Tuesday, October 26, 1993

Alan Parsons Try Anything Once released

Try Anything Once

Alan Parsons

Released: October 26, 1993

Peak: 122 US, 14 DF

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: progressive rock lite


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

  1. The Three of Me (Pack/ Powell) [5:32] v: David Pack
  2. Turn It Up (Bairnson) [6:13] v: Chris Thompson (1993 single, --)
  3. Wine from the Water (Bairnson/ Parsons) [5:43] v: Eric Stewart (1994 single, --)
  4. Breakaway (instrumental) (Parsons) [4:07]
  5. Mr. Time (Copland/ Driscoll/ Elliot) [8:17] v: Jacqui Copland
  6. Jigue (instrumental) (Parsons/ Powell) [3:24]
  7. I’m Talkin’ to You (Pack/ Powell) [4:38] v: David Pack
  8. Siren Song (Bairnson/ Musker) [5:01] v: Eric Stewart
  9. Dreamscape (instrumental) (Parsons) [3:01]
  10. Back Against the Wall (Bairnson) [4:38] v: Chris Thompson
  11. Re-Jigue (instrumental) (Parsons/ Powell) [2:28]
  12. Oh Life (There Must Be More) (Pack/ Parsons) [6:34] v: David Pack (1994 single, --)

Total Running Time: 60:01

The Players:

  • Alan Parsons (producer, synthesizer, acoustic guitar, bass, flute, background vocals)
  • Ian Bairnson (synthesizer, bass, guitar, pedal steel guitar, background vocals)
  • Stuart Elliott (drums, synthesizer)
  • Andrew Powell (orchestra director, bass, synthesizer, electric piano, autoharp)
  • Philharmonia Orchestra (strings)
  • David Pack, Eric Stewart, Chris Thompson, Jacqui Copland (vocals)
  • David Pack, Jeremy Parsons (guitar)
  • Richard Cottle (synthesizer, saxophone)
  • Graham Preskett (fiddle, violin, mandolin)


3.306 out of 5.00 (average of 19 ratings)

Quotable: “An intriguing collection of songs” – Mike DeGagne, All Music Guide

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

In 1987, the Alan Parsons Project released Gaudi, which turned out to be their last album. Three years later, Eric Woolfson, Parsons’ longtime partner in the Project, released Freudiana, a work designed for the stage and a natural progression from the Project’s conceptual album work. The album could very much be viewed as the Project’s eleventh album since Woolfson still brought in Parsons to do production and engineering work. The album also used longtime Project players such as Ian Bairnson (guitar) and Stuart Elliott (drums) as well as vocalists John Miles, Chris Rainbow, and Graham Dye, all of whom had contributed vocals to Project albums.

All that is really just a set up to say that ”the absence of the word ‘Project’ at the end of his name makes no difference, because the music and the atmosphere on this album harbor the same mysterious effects as when it was included.” AMG The aforementioned Bairnson and Elliot again lend their talents, as does Andrew Powell, who arranged conducted the Philharmonia Orchestra for the Project albums.

The largest difference between this and Project albums is the absence of Woolfson. There are a couple takes on whether this is a good or bad thing. “Woolfson was an excellent singer and a good lyricist,” DV and he consequently added a punch to the Project albums that isn’t as apparent here. Just look to how well Woolfson’s talents are showcased on his 1990 Freudiana and you realize what an important contribution he made to the Project albums.

However, one can also argue that “the fact he was the lead vocalist on several of the Project's biggest hits meant Arista kept trying to make him sing, and therefore put constant pressure on the band for more soft rock hits like ‘Time’ and ‘Eye in the Sky.’ Without that pressure, Parsons [is free] to be more adventurous, more lyrical, and [craft a] deeper…multi-layered sound” DV that at least one reviewer says “bears repeated listening and exploration.” DV

On a vocal level, “singers such as David Pack, Chris Thompson, Eric Stewart, and Jacqui Copland present each tune with refreshing differentiation and style,” AMG making for a collection of “beautifully mastered songs that carry their own charisma” AMG “with either rich instrumentation or delicate lyrics,” AMG but “no single track rises from among the others.” AMG

Unlike the Project albums, “there is no overall concept strewn together on Try Anything Once.” AMG ”Since his message is left for the listener to contemplate (unlike past albums that were conceptually blatant like I Robot or Pyramid), Try Anything Once breeds its own allure and intricacies.” AMG “The cloudiness and uncertainty of Parsons' themes create an attraction to his thought-provoking words” AMG and “use of puzzling metaphors.” AMG

While there is no obvious theme, “many of the songs touch on religion and the hope of an afterlife, like Wine from the Water and Turn It Up.” AMG The latter "has a surprising edge to it, laced with Bairnson's precise guitar…there is no better proof that Ian Bairnson is underappreciated as a guitarist and a musician.” DV

Only “Turn It Up” and I’m Talkin’ to You, the latter of which comes closest to feeling like the requisite single, sound like they might get a spin or two at radio, but, of course, neither did.

