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. Anne_G

    Anne_G Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Sweet Tooth! My favorite on this album and as good as any song they have done. Ever. 5/5

    My only tiny criticism is the guitar solo reminds me of that horrid song “Can’t Stop” by the awful band Red Hot Chili Peppers. Yuck.

    Even with that association, this song rocks and makes me so happy.
     
  2. Uff da!

    'Member that time I wanted to buy a sweater before the game and I went to use the tyme machine in the ramp by the barn and that ishy guy followed me around in there? Scared my liver!
     
  3. ToneM

    ToneM Forum Resident

    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    Sweet Tooth is on the surface a cookie cutter bluesy rocker with little variation, yet it chugs along wonderfully, possessing an infectious relaxed feel. Like @Michaelpeth, I can hear elements of Left Hand in places. I also admire its conciseness; no note is wasted and it’s done and dusted in just over 3 minutes, leaving you wanting more.

    It's great to hear the band cut loose, particularly on that terrific funky old school guitar solo. Sounds like this track must've been a real blast to record. It may lack depth, yet sometimes it's just a blessed relief to hear a joyous knockabout number like this, that always raises a smile.

    Recently been watching Sweet Tooth on Netflix, so this has become the unofficial theme tune in my head.

    4.25/5
     
    KangaMom, Anne_G, Michaelpeth and 8 others like this.
  4. jcr64

    jcr64 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Indiana
    "Sweet Tooth" is okay, I guess, but it doesn't do much for me. The lyrics are utter nonsense, even by Neil standards, and the song locks into a mildly unconventional but not all that interesting four-chord progression and refuses to budge. This sounds very much like a song built from a jam in a very short time, and it has a kind of ramshackle fun that saves it from a lower rating. It's okay as an album track, but for me it's nothing more than that.

    3/5
     
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  5. I want to like Sweet Tooth a lot because there's one line in it that a really good Neil Finn song could be built around (I will never know when I've had enough/Butterfly kisses like a drug), but it seems like it was just randomly inserted into the piece with a bunch of other stuff. I often struggle with the ones I can't reconcile, which is a shame here because I like the music and Neil's voice is in fine form.

    3.5/5
     
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  6. therunner

    therunner Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    "Sweet Tooth" starts off well enough with a melodic verse and a good overall rhythm, thanks to Nick I think. But it grinds to a halt with a chorus that is so underwhelming, with Neil half-shouting the title words. The lyrics make no sense to me but the instrumental break is ok, and so overall the song is no better than average.

    3/5
     
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  7. Paul H

    Paul H The fool on the hill

    Location:
    Nottingham, UK
    Sweet Tooth is one of the highlights of the album for me. It has the unforced energy that has been so sadly lacking from much of Neil's post One Nil material, coupled with a super melody. 4/5
     
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  8. vikinghomepage

    vikinghomepage Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Ireland
    One of my favorites on the album. The album is so laid-back in tempo that this counts as a rocker. The lyrics are nonsense of course but then NF has long been master of the non-sequitur and it works in this bouncy context, it's just for fun. The arrangement is very simple, even the harmonies are relatively subtle. Love the jaunty piano rhythm.
     
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  9. BeSteVenn

    BeSteVenn little-known member

    I didn't much care for Sweet Tooth at first, but it grew on me quickly. It reminded me that the first few Crowded House records were a nice blend of serious, thoughtful and goofy. This one is obviously the welcomereturn of the goofiness on record, and it's a bonus that they didn't overdo it.

    I'll join the 4.2/5 crowd.
     
  10. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Our votes for "Sweet Tooth"

    1-1
    2-1
    3-3
    4-7
    5-3
    Average: 3.6233
     
  11. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Today's song is "Whatever YOu Want", written by Neil Finn and produced by Crowded House.

    Crowded House – Whatever You Want Lyrics | Genius Lyrics

    This was released as the first single from Dreamers Are Waiting, back in 2020. Two versions of the single were released; I'll link to a second video (which does not feature some guy on a toilet) below, which has a completely different performance.

    Neil Finn: vocals, guitars,
    Liam Finn: guitars, vocals
    Mitchell Froom: keyboards
    Nick Seymour: bass, vocals
    Elroy Finn: drums, vocals
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2021
  12. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Alternate Single version:
     
  13. brownie61

    brownie61 Forum Resident

    Whatever You Want

    I’ve warmed up to this one quite a bit from when I first heard it. I like it much more in the context of the album than as a stand alone single. I didn’t like it all when I first heard it, but think it’s okay now.

