Dad-Pop? : Where do you stand on Crowded House?

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Classic or Dud? Search and Destroy if you like.

High quality songcraft or dull dad-pop?

Dr. C, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Where do I stand? On their collective heads wearing some big-ass boots with nifty nails on them. Fuck them and their duller than FC Liverpool's game dad-pop crap.

Erm, you wouldn't per chance rate them Dr.C? ;)

Omar, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Truthfully, I was a bit of a Split Enz fan, so I picked up the first Crowded House album. A fair song here and there ("Mean to Me," "World Where You Live,") but largely pretty dreary by comparison to some of Split Enz's more energetic moments, so I left it at that.

alex in nyc, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Ask me when I'm 40.

No, honestly. Crowded House strike me as the kind of band I will end up liking for their high quality song craft (incidentally high quality song craft and dull dad-pop seems like a non-choice to me, har). At the moment I don't like them one bit.

Tom, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Crowded House have merely mastered the semblance of craft.

Scott, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Pre-match needle like that isn't going to distract the mighty reds from their task of crushing the puny Basque potato aphids this evening, Omar : )

stevie t, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

What has being 40 got to do with dad-rock/dad-hood etc...? I can hate the Finns bros better, because I've been at it longer.

Split Enz: if you're not severe metal (Krokus) or cult soul (Klymaxx), please spell your name correctly. Dud.

mark s, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

No implication intended. It's just a reasonable span of years from my current age and time enough for my tastes to shift towards high- quality song craft.

Tom, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Crowded House is my guilty pleasure. I love their first three albums, although I've often felt I would be better served by making one long CD that combines the best songs and leaves out the couple painfully self-consciously cheese-pop ones. Still, I refuse to skip the songs I don't like, probably as some kind of self-flagellation for liking Crowded House in the first place.

I most often listen to them when I write. Unobtrusive, yet catchy, their songs make perfect pleasant background music that you might want to sing along to occasionally.

I would never force anybody else to listen to them, and honestly, I don't know I would want to spend time with some one who considered Crowded House their favorite band. But try to take them away from me and you'll draw back a bloody stump.

Jenny, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

First album fun and catchy, everything I've heard after that = blah.

Patrick, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

To open up the issue a little more (and atone for my barely-provoked soccerism earlier), I wonder is 'dad pop' or adult pop a completely irredeemable genre? I mean, I love the Blue Nile, and there are songs by Crowded House (eg '4 Seasons in One Day') that are sweet. I quite like the idea of an adult pop song, along the lines of Cole Porter, Rogers & Hart etc for the twenty first century. Maybe Stephin Merritt is adult pop, I dunno. But come on, I don't want to have to start listening to *jazz* when I get older!

stevie t, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Stevie forget about Crowed Fart. You'll probably right about The Red Scare winning tonight, dullness always wins against beauty (witness Bayern's frustating ascent in the C.L.). Footie fans all over Europe are still stroking their chins trying to figure out how such a shite team as LFC beat the mighty AS Roma. Mark probably has some nice insights in the matter ;) Where's DJ Martian when you need him! :)

Omar, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Mark S: The name was spelled Enz to reflect the fact that they were from New Zealand. But you probably knew that. Anyhow.

Crowded House was hit and miss for me. Together Alone was a really nice album, I thought, but no one else seemed to like it. The rest I can take or leave, but make sure you keep the abyssmal "Chocolate Cake" single the hell away from me.

Sean Carruthers, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Actually I liked Together Alone as well at the time. Not so much now, but parts of it are still pretty. Basically, lots of dirge and a small number of very good (really) songs sum up their career as a whole for me.

Ally C, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

I don't understand this rep Liverpool seem to have got all of a sudden for being the new Arsenal/boredom merchants, Omar. I blame the Cruyff dynasty mouthing off in the press at every opportunity! I think Owen, Fowler, Heskey, Smicer, Berger, Gerard, Litmanen etc are some of the craftiest, most skilful attacking players in Europe. And they beat Roma by scoring two goals in Italy! Plus I don't think facing the Valenica forward line is the right time to think about playing fancy football, or in the words of my flatmate 'too much fannydangle'. So there!

stevie t, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

I think the Barca-away game had something to do with it ;) But maybe it's has to do that I'm from the House-that-Cruyff-built. To be fair I don't understand why LFC plays the way it does, and of course it would help if Litmanen, Berger, Owen and Gerard would play at the same time, too bad they don't synchronize their injuries.

