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 Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    This is about the third time (I think) that Neil's recycled the "under the wheel" metaphor.
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  2. KangaMom

    KangaMom Queen of the Quokkas

    Yes, this is exactly the way I feel about this song. The little secretive vocal in among those harmonies...truly excellent.
    I agree that this was the best of the singles. Even so, it didn't immediately grab me the way other Crowded House singles have. But to be fair, I have a lot more distractions in my life now than say when I was 15-25 years old.
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  3. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Yes, there's a very big early seventies Sunflower era Beach Boys thing going on on this album in general, which makes sense as Neil was playing "All I Wanna Do" on a couple of Fangradio songs. And the harmonies on this one actually sound good, I think (considering my complaint about the sound of the harmonies on this album in general last night, it doesn't quite apply here.)

    I think this song is super duper catchy , and I really like it. I'm not sure if I like it more or less than yesterday's song, but probably just as much. The weird middle-eastern tinged keyboard solo that Mitchell plays on whatever that instrument is very interesting, a really fresh exotic flavor in this.

    It's hard not to think of this song as being Covid-related, but I actually think that "To The Island" is more like the metaphor or peace and quiet away from the world: I think that the message here is basically a continuation of earlier songs like "Dr. Love" or the Mullanes version of "Now We're Getting Somewhere", which were about finding peace and pleasure with your lover away from the world.

    Still, I'd say the lyrics are the weakest part of this, which is becoming typical of my reactions when it comes to Neil's lyrics; he seems to miss more often than he hits, for me.

    "To The Island" is also well-sequenced coming after the sort of petering out of hte last song, it provides a rush of good energy.

    Anyway, another great song for me: 4.3/5

    I enjoy the two remixes but don't get why they've given Neil a really annoying lisp.
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  4. Michael Rofkar

    Michael Rofkar Forum Resident

    Santa Rosa, CA
    Now here's a song that's reminiscent of Crowded House (remember them?). A nice, sunny take on being quarantined from the world in NZ. 3.4/5
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  5. HitAndRun

    HitAndRun Forum Resident

    To The Island

    Count me in among the people who like this. I've had enough time to get used to this song so it's not like I've forgotten it and reverted to (effectively if not in reality) being like I'm listening to it for the first time.

    It has lots of hooks, and is memorable. I agree with the Beach Boys vocal comparisons, and think the backing vocals give the song its distinctive nature.

    It's got a strong melody. It's well arranged, and I like the unusual keyboard solo. Modern CH songs need more of those.

    And yes, Neil look a bit vulnerable being swamped in the canoe. Hopefully there was a surf lifesaver standing by.

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  6. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    The water in the cave was only about knee-deep, if I recall correctly.
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  7. Michaelpeth

    Michaelpeth Forum Resident

    Durham, UK
    Another one I thought was utter drivel when I first heard it, but again I quite like it now. 4/5
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  8. UrAWizHar

    UrAWizHar Forum Resident

    To The Island 3/5

    It's half a decent song and probably about the best one on the album. The first 2 minutes or so are excellent, building up a nice atmosphere through the verses and then... well, it goes a bit wrong. The chorus is pretty inspid and the second time round Neil's lines over the top we are firmly back into annoying territory, which is a pretty common theme for an album with some truly odd production choices on it all the way through.
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  9. DiBosco

    DiBosco Forum Resident

    West Yorkshire, UK
    I meant to join in with this thread at the start of Dreamers Are Waiting and missed it. Hope it's OK if I start now. Another one of Lance's Threads I really wish I'd been around for at the start.

    I have all Crowded House's albums. Got into them at the time of Woodface, which then made me buy the first two albums (which I think by this point were hard to get hold of on vinyl). Those first three albums are my favourites by a long way and Woodface is a masterpeice IMHO. What's come after has never hit the heights of that, but other than Together Alone, I enjoy all the others to a degree. So far it seems to along the same lines of the previous two in that there are a lot of quite gentle songs on it. Nothing with the urgency of, say Kill Eye. I was hoping with the return of Mitchell Froom that there'd be a return to that style of the first three, but, well, a lot of time has passed.

    Although I've had this album a few weeks, I've only listened on my hi-fi three times due to being so busy recording rather than listening, but what I do notice listening to these tracks before commenting on them is that they have definitely gradually grown on me, so I'll try and listen a bit more over the next few days.

    All three of the first three tracks though strike me the same way: nice enough, not really classic CH, but I will want to go and listen again.

    Bad Times Good kicks off the album with what a gentle rolling vibe and I like how it burbles along like a brook all throughout the song. Really cool to have such an unusual time signature.

    Playing with Fire is a very jolly, poppy song that seems at odds with the feel of the lyrics (even if I'm not at all sure exactly what it's about, wonder who the chairman is and whether quarantine alludes to Covid). It's pleasant enough (which really sounds like a backhanded compliment.)

    To The Island sounds like one of those if-The-Beatles-were-still-around they have come out with from time-to-time after Woodface. It's a song, that I think after a handful more listens, will be a grade-one earworm, even if it sounds like "polite" CH.

