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

    I'm interested to see your playlist. One thing I've noticed is that they've seemed to place most of the upbeat, "poppy" songs on side 1 and most of the mellower sad-ish ballads on Side 2, which does make it feel somehow lopsided.
    Anne_G, jcr64, KangaMom and 1 other person like this.
  2. BeSteVenn

    BeSteVenn little-known member

    I was saving my playlist for the end when we discuss Dreamers Are Waiting in it's entirety. It's an evolving playlist, some of my choices are a bit cliched/obvious, but here it is (split into 2 sides, as I think also the Lp is the best way to listen to an album):

    Start Of Something
    Love Isn't Hard At All
    Deeper Down
    Sweet Tooth
    Bad Times Good
    Goodnight Everyone

    Playing With Fire
    To The Island
    Real Life Woman
    Too Good For This World
    Whatever You Want
    Show Me The Way
    Anne_G, Ryan Lux, jcr64 and 5 others like this.
  3. HitAndRun

    HitAndRun Forum Resident

    It's not the depth of the water, but Neil being washed out near big rocks, and that he seems slightly entangled in the boat that concerned me. I presume there was a film crew to rescue him if need be.
    KangaMom, StefanWq and Lance LaSalle like this.
  4. BeSteVenn

    BeSteVenn little-known member

    I'll bet Tim was standing by leading the rescue team. As noted previously, he too is a very strong swimmer.

  5. therunner

    therunner Forum Resident

    I really couldn't stand "To The Island" the first few times I played it and have now tend to skip it on the album, but after others' comments I feel I might be missing something so I'll give it more plays in the hope that it connects with me. But at this moment I still can't stand it, I find the verses plodding and lacking a good melody, and the chorus is too cheesy and obvious sounding.

    Anne_G, jcr64, Lance LaSalle and 8 others like this.
  6. DanP

    DanP Forum Resident

    Sydney, Australia
    To the Island

    I too felt this was a little too cheesy and light on first listens. Sometimes it lands really well with me in the whole album context, other times I think, yeah nah, they've overegged the pudding.

    Anne_G, jcr64, Lance LaSalle and 7 others like this.
  7. StefanWq

    StefanWq Forum Resident

    Vallentuna, Sweden
    "To The Island" is a very immediate song, with great energy, superb singing by Neil and very nice vocal harmonies. I find it irresistably catchy and it's made even better by the confident and committed contributions by each member. The lyrics seem to be about trying to deal with the pandemic, or other bad events affecting the world, things that are too enormous to grasp, and seeking solace from all that on an idealised or perhaps imaginary place where the bad things can't reach. Nick's artwork for the digital single is very powerful in that sense. The song captures a very human reaction to such bad events, it feels very real and true and after too many "random phrases put together" kind of lyrics by Neil I find this a refreshing change.
    I like the "carnival" sounding outro, it really fits in and gives the song a sense of escape.
    I love the video clip too and the humour of the various methods the members use to finally get together on stage.
    Brilliant song and video clip!

    I have the 7" single with the remixes by Tame Impala and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Unfortunately for me I find them both close to unlistenable, I can't stand what has been done to Neil's voice in the former. These remixes leave me with a sour taste, a feeling that Crowded House desperately wanted, at any price, to be riding the coattails of the indie credibility that Tame Impala and Unknown Mortal Orchestra have.
    The remixes both get 1/5 from me.
    therunner, Anne_G, HitAndRun and 9 others like this.
  8. DanP

    DanP Forum Resident

    Sydney, Australia
    Oh, for Northern Hemisphere friends, "Yeah, nah" is Australian for "having given fair hearing to all options, and no offence meant, but no" :)
    Anne_G, BeSteVenn, HitAndRun and 3 others like this.
  9. BeSteVenn

    BeSteVenn little-known member

  10. DanP

    DanP Forum Resident

    Sydney, Australia
    That's great. I've been at a loose end this arvo; that allowed me to avoid some marking I've been failing to do. :)
    Looks like the earlier research quoted on Australian usage sees it more associated with conversational harmony, whereas increasing use worldwide also has it being used to 'shut down' a conversational direction without giving offence.