Now on-topic: erm...nothing to add.

Omar, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

bought the best of ... didn't like .. too much like squeeze....esp. awful when youth did his shitty production thang to make them more 'earthy' in that shit '90s fashion - ... high quality songcraft - in this case = painting by numbers - very sterile knobless stuff for people who find the beautiful south too sarcastic.

search - 'four seasons in one day'

Peter Andre, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

A great moment in life: Smash Hits, 1992. Review of "Four Seasons In One Day". Singles reviewer says it's the sort of thing that "Radio 1 DJs will play a lot because it reminds them of their youth". A year later, somebody called Matthew Bannister arrives.

What can I say? He got it right first time. A real Johnnie Walker / Richard Skinner / Roger Scott / Bob Harris band. Now quintessential boomerised Radio 2 fodder. Henceforth, dud, but not offensively so, just boringly so; they don't bring forward any opinion from me. But, yeah, dud.

Robin Carmody, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Where do I stand on Crowded House. Well, lemme get a map and see where Britain is?

K-reg, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Funnily enough Omar, I don't like 'em - in fact I don't have an opinion about them either way. I just threw them to the wolves to see what would happen as I happened to hear a track of theirs in a shop this morning. 'Instinct' I think.

Tom is right : hi-quality songcraft and dull dad-pop are indeed the same. although it's funny how 'craft' is sneered at when applied to song-writing, but is OK when it means layering up samples or slaving over a hot turntable. Hardly any good music comes effortlessly, although it sometimes sounds that way. I don't mean Crowded house are any good, by the way.

Dr. C, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Forget Crowded House, let's talk the game. Which, logically enough, is not even being offered here on pay-per-view, much to my annoyance.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

The Scousers to win tonight of course. Hyppia, Henchoz and Carragher are the foundation along with Gerrard. Forget the likes of Smicer (lightweight)and Berger (not fit yet). Owen's useful too, and Heskey is due a big game.! If they get a keeper they'll win the league next year. I'm a Chelsea supporter by the way.

Dr. C, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Indeed? So what happens if Vialli swipes some of your guys for Watford? ;-)

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Ned - you even follow UK football (if that's indeed what's being discussed here) ?!? Damn, that's anglophile and a half.

Patrick, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

I'll take their kind over the American-rules football served up here. No commercial breaks for a start.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

They always struck me as a less wild Bufallo Tom. That's saying something. The songs are okay, I liked "Weather With You" and that one about 4 seasons in one day, the dude digs the weather! They aren't really dad-rock, that's Paul Weller isn't it?

My football prediction: Sol Campbell to stay at Tottenham, to be joined by Teddy Sheringham, but not Petit. And Spurs to finish about 7th next season. I've a feeling there could be a shock result tonight.

james e l, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

So what happens if Vialli swipes some of your guys for Watford? ;-)

Fulham will be pretty active in the transfer market as well. ;)

scott p., Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Vialli IS going to swipe some of our boys - Wise, Lambourde and a couple of reserves. I wish someone would swipe most of the rest actually - specifically Leboeuf, Desailly, Bogaarde, Babayaro, Stanic, Jokanovic, and De Goey. We'd be better off without all of them.Looks like Petit is coming our way though, andI reckon they'll bid for Fowler again if he doesn't start tonight. Not long to go, better go and warm up the set.

Dr. C, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Ask me when I'm 40. No, honestly. Crowded House strike me as the kind of band I will end up liking for their high quality song craft (Tom)

But don't you already like 'high quality song craft' (if not the Crowded House variety)? But seriously, won't you still like the things you like now when you're 40? And if not, why not?

David, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

And in conclusion of the other subject, Liverpool 5-4. Cruyff hangs head in shame at his team's giving the cup to the Reds and apologizes to everyone for being a mouthy idiot. Well, that's the headline that would be nice to see.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

It was a good match mind, and Jordi did score the last equaliser. It was kind of a shock result.

james e l, Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Goddammit does every place frequented by the English eventually end up discussing soccer??

