Tuesday, 29 December 2009

The Unblinking Eye [review]

I'm a bit slow with this one, but I thought I should give this a good chance before I wrote my review.

Last month, Roger Taylor (of Queen drumming fame, for those not in the know) released a single "The Unblinking Eye (Everything is Broken)". I've always enjoyed the Queen songs penned by Roger and I don't get much of a Queen fix nowadays, so I bought the mp3 from queenonline the day it was released.



I'm really sorry to say it, but... FAIL.

Here's what annoyed me in detail:


  • It's understood that Roger's voice is not Freddie's (or even Brian's for that matter). That doesn't bother me normally, but the songs he sang as part of Queen (thinking "I'm In Love With My Car") were so much more rock 'n' roll than this track and suited his voice better. He seems to be trying to do too much and fails badly.

  • The music is all over the place. Was he trying to write a ballad, a rock anthem, a protest song (actually, I think he has said this was his goal), a symphony or what? I couldn't enjoy the tune or the rhythm because it kept changing at inappropriate times.

  • The lyrics. Oh dear. He was trying too hard to make his protest. Look at this: "This Kingdom's not united; Just a complicated mess; Are we in Europe; Half in Europe; Not in Europe; We're soulless, spineless, directionless" and this: "Why send our young men out to die in wars that we don't understand; Why on earth should we be meddling in places like Afghanistan" and worst of all (the first line of the song): "God would weep if he existed". God would weep if he existed? Please. It's the same sentiment, though much less eloquently put, than "Is This The World We Created?".

  • The politics. Not that I necessarily disagree with all of what he says in the song, it's just that he shoves so much of it into one song. And not even very well.


Out of what is probably misplaced loyalty, I tagged this track with 3 stars (it's a reasonable song) in my iTunes library, just so that it stayed in rotation properly. It probably deserved 2 (keep only for completeness sake). I'm hoping it might grow on me like the Queen + Paul Rogers album from last year.

Want to make your own decision? It's on youtube, I suggest you try before you buy. And I think I might be giving the upcoming album a miss.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

What do I like in my music?

If you have ever visited my last.fm page you might wonder random landscape you had stepped in to.

Eclectic. Yes, you could say that. Even just looking at my top 6 you'll see The Beatles, Iron Maiden and Jethro Tull. Who listens to all that?

So to cast off the rumour that my taste in music is actually no taste at all, I thought I would throw together a list of the things I look for in my music. A tick next to any one of them will get the music a listen. Two or more and I've probably found a new favourite.

So without any further ado and in no particular order (except perhaps #1).


  1. A beat that your head can bang along to. Self-inflicted whiplash? Yes, please.

  2. Unusual instruments. Think flute and mandolin (thank you Jethro Tull), operatic vocals in metal music, harpsichord, accordion (button for your Sharon Shannon, piano for Al Yankovic).

  3. Unusual voices. Ian Anderson, Kristin Hersh, Kasey Chambers, Mark Knopfler.

  4. Powerful voices. Bruce Dickinson, Ronnie James Dio, David Coverdale.

  5. Lyrics that tell a story. Mythical themes and folklore for an extra point.

  6. Creative blending of genres within an album (or even a song). Tull (again), Queen.

  7. Folk music (Irish and English and their descendants mostly) and anything that blends it with. Flogging Molly for Irish folk and The Currency for Aussie Folk.

  8. Sadness. Depressing stories and melancholy music. An offering for my inner emo if you like. I have a special playlist on my iTunes I just call "Melancholy".

  9. Surprises in lyrics or music. Things that you hear that you really wouldn't expect. Like when Ozzy Osborne sings "They should realize before they criticize that God is the only way to love".

  10. A bass line you can feel. Steve Harris is the master.

  11. A certain amount of obscurity. No one else has heard of this band? Gimme.

  12. Nostalgia. Some songs just remind me of a particular time in my life and will always be favourites, even if they aren't very good (hello, Duran Duran old friend).