A treasury and a place to meet people of all ages with various interests from all over the World
Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

News:

PLEASE READ OUR FORUM RULES HERE

Pages: 1 [2]

Author Topic: Microscope: Walls And Bridges  (Read 955 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

tkitna

  • That Means a Lot
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Gender: Male
  • Posts: 6979
  • I'm a Moondog,,,,,are you?
Re: Microscope: Walls And Bridges
« Reply #20 on: September 26, 2014, 12:57:19 AM »

Walls And Bridges

1. Going Down On Love – This song isn’t one of my favorites.  Its kind of monotonous and boring.  Song shifts a lot, but it doesn’t go anywhere.  Like the percussion in the beginning while John sings along.  The falsetto at the .14 mark isn’t favorable to my ears, but its John.  Song has nice piano and horn playing and the production is better than anything we’ve gotten up to this point.  Sorry, but this is a pass for me.

2. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night – John’s only US #1 song and again, not one of my favorites.  This song is hard for me to describe.  Its too busy for my liking and nothing sets out.  Just feels like a jumbled mess.  Horn playing is great, Elton is a nice addition (voice wise more so than his playing), Keltner is in the background and even he sounds a little messy here.  John’s voice is ok, but he doesn’t do anything to impress.  It’s a good song, but I always find myself turning it when it comes on.

3. Old Dirt Road – Love John’s voice on this song.  Not much into that slide guitar though.  Keltners drums sound good.  The middle part is good with John preaching and the music marching behind him.  Klaus sounds good too here, but it’s a simple song.  Slower number, but I like it and I usually dismiss tunes like this.  Who knows.

4. What You Got -  Love the groove with the drums, percussion, and bell or xylophone (not sure what it is).   Everything sounding great, and then John starts singing.  I hate his yelling voice here.  What a turn off.  It could have been so much more.  This is an unfortunate song for me.  I love the music itself, but the vocals kill it for me.  Pass.

5. Bless You – Another slower song, but it has a somewhat 70’s pop feel to it if anybody can make sense of that.  Maybe it’s the organ that does it.  Maybe I don’t know what the heck I’m talking about.  Anyways, John’s vocals sound good.  Music is tight and played well although the song plods along.  Not much more to say except that I like this song too.

6. Scared – Ah, the wolf howls.  Every song having something to do with fright or nightmares start off with wolf howls it seems.  Nice guitar playing, but that just reminded me that all of John’s songs sound the same to me.  I think that’s why I have an issue with most of his solo stuff.  Love the bass sound.  Thumping.  I always think John had too much brass and horns in his music, but I like them on this one.  Its an ok song, but boring as hell.

7. #9 Dream – Best song on the album.  I always liked this one.  I will say that John wrote and sang the song to fit the atmosphere of a wandering mind or dream like the title suggests.  That’s a nice touch.  If I had something to complain about, I guess it would be the whining guitar and muddy drum sound.  Great song though.  I don’t skip this one.

8. Surprise, Surprise (Sweet Bird of Paradox) – Another one of my favorites from John.  Love the guitar sound and his voice.  Horns are good here too and make the song sound full.  Great piano.  The double tracked voice or background harmonies are way off at the 1:39 mark.  Voices arent together.  Keltners hi hat splashes are hypnotizing.  Love it.  Really like this song and always have.

9. Steel And Glass – Really like John’s voice here (holds that note for a long time at the :38 mark).  Guitar sounds nice.  Like the organ and percussion coming in at the 1:18 mark.  Is that the organ or strings?  Organ sounding like strings?  Anyhow, it’s a pretty good song with a haunting melody and I like it.

10. Beef Jerky – The Magic Carpet Ride intro is cool.  Nice beat with guitar and drums.  Horns at the :50 mark.  The middle really thumps with the horns and so forth.  This is a good song.  Infectious and makes me tap along.

11. Nobody Loves You (When Your Down And Out) – John and his acoustic.  Has somewhat of a Pink Floyd flavor going on.  Of course the whole band comes in at the :40 mark, but it doesn’t add anything in my opinion.  The song is a slow, depressing song that would have been better off with just John and his guitar.  This one is just too low and slow for me.

12. Ya Ya – John must have had some space to fill and came up with this little number in about 30 seconds.  Nothing of importance or pleasurable here.  Very short little blues number that I’ve forgotten about already.