I blame Ned. Even if he didn't start it. I know him. He has powers.

Josh (not acting as ILM moderator), Wednesday, 16 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

I'm very glad you have acknowledged my abilities. Give in to the love.

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 17 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

What is soccer? ;)

Great game. I went for a walk with my daughter when L*****l went up 2- 0 came back it's 3-1, I sit down and before I know it's 3-3. Nice to know there are still games like this one. LFC would have won on penalties anyhow, only the Dutch are worse penalty-takers than the Spanish.

Omar, Thursday, 17 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

It would make a good dissertation subject "an analysis of the discussion of football, in non-football related websites".

james e l, Thursday, 17 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Somehow I always associate futbol with dads. So perhaps the degeneration here is apt.

Sean Carruthers, Thursday, 17 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

split enz were crap after phil judd left. then the finns moved the band to australia and they were even more crap. neil finn does say andrew brough is the best songwriter ever oit of new zealand though and that is kinda cool.

keith, Friday, 18 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

First up, congratulations to Stevie - again.

Second up: Tom E, you are wrong to equate 'finely-honed song-craft' with 'dull dad pop'. OK, we could take a detour into Stevie's very good, well-put, and largely unexplored, point about how 'adult pop' might be a good thing - we really ought to take that detour soon. But for the meantime, I'm going to put that aside, assume that we are talking denigration, and say, Tom, for heaven's sake, you are really out of order here. Why is it OK to slag off - en masse, and with no discrimination - songwriters who think for 5 minutes about what they're doing and are interested in how melodies work, when anyone who slagged off DJs, hip-hop producers, Geri Halliwell's publicists, or whatever, would be machine-gunned at 200 paces? And how would you like it if I said something like 'All computer programmers from Oxford are boring bastards?'

the pinefox, Monday, 21 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Is that congatulations for sticking up for Crowded House, or congratulations of a more vicarious, red nature?

Nick, Monday, 21 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Guilty as charged, Pinefox. I stand by my comments on Crowded House but there's nothing wrong with songwriters. I was just being arsey cause I was having a bad day.

OK, refinement of my comments - drawing attention to 'songcraft' is perhaps the parallel of what I was talking about in the pop thread i.e. drawing attention to producercraft. Whether this is a reason to talk more about songcraft or less about producercraft is up to the individual reader.

I've now even written about Lloyd Cole on FT to assuage your ire.

And while I'm not exactly happy with my job, I'm not a computer programmer, so you can abuse Oxford computer programmers as much as you like.

Tom, Monday, 21 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

I'm not a computer programmer, so you can abuse Oxford computer programmers as much as you like.

Shocking attitude Tom. First they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I said nothing. Then they came for the freemasons, but I was not a freemason so I said nothing. Then they came for the trade unionists, so I said nothing. Then they came for Dani Behr, and said 'She's over there, hiding in the cupboard'. etc.

Not, Monday, 21 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

I'm not quite sure why I called myself 'Not' there.

Nick, Monday, 21 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Nick: it was footy, naturally. I think Stevie's suffered enough. It's a false dawn anyway. That's what my crafty producer tells me.

Tom:

>>> drawing attention to 'songcraft' is perhaps the parallel of what I was talking about in the pop thread i.e. drawing attention to producercraft.

I think I understand this - in the pop thread you were saying it was maybe a (slightly) bad thing for people to do that, right? In fact, if memory serves, you were saying that it was a way of denying emotion (or rather, a way of talking that didn't really do justice to emotion); so you're saying that talking about song-craft has roughly the same effect?

But then this -

>>> Whether this is a reason to talk more about songcraft or less about producercraft is up to the individual reader

- has me a tad stumped.

Naturally and predictably, I would rather talk more about the former and less about the latter, at least insofar as the latter means the kind of producers that interest you. But to be honest I'm still not sure I understand this comment.

>>> I've now even written about Lloyd Cole on FT to assuage your ire.

You mean FT exists?

>>> And while I'm not exactly happy with my job, I'm not a computer programmer, so you can abuse Oxford computer programmers as much as you like.

Hey, everybody! We can abuse Oxford computer programmers as much as we like! Who wants to start?

