TS: "a promise," echo and the bunnymen v. "the promise," when in rome

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believe it or not, i am going w/ when in rome here.

Eisbär (llamasfur), Friday, 27 May 2005 03:35 (fifteen years ago) link

i love echo, but "the promise" has always been my least-favorite "big" song of theirs. i usually love ian's voice and vocal tics, but here he is just unlistenably whiny & in bad need of a sock in the chops. and re chops -- will sargent's guitar is nice i guess, but otherwise it is musically just kinda neither here nor there.

"the promise," though, what a sweet bit of late 80s dance-synth cotton candy! even if the lyrics are kinda naff.

Eisbär (llamasfur), Friday, 27 May 2005 03:37 (fifteen years ago) link

I must confess to not knowing the When in Rome track. But -- yer right, Eisbo, "a Promise" by das Bunnymen is on the insufferably whiney side.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Friday, 27 May 2005 03:57 (fifteen years ago) link

i think that you would recognize "the promise," alex, if you heard it. it was a pretty big (and inescapable) hit, circa 1989-1990. as far as i know, though, it was their ONLY hit.

Eisbär (llamasfur), Friday, 27 May 2005 04:00 (fifteen years ago) link

believe it or not, i am going w/ when in rome here.

You're fired. (That said I do enjoy the When in Rome song, but Echo's song has become even better to me over the years, more and more. Mind you, it might also be because I hear it as a proto-Pumpkins song, which might explain Alex's disdain. ;-) )

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 27 May 2005 04:45 (fifteen years ago) link

Was just listening to the Bunnymen for the first time in a while yesterday so it's funny that two threads have popped up.

That said, I prefer "A Promise" -- I actually don't think my namesake sounds that whiny.

Ian Riese-Moraine's Plateau Rouge! (Eastern Mantra), Friday, 27 May 2005 09:42 (fifteen years ago) link

I HATE both songs, but I'll go with When in Rome because of that synth-bass line. "A Promise" encapsulates everything I hate about Echo.

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Friday, 27 May 2005 10:48 (fifteen years ago) link

Just heard a snippet of the When in Rome track (thank you, iTunes) and now yes...I remember it. Nice chorus, but even when pitted against the `Bunnymen's worst, I still must go with the Bunnymen,

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Friday, 27 May 2005 14:09 (fifteen years ago) link

Ouch. That's a real hard one. I actually really like the Echo "Promise". Sargent is in good form on that one.

I'm going with Echo.

The Rome "Promise" is guilty pleasure glitz pop.

Brooker Buckingham (Brooker B), Friday, 27 May 2005 14:15 (fifteen years ago) link

i'm sure that if there is some other when in rome song, and if said song were to be pitted against some other random EATB song, then i'd pick said random EATB song.

just not "a promise."

Eisbär (llamasfur), Friday, 27 May 2005 14:55 (fifteen years ago) link

"A Promise" is def. towards the top of the Echo heap for me, but even still, it doesn't even come close to the When in Rome song. One of the best songs of the decade.

The Good Dr. Bill (The Good Dr. Bill), Friday, 27 May 2005 15:12 (fifteen years ago) link

Mac's singing on "A Promise" makes Bono sound like '80s Bryan Ferry in comparison.

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Friday, 27 May 2005 15:19 (fifteen years ago) link

Look, I love Echo to bits, but that When in Rome track is superb. I probably have a stronger sense of sentimentality to it...

Quick - what recent movie featured that WiR song at the end? I'm thinking Napoleon Dynamite, but I could be mistaken...

Rob Bolton (Rob Bolton), Friday, 27 May 2005 16:54 (fifteen years ago) link

Nice chorus, but even when pitted against the `Bunnymen's worst, I still must go with the Bunnymen

even something off of reverberation?!?

Eisbär (llamasfur), Friday, 27 May 2005 17:34 (fifteen years ago) link

Rob, it was Napoleon. It was very unexpected.

Ian Riese-Moraine's Plateau Rouge! (Eastern Mantra), Friday, 27 May 2005 17:56 (fifteen years ago) link

does when in rome even have any other songs? i love echo and the bunnymen but it's not even close here, when in rome all of the way. 'the promise' never fails to brighten my day when it comes on the radio here.

keith m (keithmcl), Friday, 27 May 2005 22:41 (fifteen years ago) link

Bunnymen, because the first four bars or so are always thrilling.

Rather than whiny, the vocals are typical of a kind of anti-whine that it seemed every singer in Britain agreed to adopt in the wake of Ian Curtis. There's an affectedly rounded, throaty emphasis, in reaction to the nasal whine predominant in punk/new wave. I'm surprised to see Alex object so strongly, because the vocals here have always reminded me of "Wardance".

Curt (cgould), Friday, 27 May 2005 23:09 (fifteen years ago) link

because the vocals here have always reminded me of "Wardance".

You're high.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Friday, 27 May 2005 23:14 (fifteen years ago) link

No longer surprised.

Curt (cgould), Friday, 27 May 2005 23:19 (fifteen years ago) link

I think the problem with Mac's vocals on "A Promise" is not so much that they're whiny, but too unvaried. Rather than managing his upper registering vocals in a dynamic way by playing them off moments of more subdued singing (think "Clay" for example), Mac just pours it on thick from the get go and never lets up. Mac at his best was a greatly expressive singer; this just doesn't come through on "A Promise."

I've always felt that "A Promise", as its lone representative, really undersold the otherwise remarkable Heaven up Here Album on the Songs to Learn and Sing comp. The later best of corrected this a bit, but added "People Are Strange" and the second version of "Bedbugs and Ballyhoo." Oh well.

I still take Echo though!

D. Bachyrycz, Friday, 27 May 2005 23:45 (fifteen years ago) link

"Rather than whiny, the vocals are typical of a kind of anti-whine that it seemed every singer in Britain agreed to adopt in the wake of Ian Curtis."

Huh?! An "anti-whine" is still a whine. Ian Curtis never "whined."

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Saturday, 28 May 2005 00:14 (fifteen years ago) link

one year passes...
When in Rome, by a country mile! Come on, this isn't even a fair fight. Sure, you'd say Echo and the Bunnymen when you're ordering PBRs at a Decemberists concert, but when you're alone at home in the warm confines of your own conscience, you're a When in Rome man!

But seriously, this is a great song.

Richard Wood Johnson, Friday, 4 May 2007 15:22 (thirteen years ago) link

thirteen years pass...

I don't think I'll ever get over how stupid the When in Rome lyrics are. It's actually part of the reason I love the song so much, though, because the song addresses how stupid and inadequate the lyrics are.

Anyway, it popped into my head today.

healthy cocaine off perfect butts (the table is the table), Saturday, 21 November 2020 22:04 (one week ago) link

it lurks on my ipod somewhere which lives in the car - it came on last week.

kinder, Saturday, 21 November 2020 23:03 (one week ago) link


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