When this album came out, I was disappointed with the number of songs I didn’t know on it, and was reluctant to get it. About a year later, I realized that this wasn’t just best of all time, but from 1994-2000, so I thought, “Hey, I know nothing about the early stuff of one of my favourite and most influential bands,” and bought it. I was surprised about the difference between then and now, and I loved every bit of it.
1. Bless My Soul. Being a new song, this doesn’t really count too much, but for the record, it has a great opening, with neat little guitar fills popping up all over the place. Bernard sounds a bit different to normal, but it really suits the tone colour and theme of the song. This really is a great opening track, with a great riffs and a great solo. 10/10
2. My Happiness. The first single off Odyssey Number Five, about the loneliness of touring, although thought to be a romantic song. Beautiful guitar riff and a really nice acoustic guitar backing up with a sweet chord progression add up to a very well made song, with changes between verse, pre-chorus, and chorus flowing smoothly. 10/10
3. Waiting for the Sun. Originally written for piano, the big guitars suit this piece much better I believe, coming in hard from the start. 2nd verse comes in with another guitar entry, working upwards, with a great mood coming out of it. Classic sing-along chorus with nice harmonic back-up vocals in both chorus and verse. Awesome instrumental section, with awesome silence at the 2:30 mark, building up to perhaps the simplest solo in history, but it works so well. 10/10
4. Pick You Up. A classic opening of one of Powderfinger’s earlier songs. Awesome vocals by Bernard in this song. It’s so weird in the first couple of choruses, where the instruments are jamming away aggressively, and Bernard’s voice is so calm and collected. The even weirder thing is that it works so well. Erie guitar solo sings over the top of Bernard’s calm voice around the 2 minute mark, followed by a held back verse, which builds up slowly, and you can literally hear all the instruments, Bernard included, are waiting to just explode again, and that feeling really works well. Bernard then explodes with his vocals in the final chorus. It’s awesome! 10/10
5. Passenger. Winning best composition for 1998, this song a classic, with a lone guitar entering at the beginning, setting the tone for Bernard’s emotional voice to enter. Epic Bridge building to the great sing-along chorus. More guitars enter in the 2nd verse, and set a really nice mood. Ending complimented with saxophones. Great song, but not a very good recording, with Bernard’s voice sounding extremely nasal. 9/10
6. Don’t Wanna Be Left Out. A very unusual type of intro for Powderfinger, with frantic instruments all round. An offbeat drum beat enters, and there’s a really funky atmosphere, with the frenzied vocal part entering. With an even more frantic chorus, this song is a classic for a party or a concert, and is sure to get the crowd going. Very rocky bridge, with a very piercing solo. 9/10
7. These Days – Two Hands version. Incredibly simple bass intro, with a beautiful vocal by Bernard entering in. A harsher guitar riff brings you right into the song, and the beautiful chorus. Variations on the verse follow, making a very interesting piece of music. Epic instrumental section comes in around the 2:30 mark, and suits the piece really well, which is why Powderfinger are such a good band (they’re song writing ability). I personally prefer the piano version, and find it more emotional, but both are Australian rock classics. 9/10
8. The Day You Come. A very pop-like intro sets a great mood for the vocals to enter. Perfect simple guitar riff enters and reinforces the pop-like genre for the song. Very airy chorus, with the harmonic vocal section floating over the instruments. Bit of an awkward instrumental section, which luckily doesn’t last long. 8.5/10
9. D.A.F. Soft guitar intro actually reminds me of ABBA, but then Bernard enters, and that disappears, with one of my favourite melodies of all time. Chorus doesn’t really change much, but it all sounds awesome. Bernard really shines in this song, with brilliant vocals. Bit of trivia if you didn’t already know (which wouldn’t be many of you): the title is the chord progression for the entire song. 9.5/10
10. My Kind of Scene. Written for Mission impossible 2, the lyrics really don’t suit. Nevertheless, it is one of my favourite songs of all time, with a really catchy drum beat, and simple guitars. Very sensual verse, and a very catchy chorus, this song really is a classic. Very laid-back instrumental section, before the screeching guitar enters, with a huge build-up to the final choruses. 9.5/10
11. Like A Dog. Bit of a pointless opening 30 seconds, with nothing happening, until the distorted guitar riff enters. Same sort of drum beat as Don’t Wanna Be Left Out, this song was influenced by Iggy Pop. Melody sits perfectly over the guitar riff, and in the pre-chorus there is an interesting contrast between the piercing guitar and the composed voice. The chorus guitar riff is just a variation of the blues scale, and to me doesn’t offer much, unlike the awesome verse and pre-chorus, even with a great vocal by Bernard and with heaps of aggression. Live version on These Days has an awesome bass and harmonica solo, and that would’ve really spiced up the number, and should be heard by everyone. The abrupt ending is disappointing after such a great drum build-up in the instrumental section. 7.5/10
12. Already Gone. Very nice basic verse, with a very relaxed atmosphere, building up to the amazing chorus. Guitar solo is basic but very melodic, and goes well. A great sing-along song, with lovely vocals by Bernard. 10/10
13. Process This. Another new song on the album, although this one is much more disappointing, with a try-hard feel about it, and a chorus that really doesn’t flow with the mood of the song, and doesn’t really sound right. 2/10
14. Belter. John (bass player) was paranoid that people would refer the title to domestic violence (belt her). Sorry, just a piece of trivia. Very epic and slow opening, with an awkward little guitar fill, that goes so well it is not funny. Basic chorus that sounds awesome. Nice little instrumental section, before the drum roll thing into a more full-on instrumental section. Ends the same way as the beginning, with the epic guitar riff. 10/10
15. Living Type. The verse is another relaxed affair, with laid-back guitar. A country-like chorus offers some variety from other songs on the album, with the back-up vocals working really well to create that mood. Instrumental section breaks away from the country style beginning with a very grunge mood, with very distorted guitars. A really well made song, with everything flowing, and nice guitar parts 9.5/10.
16. Thrilloilogy. Perhaps my favourite Powderfinger song… but that really depends on my mood as all of their songs could a favourite. With a spooky opening guitar riff, this song certainly has that epic concept which Powderfinger set out to write in it. Bernard’s voice enters beautifully to create a very, almost scary, mood, with the drums coming in perfectly to elaborate on Powderfinger’s song writing ability. Pre-chorus seems to be a resolution, but the chorus just brings it right back to the spooky beginning, with Bernard reaching some great high notes. Great effects throughout to just reinforce the spookiness of the song. A very held-back instrumental section, with great guitar parts to engage the listener, builds up into a huge climax of pure class. The opening riff enters again, played on the piano though this time. Beautiful female vocals enter and really sweeten the mood. Slow build-up really tenses you, with an impatient guitar twiddling around in the background, until the final section hits you in the face. Although already a long song, I believe it could’ve gone longer, instead of just finishing with a fade (listen to live version on These Days and you’ll see what I mean). 10/10
17. Sink low. This song is about the band touring around Australia in the early nineties, when the drove from Brisbane to Sydney to Melbourne to Adelaide at least 25 time between 1992 and 1996. Acoustic number helps you to really capture the emotion of the band, with beautiful guitar parts. Chorus really reaches you, and gives you an idea of sadness, although it’s hard to depict what about. Very short song and could’ve gone longer, and built up a bit more, but I think it is a fitting end to the album. 9/10
Powderfinger are a great band, but if you want to know about their music besides Vulture Street and Odyssey Number Five (although there are quite a few songs from Odyssey Number Five) like me, then this album is the perfect way to introduce you to that.