you were bored of violence
    The fear of death is all you know

    At the end of our days
    When the empire have slowly decayed
    And the cities are long since forgotten
    In the rubble a lonely stage
    Where the woman is tied up in chains
    She sings "What's so good about freedom anyway?"
    While you rage against your core
    The audience wild and depraved
    Throwing stones as they chitter for more
    And the people are wild and depraved
    And they hang on their chest as they roar
    Through an ocean of terrible voices
    With fury to strangle the storm
    She sings what's so good about noisy anyway
    While you rage against your core
    And the.....
    .(can't really understand the rest)
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  6. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    This song. It's got an early Enz vibe to it.

    And it's incredible. The best song we've covered for months in my opinion. Don't know what it's about (some post-apocalyptic thing, I guess) but it definitely hits me hard. Even before the coda, which sends it over the top. Great string arrangement too ( I guess Victoria Kelly, though I can't find credits anywhere.)

  7. brownie61

    brownie61 Forum Resident

    The Last Man Standing

    This song definitely has a Greek feeling about it, which is interesting and sounds good. Jesse starts out sounding somewhat like Rufus Wainwright, which is a good sign, but then his voice deepens and gets some kind of weird affectation, which turns me right off. This is probably the best of this group of songs.

  8. BeSteVenn

    BeSteVenn little-known member

    The lines from Try Whistling This "He said come here / As he pushed me down" are lurking in the back of my mind as I listen to The Last Man Standing. I see it as a companion piece to Last One Standing, a song that could be in part about Paul Hester and the end of Crowded House in 1996, and as a very personal song about memories of Paul, Neil's temporary lack of inspiration, and the indecision over whether to continue Crowded House after the failed follow-up to Intriguer in the 2010s.

    This interpretation hinges on The Last Man Standing being a Neil Finn composition (the end section sounds especially like Neil) that he gave away and shared credit for.

    I don't think it's quite as brilliant as Lance does, but I think it's a very interesting song and I'd love to hear a version with Neil singing.

  9. KangaMom

    KangaMom Queen of the Quokkas

    The Last Man Standing - I also hear that early Enz vibe that Lance hears. Except I think it probably doesn't go far enough in that direction. There's a great song lurking here, I just kept getting the feeling that I wanted it to launch off into either a nice instrumental break (like early Enz) or wondered what it would have been like with Nick Cave singing it... that's not a knock on the song. I just thing this is a song that could use a bit more drama because it really has the structure for it. At the end I get a bit of that but before that I kept waiting for it to launch (so to speak) and it never really came.

    This is still a very good song but it clearly doesn't hit the mark for me as it does for others.
  10. Anne_G

    Anne_G Forum Resident

    Oh wow I never interpreted Last One Standing as being about Paul leaving the band/ CH having their (first) Farewell Tour in 1996, 2 years before. Makes sense to me. The lyrics are even more haunting now that Paul is gone, which happened several years after TWT was released. Great song.
  11. therunner

    therunner Forum Resident

    Listening to these Jesse Sheehan songs it's been bugging me who his voice reminds me of, because it's quite distinctive whether you like or dislike it (personally I dislike it). Anyway it finally come to me that he reminds me of Fyfe Dangerfield from Guillemots. Anyone else hear the similarity ?

  12. HitAndRun

    HitAndRun Forum Resident

    The Last Man Standing

    I listened to this song this morning, and then saw Lance's 5/5 score. We all score on different ranges, but I was confused about this scoring. I reserve 5/5 for some of the very best songs ever made in the entire world.

    I agree that this sounds a bit like early Enz, with the Judd-ish vocal in parts and the mandolin. However, I don't think it's a s good as early Enz songs, many of which are classics.

    It's a good song and it has a good arrangement. However, it isn't outstanding in any of songwriting/performance/arrangemet. Good and insteresting. The string section sounds perhaps a bit Beatlish.

    The arrangement gets more interesting as the song progresses, and the end of the song is very interesting with good arrangement and production work done. I give it an extra 0.2 for the end.

