So I put this into the CD-ROM as I sit down to type, and I actually notice something I've never noticed before. I'm always finding new things in King's X albums, especially Ear Candy, faith hope love, and this one. I read an interview with Doug back when faith hope love came out, and he said that they'd done a much better job of capturing the rattle of his bass on the album. So as that first chord from the dulcimer on Out Of The Silent Planet hits, I realized that the swelling noise panning back and forth before the guitars kick in is Doug's bass! I'd never realized it before (I always thought it was some kinds of synth, but Ty has stated that none were used on any of the early albums).
Next comes Over My Head, which had always been an uplifting song for me. But now I own the Best Of CD, with a live version from Woodstock, and Doug tells the story behind the lyrics' inspiration, and I have a whole new view on this song. The ad-libbed lines toward the end now make more sense. The first time I heard the live version, I.... No, I'll save that for the Best Of review.
Summerland is my brother's favorite King's X song, and I love the mellow vibe over the jerky guitar riff. And the "oohs" are very cool, sitting low in the mix and just adding to the feel. Then when it kicks in at the end of the solo, the toms just throb! And this is where you really get to hear the emotion in Doug's voice. Nothing even close to this was happening elsewhere in rock/metal in 1989. This album was a critic's darling and commercial failure for good reason. When true talent and originality comes along, the general public just doesn't get it.
"Now, everyone's entitled to his own opinion"
"Criticism without knowledge"
One of the band's best lyrics, followed closely by Legal Kill's:
"I read somewhere to learn is to remember"
"And I've learned we've all forgot"
Now, why couldn't any of those hair bands get mellow like In The Garden Of St.-Anne's-On-The-Hill, without it being some sappy love ballad with no other value than to get the little girls to buy their albums? Sorry!
The jam at the end of I'll Never Feel The Same is just a hint at what these boys can do live!
Mission does the perfect job of showing where these guys stand spiritually. They may be believers in Jesus, but the organized churches around them seem pretty hypocritical. I find my own feelings swinging that way often. I openly declare myself a Christian, but I haven't been to a formal church service in a decade. I'm not saying that's right, but I'm reminded of a lyric by Sting:
"People go crazy in congregations"
"They only get better one by one"
"HUH!!" - While MTV was (occaisionally, and late at night) playing Over My Head and Summerland, KNAC (the heavy metal station here in southern California from 1986-1995) always opted for their own picks, not the record labels. Fall On Me got more air-play from them than Black Flag ever got from KLOS when Atlantic was actually promoting the band.
I talk in my faith hope love review about how much they do the extended jam building on a riff. Well, Pleiades is where it all started, and it was all an accident. When Ty recorded the original demo of this, he reportedly played an incredible solo that they could never recapture in the studio to his satisfaction for the album, so they scrapped it and did this instead. Funny what great things can come from the spontaneity of the truly talented. They also do this sort of thing on Out Of The Silent Planet, Fall On Me, and The Burning Down, but I think it's the coolest here.
"That's just the way it is"
"Some things will never change"
"Ah, but don't you believe it"- Bruce Hornsby
Sorry, but I'm upset to just now learn my CD has a scratch that has all but destroyed the first half of Send A Message! This is actually the simplest song on the album. Jerry's kick pattern never changes from verse to chorus to solo. But the lyrics make it far from a tacked-on filler song. This band just isn't capable of doing a bad song. Well, they have come close!
The Burning Down: what's left to say? This album is just incredible, and this song is one of the band's all time best! Listen closely at the end to Ty's note swells and see if you can here Jesus Loves Me. Much more subtle than on Legal Kill and Not Just For The Dead. I think I like this album best because it really is the most subtle. On the surface, you hear some great songs, but the more you listen, the more unusual details you start to notice. I still think Gretchen has more to it than any other King's X album: I'm still finding things almost nine years later!
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