OK, here is my review of "Cloud 9" by George Harrison.
"Cloud Nine" - Pure Heaven from the opening guitar riff to the haunting feel and melody, to the somewhat abstract lyrics. Outstanding Harrison/Lynne collaboration.
"That's What It Takes" - I think this song showcases how Jeff Lynne knows how to put George's vocals in the ideal spotlight for them. This song is one of many examples of that on this album. The EC guitar solo touches are superb.
"Fish on the Sand" - Continues the upbeat flow.
"Just For Today" - Empathetic song written about people in AA. Expresses a universal sentiment, and comes at a good time on the album to remind people of the authenticity of the artist. Tasteful slide guitar that doesn't disappoint.
"This Is Love" - Showcases the full slide guitar muscle, along with the pop music prowess. Nice nod to The Beatles' "It Won't Be Long" in the verses, IMHO.
"When we Was Fab" - I always likes this song for its shameless indulgence in The Beatles' "I Am the Walrus" territory, and doesn't worry about being too nostalgic or past-centered, since after all the song is about when they WERE fab, and it has Ringo on drums too, so what the heck.
"Devil's Radio" - When the album was out, I would gravitate to this song the most, at the time I was fascinated with the realization of the fact that the devil really existed, and how he likes to promote gossiping,etc. It struck me as a very unique song with a very cool chorus, and it still does.
"Someplace Else" - Return to the nice laid back flow of most of side one.
"Wreck of the Hesperus" - Solid humurous rocker about aging, etc.
"Breath Away From Heaven" - Unique lyric with nice oriental feel to it.
"Got My Mind Set On You" - Soon as I heard it, I knew it was a hit. Great cover song, with all the right hooks and smokin' brass.
Bonus Tracks "Shanghai Surprise" - Nice piece of oriental-flavored pop craftsmanship. "Zig Zag" - Appropriately the last song on the CD, sounds like an interesting nod to the 40s sound, with a more modern drum track. An OK bonus track, that doesn't really develop; but then again that's what we expect of some bonus tracks as they often showcase an idea that had potential, but ultimately weren't deemed worthwhile for a full effort.
Overall, this album was superbly written, produced, and performed. It's inspiring, uplifting, thoroughly enjoyable, and certainly gave George the rock solid album, commercially and artistically, in his catalog that he was certainly probably hoping to achieve when he decided to ask Jeff Lynne to produce it.
Thanks for picking this CD, Chippa; it was a great and very enjoyable trip down memory lane, and certainly something that appeals to all of our tastes, being Jeff Lynne fans.
Star Rating: 4.5 of 5 Prime Cuts: "Cloud 9", "That's What it Takes", "When We Was Fab", "Devil's Radio", and "Got My Mind Set on You" Bottom Line: A triumphant return to the top of the charts by the "quiet" Beatle, and a must-have album for fans of George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, and even Eric Clapton.
Final Thought: I almost wish the Wilburys never took place, because then maybe George and Jeff would have done a lot more of this type of collaborative magic. Then again, hard pressed to say the Wilburys wasn't a worthwile band, and that it might not have been overkill after they already made a strong musical statement. Also, the posthumus George Harrison album "Brainwashed" seemed to continue right where the magic left off with "Cloud 9", so no real regrets about that, after all.
Cloud Nine - Jeff's signature drum sound and George's slide guitar let you know straight away who you're dealing with. Pleasant, laid back sound but quite quiet for an opener I think.
That's What It Takes - The keyboards here give it a late ELO type sound. If it weren't for George's guitar it could easily be from one of the final ELO albums. It's good that George allowed this kind of influence to creep in, although when you ask Jeff to produce you're expecting it of course. Again it's easy on the ear but not earth shattering.
Fish on the Sand - This is a lot more chirpy. I like the jangly guitar sound. Good foot-tapper
Just For Today - Very hymn-like and reminiscent of George's early solo stuff. Lovely backing vocals. Liking this a lot.
This Is Love - And this is the classic George/Jeff sound for me from this era. Bops along, more jangly guitar and trademark backing vocals. Faultless.
When we Was Fab - Such a clever song, I remember loving it the first time I heard it. The vintage sound, the lyrics, it's a one-off and a slice of perfection. Really shows what Jeff and Roy were thinking about when they conceived ELO too.
Devil's Radio - How do you follow that? Well, with this. Rocks along nicely and keeps the feeling upbeat. Nifty guitar solo, lots of layers, nodding along happily to this one.
Someplace Else - Time for a breather. background music again for me but you can't deny the Harrison/Lynne trademarks.
Wreck of the Hesperus - Groovy, like the beat on this one and George's vocals are really good. Great guitar sound and who can resist a bit of brass? Up there with the best on the album for me.
Breath Away From Heaven - Oriental feel, I thought this was going to be Shanghai Surprise. Obviously he was getting in the mood when he wrote this. Not much more to say about it.
Got My Mind Set On You - Haha, instant singalong, who can resist? I never realised this was a cover, it sounds so classically Harrison. Love it to bits, a definite high point. It had a most entertaining video too, if I recall rightly.