There is a bigger issue here, somewhere, about the way that certain ways of talking about music - which concern sound, texture, atmosphere, rhythm, technology, plus contexts and reception - have, on one hand, provided a tremendous enrichment of the critical vocabulary (visible, I guess, in a lot of what people write on FT / ILM), but have also displaced a sense of 'the song' as a unit of attention, or even a belief in 'the song' as an autonomous entity (I think I mean: analytically relatively autonomous from the other things I just mentioned). While I think the enrichment is (like I just said) terrific, I feel out on a limb in terms of conceptions of the song, because in my world 'the song' is still the primary unit of thought about music, and I have what might - probably pejoratively - be called a 'Platonic' sense of it. As I have in part said before, the only alternatives are musicology proper (to which I am inadequate) and earnest lyrical analysis (which I have argued in the past is largely inappropriate and should, indeed, be integrated into a more holistic sense of what's going on in a musical track or situation). So I still think that something is missing from the critical vocabulary.

the pinefox, Monday, 21 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Pinefox has articulated some ideas which I've been struggling with for a while. But where are the songs today? In the charts? Yes, but we often get sidetracked by the latest ear-catching production tricks, and miss the rest.

I need to think this through more.

Dr. C, Monday, 21 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

In an age where the majority of recorded music is made by people who can't read a stave, or know a G7 from the Tokyo Global Pollution Accords, you can't separate "song" from "production trick". Nobody (not even the Pinefox) could notate "Get Ur Freak On": that doesn't stop it being a song.

mark s, Monday, 21 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

*genuflects before Mark Sinker*

Robin Carmody, Monday, 21 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

I find Mark S to be very intelligent and richly insightful, and I don't want to seem to disagree strongly with such a person. But I think I do disagree, for roughly the reasons I gave above. Possibly the reasons I gave above (the 'ideas' I tried to discuss above) won't quite do as 'reasons' in an 'argument', but they do give you an idea of where I'm coming from, which happens to be different from where Mark S is coming from. We could persist in a 'debate' about it, or at least continue to elaborate differing ideas; but maybe we should just accept that we are, in this instance, coming from different places.

Mark S, and everybody else, will be unsurprised to hear that I don't know what 'Get Your (Ur, was it?) Freak On' (?) is.

the pinefox, Tuesday, 22 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

By the way, we never did pursue Stevie T's very serious and good point about 'adult pop' as a long-term historical phenomenon (I think that he means 'adult pop' as exemplified by Ella Fitzgerald).

the pinefox, Tuesday, 22 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

I think you are, Pinefox ... :).

Robin Carmody, Tuesday, 22 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Pinefox has put a finger on a weird articulation in the joints of the pop body.

Two phenomena have recently violated the wholeness of the Song. Dance music and DJing is one. DJs generally playing tracks that are explicitly meant to be shut off well before the song ends, and begun well after it's started. The songs are relational, and not sufficient unto themselves. Pop songs, especially those that rub shoulders with club music, are inevitably incorporating some of those sonic strategies - wandering instruments almost disembodied from the melody, appearing, disappearing of the course of the track.

The second 'ting, which is still as yet a bit unformed in my mind (so take me apart please) -- is that clearly, somewhere along the line, most pop artists have REALLY started paying attention to production detail. Which at its most extreme one could see as just decadence, a kind of vice, or a way to avoid saying what's on your mind. I think this begins roughly when pop artists became expected to write their own songs, be "original." Not everybody's capable of stunning insight over the course of an album, but get the right producer and everything can sound... shiny. Or scratchy. Or etc. Take even an old "bass-heavy" Led Zeppelin track and put it side by side with any current pop-tune. Both CDs will probably fall over on your table, but the Zep track will fall first. No bass. (tha-dump)

(Commence arm-twisting) -- I guess what I'm proposing is that once the expectation was set that studio recordings of pop musicians were to be original, authentic, sui generis, it stood to reason that the sonic texture (which people were just starting to notice as hi-fis and headphones became more common) must be as well.

None of this really argues that the sonics and lyric significance of a song can't be holistically balanced. I think Get Ur Freak On does this very well, actually. But I think the historical moment when a song could be complete in and of itself (am I demagoguing you pf? or not understanding?) has passed, and the body really is violated with all kinds of glitter paint and textural nipple-piercings.