This microscope was weird.  I always held ‘Walls And Bridges’ at the top of my Lennon solo album list and now I’m wondering why.  Admittedly, I haven’t given this an honest listen since I was probably in college, but I always remember liking it a whole lot more than I do today. The production blows anything John had put out before it, but the songs aren’t strong in my opinion.  I like a few, but not many.  Heck, I think I like ‘Mind Games’ more than this one now.  Ask me in another 20 years and that will probably change too.

tkitna

  • That Means a Lot
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Gender: Male
  • Posts: 6979
  • I'm a Moondog,,,,,are you?
Re: Microscope: Walls And Bridges
« Reply #21 on: September 26, 2014, 01:05:00 AM »

Nice review Cor.  We don't see eye to eye on this effort, but that's how it rolls.

Mr Mustard

  • Getting Better
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 343
Re: Microscope: Walls And Bridges
« Reply #22 on: September 27, 2014, 12:35:33 AM »

Always had a soft spot for the marvellous Walls And Bridges a wonderful solo album and without doubt one of John's best efforts.

Going Down On Love
Nice, relaxing track to open with; John sounds at ease and confident and the vocal is - needless to say - spot on, riding along atop a soothing blend of percussion, horns and subtly pleasing piano. A well balanced track if a little tame and unambitious.

Whatever Gets You Thru The Night
A corker. I love it. The title came from a phrase John heard whilst viewing a late night TV show and it struck an instant chord with him. So he sat down and built a song around it...he was good at that! Cheeky, pugnacious, fizzing with energy and enlivened by just the right amount of sassy saxophone and Elton's choppy honky tonk piano, this is a joy from start to finish, delivered in the same snappy, spontaneous vein as "Instant Karma!". John is having a ball and it shows! A real highlight which always prompts me to up the volume whenever it's on. 

Old Dirt Road
The tempo slows down again and John delivers another masterclass in vocal subtlety. I like the slide guitar and the light interplay of strings and piano which beautifully temper the whole piece. It's very soothing yet incorporates that nicely escalating march which provides a bit of shape and prevents the whole thing from getting too mushy. Nice track. Not remarkable. But nice.

What You Got
Have to agree with tkitna here. A great, funky vibe to this one and yet - perhaps uniquely for a Lennon outing - it's the singing which lets it down. I can hardly believe I've just said that - but we're listening to some seriously classy proto-disco grooves overlaid with a barked, almost punkish vocal which really does not work for me. John can (and usually does) do much better than this. Shame.

Bless You
I used to skip this one, but perhaps I've mellowed with age. Pleasingly back in full vocal control, John deftly guides us through a poignant, heartfelt ballad. Beautiful keyboards underpin the whole thing. A nice song and better than I remembered it.

Scared
From the opening wolf howl through the relentless drum-plod and John's mounting vocal tension we're treated here to a deliciously menacing slice of pure paranoia. A nice way to expose the underbelly of the album; riddled with doubt, fear and uncertainty it makes a neat counterbalance to the calm (and even fun) displayed by the previous tracks. This was after all the period of John's lost weekend and we get a sobering glimpse of a mid-life crisis right here.

#9 Dream
What a truly fantastic song this is. Not only one of my favourite Lennon tracks, it would be near the top of my list of ALL ex-Beatle solo cuts. John's twin obsessions with the number 9 and sleep combine perfectly as his hypnotic, gorgeous vocal floats on the tide provided by that dreamy acoustic blend of strings, keyboard and drums. Elusive whispers and nonsense language (Ah! Bowakowa Poussé Poussé!) wonderfully enhance this gossamer light, beautiful, wispy trance. It's a masterpiece and I don't use the word lightly. "Magic in the air" indeed.

Surprise, Surprise (Sweet Bird Of Paradox)
Always liked this one. John himself openly disavowed it as throwaway rubbish - but that was after he'd returned to Yoko of course, and this is after all a paean to May Pang. But it's a good track, quirky opening, jaunty melody, sweetly sung. I like the falsetto fade-out. The lyrics indicate John's revelation at life's unplanned twists and turns. There's a touchingly hopeful quality to this one and I really like that.

Steel And Glass
Sooner or later you just know you can rely on a bit of Lennon venom making an appearance, and here it is. Terrific, world-weary acoustic opening complete with cynical chuckle, John soon unleashes his predatory bile upon Allen Klein in a viciously calculated attack. The vocal control is awesome as usual, with a sinister orchestral undercurrent very reminiscent of its progenitor "How Do You Sleep?". It's a powerful, brilliant track.

Beef Jerky
Virtually an instrumental and an effective one at that. Guitars and drums hit a repetitive but infectious groove pretty quickly and the piece soon becomes pleasantly mesmerising. A foot tapper. I like the UFO intro and outro too!