Shanghai Surprise - Aha, here's the film theme (I assume? I've never actually seen it). Like the tympani in the background and the snappy lyrics. Better than Madonna deserved I'd say. A lot better.
Zig Zag - Loving the jazz era atmosphere on this, very Jeeves and Wooster. Nice happy ending to the album, something a bit different.
After a bit of a bland start for me, this album livens up nicely and has some proper gems on board. I'm really glad to have had the chance to finally listen to it, it is a classic after all, thanks Chippa!
It's all good entertainment, it doesn't cost a penny
Post by queenofthehours on Dec 7, 2014 17:56:42 GMT
Cloud Nine - For a long time this track felt like just a step to get over before the better tracks started. However, after owning the album for long enough I’ve come to enjoy this track immensely. While not the best GH track it’s still great and means that the album doesn’t burn itself out using it’s best songs at the start.
That's What It Takes - Fits so well with the last track, 'Cloud Nine' runs smoothly into this song. A nice, regular beat and some good bass here.
Fish on the Sand – A great favourite of mine. I always sing along to this one. Jeff and George working together at their best. Great backing vocals and beautiful guitar. Always good to dance around in earphones to.
Just For Today - Quite, quite beautiful. I took me a long while to be able to stop and just listen to this song's beauty; I didn't really notice it until I'd owned the album for a long time. Wonderful piano which makes me think of 'Free As A Bird'. Beautiful guitar, the best on the whole album, that's all George. Only George's guitar can make me cry.
This Is Love – Every time I hear this I'm blown away with just how perfect it is. The first time I heard it I did cry but only a little as you can’t hear great music like this while sobbing. It makes you catch your breath. John, Ringo and Paul all have their own styles I know, but here George proves that the only style you really need is good, sincere pop. Great drums.
When We Was Fab – When I was little and this song was a single the video it was so intriguing to me. I can’t imagine the song without it. I'm a big fan of nostalgic songs and this is one of the best because it's so subtle and not in anyway dewy-eyed. Love the violin as it reminds me of Beatles. It's funny how George stopped using the sitar after the Beatles except for moments of nostalgia.
Devil's Radio – Another favourite. A pretty much perfect track. Typical GH with a humorous take on the ways of the world showing he's just as opinionated as ever. Unlike Lennon, George doesn't need art to make the comment but instead fools you into agreeing with him by getting you to sing along. The reason why it works is that you can’t point to any one instrument taking precedence. Like the rest of the album, everything is understated letting the tune and the lyrics take over.
Someplace Else – Perhaps my biggest favourite on the album. It always blows me away. It's just so beautiful. I hadn’t thought until now but it’s surely on par with 'Something' if not bettering it as the Beatles never had Jeff Lynne's gorgeous production and backing vocal skills.
Wreck of the Hesperus – Another favourite. Great opening guitar. I always turn this one up loud. For a long time I thought the lyrics were "rock as good as Jeff Lynne too"! (but it isn't)
Breath Away From Heaven – I've never heard another oriental Jeff production or another GH song like it anywhere else. Both get it so right here.
Got My Mind Set On You – I always put this one on extra loud. I remember this single even before I properly knew who the Beatles were. In fact the video really used to freak me out - a singing squirrel! or whaterver it was. I still dream about the weird video now - I had a very impressionable mind as a four year old. I haven't heard the original version and I don't want to - G's version is all the matters as it's the perfect pop song. The moment I found out Jeff had produced it my jaw dropped to the floor – this was too good to be true. Great drum beat.
Shanghai Surprise – An odd little song but a great oriental style duet. I don't think either Jeff or George have worked on duets before.
Zig Zag – Perfectly Jazzy tune. Jim Horn I expect here on sax.
This album is one of those rare ones that works perfectly as a whole. Every song is perfect with no filler at all.
I agree with Chippa, it's my favourite Jeff-produced album outside of ELO too. Tom Petty and Jeff are a match made in heaven but Jeff and George are something even more magical. I also agree with 88keys about the album, how shiny it is. The LP really does shine and sparkle and is so very clean and beautiful - beautiful production and clear music, the aural equivalent of those smooth stones that you like to pick up and hold on the beach just because they feel nice and comforting.
Here each Harrison track is like a special gem polished to perfection by Jeff. George has nothing to prove here except that he can write lovely optimistic music and that he has lost none of his personality.
A happy and beautiful album with the right mix of fast and slow songs.
Horacewimp: I did, it sounds interesting
Aug 30, 2020 7:27:36 GMT
Horacewimp: Hi elophile good to see you, hope you are keeping well.
Aug 31, 2020 20:25:03 GMT
elophile: Hey-hey! Horacewimp Livin' the dream here in crazytown, er, I mean America! How goes it with you? ::c0112::
Sept 2, 2020 18:11:21 GMT
Horacewimp: We are all good thanks, just wishing I could go on a foreign holiday, it’s just not worth the risk with Covid and the possibility of a 14 day quarantine, we may do some short breaks in the U.K.
Sept 2, 2020 20:30:46 GMT
BSJ: *sniff* no meet up in Detroit's airport. *sniff*
Sept 2, 2020 21:56:17 GMT