    My favourite was on a billboard on the way up to Mum's place in Nelson Bay:
    "Newcastle says 'yeah, nah' to drink driving"
  11. KangaMom

    KangaMom Queen of the Quokkas

  12. jcr64

    jcr64 Forum Resident

    "To the Island" didn't impress me when it was released as a single, but damn if it hasn't won me over: the slightly off-kilter vocals of the opening, the vague, silky menace of the minor key verses transitioning to the warm glow of the choruses' major key, the appearance of shouty Neil in the background of the second chorus (okay, the "improvised" lyrics he shout-sings don't bear much scrutiny, but they rarely do--"Alen Sound Investments will one day be forgotten," anyone?), the harmony interlude, even the keyboard interlude, they all work for me. The only elements that really don't are Elroy's drumming, which seems blocky, and the closing guitar solo. I'm not prepared to declare this a Crowded House classic just yet, but it may get there.

    Paul H, therunner, Anne_G and 8 others like this.
  13. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Our votes for "To The Island"
    Average: 3.5469
  14. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Last edited: Sep 13, 2021 at 11:34 PM
  15. drewrclv9

    drewrclv9 Forum Resident

    Jacksonville, FL
    Oh boy, I love this one. The spirit of Woodface lives in this. With a bit of a different arrangement, it'd sit pretty nicely on that LP. I'm interested to see if this is a love-it-or-hate-it kind of song. It's just wonderful; a throwback to the more joyous, infectious Crowded House era of old. Love the vocals, guitar solo, and keyboards all around.

    I feel like it's too short, but that's better than overstaying it's welcome I suppose. Lyrically, no idea what's going on, but I don't think we've had this many food-related lyrics in a Split Enz-related track since "Sugar and Spice".

    No, maybe it doesn't have the magic of Woodface, but it's probably the biggest throwback to that album here. It also happens to just be a really good song with a wonderful chorus and great vocals.

    therunner, Anne_G, DiBosco and 8 others like this.
  16. KangaMom

    KangaMom Queen of the Quokkas

    Sweet Tooth - I think this is one of the standout tracks on the album. I tend to agree with @drewrclv9 that it's a bit of a throwback song from the Woodface era. I do like it a lot although I don't think it would have made a good single necessarily. I like the middle section with the guitar solo. No idea what the lyrics are about - it's a good thing I just use them as sound atmosphere...

    4.2/5 (I like it as much as To The Island so I guess this is consistent!)
    therunner, Anne_G, DiBosco and 8 others like this.
  17. DanP

    DanP Forum Resident

    Sydney, Australia
    You can never tell, huh? This is probably my least favourite on the album. Feels like a jam that could have been a good b-side, but it's just trying a bit too hard for my tastes. Nice bass groove. But, again, dry-**** drums! Take the towels off, Elroy!!

    Anne_G, KangaMom, BeSteVenn and 5 others like this.
  18. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Another super-catchy track, with a slight Rhythm and blues feel(quite normal for CH and perhaps is what Nick brings to the table.) I can feel a slight resemblance to “Chocolate Cake” in feel and also perhaps lyric, actually.

    But while I get the feeling there is meaning here it’s pretty obscure. I have a feeling for it but the alternately jaunty lyrics clash with lines that seem like put-downs until it’s just the usually meaningless jibber-jabber of a Neil Finn song. There was a time when his lyrics really moved me but they seem to have become more and more obscure.

