Sounds Eclectic Too
First Appeared in The Music Box, December 2002, Volume 9, #12
Written by John Metzger
Thereís no question that radio isnít what it used to be. Commercial stations spend larger amounts of time on a smaller selection of music, which in theory should have provided significant opportunities for community and college radio stations. But reality has shown us otherwise. Public stations have themselves become corporate conglomerates, with shrinking budgets and less air time for local programming. As for college stations, most of them donít have the wattage to reach beyond their immediate vicinity.
For what itís worth, Santa Monicaís college outlet KCRW boasts about its Morning Becomes Eclectic program and has successfully pushed it into nationwide syndication. Consequently, itís also managed to spawn a series of albums ó first under the four-volume Rare on Air series, now under the Eclectic series ó featuring live performances recorded on the show. But while one is apt to hear everything from indie-punk band Spoon to New Zealand-based songwriter Bic Runga and from sitar player Ravi Shankar to roots rocker Steve Earle on the program ó its second album Sounds Eclectic Too isnít quite that daring. Instead, the albumís track listing reads like a whoís who of commercial radio, containing tunes by R.E.M., Dido, Norah Jones, Starsailor, and Coldplayís Chris Martin. Even at its most eclectic with the contemporary Spanish-pop of Julieta Venegas, the collection contains a decidedly corporate feel, which is further enhanced when one realizes that Joey Waronker (R.E.M., Beck, and Johnny Cash) is sitting behind the drum kit.
Much like its predecessors, however, Sounds Eclectic Too does work quite well as an album, thanks to some truly terrific performances. Martinís solo piano turn on the hit Yellow is much more haunting than the original; R.E.M.ís Iíve Been High is a thing of ethereal beauty; and Tom McRaeís You Cut Her Hair contains all the melancholic sadness and tearful cello strains of a Nick Drake-penned song. Then thereís the airy soul of Zero 7ís Distractions; the ebullient roots-rock of Shelby Lynneís Jesus on a Greyhound; and the understated tenderness of Nick Caveís Into My Arms. In other words, no matter how you feel about the state of radio or the lack of genuinely unknown talent waiting to be discovered on Sounds Eclectic Too, this is definitely a compilation worth savoring.
Sounds Eclectic Too is available from Barnes & Noble.
To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2002 The Music Box