Tracer Hand, Tuesday, 22 May 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

That's the one. It's the other two who seem less keen with that line-up

PaulTMA, Saturday, 6 March 2021 16:21 (three months ago) link

I love the three new songs on their Recurring Dream best-of, but almost nothing else they did sticks for me. I don't know what those three have in common (different drummer?).

Halfway there but for you, Saturday, 6 March 2021 16:27 (three months ago) link

you like those new songs more than "Don't Dream It's Over," "Whispers and Moans," "Better Be Home Soon," etc?

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 6 March 2021 16:29 (three months ago) link

Yes, strange! I like "Don't Dream It's Over" in Neil Finn's acoustic version on the Diana tribute. Maybe Mitchell Froom is to blame.

Halfway there but for you, Saturday, 6 March 2021 16:56 (three months ago) link

Huh, those new tracks on the best-of are among the Froom-iest. "Not the Girl You Think You Are" is lovely, but it's pretty much all Optigan. Then again, so is this Neil Finn produced Dave Dobbyn track:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20qq1kl2kYg

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 6 March 2021 17:09 (three months ago) link

Oh, I thought he had stopped producing them at that point. I have no explanation then.

Halfway there but for you, Saturday, 6 March 2021 17:25 (three months ago) link

Maybe I'm wrong, but I thought those are Froom productions. I know he produced the second Finn Brothers record, and returned to producing crowded house later. and Tchad Blake I think has always been involved.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 6 March 2021 17:27 (three months ago) link

Blake engineered the first three, and had co-producer credit with Froom and Finn on the Recurring Dream singles. I'm pretty sure he wasn't involved at all on the fourth album (produced by Youth in New Zealand), or on the "Crowded House II" albums.

Blake did produce the "Finn" album released in the US as Finn Brothers, but didn't work with Froom on the first/second "Finn Brothers" album. (Also NB: the Finn brothers' home demos for what became Woodface finally came out officially on a deluxe edition four years ago.)

Froom has not only produced the upcoming Crowded House Mk III album, he has joined the band as keyboardist, been playing remotely on their lockdown live videos, and moved to New Zealand earlier this year to take part in the world tour starting on Wednesday, in which the band will travel to every country that it is safe to enter and tour.


almost nothing else they did sticks for me. I don't know what those three have in common (different drummer?).

No, Hester came back for those three,* and is even in the videos. His replacement, Peter Jones, only played on some demos that ended up on their b-sides-y comp.

*but! Ricky Fataar played on Weather With You.

armoured van, Holden (sic), Saturday, 6 March 2021 19:45 (three months ago) link

Yeah, no Froom or Blake on "Together Alone" or "Intriguer" iirc, but some combination of those two on almost everything else for a while, including the two Finn Bros. albums and Neil's first two solo records. Wow, I didn't know that Peter Jones, who replaced Hester in Crowded House Mk I, died in 2012. Brain cancer.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 6 March 2021 20:05 (three months ago) link

Even among their stellar catalogue, Together Alone is such a rich, rich gem.

incredible pant century (stevie), Saturday, 6 March 2021 20:33 (three months ago) link

xp

Huh, yeah, Blake even mixed a few tracks on CH2's first album Time On Earth, and co-produced and co-recorded and mixed the Neil & Liam album with Mick Fleetwood on from 2018*.

Together Alone (1994), 7 Worlds Collide (2009 Neil-convened supergroup with Johnny Marr, Bic Runga, Lisa Germano, half each of Radiohead and Wilco etc), and Pajama Club (2011 stoned home-recorded collabo between Neil and wife Sharon) look to be the only published album-length projects Neil's ever done without one of them, since the first collab in 1986. I'd put an asterisk on Time On Earth and Try Whistling This (two tracks produced by Blake, another seven mixed) but still.



*now that Fleetwood is all "I'm pals with Lindsay Buckingham again and want to record with him," and was grumpy about the record company not letting him release several albums of stoner jams with Neil before he got Finn in to replace Lindsay, it'd be hilairs if they formed a Buckingham McFinn while the rest of Fleetwood Mac maintain the rage.

armoured van, Holden (sic), Saturday, 6 March 2021 20:51 (three months ago) link

Even among their stellar catalogue, Together Alone is such a rich, rich gem.

