I believe in doing things backwards


Mag 16 2006, 2:58

I mostly missed Split Enz when they were actually around. I vaguely remember hearing I Got You and Six Months In A Leaky Boat, and that was about it. So when I first heard Crowded House, I wasn't particularly struck. Of course, that may have been because the first video I saw was for The World Where You Live, and at first I thought it was a one-off, with the band name and song title combined some kind of comment on overpopulation. The arrival of Don't Dream It's Over disabused me of that notion. And hearing Mean To Me made me a bona fide fan.

Crowded House is still my favourite album of theirs. Apart from the two mentioned above, it's got the haunting suicide tale Hole In The River, and the slightly psychotic devotion of Love You 'Til The Day I Die.

Temple Of Low Men was a bit of a disappointment, despite having Better Be Home Soon as a lead-off single. I was also disappointed with Chocolate Cake, the lead-off track from the next album, Woodface. However, that album turned out to be another great one, particularly the singalong Weather With You, and the charming Paul Hester track Italian Plastic. Their final studio album, Together Alone, I also found a bit disappointing, without a real standout track except possibly for the energetic Locked Out.

At some point I got into their back catalogue a little bit. I picked up History Never Repeats: the Best of Split Enz, and (re)discovered some good songs there, particularly Dirty Creature. Tim Finn's solo work was a little more uneven; his album Escapade seemed too relentlessly poppy, so it's more downbeat tracks like Below The Belt that stick with me. Neil Finn's solo albums, like Try Whistling This and One All, are good listens but again without a standout track.

So when I look back on Crowded House, it's mostly that first self-titled album that I hearken back to. Maybe it's not fair to their later work, but that still seems to me to be the high point of their career.

Thought for the day: Sexy zebras just prowl and vie for quick, hot matings.


  • lavar78

    You're definitely in the minority. Not many people who have 4 CH albums would pick the first as their favorite. By the way, there's only one more to get to complete the collection (Afterglow). I think all five are fabulous. You really don't hear any standout tracks?

    Giu 1 2006, 23:34
  • alfvaen

    I confess I haven't listened to Together Alone as much as the other three, but my overall impression, apart from Locked Out, is of low-key adult-contemporary songs. (I'm sure there are other exceptions, but they don't stick with me either.) I suspect that I just like the group for a different reason that most of their fans. I'm no stranger to that phenomenon--my favourite Warren Zevon album is Transverse City, for instance, and my faovurite Blondie album is Autoamerican. What I like from the first album are mostly the edgy songs--the rave-up of Mean To Me, the suicide story of Hole In The River with its menacing bridge, the verge-of-obsession Love You 'Til The Day I Die. On Woodface it's a different story, but I think it's the big expansive harmonies, with a touch of rave-up underneath(like the coda of Italian Plastic). What is Afterglow, by the way? Rarities? (I admit to being intrigued by the title My Telly's Gone Bung...)

    Giu 2 2006, 1:57
  • lavar78

    I can't think of one song on Together Alone I'd call low-key adult-contemporary (well, maybe Walking on the Spot). I know opinions are different, but I strongly urge you to give that album another listen. For instance, I'd say In My Command and Black & White Boy rock just as much as (if not more than) Locked Out. Nails in My Feet is my favorite track. Yes, Afterglow is a collection of rarities and b-sides. Nevertheless, they are top-quality and the album itself is surprisingly cohesive. My Telly's Gone Bung is a fun song written by Paul, but it's not as strong as his others (Italian Plastic and Skin Feeling).

    Giu 2 2006, 22:48
  • alfvaen

    I've just given it another listen, just because you asked me to. Okay, I admit, it's not all low-key adult contemporary. Only about half of it. Practically everything after Locked Out, except perhaps for Skin Feeling, does little for me whatsoever, being musically languid and uninspiring. I admit that Nails In My Feet has some promise, and even Fingers of Love isn't that bad. But there's still nothing here that leaps out at me the way Italian Plastic did the first time I heard it, or even Don't Dream It's Over. It will probably remain my least favourite Crowded House album for the foreseeable future.

    Giu 7 2006, 5:05
  • lavar78

    Well, I tried. If you think Distant Sun is uninspiring, there's no hope for you. ;) No, I'm just kidding. It's been said most of the group's songs are growers. That hasn't been the case for me, but who knows? Judging by your responses, I think (1) you'll probably like Afterglow better than Together Alone and (2) you'll appreciate some of the quirkier Enz songs once you delve more into their catalog. At any rate, happy listening!

    Giu 8 2006, 0:58
  • amaroK_usr

    Over a year on and Time on Earth has been released. Have you heard it? I've not given it a proper listen, I'll admit, but what I've heard is good. I have that, Together Alone and Woodface and Together Alone is my favourite album of theirs :)

    Ott 25 2007, 17:31
  • alfvaen

    I haven't listened to Time On Earth that much, but I do like it, and maybe a bit better than Together Alone. I saw them in concert in Edmonton a little while ago; sadly, the venue was not the best acoustically, and the more electric numbers were almost painfully loud (after a few numbers, I changed my mind about wanting them to play Mean To Me), but it was a good show nonetheless. Liam Finn was one of the opening acts, and he shows a bit of promise.

    Ott 26 2007, 2:10
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