“An element of wonder and fascination hovers above songs like The Three of Us and Mr. Time.” AMG The latter “is an ominous, throbbing, complex paean to death and immortality (reminiscent of ‘Can't Take It with You’ from the Project's Pyramid).” DV

“The four instrumentals – Dreamscape, Breakaway, Jigue, and Re-Jigue – add wonderment and a classical savoir faire to the album, with ‘Re-Jigue’ benefitting from the Philharmonia Orchestra.” AMG As with previous Project albums, too many instrumentals can start to feel like filler (especially on 1986’s Stereotomy), but eight vocal tracks balance it out somewhat.

Parsons’ ability to craft gorgeous balladry is most evident on Siren Song and the stunning closer Oh Life, which “is in many ways a triumphant denial of [death and immortality]…Special note should go to David Pack's vocals…from a near whisper at the beginning to defiance and power at the end.” DV

In the end this is “an intriguing collection of songs,” AMG “hitting multiple styles and feels, weaving together a full colour picture of moments of transition and rites of passage.” DV One could argue that Alan Parsons definitely continues to grow and stretch as an artist, even after all these years, but the majesty of Eric Woolfson’s Freudiana makes me wonder how much more this album could have been if the two had only decided to grow together.

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First posted 12/2/2009; last updated 7/20/2022.

Tuesday, October 19, 1993

Pearl Jam Vs. released


Pearl Jam

Released: October 19, 1993

Peak: 15 US, 2 UK, 11 CN, 11 AU, 16 DF

Sales (in millions): 7.0 US, 0.1 UK, 10.6 world (includes US + UK)

Genre: grunge rock


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

  1. Go (10/25/93, 3 AR, 8 MR, 22 AU, 5 DF)
  2. Animal (4/4/94, 21 AR, 30 AU, 8 DF)
  3. Daughter (11/2/93, 97 BB, 33 BA, 23 CB, 24 RR, 1 AR, 1 MR, 18 UK, 16 CN, 18 AU, 1 DF)
  4. Glorified G (7/2/94, 39 AR, 8 DF)
  5. Dissident (5/16/94, 3 AR, 14 UK, 9 DF)
  6. W.M.A.
  7. Blood
  8. Rearviewmirror (6/6/95, 15 DF)
  9. Rats
  10. Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town (10/25/93, 21 AR, 17 MR, 1 DF)
  11. Leash
  12. Indifference
  13. Hold On (acoustic demo) *
  14. Cready Stomp *
  15. Crazy Mary (with Victoria Williams) (8/7/93, 26 AR, 8 MR, 1 DF) *

* bonus tracks on reissue

Total Running Time: 46:17

The Players:


4.123 out of 5.00 (average of 20 ratings)


“Supergrowly grunge deluxe” – Blender Magazine


(Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“Initially the flannel-shirted bridesmaid to Nirvana’s bride,” BL “Pearl Jam took to superstardom like deer in headlights.” SH “Unsure of how to maintain their rigorous standards of integrity in the face of massive commercial success, the band took refuge in willful obscurity – the title of their second album, Vs., did not appear anywhere in the packaging, and they refused to release any singles or videos. (Ironically, many fans then paid steep prices for import CD singles, a situation the band eventually rectified.) The eccentricities underline Pearl Jam’s almost paranoid aversion to charges of hypocrisy or egotism – but it also made sense to use the spotlight for progress. You could see that reasoning in their ensuing battle with Ticketmaster, and you could hear it in the record itself. Vs. is often Eddie Vedder at his most strident, both lyrically and vocally. It’s less oblique than Ten in its topicality, and sometimes downright dogmatic; having the world’s ear renders Vedder unable to resist a few simplistic potshots at favorite white-liberal targets.” SH

“Yet a little self-righteousness is an acceptable price to pay for the passionate immediacy that permeates” SH “this superb, rolling, emotional collection.” BL “It’s a much rawer, looser record than Ten, feeling like a live performance; Vedder practically screams himself hoarse on a few songs. The band consciously strives for spontaneity, admirably pushing itself into new territory – some numbers are decidedly punky, and there are also a couple of acoustic-driven ballads, which are well suited to Vedder’s sonorous low register.” SH

“Sometimes, that spontaneity comes at the expense of Ten’s marvelous craft – a few songs here are just plain underdeveloped, with supporting frameworks that don’t feel very sturdy. But, of everything that does work, the rockers are often frightening in their intensity, and the more reflective songs are mesmerizing. Vs. may not reach the majestic heights of Ten, but at least half the record stands with Pearl Jam’s best work;” SH “Eddie Vedder never managed that blend of menace and sympathy quite as well again.” BL

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First posted 10/15/2009; last updated 12/14/2023.

