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Author Topic: Microscope: Walls And Bridges  (Read 6057 times)

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Bobber

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Microscope: Walls And Bridges
« on: September 22, 2014, 08:43:34 PM »

WALLS AND BRIDGES



01 Going Down On Love
I think it is a slow start for an album that might be Johns best. It’s not the best song on the album. Still, there are enough signs in this song that show us that John is really putting effort in this album. The brass-section for instance is spot on and not overwhelming, like it can be sometimes. The harmonies are great as well. Plus John is showing that his voice is as good as ever.

02 Whatever Gets You Thru The Night
Overplayed. Nevertheless it is a great uplifting song. The opening saxophone by Bobby Keys is simply wonderful and remember I am not a saxophone fan. But here it is really right on the spot. Elton and John sound somewhat like John and Paul in the good old days and I’m pretty sure that was a major thing in getting John to #1 with this song. The honky tonk piano is a great addition to the song as well and Elton is responsible for this. The story goes that Elton’s participation had not been planned. John was in the process of finetuning when Elton was brought in by Apple’s Tony King. Eton asked if he could ‘put a little piano on it’. When rerecording the lead vocal, Elton put a harmony on it. John remarked that ‘it was like having George or Paul there again. It was the same good feeling.’
Is that a bad edit at 1.45? Seems slightly out of rhythm. Love the high notes on 1.52. And I have always wondered about Elton’s notes on 3.07. Is it out of tune or not? Don’t know really, but I have always found that a markpoint in the song.

03 Old Dirt Road
With the strings and dobro or slideguitar, this song sounds a bit as if it is a Mind Games left over. But then, it has the tension that many on the former album has not. Nice building up to a climax from 2.30 onwards. One would expect the song finishes there, but John uses another solo and a very long fade out to really finish it. Not a spectacular song, which is by the way co-credited to Harry Nilsson, but good enough.

04 What You Got
Firm funky rocker, What You Got is reminiscent of Me And My Monkey somewhat. John is really singing with a voice that would absolutely kill it live. but he’s doing it really well. Listen to 0.52.. Horns are spot on throughout the song. Top song.

05 Bless You
Bluesy ballad. An oasis after What You Got. Sung with lots of feelings and it’s hearable. Nice trumpet solo. I think Nick Hopkins on the keyboards doing a wonderful job. Great song.

06 Scared
Inspiration for Michael Jackson’s Thriller at the start. Howling wolves. John repeating I’m Scared in the beginning of the first verse. Great atmosphere. John’s voice is in top form once again. Fully in control and not at all sounding like the alcoholic he was said to be in this lost weekend. After listening to side A it is pretty obvious to me that John was knowing exactly what he wanted and was perfectly able to get his band doing what he intended. Building this song layer upon layer towards the end. Well done.

07 #9 Dream
Absolutely John’s best solo effort. I adore this song. The dreamy atmosphere, the way John is singing it, the strings and the melody they make, repeating after John’s sung melody, the acoustic guitar licks, May Pang’s whispering ‘John’ after ‘someone’s calling my name’ and the Awapokana pousse pousse or whatever he sings. Everything adds to the greatness of this song.

08 Surprise Surprise (Sweet Bird Of Paradox)
A song for May Pang. Nice twist with the rhythm right at the start. A light hearted song, although John sounds somewhat heartbroken. The song sounds alright productionwise, but it drags on a little bit. The ears open up again with the little nod towards Drive My Car at 2.30.

09 Steel And Glass
John redoing How Do You Sleep, but this time attacking Allen Klein. Acoustic guitar sounds great. Strings coming in and adding to John’s voice. Brass section is playing the lick from How Do You Sleep. In fact, I like this version of the same song better to be honest. Like in #9 Dream, the orchestration is completely adding something to the song. Nothing too much, nothing too little. Another great song.

10 Beef Jerky
Almost instrumental. Could well be used in documentaries or b-movies. Brass is very tight. Guitar is simple but very well played. The little chance in melody at 3.00 minutes is a welcome tho late variation.

11 Nobody Loves You (When You’re Down And Out)
Now this sounds as if John came right out of the pub, but then it is intentional. A massive ballad with a lot of orchestra behind him. Once again, John’s voice simply sounds better than he has in years. Listen to the ‘middle eight’ starting at 3.27. And the prophetical ‘Everybody loves you when you’re six feet in the ground’. Wonderful.

12 Ya Ya
With Julian Lennon (11 years old) on drums. John end this album like he did on Plastic Ono Band with My Mummy’s Dad. While that song was painful, this is completely the opposite. It’s light and full of hope and love.

Overall
Like I said, this is not an album from a man who went from one drink to another, like John was said to do in the Lost Weekend. On the whole album, it is pretty clear that John is sober, ready to work and knowing exactly what he’s doing. This is a great album that has survived to tooth of time. To me, it’s John’s best solo effort. But that, my friends, is food for discussion of course. Have a look here by the way: http://www.dmbeatles.com/forums/index.php?topic=16156.0
« Last Edit: September 22, 2014, 08:47:48 PM by Bobber »
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nimrod

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Re: Microscope: Walls And Bridges
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2014, 11:20:12 PM »

Yes, very good review Cor and I agree with most of what you say.

