Saturday, April 30, 1988

Giraffe released The Power of Suggestion this month

The Power of Suggestion

Giraffe


Released: April 1988


Peak: --


Sales (in millions): --


Genre: neo prog rock


Tracks:

Click on a song title for lyrics.

  1. Overture [1:36]
  2. The Last Thing on Your Mind [4:07]
  3. In Every Line [3:38]
  4. This Warm Night [4:27]
  5. Imagemaker [4:30]
  6. Because of You [5:05]
  7. Everything We Are [4:23]
  8. New Patriots [2:30]
  9. Can’t Make This Love Go Away [4:48]
  10. The World Just Gets Smaller [5:28]
  11. Power Reprise [1:10]
  12. Because of You (11th Hour Mix) [9:26]
  13. Finale [1:57]

All songs are produced, engineered, arranged, and written by Kevin Gilbert, copyright 1987 at The Recording Studio, Sunnyvale, California, during the winter of 1987. If you listen very carefully you can hear it raining between cuts. IT


The Players:

  • Kevin Gilbert (vocals, piano/keyboards, bazooka)
  • Stan Cotey (guitar, keyboards, backing vocals)
  • Michael Abowd (keyboards and sequences)
  • Chris Beveridge (bass, backing vocals)
  • J. Scott Smith (drums, triggers, loops, backing vocals)

Rating:

2.971 out of 5.00 (average of 9 ratings)


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

Band member Chris Beveridge explains the origin of some of the songs: “There was a collection of songs left over from a few different projects: This Warm Night and World Just Gets Smaller from the earlier Giraf, Because of You and Imagemaker from a band Kevin, Scott and I previously had together and these tracks and a few others became the first CD.” CB

“Given the time it was released, [The Power of Suggestion is] an interesting and worthwhile effort. The style is very much European sounding dance pop, with some progressive rock elements creeping in amongst the conventional structures, but only a little. Really it’s a Gilbert solo album, in that he played all the instruments as well as singing (The View from Here, which followed, has Giraffe expanding into more of a band). The vocals here are good, but with less of the sardonic expression characteristic of Gilbert's later work. The lyrics are better than average for this style and he proves his potential already both as a singer/songwriter and as a musician.” IT

“What's most interesting is the inclusion of vocal phrases, picked up from various sources, in a way that…anticipates some of the later work of Porcupine Tree (both are probably influenced by Pink Floyd)…A cute example is the closing one, taken from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. ‘We are the music-makers and we are the dreamers of dreams.’” IT

“Mostly though, these quotes tie into the loose theme of suggestion, with many sounding like they are from self-improvement tapes. The drum machines get a bit relentless in places and the music is sometimes a bit underworked and simplistic (more guitars and less keyboards might have broadened the sound) but, as a whole, it works and does include some fine songs. An indication of greater things to come.” IT


Notes: It is assumed that the 11th Hour Mix of “Because of You” was not on the original release, but this is not known for sure. The Kevin Gilbert estate released the two Giraffe albums, The Power of Suggestion and The View from Here, in a set with a DVD which features a nine-song live set from the Gold Star CafĂ© at Mountain View, California on April 28, 1988. It also has an interview and the two songs they performed at the Yamaha Soundcheck National Finals at the Universal Ampitheatre in Los Angeles, California on September 16, 1988; an interview by Michelle Blaine with Kevin Gilbert; and video of the Band Explosion World Final at the Fuji Television Studio in Tokyo, Japan, from February 9-12, 1989. Finally, the DVD includes a video of “This Warm Night.” The set is available at PopPlusOne.com.

Resources and Related Links:

First posted 4/2/2008; updated 6/5/2021.

Tuesday, April 5, 1988

Tracy Chapman’s debut released

Tracy Chapman

Tracy Chapman


Released: April 5, 1988


Peak: 16 US, 13 UK, 19 CN, 2 AU


Sales (in millions): 6.0 US, 2.4 UK, 20.4 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: contemporary folk rock


Tracks:

Song Title [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution [2:38] (7/30/88, 75 US, 45 AC, 22 AR, 24 MR, 85 UK, 42 CN, 66 AU)
  2. Fast Car [4:58] (5/7/88, 6 US, 7 AC, 19 AR, 5 UK, 1 CN, 4 AU)
  3. Across the Lines [3:22]
  4. Behind the Wall [1:46]
  5. Baby Can I Hold You [3:16] (11/5/88, 48 US, 19 AC, 94 UK, 27 CN, 68 AU)
  6. Mountains O’ Things [4:37]
  7. She’s Got Her Ticket [3:54]
  8. Why? [2:01]
  9. For My Lover [3:15]
  10. If Not Now… [2:55]
  11. For You [3:09]

All songs written by Tracy Chapman.


Total Running Time: 35:51

Rating:

4.457 out of 5.00 (average of 14 ratings)


Quotable: --


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“Arriving with little fanfare in the spring of 1988, Tracy Chapman’s eponymous debut album became one of the key records of the Bush era, providing a touchstone for the entire PC movement while reviving the singer/songwriter tradition. And Tracy Chapman is firmly within the classic singer/songwriter tradition, sounding for all the world as if it was recorded in the early ‘70s.” STE

Chapman’s acoustic-based music was a turn-off to many producers because of the popularity of snyth-driven, dance-pop music at the time. However, David Kershenbaum embraced her musical direction. WK He recognized that, as he said, “there was a sense in the industry of a slight boredom with everything out there and that people might be willing to listen again to lyrics and to someone who made statements.” WK

While the album may sonically be a throwback to the ‘70s, the subject matters “are clearly a result of the Reagan revolution. Even the love songs and laments are underscored by a realized vision of trickle-down modern life – listen to the lyrical details of Fast Car for proof.” STE

Music critics widely praised the album for its politically and socially-minded lyrics, as well as Chapman’s vocal ability and the simplicity of the music. WK “Chapman’s impassioned liberal activism and emotional resonance enlivens her music, breathing life into her songs even when the production is a little bit too clean. Still, the juxtaposition of contemporary themes and classic production precisely is what makes the album distinctive – it brings the traditions into the present. At the time, it revitalized traditional folk ideals of social activism,” STE but “the record continues to sound fresh because Chapman's writing is so keenly observed and her strong, gutsy singing makes each song sound intimate and immediate.” STE

Resources and Related Links:


Other Related DMDB Pages:


First posted 2/26/2008; last updated 9/4/2021.