As a young Crowded House follower, I thought it appropriate to listen to this album first, and I was blown away by the song writing ability shown in their music, and the talent displayed. As a much underrated band, and sometimes forgotten I was so shocked they were so good. I urge everyone to listen to the band from Australia and New Zealand, because they are just incredible.
1. Weather with you. One of their better known songs, a great opener for the album catching their style pretty much straight away, using singable melodies, beautiful harmonies, fitting chords, meaningful lyrics and an unforgettable chorus. Say no More
2. World Where You Live. A very poppy piece, coming in with very strong beats from the beginning and an interesting melody, leading into much heavier chorus with effective layering of vocals. A great bridge and instrumental section highlighting the piece, with the amazing song writing ability I mentioned earlier. Much looser vocals suit the style of the piece, despite the strong beat throughout the piece (which make bopping your head mandatory).
3. Fall at Your Feet. One of the more beautiful pieces on the album, with very sensual lyrics and layering of instruments, progressing into a breathtaking chorus with emotional imagery erupting from amazing vocals and a tinkling piano in the background. And just when it seems it can't get any more beautiful, it does in the bridge with Neil Finn really shining with his vocal prowess. Tears are not a rarity for this piece.
4. Locked Out. Locked Out is a much happier rockier piece, with again incredible vocals, showcasing Neil's skill in changing his voice to suit the style of the piece. An amazing guitar solo too, a rarity for Crowded House pieces. Nice contrast in the bridge sets you up for the powerful verse again. Great feel good piece and a stand-out on the album (like all the songs).
5. Don't Dream it's over. Another of their better know pieces, a memorable guitar riff opening the piece and a very singable melody combine to make a classic tune that has been used for ads for New Zealand before. Very epic instrumental section help the piece to regain interest as it drags on a bit, before relaxing back into the unforgettable verse and chorus. Very good use of the keyboard, really suiting the tone colour of the piece.
6. Into Temptation. Another beautiful piece, using some interesting drumming and violin part, to create the really eccentric feel so many crowded house songs have. A meaningful chorus breaks the raw strangeness of the piece, providing the contrast needed to create a good piece. The bridge also provides a bit more musical sense to the piece, but breaks down into verse again that really makes you feel almost disturbed. A great piece, with real meaning and does really break through into your head, making you feel a little disturbed for whatever reason.
7. Pineapple Head. This piece has a style I've never encountered with music before, and it really suits, with a twiddly little guitar riff opening and providing fills throughout. An epic chorus makes more sense reminding you of Hunters & Collectors (another relatively internationally unknown Australian band). Great song writing ability, with some very fitting backing vocals.
8. When You Come. One of my favourites. Uses 12 string guitar (I believe) in the verse effectively, with a verse reminding me again of hunters and collectors. Some more effective drumming complete the amazing verse, then progressing into a very poppy chorus (due to a poppy guitar), with amazing vocals from Neil to reach the high notes. A much held back verse really get a sense of a huge breakthrough coming up, and it seems like Neil can't contain his excitement, before exploding into the powerful chorus. Another held back section gets you sitting on the edge of your seat just waiting for the speakers to explode with pure energy, and as usual, Crowded House don't disappoint. All the musicians just explode with raw energy in the final section, making you want to go crazy.
9. Private Universe. A very contrasting mood to the previous number, it uses some spooky guitar chords and drumming to make you feel really disturbed. Really sensitive vocals with some somehow meaningful lyrics complete the picture. Power chords on an electric guitar don't ruin the chorus and just make the subdued vocals stand out more. Some nice layering on the guitar and some effective studio effects give the second chorus a nice variation. The chorus again strikes a chord in your body, moving smoothly into the bridge, with slips back to the verse again, with some amazing vocals by Neil an octave up. Back-up vocals in the 3rd chorus contrast it from the others, and just complete a great song. The log drumming drags on a bit at the end, although I do agree the lengthened ending does suit the piece, and doesn't let go of you, right until the very end.
10. Not the Girl You Think You Are. A very different song to the rest of the album, with a really nice chord progression. Really weird lyrics highlight the piece, which you have to hear, because the gap between them makes them so weird. A nice variation in style to the rest of the album, and sounds incredibly like a Beatles song
11. Instinct. A much more poppy song, with a simple singable chorus and verse, with some great lyrics yet again. Not much more to say. Just simple brilliance
12. I feel possessed. A slightly odd opening and verse, which is extremely funky, highlighted by the drum part, which leads into a classic different style chorus, which makes more sense. Very similar in feel to World Where You Live. Very cool instrumental section which differs from the funky feel of the verse and straight feel of the chorus, leading back in to the amazing chorus. Another masterpiece from the New Zealand and Australian band
13. A favourite of mine, this one makes a bit more musical sense, despite the eccentric nature of it like into temptation. Really beautiful melody, with really spooky instruments creating that mood. The chorus is pure class; with the third weirdest lyrics on the album (blood dries up like rain. Fills my cup like four seasons in one day. ???). The lyrics mean something, but you can never put your finger on what exactly. Nice use of the children choir, a different technique used to other crowded house songs. A short sensual track, with the highlight being the ending, it's just so beautiful.
14. It's Only Natural. A feel good track, with some nice guitar fills. The harmonies are beautiful as always, provided by Tim Finn. The chorus makes a darker feel, but still contains the feel good feel somehow, if that makes sense? Some nice variations in the verse provide good listening, although it does drag on a little, despite the short time of the piece.
15. Distant Sun. A different track order could've been more effective, as Distant Sun is very similar to its previous track, with again some lovely vocals with nice guitar fills. The highlight is the bridge, where it gets aggressive after a long break from that, with effective chords. Although a bit boring at the start, the end reinstates the interest that this tune deserves.
16. Something So Strong. This has got to be the feel good track of the century, with some incredibly loose effective vocals from Neil, and some basic but effective chords. Amazing chorus, the full extent of the feel good nature of the track can only be experienced while watching the clip. Great use of keyboard in the background. This piece is absolutely flawless. Some dynamics out of the drums showing the expertise of Paul Hester, but you just got to love Neil's loose vocals. Every second of it is pure bliss.
17. Mean To Me. Another piece that reminds me of Hunters and Collectors, with a very tuneful verse before turning into a much more aggressive chorus using a full range of big band instruments. Rather depressing lyrics which are made happier by the style of the piece, but on paper, it could be imagined as very dark. Another amazing bridge, with interesting keyboard effects. Upbeat tune that fits well into context with the songs around it.
18. Better Be Home Soon. Another well known song. The beauty of the guitar mixes so well with Neil's remarkable voice. In the second chorus Tim Finn comes in with great harmonies. The bridge just strengthens the song. And you've just got to love the keyboard solo and the huge build-up before a plain verse again. Classic sing-a-long piece.
19. everything is good for you. Weirdest lyrics award goes to this piece, in the chorus when the band start telling you that "everything is good for you if it doesn't kill you." Very interesting and weird guitar riff, with a rather ordinary verse, leading into the strange chorus. Nothing much changes next verse, which might bore you a bit, but please stay with it because the ending is so wonderful.
Conclusion: The highlight of the music is the awe inspiring song writing ability, especially with their bridges leading in and out of the main sections. I urge everyone to take a peak at their music. I'd rate all the songs 5 star, although some stand out. These are: Weather With You; World Where You Live; Fall at Your Feet; When You Come; Private Universe; I Feel Possessed; Four Seasons in One Day; Something So Strong