    The rhythm section propels it along with good energy, and the chorus of voices sounds very good together throughout, especially in the vocal section at 2:07.

    I do have to say that I really do miss having Neil Finn lyrics that resonate deeply with me. That used to be a real highlight of Neil’s music for me, and always enhanced the music. But it happens so rarely for me on this album.

    3.25/5
     
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  14. drewrclv9

    drewrclv9 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    Mmmmmmm nope. Not a fan. Didn't really like it when it came out, like it less now after hearing how good the rest of the album is. I like Neil's vocal, the sounds of the instrumental outro (though it's way too long at literally one third of the song's length), and that's about it. Fairly bland and colorless, it just sounds like one of the throwaway tracks on the Intriguer deluxe edition.

    It's most certainly the least Crowded House sounding song here to me. It sounds more like something that only Neil & Liam made in their spare time. It's not dreadful, but it's my least favorite track here.

    2.3/5
     
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  15. HitAndRun

    HitAndRun Forum Resident

    Whatever You Want

    This was of course the first we heard of the new Crowded House. When I first heard it, it was certainly different from what I expected. It's not a song that I hear and think that it could fit right into one of the previous CH albums. I'm not saying that is a good or a bad thing, just a 'different' thing.

    It's catchy and bouncy but in a way that Crowded House haven't been before. The arrangement works well for me with the bass/drums introduction. Neil sings well (as pretty much always for any formally released product.) All the instrumentation works for me, as do the backing vocals which might be compared to the Beach Boys. But, without being able to say who, perhaps there is another band out there that is a better comparison. What I guess to be Liam's guitar work including the solo is perhaps the standout for me among the instrumentation. Perhaps the bass is a bit overdone - maybe Nick felt he had to make his presence known in 'CH'.

    The lyrics are very interesting. To me they mean something without that something being too clear and straightforward. A song on sycophancy. Is it about sycophancy in the music industry? In politics? Something else? I like a bit of ambiguity. This song has it, without being a collection of random phrases.

    I think that now I'm much more used to it, it's a good song. But, not a truly excellent one.

    3.5/5
     
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  16. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    I think the lyric is uncharacteristically topical and clear: it doesn’t touch my heart but it touches my brain which is not something Neil usually does.

    I agree with @HitAndRun that this doesn’t sound like your typical Crowded House song, but with the overbearing bass and vocal effect it doesn’t sound too far off from “Saturday Sun.” As Nick is the only original member, they may want to emphasise the bass so that it seems more like a “group “project rather than Neil Finn’s rotating group of tearaways….

    Some people have compared this to Split Enz. I don’t really hear that, but there is definitely a New Wave influence on this: to me it sounds a bit like Talking Heads — The lyric and the singing style, especially.

    The sort of fuzzy keyboards and guitars and bass together make a rather pleasing sound. I prefer the live at home alternate single version mainly because the sound is not so good on either but that one feels less squashed. And the retro eighties video is much better than the guy-on-toilet video.

    The middle is definitely very Beach Boys Sunflower era (albeit considerably less complex) which is something I wouldn’t think quite went with the new wave affectations of the song. But it actually works for me and in fact in that pay-per- view live show that they did a few months ago I thought that vocal break was absolutely brilliant, it was more developed and elongated. One of the highlights of the show for me actually.

    To me, this is not particularly a great song but it’s got so many hooks packed into it, especially the little guitar and keyboard licks, that it is elevated to a 4.2/5 for me.
     
  17. DiBosco

    DiBosco Forum Resident

    Location:
    West Yorkshire, UK
    I'm really surprised to learn that this was the first single from the album, it sounds like the very definition of an album filler to me! I think there are way stronger songs than this, especially on side two.

    Really like the message of the song, think it is spot on. Some of the lyrics I really like; the "crazy as a king, bent as a snake" is a great line! I thought at first listen it was talking about how people will just tell you what you want to hear when you're famous, but on closer reading of the lyrics, it's clearly a topical subject.

    This is one of the worst offenders for the bass on the album for me! I'd like to hear much louder guitars and lower bass in terms of mix, but in the end it wouldn't really save it for me, the melody line is just a bit, meh and it while it doesn't turn me off at all, I just can't quite engage with it.
     