Yes it's a bummer that that lineup of classic-era Crowded House (the longest-lasting!) didn't get to make another record, preferably with Youth.

armoured van, Holden (sic), Saturday, 6 March 2021 20:53 (three months ago) link

The single version moves the chorus to right after the bridge, so there is that

huh! had no idea such a thing existed. but just listened to the demo version they released on the deluxe version of "woodface" where they do indeed do it that way, and you can hear it as the proper pre-chorus it clearly was meant to be, and... it totally doesn't work.

also, xxxxxxp, i love the close harmonies.

fact checking cuz, Saturday, 6 March 2021 21:00 (three months ago) link

only published album-length projects Neil's ever done without one of them

I *think* neither Froom nor Blake had anything to do with "Dizzy Heights" (which is Dave Fridmann) or "Out of Silence."

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 6 March 2021 21:15 (three months ago) link

I completely forgot those existed (never listened to them or the CHmkII records) (Liam produced Out Of Silence)

armoured van, Holden (sic), Saturday, 6 March 2021 21:23 (three months ago) link

The CHmkII albums are pretty good, though there's nothing that really distinguishes them from Neil Finn solo albums. I think the first two solo Neil albums are excellent, but his subsequent albums have been really, well, yeah, loose and stoned. They come across more like R&D than albums to me.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 6 March 2021 21:39 (three months ago) link

I think this breaks it down to an extent btw:

1986-2007: nine albums + Recurring Dream, eight with at least some Froom and/or Blake
2009-2017: five albums, no Blake/Froom
2018-2021: two albums, one with each.

(the last would have been out in 2020 but for pandemic. He's kept close to an album every two years average for 34 years, and those Fleetwood jams would have tipped it.)

armoured van, Holden (sic), Saturday, 6 March 2021 22:16 (three months ago) link

Yes it's a bummer that that lineup of classic-era Crowded House (the longest-lasting!) didn't get to make another record, preferably with Youth.

agreed. Hester was such a wonderful presence when they played live, too. And Youth really seemed to loosen Neil up.

incredible pant century (stevie), Sunday, 7 March 2021 11:42 (three months ago) link

(I specifically meant the Finn/Hester/Seymour/Hart version of CH, that held together for nearly two and a half years - a wild record for the original version of the band,* given that Finn seemed to (accurately**) regard Hester as the only important member of the group, and either get annoyed with, or be offputting to, anyone else who hung around.)

Yes, Hester rules the live albums both as co-bandleader and as chatty goofball. I used to keep a cassette cued in the radio on Friday afternoons, after he left the band, because he'd be the standby guest on a nationally-networked drive-time show, driving in to talk nonsense if a proper celeb couldn't be bothered to turn up that close to the weekend.

*(that lineup had a trial in the first half of 1989, then ran from late '91 til Hester left in April '94, with Hart becoming the first actual full-time fourth member since 1985, in '92.)

** (though the version with Eddie Rayner on keyboards c. 1987-88 was THEE BEST EVER, he probably wouldn't have fit as well into the jammier live style later, or gelled with Youth)

armoured van, Holden (sic), Sunday, 7 March 2021 12:22 (three months ago) link

That live record that came with the Recurring Dreams CD is the only Crowded House I ever properly heard, but it's pretty good, this version of Sister Madly where Hester makes a mistake and derails the song completely is pretty amusing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fz7Wvd4oBHA

Maresn3st, Sunday, 7 March 2021 12:40 (three months ago) link

I used to have a bunch of live recordings, which are tons of fun. My fave was probably this one, the last night of the Woodface tour:

https://archive.org/details/crowdedhouselondon9nov1991

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 7 March 2021 15:25 (three months ago) link

three months pass...

I like the new album, more than the last two CH albums.

for the life of me I dont understand the issues expressed with "weather with you" up above. Yes it's sung in harmony...so? Yes the prechorus doesn't lead immediately into the chorus...so? That makes it more interesting and less predictable to me. The thing is still an earworm!

akm, Wednesday, 9 June 2021 15:33 (one week ago) link

The harmony clutters up the song.