Monday, October 11, 1993

Crowded House released Together Alone

Together Alone

Crowded House

Released: October 11, 1993

Peak: 73 US, 4 UK, 18 CN, 2 AU

Sales (in millions): 0.3 UK

Genre: adult alternative rock


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

  1. Kare Kare [3:35]
  2. In My Command [3:43]
  3. Nails in My Feet [3:39] (11/20/93, 22 UK, 34 AU)
  4. Black and White Boy [4:01]
  5. Fingers of Love [4:26] (6/11/94, 25 UK)
  6. Pineapple Head [3:28] (9/24/94, 27 UK)
  7. Locked Out [3:18] (12/25/93, 12 UK, 8 MR, 81 CN, 79 AU)
  8. Private Universe [5:38] (8/94, 46 AU)
  9. Walking on the Spot [2:55]
  10. Distant Sun [3:50] (10/2/93, 19 UK, 26 MR, 4 CN, 23 AU)
  11. Catherine Wheels [5:12]
  12. Skin Feeling (Hester) [3:57]
  13. Together Alone (N. Finn/Hart/Wehl) [3:57]

All songs written by Neil Finn unless noted otherwise.

Total Running Time: 51:32

The Players:

  • Neil Finn (vocals, guitar, keyboards)
  • Nick Seymour (bass, backing vocals)
  • Paul Hester (drums, percussion, vocals)
  • Mark Hart (keyboards, guitars, etc.)


3.896 out of 5.00 (average of 26 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“More experimental and musically varied than any of their previous releases” AMG Together Alone is “arguably [Crowded House’s] best record.” AZ The band is “branching out into traditional Maori music and heavy guitars;: AMG “the musical arrangements here reflected and encompassed more of their native Kiwi homeland [of] New Zealand.” AZ

The band switch from longtime producer “Mitchell Froom to Killing Joke’s Youth,” AZ a move that “energizes their sound without losing sight” AMG of “the shining pop songcraft that is Neil Finn's trademark.” AMG “Each track…is played with passion and heart…The music is simply breathtaking and the lyrics poetic and intelligent.” AZ “Neil [writes] meaningful heartfelt material…in droves.” GS “Most of the songs have ‘The Touch’” GS on “this set of thirteen ear catching tracks.” AZ

“One really good new element here is new member Mick Hart's guitar playing. His style is mostly quite traditional; far from being an aficionado of "new" playing techniques, his main idols seem to rather belong to the Clapton/Harrison crowd…it helps make the opening pop rocker, Kare Kare, about ten times moodier than it could have been otherwise. The idea is to create a slightly dark, but utterly romantic mood without sounding cliched, and the subtle touches of Hart's slide guitar after each verse are the main ingredient in the concoction; the song's main hookline is not the actual chorus, but rather the way Finn's oo-oo-ooing seamlessly merges with Hart's playing.” GS

“For those who want to hear their favourite band rocking out, there's In My Command, not exactly a hard rocker per se, but a song that cleverly alternates power-pop choruses with hellraising guitar passages.” GS

Nails In My Feet’s “melody…is as gentle and crystal clear and fresh and guitar-based as always, and vocal hooks just keep splashing off the walls. The transition from the rough desperation of the verses to the gorgeous ‘and it briiiiings me relief’ culmination is so natural and easy-going you can't help but admire the artistry.” GS

“Other soft-sounding, caressingly arranged ballads like Pineapple Head and Catherine Wheels also qualify in this regard.” GS

“If you wanted something really heavy, there's always Black & White Boy, with easily the grungiest guitar part to ever come from these guys…[There are also] mysterious lyrics whose protagonist is definitely not easy to decipher…some people have suggested it's actually a dog - could certainly be, at least it's a nice explanation that relieves the band of any possible racist/sexist accusations.” GS

“The speedy, funky, Madchester-influenced Locked Out, with a particularly paranoid coda offer[s] something tasty for the headbangers.” GS

“For those who just want straightahead, unassuming…power-pop, there's…Distant Sun…For all their adult-contemporarishness, Fingers of Love and Private Universe…betray far more personality.” GS The latter features some “neat guitar textures…where it almost sounds like an Eno-enhanced pseudo-ambient synthesizer, successfully outpunching the real (boring, but maybe necessarily boring) synthesizers.” GS

“The title track, closing the album in anthemic style…[is] all about paying tribute to Neil Finn’s native homeland, including some Maori tribal chanting and drumming (although, for some reason, the chanting suspiciously reeks of generic gospel in places.” GS

In short, “Together Alone wasn’t actually planned as a goodbye album, [but] it works well as one.” GS

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First posted 3/3/2008; last updated 5/15/2021.