  18. Michaelpeth

    Michaelpeth Forum Resident

    Location:
    Durham, UK
    No melody. Excellent lyrics. Good guitars in the coda. Overall not keen though. 2.5/5
     
  19. Paul H

    Paul H The fool on the hill

    Location:
    Nottingham, UK
    I really didn't like Whatever You Want when I first heard it but I couldn't decide whether my view of the song was adversely coloured by the video that came with it. Rather than put this to the test by listening with eyes closed, I just waited for the album to appear. I'm glad I did because I find the song much more palatable. That said, it still isn't a strong song and I do find that repeated hookline to be more annoying than catchy. Like @brownie61 , I miss Neil's lyrics that set up a mood or offer some sort of deeper (if still hard to pin) meaning. He seems to have fallen into the McCartney-esque "don't second guess it" trap.

    3/5.
     
  20. ToneM

    ToneM Forum Resident

    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    Whatever You Want

    Although I wouldn't have picked it myself, I can see why this was the first single. It's striking and immediate, yet hardly representative of the rest of the record. Like @Lance LaSalle I hear new wave and David Byrne in the barked vocals. The riff however is pure Pocket Calculator.

    It's hard to argue with the anti-Trump/sycophants political sentiment of the lyrics, and they're some of Neil's most direct of late. I'm not convinced by the grammar though, shouldn't it be "Some people will tell you whatever you want to hear"? Guess that wouldn't scan quite as well...

    It feels like Neil wasn't sure where to take this rather limited song, so tacked on a lengthy squelchy outro to round it up to 3 minutes. WYW has grown on me a little since first listen and it certainly works better in the context of the album, but it's still one of the weakest tracks here.

    2.75/5
     
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  21. KangaMom

    KangaMom Queen of the Quokkas

    Whatever You want - Hmm, I might be the only person who really likes the bass heavy sound to this song. To me it's just an emphasis on what Nick brings to the table with Crowded House. Maybe it's too front and center for most people, but it's a big part of why it's an earworm for me.
    I think that @Lance LaSalle hit the comparison on the head, it does kind of remind me of Talking Heads now that it's been brought to my attention. My initial reaction was Beach Boys (again) but I think it's really Talking Heads with a BB overlay. Just writing that seems kind of weird and like it should not work.

    I don't think it's an immediate song, but I don't know that any of the songs on this album are. It took me a couple of repeated listens when it was first released to really enjoy it, probably because it was the first "new" song so I didn't really know what to expect. Totally agree that the original video does it no favors at all. It's a total distraction and it detracts from the song. It's no doubt well made, and maybe other people enjoyed it. The second video is much more acceptable.

    I totally assumed the song was about sycophancy - whether that's about politics/celebrity or just your circle of friends of acquaintances. There are some nice turns of phrase in the lyrics. I, too, like the "bent as a snake" line!

    This is a song that has steadily improved since first hearing it. And it is somewhat improved by hearing it in the album context.
    3.9/5
     
  22. UrAWizHar

    UrAWizHar Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland
    Whatever You Want 2/5

    I'm another one who disliked this song on release and... it hasn't grown on me. Saved slightly by having a nice little bassline by Nick pushed front and centre but other than that... nothing much to get excited about here again.
     
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  23. There's nothing about this that moves me, and I will join the chorus who misses the days when the words really seemed to mean something deeper. I can listen through it just fine, but I've never actively played it for the sake of hearing it, nor do I see myself doing that.

    3/5
     
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  24. therunner

    therunner Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    "Whatever You Want" is the opposite of a grower for me, the repetitive hook line just becomes increasingly more annoying each time I listen to it, so in a year's time it will have a negative rating but at this moment it's still in average territory.

    3/5
     
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  25. DanP

    DanP Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    Whatever you Want

    This has been a real grower for me. Wasn't sold at all as a single, but I think it holds its own on the album really well. I think I was also put off my the specificity of the lyrics. Neil's at his best when he's evocative and harder to pin down; the obvious references to a certain political figure made me feel we were in Chocolate Cake/sociopolitical commentary territory.

    (Far, far better political allusion is the title Dreamers are Waiting itself which, to me, seems a beautifully inclusive plea for unity in a pragmatic, harsh and post-truth era which we somehow know will pass.)

    3.5 for the song. 10/5 for the album title :)
     
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