1.) Road To Hell: Chris Rea
2.) Sorry For Party Rocking: LMFAO
3.) Tangled Up: Girls Aloud
4.) 100 Relaxing Classics Volume 2: Various
Bach in Time
To tell you the truth I’ve always been way more enraptured by rock n roll than by classical music. I would be lying if I said it didn’t quite bore me most of the time. And so
here we have the single volume of my 5 CD set ‘100 Relaxing Classics‘ that actually made it through to round 2. At the expense of Nik Kershaw’s Greatest Hits no less, back in group 83. That Kershaw compiliation is a bit of a distaster though, so this probably doesn’t say alot.
What do we have then? A collection of true composing masters such as Beethoven, Tchaickovsky, Mozart, Bach, Strauss, etc, etc bringing us pieces such as Bagatelle in E Flat, Symphony no.6, Piano Concerto No.1 and other assorted generic titles. Well, rock n roll definitely has better song names, no?
So, as I commenced the listening sessions for this group I was prepared to be bored, quite bored and to be honest 100 Relaxing Classics Volume 2 is quite boring at times.
It’s also quite captivating. I found myself wanting to put it on again and again and this took me by surprise. Sure, some of the big band orchestral stuff certainly isn’t my
bag and sounds better suited as backgroud on some TCM channel movie, yet some of these pieces are rather beguiling, especially the ones feeaturing prominent violin and piano solos.
It starts to get interesting while delivering Bizet’s Minuet L’arlessienne Suite No 2, then later on there’s some lovely piano on Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody On A Theme From Paganini, Bach’s Prelude No 1 In C From Book 1 The Well Tempered Clavier and the aformentioned Bagatelle In E Flat Op 126 No 3 by Beethoven.
Worth a mention too is the beautiful classical guitar on Albeniz Sonata. But probably my favourite track here is sadness inducing violin-led piece Prelude In A Op 28 No 4 by Chopin, which is very nice indeed.
Now this all sounds rather like I’m coming over all pretentious, but worry not, despite some of its charm, this collection of legendary composers is still largely forgettable and easily beaten by Girls Aloud’s pop packaged Tangled Up and also easily beaten by the outlandishly cheeky & cheesy dance/electro/pop/rap edifice of Sorry For Party Rocking by LMFAO. Looks like my salt of the earth, man of the people reputation is still intact, phew !
Put that Sass to work
I’ve previously praised Girls Aloud’s material for being lyrically smart and well-crafted. Tangled Up delivers that in spades. Some of the melodies and pop hooks are absurdly good. The Girls do a decent job with the vocals too, they can all sing pretty good but what really draws me in is the songwriting flair of Miranda Cooper, responsibile for top tunes such as Call The Shots, Girl Overboard, Can’t Speak French and Fling. They tell the tales of a care-free woman bestriding the thrills and spills of modern love. I can almost put myself in her shoes(!)
They might have indulged Miranda with her track ‘I’m Falling‘ though, not saying I dislike that one but it’s a bit different from the rest and hard to imagine teeny boppers relating to. Anyhow, this entire album is solid, certainly more unfluctuating than Sorry For Party Rocking. So why does the terribly named LMFAO duo’s second studio album beat Tangled Up into 2nd place? Well, it certainly has a couple of naff songs (Shots/Hot Dog) but boy are there some bangin’ tunes on here.
The Calvin Harris collaboration Reminds Me Of You is superb, an epic club sound with some fastidious rapping. The #1 UK single Party Rock Anthem, featuring it’s classic zombie video is another banger and yes I even think I’m Sexy and I know It is good too, despite its obvious novelty vein. The party vibe continues elsewhere with Champagne Showers, We Came Here To Party and Best Night featuring will.i.am (who also produced much of the album). A very entertaining effort that sees off the challenge of Tangled Up.
This ain’t no technological breakdown
Released in 1989, The Road To Hell is Chris Rea’s 10th studio album and his most commercially successfull, topping the UK album chart for three weeks when it landed.
The entire albuum is a creation from the mind of a singularly talented individual.
Not only is all the music written by Rea but he produced the album himself and plays keyboards and some remarkable guitar, including that trademark slide guitar. An album rooted in blues with Rea’s exquisite songwriting craft holding it together, Road To Hell produces strong track after strong track, the rhythm section from I Just Wanna Be With You is good enough to listen to on its own if you were so inclined, it’s gorgeous!
The album also includes the marvellous eight minute Looking For A Rainbow, the catchy That’s What They Always Say, lyrically pleasing Texas and his biggest ever single Road To Hell (part 2) which got to number 10 on the singles chart. This is a superb album and is separated from the rest of this group by a huge gulf in quality.