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. brownie61

    brownie61 Forum Resident

    Real Life Woman

    Sorry, but the lyrics in this song make me cringe. “Real life woman”? What is that? It’s a very unfortunate choice of words. I’m trying to figure out why that phrase sits so badly with me. Is it implying that a lot of women are fake? Does one have to do/be all the things in these lyrics in order to not be fake? “You’re not dressing for a man in your elegant gown” is another one I can’t stand. Ugh.

    I also thought this was about Stevie Nicks when I first heard it (*cringe*), but soon realized it couldn’t be because she was already a legend! So I figured it had to be about Sharon, as they also sing together.

    As for the music, I think it’s okay at best. But it’s hard to judge because those lyrics really put me off.

  2. vikinghomepage

    vikinghomepage Forum Resident

    So Sharon is a criminal? Interesting! Real Life Woman feels like a real step up from the previous few. As usual I can't make any sense out of the lyrics but the second it starts its musically so much classier. Aside from the abrupt ending it seems more developed structurally than most of the other songs - it's got the two verse/chorus bits before then going into another section instead of just winding up like most of the other songs.
    drewrclv9, jcr64, KangaMom and 6 others like this.
  3. UrAWizHar

    UrAWizHar Forum Resident

    Real Life Woman 1/5

    It's another mid tempo ballad thing on an album chock full of mid tempo ballad things. It gets a 1 though because, whilst the lyrics are dreadful the main problem is that it's just so boring. The sound of a band dutifully going through the motions with no sense of excitement or drama at all.
    drewrclv9, jcr64, Anne_G and 5 others like this.
  4. ToneM

    ToneM Forum Resident

    Birmingham, UK
    Real Life Woman

    Like @DiBosco, I also get a strong whiff of 70's from this ballad. The cheesy title refrain doesn't help, which I can almost imagine Jeff Lynne belting out.

    It's a well constructed if overearnest song with some rather creepy lyrics, that could be interpreted as patronising. It may grow on me further, but for now I appreciate Real Life Woman more than enjoy it.

  5. HitAndRun

    HitAndRun Forum Resident

    I must admit that I paused for a bit reading the song title 'Real Life Woman' and not remembering that there was a track called this on the album. I'm not as familiar with the album as I thought I was. Playing the song helped as, yes, I have heard it before.

    It's a classic CH sounding song. As mentioned before it could fit on Together Alone, but I also think it's the most ToLM song on the album.

    When 'Whatever You Want' was released it initially looked as if this version of CH would be radically different. But, certainly there is an awful lot of previous CH style songs on this album.

    All the components of this song work and it has a great melody. The backing vocals are really nice, and I like the touches of psychedelic sounding (to my ears) fuzz guitar - presumably by Liam. Personally I don't think the ending is too sudden, and I think the song is long enough.

    I don't think it's a career standout for CH, but it's certainly a very nice song very well realised. And, it's good that we actually got these new CH songs when at one point it looked unlikely that it would ever happen.

    I haven't really focused on the lyrics. And, given what is written above, I'm not sure that I want to? Perhaps if I did my rating might go down.

  6. Tim 2


    Alberta Canada
    Real Life Woman Could never make much sense out of it. 2/5
    drewrclv9, jcr64, HitAndRun and 4 others like this.
  7. Mooserfan

    Mooserfan Forum Resident

    Allentown, PA
    Gotta go with Brownie on this one. The lyric is clunky and a bit embarrassing, they show Neil’s age I think in the song’s very premise. And nothing about the music redeems it for me.
    drewrclv9, jcr64, KangaMom and 6 others like this.
  8. Paul H

    Paul H The fool on the hill

    Nottingham, UK
    I sorta/kinda like the melody and backing of Real Life Woman without it really engaging or impressing me. That is, its one of those songs that is fine and I like it enough when I hear it not to skip it, but I'd never seek it out and if it were by anyone else, I'd move straight past it.

    As for it's title and lyric, really, I'm bemused. Brownie nailed it: what on earth is "real life woman" supposed to mean? The whole song sounds like a go at Stevie Nicks but Neil is (or was) far too classy for that. I mean, why would he want to discuss her publicly? That leaves me to assume that he's either writing about someone in the abstract or he's writing about someone else, someone we possibly don't know. Regardless, the whole premise is, frankly, embarrassing for all the reasons Brownie stated.

