liz_marcs (liz_marcs) wrote,
liz_marcs
liz_marcs

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Music from the Cube: What Am I Listening To Today?

Random observation: 5-and-a-half-hours to Bruce!

Just sayin'.

Today we're sort of back in the land of the single-artist CD. My lone Better Than Ezra CD makes its public debut. Too bad it's paired up with a compilation CD of some classic Motown tunes aka The Big Chill Original Movie Soundtrack.

Yeah. That's not at all an awkward transition.

Just FYI:
For those you who are interested, I've started "ghosting" these reviews over on my Vox Blog. Let me make this clear: I will not be moving these CD reviews over to my VOX blog nor do I have any plans to make the reviews exclusive to there.

The reason why I'm mirroring the reviews at VOX is because VOX gives me the ability to "stream" the MP3s I offer for download here. In addition, those streaming files will be available to listen to long after the downloadable files I offer through this LJ are long gone.

Now, on to the reviews and the MP3 downloads,



Better Than Ezra, Deluxe Rating=$$
[Support the Artist]
How I Got This CD: Paid full price for it while living in Rhode Island.

The main problem with Deluxe is that I have no idea what to write about it. In all honesty, I picked this CD up almost solely for 'This Time of Year,' which is included in the MP3 downloads below. However, much as I love this particular track (as in sing-at-the-top-of-my-lungs love), it isn't enough to lift it above a big ol' "meh."

Better Than Ezra is one of those many easy-listening-alt-rock bands that came out during the early- to mid-90s. Some of the bands were actually most awesome (as in Toad the Wet Sprocket awesome), others were just pathetic (paging Creed). Better Than Ezra is solidly in the middle. There's nothing to hate about this CD, but it also isn't very lovable. The three tracks that I think really stand out on this CD are offered below. Note that none of them is 'Good,' which was played within an inch of its aural life when it made the charts.

At last count, Better Than Ezra still exists as a going concern, despite some changes in the band line-up over the years, and they are still releasing CDs and touring. Deluxe, their first professionally produced CD, remains the band's high-water mark in the public eye.


Sample Song Downloads: In the Blood, Rosealia, This Time of Year

You can download all files from the project page by clicking here.



The Big Chill: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Rating=$$$
[Support the Artist]
How I Got This CD: Bought used while I was in college because I wanted 'A Whiter Shade of Pale' and the price was right on the CD.

Ahhhhh, The Big Chill. Love the soundtrack. Hate the movie. In fact, the soundtrack is the only reason to watch the movie. Actually, skip the movie and just get the soundtrack.

That said, much as I do love slapping this puppy on the CD player, I can't in good conscience give this a higher rating. Not because of the song choices — they're excellent — or the artists — they're top notch — or the fact that all the tunes are from Motown during the years when Motown was the king. If I take these elements into consideration, The Big Chill soundtrack would get a double-thumbs-up-with-grin from me.

The reason why this is rated $$$ is for purely economic reasons. There are so many used copies of this blasted soundtrack floating all over the world that I'm very sure we could use the unsold used CDs as heat-reflective shielding on the next U.S. space shuttle. You can easily find this soundtrack anywhere in the U.S. for $5. You can randomly walk down the street and trip over a used copy of this soundtrack for $6. A $7 used copy will chase you down the street, tackle you, and beg you take it home.

I think you get the picture.

Why pay new or full-price when all you have to do is walk into the closest used record store to get it? Chances are it'll even still be shrink-wrapped.


Sample Song Downloads: I Heard It Through the Grapevine — Marvin Gaye, A Whiter Shade of Pale — Procol Harem, Dancing in the Street — Martha Reeves and the Vandellas

You can download all files from the project page by clicking here.


***

To find previous thumbnail reviews, go to the Review Index.
***



Rating system:
None = Avoid at all cost. Worth cutting your ears off to avoid if someone threatens to play it for you. When faced with even the threat of its cellophane-wrapped presence, your best option is to RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!

$= If you stumble across it for cheap in a used bin, it might, maybe, perhaps could be worth the buy, but only if you need a cheap coaster for your cold drinks or a cool-looking frisbee.

$$= You might want to give this CD/artist a try, but only if the sample track tickles your fancy. Don't bother buying this one new because the good tunes you'd get out of this one ain't worth that kind of money.

$$$ = Worth looking for on a casual basis and maybe even buying new, but no big rush.

$$$$ = Definitely worth having in the ol' CD collection and definitely worth buying new, but don't re-arrange your personal "must have" list to get your hands on it.

$$$$$ = Why haven't you bought this CD yet? Go. This is a "Want. Take. Have." situation because you so want this.




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