  13. jcr64

    jcr64 Forum Resident

    I can hear it.
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  14. jcr64

    jcr64 Forum Resident

    "The Last Man Standing" is a near-miss, but ultimately it goes way too far over the top for me.In particular, the production style of the song's end--the hyper dramatic vocals, the way they edge into distortion as Sheeehan moves into full volume, and the addition of the martial drums make this a difficult listen. I think I understand what Sheehan and Neil were trying for, and there certainly are things to like in the song, but overall it misses for me.

  15. drewrclv9

    drewrclv9 Forum Resident

    Metro Detroit, MI
    This one’s really good. Definitely agree with the early Enz consensus regarding the sound. This song just feels like a Neil co-write compared to the others we’ve covered on this album. It has the same quality, though not quite as high, as the co-writes Neil did for Mark Lizotte (“Burning Water”), Sean Donnelly (“Through the Valley”), and in particular Shawn Colvin with “What I Get Paid For”, which is a phenomenal track. It’s easy for me to hear the same guy who co-wrote those tracks in this song. I think the verses have a bit of a Judd sound to them, too.

    Great arrangement, good vocal delivery, just a really solid track all around. No, it’s not as good as early Enz, and it’s not as good as the songs I listed above, in my opinion, but I can hear that “Neil co-write magic” here for sure.

  16. StefanWq

    StefanWq Forum Resident

    Vallentuna, Sweden
    I really like "The Last Man Standing" and how it shifts, turns and grows through the song. It starts off seemingly like a slightly theatrical piano ballad, with an off-kilter mandolin adding a touch of eccentricity, and then the instrumentation keeps expanding and giving the song a sense of urgency. The song keeps surprising and fascinating and is an excellent album closer. I've listened to the album in its entirety a couple of times and it is certainly one I will return to.
  17. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Our votes for "Last Man Standing"

    Average: 3.8125
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  18. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Today's song is "What Am I Doing Wrong", written and produced by Delaney Davidson; performed by Delaney Davidson featuring Neil Finn.

    This was relased in 2018.
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  19. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter


    Very cool song, very much a sort of dirty rock song. Love that insane female vocal hook and the distorted lead vocals. I assume that Neil is the higher harmony vocal, but I don't really have any other credits than what I've noted above.
  20. brownie61

    brownie61 Forum Resident

    What Am I Doing Wrong?

    I hear no evidence of Neil in this song, so I’m not going to rate it.

    I love the music and instrumentation in this song, especially the high pitched whistling sound, which serves as the main hook for me. And then he starts singing. I don’t hate his voice, but the vocal seems slightly off key and out of tune compared to the backing instrumentation. Maybe if I listened to it many times, I would warm up to it and change my mind, but there is already so much music I want to listen to many more times and become more familiar with, that it’s just not going to happen with this one.

    Sorry to be the constant downer of the thread recently. Maybe I’m just too picky when it comes to music.
  21. Anne_G

    Anne_G Forum Resident

    Okay I like this song and so far I like the album. Never heard of him before. Neat!
  22. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Tomorrow I'm going to start holding up songs from Lightsleeper by Neil and Liam Finn.

    Lightsleeper is the second of the three upcoming projects that Neil mentioned in early 2017, and it was the first full collaboration between Neil and Liam as equals, rather than Liam playing with Neil on his albums as a sideman. After The Nihilist, Liam had gotten married (to Janine Percival) at a wedding in Greece, where Neil composed a song for a choir to sing for the occasion. And at some point between the albums, he moved to LA with her. During the same interval Neil struck up a friendship with Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac, who vaguely offered to play on anything Neil needed him to.

    At some point, Liam and Neil began writing and recording songs in Liam's Thonic Peenith (yep) studio in LA, with Neil commuting from New Zealand. The recording of the album proper took place at Neil's Roundhead Studios in Auckland with Tchad Blake, who had a long history with both Liam and Neil's work co-producing it and it was during the recording of the album that Liam's first child, Buddy, was born. For the album, they decided to take up Mick Fleetwood's offer of session help and he drummed on some of the songs; otherwise the album as played for the main part by Neil and Liam, with a large cast of familiar faces (Sharon, Elroy, Harper and Elliot Finn, Conan Mockasin, EJ Barnes, Matt Eccles, Victoria Kelly) in support.