    I give the song a 3/5 despite the clunky lyric.
    drewrclv9, BeSteVenn, jcr64 and 7 others like this.
  9. vikinghomepage

    vikinghomepage Forum Resident

    "Never my intention to create a legend" sounds to me like he's lamenting the mistake of projecting a fantasy onto someone rather than seeing the person as they actually are. I don't see it as all that cringey, it's quite a common thing
    Jaffaman, drewrclv9, jcr64 and 7 others like this.
  10. Anne_G

    Anne_G Forum Resident

    Real Life Woman: This one is growing on me. The only standout in the last 5 tracks. I don’t mind the abrupt ending and the lyrics are mysterious and intriguing. 2.89/5
  11. KangaMom

    KangaMom Queen of the Quokkas

    Real Life Woman - It is a splendid 70's style song. I like the rising harmonies and the little snippets of piano I hear behind the guitars. I'm not as bothered by the title as others are. As @vikinghomepage says, many people project their ideas of someone (particularly women). In that context it's not that strange.
    Is the understanding that Sharon inspired the song? If so, I have to believe it's not actually about her. Rather that it may have been snippets of their relationship, the people around them and how women are viewed in general. I don't necessarily see it as a document on Sharon (in fact, hard to believe it would be!).

    In any case, it's an excellent song that builds on the momentum of the previous 3 songs.

    therunner, Anne_G, drewrclv9 and 8 others like this.
  12. Michaelpeth

    Michaelpeth Forum Resident

    Durham, UK
    Missed a few days as I've been away with friends playing golf and drinking too much beer in Scotland. Probably best I didn't reply whilst I was absolutely smashed!

    Too Good for this World....I like the chorus but not the verse. 3/5

    Start of Something....brilliant. Harmonies are beautiful and its a great melody. Would fit on any CH album. 5/5

    Real Life Woman....melody is ok, lyrics are garbage. My opinion of it changes as often as the weather, some days I like it other days I cant get through the first 30 seconds. 3/5
    Anne_G, KangaMom, therunner and 6 others like this.
  13. jcr64

    jcr64 Forum Resident

    "Real Life Woman" definitely sounds like Crowded House (with, as @DiBosco notes, more than a hint of John Lennon, but then Neil has long had a strong vein of Lennon running through his work), but it's Crowded House by the numbers, with the components in place but without a genuine spark of creativity (or at least that's how I see it). The music plods, and while there might be very little a drummer could do to add to the song organically, Elroy doesn't do it. And the title and central phrase don't sit well with me (and I see I'm not alone in this reaction). I'm fine if it comes on in the background while I'm doing something else, but I don't think it rewards close scrutiny.

    Anne_G, KangaMom, therunner and 8 others like this.
  14. Paul H

    Paul H The fool on the hill

    Nottingham, UK
    Stepping back a dozen or so pages, I was listening to Find Your Way Back Home yesterday and noticed that the single's artwork lists the title as Find Your Way Home. Thing is, the artwork I have isn't the image of Neil that I find on his website, it's a black background with a white line drawing on it. Is that the official cover?
  15. BeSteVenn

    BeSteVenn little-known member

    Real Life Woman is one of my favorites on Dreamers Are Waiting.

    I read it as basing one's perceptions and relationships on what people are like in real life as opposed to the unrealistic expectations placed on women to be like what is portrayed in magazines, movies and TV. (See Neil Finn – Better Than TV Lyrics | Genius Lyrics )

    KangaMom, therunner, Anne_G and 7 others like this.
  16. therunner

    therunner Forum Resident

    I like the verse melody of "Real Life Woman" very much but the chorus does nothing for me at all, probably because it contains the annoying title phrase. Although I'm generally more moved by melody than lyrics, and I'm happy to ignore most lyrical nonsense, occasionally there are clunky lyrics so bad they are hard to ignore, and this song is packed full of them.