It is one of his best

I would love to hear this whole album with the other Beatles playing and singing on it (wouldnt we all  :()
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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Microscope: Walls And Bridges
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2014, 12:58:16 AM »

A strong effort in the context of John's solo career. I think Imagine is still a better album, but Walls And Bridges is good enough. The most well known songs are classics ("Whatever Gets You Thru The Night" and "#9 Dream") and most of the rest is entertaining.

About "Beef Jerky", the guitar playing sounds a lot like Paul's "Let Me Roll It", doesn't it?
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Ovi

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Re: Microscope: Walls And Bridges
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2014, 01:24:18 AM »

I've listened to this album a couple of times a few years ago, but the only thing I remember is being turned off by the smooth-L.A. production/sound. It's been a while though, I'll re-listen. #9 Dream is a great track however.
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oldbrownshoe

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Re: Microscope: Walls And Bridges
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2014, 06:22:58 AM »

I also can't stand the ultra-smooth production, something I'd level at the whole decade and not just 'Walls and Bridges'.
It's why I put 'McCartney' above 'Band On The Run' or 'Venus and Mars'.

A few years ago on 'Sound of the 60s' (hosted by Brian Matthews who is still going strong in his 80s) Brian played the b-side of 'The Weight' by The Band.
Now I didn't know what the b-side of 'The Weight' was but, within 5 seconds of the thing starting, I said to my wife, 'There is NO WAY that is from 1968'.
Checked it out and found that they'd played a re-issue of the single with a b-side recorded in (urgh!) 1974.
Believe me, I can spot it through a thick fog and a ten-foot deep concrete wall. 
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Moogmodule

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Re: Microscope: Walls And Bridges
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2014, 06:28:42 AM »

This isn't as accessible as Imagine. But it's not the hard slog of Plastic Ono Band. It has claim to be his most rounded solo product. It really shows John flourishing in the mid 70s before Yoko halted his deprogramming and dragged him back under her influence. 

I too would love to have heard the other Beatles contribute to these tunes though.
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Bobber

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Re: Microscope: Walls And Bridges
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2014, 07:01:08 AM »

I also can't stand the ultra-smooth production, something I'd level at the whole decade and not just 'Walls and Bridges'.
It's why I put 'McCartney' above 'Band On The Run' or 'Venus and Mars'.

A few years ago on 'Sound of the 60s' (hosted by Brian Matthews who is still going strong in his 80s) Brian played the b-side of 'The Weight' by The Band.
Now I didn't know what the b-side of 'The Weight' was but, within 5 seconds of the thing starting, I said to my wife, 'There is NO WAY that is from 1968'.
Checked it out and found that they'd played a re-issue of the single with a b-side recorded in (urgh!) 1974.
Believe me, I can spot it through a thick fog and a ten-foot deep concrete wall.

I love that smooth production.
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oldbrownshoe

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Re: Microscope: Walls And Bridges
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2014, 08:32:42 AM »

It's completely soulless. Thank God that wasn't the prevailing technology when The Beatles were recording.
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Bobber

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Re: Microscope: Walls And Bridges
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2014, 08:54:53 AM »

It's completely soulless. Thank God that wasn't the prevailing technology when The Beatles were recording.

It's from past 1968, what do you expect? But then again: I don't think tracks like Scared, What You Got or #9 Dream are soulless. But that's just me.
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Moogmodule

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Re: Microscope: Walls And Bridges
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2014, 09:47:40 AM »

John was such a good pop/rock singer. This album underscores it.
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Moogmodule

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Re: Microscope: Walls And Bridges
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2014, 09:53:20 AM »

I can see where Ovi and OBS are coming from. That generic 70s LA sound with the horns and funky bass is as much of a cliche as the synth heavy gloss of the 80s.

But good albums can transcend that. I think W&Bs has enough depth and variety that it rises above the period production.  Just as Tug of War and Cloud 9 do in the 80s.

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nimrod

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Re: Microscope: Walls And Bridges
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2014, 10:10:53 AM »

A strong effort in the context of John's solo career. I think Imagine is still a better album, but Walls And Bridges is good enough. The most well known songs are classics ("Whatever Gets You Thru The Night" and "#9 Dream") and most of the rest is entertaining.

About "Beef Jerky", the guitar playing sounds a lot like Paul's "Let Me Roll It", doesn't it?

Yeah it does Hombre

When I think of his solo albums this is high on the list, his 1st solo album is for me his best, most artistic, Lennon was always at his best for me when he was writing personal stuff, that being said Imagine and W & B are a lot more accessible than POB, I also think his songs on Double Fantasy are great as again they are of a personal nature, I even like 2 of Yoko's songs on there Im Moving On & Kiss Kiss Kiss, I cant help liking them  ha2ha
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nimrod

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Re: Microscope: Walls And Bridges
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2014, 10:15:08 AM »

I also can't stand the ultra-smooth production, something I'd level at the whole decade and not just 'Walls and Bridges'.
It's why I put 'McCartney' above 'Band On The Run' or 'Venus and Mars'.