    The album's cover was comprised of a photograph Liam had taken of Buddy Finn sleeping, superimposed on a photo of clouds. And, since both Neil and Liam are light sleepers, Neil suggested the album be called Lightsleeper. The music itself they categorized as "sultry lounge", and it was somewhat of a departure for both of them, with the two working in "Neil's words to curb each other's excesses, but at the same time encourage them."

    Lightlseeper, released as a joint venture between three indies: Neil's Lester Records, the Australian indie Inertia Records and the London-based [pias] Records came out on CD, double white vinyl and digitally on August 24th, 2018 following two digital singles. It charted in several countries, reaching #8 in New Zealand and #81 in the UK. IN the US it peaked at #5 on the independent/heatseekers/trendsetter charts.

    The album had a different tracklist on vinyl than it did on the CD or digital versions, and it also featured an exclusive bonus track. ( :realmad::realmad::realmad:)

    For this discussion I'll cover the following songs following the CD/digital tracklist.
    1. Prelude-Island Of Peace (Neil Finn)
    2. Meet Me in the Air (N.Finn, Sharon Finn, Liam Finn, Elroy Finn)
    3. Where's My Room (N.Finn-L.Finn)
    4. Anger Plays a Party (L. Finn)
    5. Listen (N. Finn)
    6. Any Other Way (N.Finn-L.Finn)
    7. Back To Life (N.Finn-L.Finn)
    8. Hiding Place (N.Finn-L.Finn)
    9. Ghosts (N.Finn-L.Finn)
    10. WE Know What It Means (N.Finn-L.Finn)
    11. Hold Her Close (N.Finn-L.Finn)
    In addition, I'll discuss one extra track:
    • Troubles (N.Finn-L.Finn) {vinyl-only bonus track}
    So then I'll start on the next album 2019's Elroy by Elroy Finn on the fifteenth of August.

    Elroy doesn't currently stream anywhere: though it used to be on Bandcamp, its been taken down as it's being re-released on vinyl and digitally. Luckily I bought it not long after it was released.

    However, I'm not sure if's being re-released outside of Australasia. There is no pre-order on iTunes or Spotify anything where I am. I guess we will see.
  23. KangaMom

    KangaMom Queen of the Quokkas

    What am I Doing Wrong - This is an ok track. I don't really hear any Neil-ness on it except maybe that high keyboard sound that reminds me a lot of a theremin but is probably something else. I also hear what @brownie61 mentioned with the vocals seeming off-key. I'm on the fence about whether that's ok or not. I see how it fits with the song, but I do find it somewhat jarring when I'm listening to the song.

    I can't rate it. It's not a song I would seek out (but that could be said of many of the recent songs!) but it's ok to listen to.
  24. HitAndRun

    HitAndRun Forum Resident

    What Am I Doing Wrong

    This is another track that I heard this morning, and left it until now (7pm) to respond as I wasn't sure what to do with it.

    Like @KangaMom I don't hear any Neil-ness on this. It just sounds like a random song by A. Nee Body. And, not one that really caught my ear.

    The high pitch sound - whatever it is - is interesting, and there's some good guitar thrash in this. But, there isn't enough to catch my interesting. It reminds me a bit of some of Liam's songs, especially the unusual (I think) chord changes in some parts.

    I'm not going to rate this. It's OK I suppose. But, I don't really want to listen to it again. I see that Delaney is a Kiwi so out of patriotism I'll quickly sample a few songs on Spotify. EDIT: The first song I sample on Spotify, Death Don't Have No Mercy, is more to my taste than today's song. EDIT: And the same for 'The Ballad of Minnie Dean'. These are both songs that I could imagine Neil on. EDIT (again): The same applies to the song 'Demon Claws'.

    AFTER EDITS: I'm not sure what happened with 'What Am I Doing Wrong', but it seems that two talented and interesting artists got together and made something that doesn't have the good features of either of their music. I'd really like to hear Neil doing a verse on 'Demon Claws' to see how he handles acoustic blues/folk. I don't hear Neil in this, but I don't hear Delaney Davidson either - at least stylistically - based on my short sampling of his songs.

    I was tempted to steal Ed's style of rating using root vegetables for this song, but won't.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2021
  25. brownie61

    brownie61 Forum Resident

    Most root vegetables look like zero or one, no?
    0 - potato, onion, turnip, beet
    1 - carrot, parsnip


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