Review Summary: "IT"
“IT” cannot be held liable to the degree Steve should. Yes, “IT” is not the main perpetrator here, but “IT” will get his fair share of lines nonetheless, the greater share I prime you. Primitive is ITs ability as a vocalist, but it has a slight degree of skill towards… hmm… what’s the word I am looking for? Let’s consider it an ‘X-Factor’ (why that went to down to be at least audible? Another story, for another day).
Accept the analogy of written language - present something printed to someone, a poem perhaps. Keeping in mind a poem can be atrocious, bad, average, good, excellent or breath taking - ask him to read it out loud.
There are two main variables affecting the outcome, which can enhance, diminish or just abide by the attributes of the text - plus residual:
I) The author
II) The reciter
III) Residual (this is a pretty effective model; residual pertains to a low 10% in this equation)
III - Residual
Adrian, is a better songwriter than Janick. Bruce, is a better songwriter than ‘IT’ and “Omega” is a much better, literate song -addressing contiguous subjects- than “When two worlds collide”. Now, if I am correct - both Adrian and Bruce were present on Accident of Birth? Back to Virtual XI; the production is rushed and clustered, guitar work sounds tired, the poem is average, the artwork as well; and as far as I am concerned - repetition is the mother of all learning, not the mother of one who lacks inspiration as in "The Angel and the Gambler".
II - The Reciter
We all know “IT” never had the range, that is obvious. There are several intangibles though a vocalist should be judged upon, especially when he’s dealing with written language. After all, humankind spent thousands of years embellishing it. Language written or not contains millions of nuances, semantics, ambiguities, assonances and “IT” has no right throwing all these millennia down or up its throat.
Some random guidelines concerning reciters I managed to gather on a site about poetry*. I will mark a (V) when “IT” delivers during Virtual XI and an (X) when I think it's not, offering some side notes as well.
a) "Capture the attention of everyone, including the people in the back row." (V)
"However, don’t mistake yelling for good projection." (X) Yelling ingests the whole album experience.
b) "Avoid monotone delivery." (V)
"However, too much enthusiasm can make your performance seem insincere." (X)
In regard to ‘Como estais amigos’ - insincerity isn’t the optimum mean to offer late condolences for the events that took place in the Falklands. After all, by the time of this release, Argentina was one of the few markets still endorsing you. Think who will sing it before writing, Janick; think before singing, IT!
c) "Be attentive to the messages, meanings, allusions, irony, tones of voice." (X)
Regarding ‘The Educated Fool - self sarcasm is a smart man’s quality, but this is not the case, maybe because the tune sounds uneducated... or just plainly fool.
d) "Be sure you know the meaning of every word and line in your poem." (X) We already discussed this, the only thing I can further add is that on Virtual XI cognitive potential is questionable to say the least.
e) "Occasional (vocal) gestures may be appropriate, but the line between appropriate and overdone is a thin one. When uncertain, leave them out." (X)
About ‘Lightning strikes twice’ - you can view the following as a side note that pertains to guideline (d) as well: IT, pay attention please! Lightning as the manifestation of friction between clouds produces energy being visible by naked eye. Light travels faster than sound (Einstein pointed that out once as the reason for some people appearing bright until you hear them speak), hence the thump you hear after witnessing a lightning is called a ‘Thunder’ - a loud sonic BOOM so to speak. Lets pretend you want to mimic the latter when barking the word ‘strikes’ during the chorus, shall we?
f) "All words pronounced correctly" (V kind of), "and the volume, rhythm, and intonation greatly enhance the recitation" (XXX). "Pacing appropriate to the poem."
Hmmm pacing appropriate… gratuitously (V); “The Clansman” is descent with regard to the current guideline; ”No we can’t let em take anymore”… ITs accentuation of ’NO’ mimics quite effectively a Scottish rebel residing highlands. That is IF the rebel (whom I respect, the song as well tbh) was an “IT”, pacing up and down the rocks engulfing north Minch, hoping to feast its hunger on the dead rotting carcass of a Halichoerus grypus - circa late 13th century AD.
I - The Author
Why the hell did you allow the above to manifest during the studio process? A guy as focused as you, who managed with virtually no radio air-play or any kind of mass media exposure whatsoever, to communicate his care and passion for Maiden to millions. But let's say that went, and time goes and the recordings were complete - then you listened to the end result. Allowing Virtual XI to be purchased by die hard fans, who followed Iron Maiden through the years is unacceptable; 'cause you know that the only effective way to restrain die hard Maiden fans off buying something labelled ‘Iron Maiden’, is by “IT” never being released.
Can I pardon you? Well…
"BUT there are some things which cannot be excused!" barks ‘IT’ during a song of a previous effort (why that went down to be at least audible? Another story, for another day), and while I am not fond of being interrupted by ‘IT” barking, I must admit that this vocal gesture was more pertinent to the semantics of the tune. In retrospect, I firmly believe the diehards pardoned you, Sir, mainly for proving true to your intelligence and accepting Bruce and Adrian back shortly after this fiasco. After all, under bad weather, the survival instinct of a focused captain, who knows how to count the losses - this was the lowest selling release by Maiden if I recall correctly - indicates: It is fair to dismiss, a simple two variable model for something more complex yet familiar; even if that means getting back to start all over again, with a crew that once abandoned the ship, with band mates that left you - with IRON freaking MAIDEN... plus Janick, but he is okay; after all, even the most effective models contain residual, and let's be honest - better containing residual than containing “IT”, won’t you agree?
Strictly for non-commercial use, the short story IT is a satirical fictional interpretation, concerning the strange events that took place during the recordings of an album, as an effort to shed some light on the facts rendering it inaudible.
All “ITS” appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental, for no IT can be real… Can it?
*Tips on reciting.Retrieved from poetryoutloud.org