Saturday, October 9, 2010

Forgotten Album of the Month: Crowded House

Forgotten Album of the Month: Crowded House

This may strike some people as rather odd because Crowded House are more on the pop side of things as opposed to other bands on this blog but that’s at least one thing that makes them so special, that even a diehard alternative rock fan can dig some good Australian pop. In 1988, when they released their sophomore effort, Temple of Low Men, they were cast aside because many people found the record too dark and hard to swallow in light of their hits “Something So Strong” and “Don’t Dream It’s Over.” But on this record, frontman Neil Finn began to really find his voice and the result was a collection of some of the best written songs of the late ‘80s.

While some songs like “Kill Eye” may strike the listener as incredibly dark, it’s merely an appetizer for what else the record holds. Without a doubt, one of Crowded House’s best ever songs, “Into Temptation” is a ballad about what lies on the other side of marriage. The way the acoustic melody and Neil’s vocals come together just make the song so powerful and haunting and the fact that it didn’t become a bigger hit is an absolute abomination. Other tracks like “Mansion in the Slums” with it’s slinking horns is unlike anything they’d ever recorded up to that point but again, that’s just another one of this record’s strength.

Probably the biggest highlight of the record is “Sister Madly,” a rollicking little romp with Richard Thompson contributing the solo; taking the record’s performance and enhancing the hell out of it live, it quickly became a fan favorite. The final song on the record, “Better Be Home Soon,” which became the first single in America, is a downtempo ballad that, while a great song, didn’t really scream out ‘I’m a single,’ but in the end, it’s lackluster performance may be one reason why the record didn’t perform like it’s predecessor but over the years, it’s significance has grown and with the band making great music again, it’s about time to dig into the past to see how they got where they are now and this record is as good as any a place to start. (Better Be Home Soon) (Into Temptation) (When You Come)

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