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TV & Media Non-Trek television, movies, books, music, etc.

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Old August 8 2008, 10:12 PM   #1
MyCylon
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Randy Newman: "Harps and Angels"

Any Randy Newman fans out there? This album just totally flew in under my radar. I've been really busy lately which is probably one of the reasons I missed it. I only found out about it when I walked into a music store and saw it standing there .

Anyway, I got the CD today and I'm listening to it now for the first time (almost through). And what can I say? I love it! I think Newman's a great film music composer but it's his songs I always enjoy the most. I actually can't believe the last album with new songs ("Bad Love") is almost ten years old...

I'll be listening to this a lot in the next few days so I'll probably have more impressions pretty soon.

In the meantime, I'm curious to hear what you people think. General thoughts on Newman and his work are also very welcome.

P.S.: Just listening to the last song, "Feels Like Home" which was originally featured on "Faust" IIRC. I wonder why he included it here.
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Old August 9 2008, 01:28 AM   #2
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Re: Randy Newman: "Harps and Angels"

Does it sound like all his other songs?

I was just thinking of this sketch I saw on MadTV a few years ago where the fat guy played RN and did all his songs EXACTLY the same. He recorded some Star Wars songs and they all had that RN sound.

It was very funny!


Here is a link to the clip

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SK-p3mtyhRc
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Old August 9 2008, 09:44 AM   #3
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Re: Randy Newman: "Harps and Angels"

Tulin wrote: View Post
Does it sound like all his other songs?
Errr, no. It's recognizable as Newman but definitely no IMHO


Tulin wrote: View Post
I was just thinking of this sketch I saw on MadTV a few years ago where the fat guy played RN and did all his songs EXACTLY the same. He recorded some Star Wars songs and they all had that RN sound.

It was very funny!


Here is a link to the clip

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SK-p3mtyhRc
Don't get me wrong: I enjoy parodies of my favorite shows, characters, celebs just like the next man. But I've never really taken to MadTV. I usually find they're not very funny, and this is no exception.

However, I thought Randy Newman's appearance on Family Guy was pretty funny .



Back to the topic: I take it then that you haven't listened to the album. If so I'd recommend checking it out .
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Old August 9 2008, 08:51 PM   #4
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Re: Randy Newman: "Harps and Angels"

Tulin wrote: View Post
Does it sound like all his other songs?
Newman's songs are heavy on lyrical content. This is in contrast to some other songwriters who rely heavily on exotic and catchy melodies which tend to be much more commercial and friendly to the ears of the masses.

Newman's songs don't tend to be all that melodically adventurous, and therefore are not very commercial, so to some, his songs "all sound alike". Add to that, Newman's rather flat vocal style, which is usually a perfect counterpoint to his sometimes alarming lyrics, and its no wonder some people can't distinguish between his songs and find him lampoonable because of it.

In reality, his songs are only alike in that they are all usually lyrically sardonic, sarcastic, smart, funny, insightful, and present a distinct attitude. These tend to be things that make his songs difficult for the masses. But if you've got some time to really listen, and some...uh, understanding, Newman's songs can be a revelation.

With the possible exception of "I Love L.A.". This song is as on point, straight forward, and artful, a celebration of the city as has ever been presented. One of the few Newman songs where he means exactly what his words are saying.

He is a rare and truly unique talent.
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Old August 9 2008, 08:57 PM   #5
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Re: Randy Newman: "Harps and Angels"

I'm not a huge fan of Randy Newman, although I do own his "Land of Dreams" CD (1988), which I really like, and some of his movie songs have caught my ear over the years. I have read some good reviews about his new one, so maybe I'll check it out. (And yeah, his appearance in that Family Guy episode was great)
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Old August 11 2008, 09:55 AM   #6
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Re: Randy Newman: "Harps and Angels"

gblews wrote: View Post
He is a rare and truly unique talent.
I really agree with this. And as you pointed out, the lyrics are very important. I love the fact, for example, that he often chooses an 'unreliable' narrator such as in "Short People". It's funny if you think that some people actually took that one seriously instead of seeing what Newman was getting at.


Concerning "Harps and Angels", I've been able to listen to it a few times now and have to say it's really a beautiful album in my view. It's very varied in the choice of pieces which resemble some of his early works as well as some of the elements from albums like "Born again", "Faust" or "Bad Love".

From "Harps and Angels" which contrasts the exquisite music with its ironic comments on spirituality, to the sincerely melancholic "Losing you", to another one of Newman's biting political commentaries in "A few words in defense of our country" and the ironic take on growing old that is "Potholes", there's a great variety here that is IMHO a pleasure to listen to.

I look forward to listening some more .
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