    So another, oh, 4.2. Highly enjoyable, certainly better than average fluff.
    therunner, Anne_G, KangaMom and 7 others like this.
  19. brownie61

    brownie61 Forum Resident

    Sweet Tooth

    I like the rhythm guitar sound, and Neil is in very good voice. The line about Peking duck makes me hungry. :)

    Overall though, this one never takes off for me. It’s another pleasant but unremarkable song on a pleasant but unremarkable album.

    therunner, Anne_G, KangaMom and 7 others like this.
  20. StefanWq

    StefanWq Forum Resident

    Vallentuna, Sweden
    "Sweet Tooth" has great energy and is very catchy. This has the sound of being a song made up on the spot and recorded in one take very spontaneously. I can imagine Neil jamming in the studio, the others joining in and Neil just ad-libbing the words, making them up as the song was being performed and recorded, and that they realised it was special as it was and thus didn't put more work into it. I mean that in a positive way. Perhaps in real life Neil spent three weeks working around the clock writing and re-writing the song and what we are hearing was the 267th take, but it sounds very spontaneous and joyous and all the better for it. On an intellectual level maybe this should be considered a fun throwaway, but it is real ear candy (appropriate, considering the title). Great bass groove by Nick and I really like the little flourishes added by the keyboards and the backing vocals.
  21. Michaelpeth

    Michaelpeth Forum Resident

    Durham, UK
    Sweet Tooth...not a fan of it. I rarely manage to make it to the end. Reminds me of Left Hand a bit
    drewrclv9, Anne_G, KangaMom and 6 others like this.
  22. HitAndRun

    HitAndRun Forum Resident

    Sweet Tooth

    Up until the middle section and then the guitar solo, I think of this song being good but not exceptional. The middle section (not sure what I'd call it) is really nice and takes the song up a notch. They should have repeated that section. The little keyboard lick there is really good as well.

    therunner, drewrclv9, Anne_G and 6 others like this.
  23. UrAWizHar

    UrAWizHar Forum Resident

    Sweet Tooth 1/5

    So undercooked it's almost raw. Wouldn't be surprised if this was knocked out in an afternoon and chucked on as a filler.

    This is b-side material at best, and probably isn't even worthy of that.
  24. DiBosco

    DiBosco Forum Resident

    West Yorkshire, UK
    Sweet Tooth sounds like it could be a cover of a White Album track to me. Remember when Pineapple Head was on the radio back on its release and a friend at work turning to me and saying "It's just the Beatles" and using it as a real put down - like sounding like the Beatles is a bad thing! - and me thinking I hear nothing about the Beatles in this at all. However, in time I have heard that Beatles-y thing more and more and this really is one of them to my ears.

    One thing that this album does seem to have with the return of Mitchell Froom is some of those quirky noises and odd little riffs and fills. I like touches like that weird swooshing noise that accompanies the lovely valvey guitar sound in the intro. I kind of know what @brownie61 is saying about another pleasant song on an unremarkable album (possibly because CH scaled such heights in the past I judge what they release by those remarkable first three albums), but by the same token the more I listen to this album, the more it pulls me in more than anything since Woodface. I like this song, it's catchy if a little frothy.

    @Lance LaSalle I stuck the album on last night and turned it up fairly loud. The mastering doesn't bother me (and I really, really, really do not want to start an analogue v digital holy war) but maybe they've done a better mastering job on the vinyl. Would be interesting to either have you hear it on vinyl or me borrow your brain for a short while to see whether that it's just a taste thing (I suspect option one might be easier).

    The bass is far too loud and [especially] too flabby on some songs though. For my taste anyway.
    therunner, drewrclv9, Anne_G and 5 others like this.
  25. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    I don’t do vinyl — too inconvenient; I just have to have digital with my lifestyle— but usually needle drops Ive heard generally alleviate the problems with compression at least a little! Today’s song is maybe the best-sounding yet. Maybe because it’s so rhythmic in nature.

    maybe I should listen on my cheap 200 kč headphones, it might sound better. And I’d get some use out of them.
    BeSteVenn, Anne_G, KangaMom and 3 others like this.

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