Halfway there but for you, Wednesday, 9 June 2021 15:39 (one week ago) link

no, you clutter up the song

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 9 June 2021 15:40 (one week ago) link

i like the lush vocal feel of that song

akm, Wednesday, 9 June 2021 15:48 (one week ago) link

it's not an elliott smith 4 track thing

akm, Wednesday, 9 June 2021 15:49 (one week ago) link

On some days I do find the close harmony kind of annoying.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 9 June 2021 15:49 (one week ago) link

for the life of me I dont understand the issues expressed with "weather with you" up above. Yes it's sung in harmony...so? Yes the prechorus doesn't lead immediately into the chorus...so?

as the person who introduced the great prechorus controversy, i agree with you! i just found it weird and interesting and worth a mention. i think it's great. i don't understand the issues w/the harmony either.

fact checking cuz, Wednesday, 9 June 2021 16:07 (one week ago) link

I was watching a 60 Minutes Australia piece on the band, and it was ... kinda stupid. Like, they keep talking about the magical chemistry of the new line-up. Well, duh. Nick has been there from the beginning, Mitchell Froom has produced or played on half their recordings, and Liam and Elroy are Neil's kids, so ... yeah. And then they keep referring to this as some sort of grand reunion, dismissing the previous reunion - which lasted five years and produced two albums - as "short lived." It has, however, assuaged a longstanding regret of mine, though. I interviewed Neil some years back, and I was struck by what a relatively dull subject he was, not at all what I expected. I figured it was my fault. But the more interviews I read and see with him, the more I realize that, no, it's really just him. Like, he dutifully does the rounds but (perhaps understandably) finds the whole thing something of a chore.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 9 June 2021 19:22 (one week ago) link

I like the new album, more than the last two CH albums.

I completely bounced off the last lineup (without ever putting in any effort, Hessie 4 eva), but this really does sound like a band. For obvious reasons, of course, but it does feel like it was worth sacking the last group for, instead of indulgent nepotism.

bobo honkin' slobo babe (sic), Wednesday, 9 June 2021 19:43 (one week ago) link

xp - that's something the core trio of the original band had: a spark between the personalities, and a dedicated jester, to make their press more fun than Neil's "I like to smoke pot at home with my wife and write songs, and there's not much to say about that" vibes

bobo honkin' slobo babe (sic), Wednesday, 9 June 2021 19:48 (one week ago) link

Yeah, otm. And re: the new lineup, I think it helps that Liam is really, really talented, as a writer and player, and not just a (more or less) hired gun like Mark Hart was. And Froom has been so integral to the band's sound that it makes sense that he would be, well, integrated into the band. Elroy ... I don't think Crowded House needs a particularly flashy drummer at this point, just a guy to keep the beat. I remember when Neil was touring his first couple solo albums, his group featured some ringers, like Lisa Germano and Sebastian Steinberg, but the drummer was just a guy doing what he needed to do to propel the shuffling lo-fi Froom/Blake studio vibe.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 9 June 2021 20:07 (one week ago) link

(btw, those first two Finn solo albums featured some cool contributors, from the aforementioned to Wendy & Lisa and Jim Moginie and, I just noticed, Tony Allen!)

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 9 June 2021 20:10 (one week ago) link

Drummers on those tours were (or included) bloke from Radiohead, bloke from Creation band Arnold, and... Liam Finn.

bobo honkin' slobo babe (sic), Wednesday, 9 June 2021 21:15 (one week ago) link

Pretty sure it was none of the above! Liam would have been 19, so ... maybe, but I'm sure I would have remembered him being introduced. It was definitely not Phil Selway. Looks like Arnold toured with Finn in the UK in 1998, so he would have met their drummer, but no idea who that was. Made extra hard to search when your band name is a person's name.

Here's the Finn band at the time, 2002, doing one of my fave Finn songs:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHmdD4Qhr7c

I think the other guy in that lineup was Shon Sullivan, aka Goldenboy, who also played with Elliott Smith.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 9 June 2021 21:42 (one week ago) link

Arnold bloke was their lead singer too, I think, and returned for at least the 2001 UK tour.

Goldenboy was a frequent band member around that time, yeah, as was Johnny Marr.

