2006: Interscope/Weapons of Mass Entertainment B0007839-72
* = twinned with a track on Platinum Weird, the not yet released album
Hmm! This ones intriguing from unusual angles: its the musical equivalent of historical fiction, for starters, purporting (not too emphatically) to be unreleased recordings from 1974, although its a mid-2000s product of a collaboration by David A Stewart and Kara DioGuardi. Tangential to that are the issues of retrospectively-viewed qualities of mid-70s British rock (much of the commentary Ive fleetingly seen on this whole venture brings up Fleetwood Mac by comparison, but Im no expert on their sound nor on this genre in general so Ill pass on that one) and of the songwriting skills of both Stewart and DioGuardi (especially as four of this albums songs also appear in up-to-date versions on the new Platinum Weird album, thus setting up each version for scrutiny). Theres the Dave-with-someone-who-aint-Annie issue to consider, for some of us (I know he collaborates on gazillions of projects with every other person on earth, but, well, this encroaches on hallowed ground in some ways!), back-to-back with the she-writes-pop-songs-for-pop-fluff prejudice that comes with familiarizing oneself with DioGuardis credentials. And on top of that, theres the simple question of Is It Good Or Not to consider.
I wont use the terms bogus or hoax or such-like here because Stewart hasnt seriously pushed the fictions legitimacy and, after reading an interview in which he explained a bit about the ideas genesis and the snowballing of the hype, I see his position on going ahead with it, and I find it somewhat amusing. Moreover, Im impressed by DioGuardi: to have stumbled into a songwriting/performing partnership with Stewart is one thing, but to have recorded *two* albums (with four songs in common) as two different singerswell, thats some rare flexibility. That she pulls it off is worth underscoring: I had to listen to each album a number of times before agreeing that it was the same woman singing. She certainly delivers here a classic throaty 70s Brit-rock chanteuse, so classic that I found myself repeatedly running my mind through the names of the *actual* ones to see which one DioGuardi was maybe specifically mimicking.
Stewart cant quite get away with the same effect, as guitar playing is less obviously dated (and his singing turn on Piccadilly Lane is too obviously not early-70s Stewarts voice), but his virtuosity is nonetheless demonstrated by his ability to have provided the guitar work for these two very different albums. (Personally Im more partial to the sharp n snazzy stuff he cranks out on the latter-day album, but he does have some *quite* lovely moments on this one.)
So back to that question of Is It Good Or Not: yeah, I suppose it is its just not up my alley except as a curiosity with highlights. Id be curious to hear the opinions of people who are more into the music of this ilk and momenthusky warbling female lead vocalists, a somewhat homogenous acoustic assemblage, and wispily maudlin lyricsbut I havent much to say about it myself. Ill keep listening in case that changes.
Comments © 2006 Mark Ellis Walker, except as noted, and no claim is made to the images and quoted lyrics.