A few years ago on 'Sound of the 60s' (hosted by Brian Matthews who is still going strong in his 80s) Brian played the b-side of 'The Weight' by The Band.
Now I didn't know what the b-side of 'The Weight' was but, within 5 seconds of the thing starting, I said to my wife, 'There is NO WAY that is from 1968'.
Checked it out and found that they'd played a re-issue of the single with a b-side recorded in (urgh!) 1974.
Believe me, I can spot it through a thick fog and a ten-foot deep concrete wall.

Really mate, I never knew you felt like that about the 70's..

 ha2ha
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Ovi

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Re: Microscope: Walls And Bridges
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2014, 11:03:10 AM »

Saying that the whole decade of the 70's has the production/sound of 'Walls and Bridges' is just insane and shows how little you know about music, oldbrownshoe. Really, you're just embarrassing yourself and your musical knowledge at this point. I know you're trying to be witty or something to highlight how much you love the 60's, but putting down the other decades of music in such an ignorant way is just laughable to me (and probably to other members as well).

Anyway, my original was point was that the production doesn't really fit some of the songs, and I often have that problem with John's post-Imagine solo songs. Even Mind Games which I love I think would've worked a lot better with a bare-bones/sparse arrangement.
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Moogmodule

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Re: Microscope: Walls And Bridges
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2014, 11:05:11 AM »

Yeah it does Hombre

 I even like 2 of Yoko's songs on there Im Moving On & Kiss Kiss Kiss, I cant help liking them  ha2ha

Strewth mate. You're going soft on us.  :o
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oldbrownshoe

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Re: Microscope: Walls And Bridges
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2014, 03:51:48 PM »

Calm down Ovi!
The vast majority of big name LPs (Fleetwood Mac, Rod Stewart, Elton John, Wings etc. etc.) DID have that soulless sheen in the 1970s. Technology had overtaken talent; self-satisfaction had overtaken hunger.

I simply think that such 'clean' production goes right against what rock 'n' roll music was meant to be about in the first place and, in his heart of hearts, I think Lennon probably did as well.

It can't have escaped your notice (actually maybe in America it might have, punk 'broke' in 1991 didn't it?!) but the pub rock/punk bands in London were also pretty much beginning to think the same thing in the mid-1970s.
Dr. Feelgood's debut, released three months later and which is alarmingly better than 'Walls and Bridges', was deliberately UNDER-produced.
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nimrod

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Re: Microscope: Walls And Bridges
« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2014, 10:18:26 PM »

Calm down Ovi!
The vast majority of big name LPs (Fleetwood Mac, Rod Stewart, Elton John, Wings etc. etc.) DID have that soulless sheen in the 1970s. Technology had overtaken talent; self-satisfaction had overtaken hunger.

I simply think that such 'clean' production goes right against what rock 'n' roll music was meant to be about in the first place and, in his heart of hearts, I think Lennon probably did as well.

It can't have escaped your notice (actually maybe in America it might have, punk 'broke' in 1991 didn't it?!) but the pub rock/punk bands in London were also pretty much beginning to think the same thing in the mid-1970s.
Dr. Feelgood's debut, released three months later and which is alarmingly better than 'Walls and Bridges', was deliberately UNDER-produced.


I get that you hate the 70's, you've mentioned it in about 90% of your posts in the 12 months since you joined the forum. I dont mind you hating anything, but I love 70's music and I get a bit bored of reading that what I love is rubbish, you base thousands and thousands of artists on a few mainstream albums by people like Wings & Elton John, I probably have lots of 70's that you have never even heard. And whats this about punk hitting America in 1991, have you never heard of the Ramones ?

This thread is about Walls & Bridges, not about 70's production values, and yet you have made no comment good or bad about the actual songs he wrote for the album. no interesting narrative about how the album compares with his other solo albums, just the usual............'its not 60's so it sounds terrible'

I agree with what Ovi said, in fact its got that way now that when anyone on this forum mentions an album thats not made in the 50's or 60's I just know you are going to post the same thing within a day or two.........about it being inferior to the records that you prefer








Im beginning to thing your living room looks like this;

 ;D ;D ;D


« Last Edit: September 24, 2014, 10:57:21 PM by Kangaroo Kev »
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tkitna

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Re: Microscope: Walls And Bridges
« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2014, 11:54:52 PM »

Sweet.  I'll get mine together tomorrow.

Bobber

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Re: Microscope: Walls And Bridges
« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2014, 07:38:03 AM »

Sweet.  I'll get mine together tomorrow.

Hurry up. I'm bored.  8)
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tkitna

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Re: Microscope: Walls And Bridges
« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2014, 11:18:36 PM »

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