Nobody Loves You (When You're Down And Out)
The paranoia of "Scared" resurfaces, this time sounding more like a drunk wallowing in self pity. Doesn't do much for me with its heavily over-orchestrated layers, although I do like the brief cry for freedom at around 3:30. In my opinion a less lavish, sparser production on this one would have worked better with the hungover vocal and sulky lyrics.

Ya Ya
John was dismantling walls and rebuilding bridges (see what I did there?) with his son Julian around 1974. What better way to strengthen the paternal bond than to let your youngster bash about on the drums whilst you run through one of your fondly favoured R&R standards... and then use it to round off your latest album?  It sort of works...like being privy to a personal photo album for a few minutes. Musically nothing but humanly touching.

Overall my faith in Walls And Bridges has been reaffirmed. A slickly produced, wonderfully polished album belying John's reputation for the raw, spiky, primitive approach. He barely puts a foot wrong here and everyone - brass section, keyboard players, horns, strings, drumming - the whole works - pull together brilliantly and the finished product has to be one of the best solo Beatle albums of the 70s.
Logged

Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

  • A Thousand Pages
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Gender: Male
  • Posts: 1515
Re: Microscope: Walls And Bridges
« Reply #23 on: September 27, 2014, 01:10:58 AM »

7. #9 Dream – [...]  I will say that John wrote and sang the song to fit the atmosphere of a wandering mind or dream like the title suggests. 


I think we could say the same about this song:

Hung Up On A Dream - The Zombies
Logged
"And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."

Moogmodule

  • Getting Better
  • ***
  • Online Online
  • Gender: Male
  • Posts: 745
Re: Microscope: Walls And Bridges
« Reply #24 on: September 27, 2014, 01:23:38 AM »

Apparently Ya Ya was johns half assed attempt at fulfilling his copyright violation obligation to record songs from Morris Levy's catalogue,  stemming from the Come Together/You can't catch me lawsuit.   

Needless to say it didn't impress levy.
Logged

Kevin

  • That Means a Lot
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Gender: Male
  • Posts: 5463
Re: Microscope: Walls And Bridges
« Reply #25 on: September 27, 2014, 11:47:30 AM »

Morning all.

Just listened to this album for the first time in over 30 years, "without prejudice."

First a confession - I have trouble separating the music from the man - a bit like looking at Hitler's paintings. Very nice and all, but but.....

I really want to be fair, my favourite seventies album is Supertramps Crime Of The Century from the same year, and they're not disimiliar. So what's the difference?

Anyway, it's very much of it's time, very Elton John, Thin White Duke, Halls and Oatsey. Very west coasty FM kind of thing. It's okay, but apart from here and there Lennon's whiney reverbed vocal is annoying, and the "poor me" songs grate. And I don't like boogie, regardless of who playes it. It's okay, but nothing more.

On the up, nostalgia churning through my veins, I took the chance to listen to Sometime in New York City for the first time in 30 years. God - when he's confident and unshackled he is good. Very good.
Logged
don't follow leaders

Bobber

  • Administrator
  • Sun King
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 13612
Re: Microscope: Walls And Bridges
« Reply #26 on: September 27, 2014, 07:21:41 PM »

Thanks all for the great reviews.

And I like that the Album seems to be a product of its time. It means John was a man of his time in 1974. Things would certainly be different 1980.
Logged

Ovi

  • Global Moderator
  • A Thousand Pages
  • *****
  • Online Online
  • Gender: Male
  • Posts: 1082
  • Tonight, I'm a rock 'n' roll star.
Re: Microscope: Walls And Bridges
« Reply #27 on: September 27, 2014, 08:10:20 PM »

On the up, nostalgia churning through my veins, I took the chance to listen to Sometime in New York City for the first time in 30 years. God - when he's confident and unshackled he is good. Very good.

Hey Kevin, I really don't mean any offense, but I just gotta ask: how is this possible? Even the artists that I don't care much for or completely dismissed in the past get a listen once every 2-3 years (worst case scenario, I think). As long as the album is there in my collection...
Logged
http://tangledupinmusic.wordpress.com - yet another music blog

Kevin

  • That Means a Lot
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Gender: Male
  • Posts: 5463
Re: Microscope: Walls And Bridges
« Reply #28 on: September 28, 2014, 08:24:43 AM »

Hey Kevin, I really don't mean any offense, but I just gotta ask: how is this possible? Even the artists that I don't care much for or completely dismissed in the past get a listen once every 2-3 years (worst case scenario, I think). As long as the album is there in my collection...