    @Lance LaSalle I have this on vinyl, I haven't really turned this up loud and given a blast, but will do tonight to see how it sounds dynamics-wise on vinyl; I can't say it's annoyed me at all on casual listen.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2021
  10. StefanWq

    StefanWq Forum Resident

    Vallentuna, Sweden
    Welcome to the thread and thank you for a great first post! Looking forward to reading your thoughts on the upcoming tracks!
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  11. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    I dont want to carp on about it, but I think it's the combination of the way the vocals are recorded and the mastering that irks me the most. (Also the bass is overbearing.) Geez, though I hope you don't zero in on it and have it ruin it for you or anything.
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  12. DiBosco

    DiBosco Forum Resident

    West Yorkshire, UK
    :D Promise not to let it ruin it for me!
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  13. StefanWq

    StefanWq Forum Resident

    Vallentuna, Sweden
    There's also this beautiful video clip, "To The Island (Eddie & Elsie Edition)":

  14. vikinghomepage

    vikinghomepage Forum Resident

    I have mixed feelings about To The Island. Musically it's a bit tame and boring but still, it's not bad and it has a nice lift in the chorus. I think (not sure...) I've read two different but related explanations from Neil about the lyrics. In one he said he was having a pop at New Zealander insularity and lack of openness to / awareness of the rest of the world (something like that anyway) and in the other he said it was about how great it was to be in NZ during the pandemic. I much prefer the former as a theme for a song but I guess it could be about both... not enough data to compute a rating.
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  15. Anne_G

    Anne_G Forum Resident

    To the Island: something about it sounds forced, it doesn’t flow easy like the tracks before it. And I wasn’t aware this was a thing but there is actually too much harmonizing right off the start for me. 2.5/5
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  16. Anne_G

    Anne_G Forum Resident

    Thanks, Lance, I’ve been wondering about that! Also, what is the source for the Fleetwood Mack payday? Did it come up in an interview?
  17. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    I was joking about the Mike Campbell/Stevie Nicks thing; but the source of the pay for the tour was something Buckingham said in 2019 when he was talking about the situation. He didn’t refer to Neil directly, just mentioned that each member would get 12 million off the top for the tour.

    I don’t remember the exact source but I know it was linked to on this site.
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  18. KangaMom

    KangaMom Queen of the Quokkas

    I think my concern was a wooden canoe (heavy'ish), sharp looking rock sides, and Neil being fully clothed....but then I realized that Neil is a pretty strong swimmer (like Tim) and so my concerns were probably unwarranted!
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  19. KangaMom

    KangaMom Queen of the Quokkas

    But surely that would be for the full members of Fleetwood Mac? Were Mike and Neil simply salaried for the tour? I'm not saying it wouldn't be substantial amounts but 12 Million seems a lot for a touring band member (even for Mac).
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  20. KangaMom

    KangaMom Queen of the Quokkas

    This is so very sweet! What a great couple Eddie and Elsie are!
  21. KangaMom

    KangaMom Queen of the Quokkas

    Totally agree that it could be about sequestering yourself away with your lover away from the world. Or even as Elsie and Eddie have done living in their own paradise or Shang-ri-la whether at home or on a holiday in the sun. For them everything is just perfect - their island is just right and the perfect size for them.
  22. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Well I don’t know if they are salaried or have a share. No idea! I don’t think I meant that post to be taken entirely seriously, it was meant as sensationalist silliness, like most things involved with Fleetwood Mac.
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  23. Paul H

    Paul H The fool on the hill

    Nottingham, UK
    To The Island: hm. I'm really all over the map on this one. To begin with, I thought the chorus was just too catchy. Downright cheesy, in fact. And then I found myself humming it incessantly. Couldn't get it out of my head. So I opened myself up to it: yeah, it may be a tad cheesy, but so what? (I particularly like the chord change on the word "island" followed by the confirmatory "its the perfect size". Tickles my music bone. So now I really enjoy it, but I have this nagging feeling that it will be one of those songs that starts to wear on my very quickly. It hasn't done so because my life doesn't let me saturate myself with music the way I used to be able to.

    But I 'm feeling generous: this time I'm going to give it a 4 for the here-and-now and now downgrade it to a 3 in the expectation that someday soon it'll start to annoy me.

    As for the remixes, I find the Tame Impala mix to be far too gimmicky for my taste. It strips away everything good about the original and just leaves a bunch of gimmicks. The Bizarre Orchestra (or whatever they're called) mix is better but still offers no real improvement on the original.

    For completeness, it's worth noting that the single mix is different to the album mix.
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  24. BeSteVenn

    BeSteVenn little-known member

    To The Island is just there, it doesn't move me despite all the right elements being in place: a good melody, interesting words, interesting vocals, very-good to excellent playing. Maybe there's just too much going on and my brain just can't handle the onslaught (that never used to be a problem, maybe it's something with me). It might be the mix, especially the too-loud drums, that's creating the barrier. It could very well be the same problems that Lance has with the overall sound of Dreamers Are Waiting. To The Island is another one that I've moved to the latter part of my DAW playlist.

    The song gives me a bit of the feelings that Ray Davies conjured up with Village Green Preservation Society, imagining a place that isn't there, and maybe never was there., even though it doesn't sound anything like VGPS.

    Dreamers Are Waiting version: 3.8/5

    I find the Tame Impala Remix close to unlistenable. 1/5
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  25. ToneM

    ToneM Forum Resident

    Birmingham, UK
    Like most, I found the first couple of singles off putting and underwhelming. To The Island has grown on me more than WYW, but I still find its catchiness simultaneously enjoyable yet irritating.

    Thematically, Island makes a good companion piece to Playing With Fire as a snapshot of its times. It casts my mind back to how New Zealand became the most desirable place to live in the world over the pandemic. All that Covid free fresh air, wide open spaces, film crews, effective government... they even have proper live gigs. A man can dream eh.

    The jokey lyrics give this bouncy tune a suitably light hearted feel, although Neil's not likely to win any awards for such gems as "**** just got real". Although I dig the instrumentation, I could live without the long outro, which feels tacked on after the song's already wound down to a natural conclusion. It's a silly perky tune that worms its way into your ear, although worms are generally regarded as something to be avoided.

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