Saw Finn in 1999 and 2000 and think Steinberg / Germano were in the group at least once, and am sure Liam and Jim Moginie were in 1999, but can't remember who drummed (though I think there was some instrument-swapping in '99).

(Also saw Neil & Tim with Nick Seymour and Don McGlashan backing them around 2005, and teenage Elroy miiiight have been drumming?)

bobo honkin' slobo babe (sic), Wednesday, 9 June 2021 22:06 (one week ago) link

((Also saw the Violet Femmes as a five-piece including Mogine in the '00s.))

bobo honkin' slobo babe (sic), Wednesday, 9 June 2021 22:08 (one week ago) link

Don't think Marr (or Selway) did more than the one-off live show or maybe two, but I could be wrong. I know Marr co-wrote a song on the first Crowded House reunion album.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 9 June 2021 22:49 (one week ago) link

Marr toured multiple countries, but played less than half of each show.

bobo honkin' slobo babe (sic), Wednesday, 9 June 2021 23:12 (one week ago) link

(At least partly to stay under the radar, so he could just enjoy playing and people wouldn't be buying tickets to see him, as you'd never know if he was actually getting up in that city.)

bobo honkin' slobo babe (sic), Wednesday, 9 June 2021 23:14 (one week ago) link

re interviews, several times I've had the impression that Neil has anger issues - if so he keeps a tight lid on it, which I speculate makes him a dull subject, but I remember stories about outbursts at audiences who talked during songs etc.

assert (matttkkkk), Wednesday, 9 June 2021 23:21 (one week ago) link

OK, listening to the new one again, it is of course absolutely lovely stuff, and it does sound pretty organic, but it doesn't really sound like Crowded House, or at least how that band used to sound. Nor does it really need to. When Finn put out those first two impeccably weird and knotty but of course still super well crafted solo albums I always felt it was him shaking off the shackles of commercial expectations. Not that he really had any at the point, or, you know, expected them, but his whole mode of writing seemed to shift, imo, applying his knack for melodies and hooks to stranger sounds and structures within the singer-songwriter pop mode. I like a lot of the two comeback Crowded House albums, but they felt like they were splitting the difference to me; in fact iirc at least the first one actually *was* intended as another Neil solo album at one point. Anyway, this one is much more relaxed, easing into the idea of a band in spirit even if it doesn't necessarily recall the specific band in name. Which is to say, a gifted songwriter who, yeah, sounds like he'd be just fine staying home to smoke pot with his wife, but if you need him to write some amazing tunes, he's down with that, too.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 10 June 2021 00:36 (one week ago) link

I'm not familiar with Liam's work, is it worth delving into?

akm, Thursday, 10 June 2021 18:09 (one week ago) link

I really liked his first solo album I'll Be Lighting, and loved the one-man-band shows he was doing around then. But then, like his dad, he kept doing all these one offs and EPs and collaborations and I got distracted.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 10 June 2021 18:24 (one week ago) link

*checks discography* I haven't listened to a whole new Liam record in twenty years *ossifies promptly*

2000 Betchadupa EP by Betchadupa
2001 The 3D EP by Betchadupa
2002 The Alpabetchadupa by Betchadupa
2004 Aiming For Your Head by Betchadupa
2007 I'll Be Lightning
2009 Champagne In Seashells EP by Liam Finn and Eliza Jane
2010 Barb by Barb (band including Connan Mockasin and EJ)
2011 FOMO
2014 The Nihilist
2018 Lightsleeper by Neil & Liam

bobo honkin' slobo babe (sic), Thursday, 10 June 2021 22:03 (one week ago) link

lol, so I wasn't wrong that pretty much everything he did was under a different name or with different people.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 10 June 2021 22:06 (one week ago) link

He also plays and sings and writes (and sometimes produces) on most of Neil's records this century, and is on 20 Crowded House Mk II live albums from 2007 (inc two in Chicago)

bobo honkin' slobo babe (sic), Thursday, 10 June 2021 22:43 (one week ago) link

I saw him with Crowded House here, because he was in the band at the time. Also opened.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 10 June 2021 23:00 (one week ago) link

That Rolling Stone interview is actually pretty good for once.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 11 June 2021 00:34 (one week ago) link


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