None taken. I sold all my vinyl in the early 80's when I came to the UK. I've never rebuilt anything like a real collection since (I moved between NZ and UK 3 times since).
Anyway, after Back To The Egg and Double Fantasy I lost all interest in the Beatles as solo artists.
Now, I would possibly part cash for POB, Imagine, SMTNYC, Ram, Band On The Run and All Things Must Pass.
More shocking news - I only own Rubber Soul and The Blue album. But for a good long time I listened to nothing but The Beatles. Something by the way now I now really regret.

Logged
don't follow leaders

Moogmodule

  • Getting Better
  • ***
  • Online Online
  • Gender: Male
  • Posts: 745
Re: Microscope: Walls And Bridges
« Reply #29 on: September 28, 2014, 08:54:27 AM »

It's okay, but apart from here and there Lennon's whiney reverbed vocal is annoying, and the "poor me" songs grate.


You do wish during this period that John occasionally would have found inspiration in a really tasty bagel he had or something. Anything to break the introspection.

George with his save the world Krishna stuff was as bad. Luckily George lived long enough to lighten the f@&$ up again.
Logged

Kevin

  • That Means a Lot
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Gender: Male
  • Posts: 5463
Re: Microscope: Walls And Bridges
« Reply #30 on: October 02, 2014, 12:18:58 PM »



George with his save the world Krishna stuff was as bad. Luckily George lived long enough to lighten the f@&$ up again.

Yes. It seems both John and George thought that once The Beatles were over they could reinvent themselves in another guise. Unfortunately the world disagreed . I dont think the Lennon of Sometime in New York City would have imagined he'd soon be recording something so Beatlesque as Number Nine Dream. John would have to be content with being the dream weaver he had so rejected earlier  on  POB

And something I don't get. Someone said earlier that album belies Johns reputation as raw and primitive. But if you exclude POB his catalogue is as "produced" as anyone, in fact maybe even more.

Logged
don't follow leaders

Mr Mustard

  • Getting Better
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 343
Re: Microscope: Walls And Bridges
« Reply #31 on: October 02, 2014, 09:24:20 PM »


And something I don't get. Someone said earlier that album belies Johns reputation as raw and primitive. But if you exclude POB his catalogue is as "produced" as anyone, in fact maybe even more.

I said it Kev, and what I meant was that John had that "bull at a gate" image of knocking stuff out quickly (like "Instant Karma!") and not caring if things were a bit rough around the edges. POB the perfect example: stripped down, gutsy, get the message out there and don't prat about agonising over endless takes (remember how he moaned about Paul and "Maxwell's Silver Hammer"?). He was a raw and spiky guitarist compared to the polish of McCartney or Harrison.

But I think "Walls And Bridges" showed a care and attention in production values perhaps only previously hinted at on "Imagine".... I suspect John was (at least sometimes) more of a perfectionist than he'd have liked to have us think.

Just a thought  ;)
« Last Edit: October 02, 2014, 09:26:14 PM by Mr Mustard »
Logged

tkitna

  • That Means a Lot
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Gender: Male
  • Posts: 6979
  • I'm a Moondog,,,,,are you?
Re: Microscope: Walls And Bridges
« Reply #32 on: October 04, 2014, 11:41:39 PM »

Hey Kevin, I really don't mean any offense, but I just gotta ask: how is this possible? Even the artists that I don't care much for or completely dismissed in the past get a listen once every 2-3 years (worst case scenario, I think). As long as the album is there in my collection...

I fully understand.  I haven't spun this record in at least 20 years until now.

tkitna

  • That Means a Lot
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Gender: Male
  • Posts: 6979
  • I'm a Moondog,,,,,are you?
Re: Microscope: Walls And Bridges
« Reply #33 on: October 04, 2014, 11:43:21 PM »

I really want to be fair, my favourite seventies album is Supertramps Crime Of The Century from the same year, and they're not disimiliar. 

You have great taste my friend.  "Crime Of The Century" is easily one of my top 20 albums ever.

Ollier

  • A Beginning
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Gender: Male
  • Posts: 115
Re: Microscope: Walls And Bridges
« Reply #34 on: Yesterday at 11:30:40 PM »

I was introduced to half the songs on this album through the Menlove Avenue album and it means much to me...

John Lennon - "Nobody Loves You (When You're Down And Out)"

Logged
Keeping you on your toes...
Pages: 1 [2]
 

Page created in 1.248 seconds with 29 queries.