    jcr64, drewrclv9, KangaMom and 7 others like this.
  17. StefanWq

    StefanWq Forum Resident

    Vallentuna, Sweden
    "Real Life Woman" is a good, solid album track. Musically, I think the verses are very good and build up a tension and a hint of drama that the chorus then doesn't quite maintain. In this song, the lyrics overpower the music and I think "clunky" sums up the lyrics very well. I interpreted the title to be intended as a contrast to someone's public persona/image, that the narrator's perception of this woman has changed now that he has got to know her better, in real life. However, I do feel that the lyrics come across as a bit too private rather than personal but universal. Possibly because of the line "I could feel your power when we were singing lines together", it does give images of the narrator and this real life woman on a stage together, so I can understand that it could be interpreted to be about Stevie Nicks (though I don't know Fleetwood Mac group dynamic so why would it so obviously be Stevie Nicks, couldn't it refer to Christine McVie just as well if one chooses a Fleetwood Mac-related interpretation?).
    Regardless of who the lyrics are about, they give me an awkward feeling of unvoluntarily eavesdropping on a too private discussion and that makes the track a bit uncomfortable to listen to for me.
    therunner, Anne_G, HitAndRun and 7 others like this.
  18. Michael Rofkar

    Michael Rofkar Forum Resident

    Santa Rosa, CA
    This, too, sounds more like CH than the beginning of the album. Unfortunately it's not a very good song, mostly due to the awkward lyrics, as has been pointed out. 3/5
    Anne_G, HitAndRun, ToneM and 5 others like this.
  19. jcr64

    jcr64 Forum Resident

    An aside: while looking for a YouTube video for another purpose, I came across this video of "In My Command" on Jools Holland. Damn, these guys were good--even with Peter Jones.

    Ryan Lux, Anne_G, HitAndRun and 8 others like this.
  20. jimbutsu

    jimbutsu WATCH YÖUR STEPPE

    Good God - this just makes me miss what once was to a ridiculous degree, but it also takes me back over 25 years and makes me feel in some ways how I felt then.... What the hell happened to me since then? :laugh:
  21. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Our votes for "Real Life Woman"

    Average: 3.1883
  22. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Today's song is "Love Isn't Hard At All", written by Elroy Finn and Neil Finn. Produced by Crowded House.

    Crowded House - Love Isn't Hard At All Lyrics |

    This song features Sharon Finn on backing vocals.

    A Neil/Elroy re-write, Neil said earlier this year that the song was "largely Elroy's."
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2021
  23. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    This sounds very eighties/nineties alternative to me, in fact, I'd say it sounds a lot like some of Robert Smith's poppier songs from the Boris Williams/Porl Thompson era from the Cure (Head on the Door, Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me or Wish) down to the whimsically romantic lyric, which is refreshingly scrutable. (I assume that scrutable is a word, and that it comes from the verb "to scrute", which I am able to do with these lyrics.)

    A lighthearted change of pace for the rather somber, and ballad-heavy side 2. I like. Few songs on Elroy's album sound like this and it makes me curious as to what other music might spring from him. I guess Neil wrote the middle 8 which is possibly my least favorite bit.

    The vocals could be better, and in fact, they are very very weak IMO; and I'm not sure if that's Elroy singing (I generally dislike his vocals, so maybe) or Neil singing in an annoyingly weak fashion.

    I'd rate it higher with better vocals

    Last edited: Sep 21, 2021
  24. Paul H

    Paul H The fool on the hill

    Nottingham, UK
    This song lives - as do many on this album - in that nether world of being neither loved nor loathed. It's pleasant. I don't skip it when it comes on. But I also can't remember how it goes and I don't seek it out.


    As an aside, this conversation has led me to decide that I'm going to treat this album the way I would have done with a new CH album back in the days of yore: that is, give it my undivided musical attention for several days. I'm immersing myself in it, to see whether it grows on me more than the drip-feed way I've consumed music over the last few years. We'll see how it pans out when we come to discuss the album as a whole.
  25. vikinghomepage

    vikinghomepage Forum Resident

    This is the only song on the album that I actively dislike (although To The Island is falling out of favour now...). It reminds me of a kind of ultra-bland style of rock music that became popular over the last decade or so - names like Coldplay and Kodaline are coming to mind but I'm not too sure really, there is just this horrible radio crap I hear sometimes. This has nothing going for it! It's a pity as the album could do with something up tempo at this point.

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