Wednesday, May 30, 2001

Radiohead released Amnesiac



Released: May 30, 2001

Peak: 2 US, 11 UK, 11 CN, 2 AU

Sales (in millions): 1.02 US, 0.33 UK, 2.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: experimental alternative rock


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

  1. Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box [4:00]
  2. Pyramid Song [4:49] (5/16/01, 13 UK)
  3. Pulk/ Pull Revolving Doors [4:07]
  4. You and Whose Army? [3:11]
  5. I Might Be Wrong [4:54] (5/19/01, 27 MR)
  6. Knives Out [4:15] (8/1/01, 13 UK)
  7. Morning Bell/ Amnesiac [3:14]
  8. Dollars & Cents [4:52]
  9. Hunting Bears [2:01]
  10. Like Spinning Plates [3:57]
  11. Life in a Glasshouse [4:34]

All songs written by Radiohead.

Total Running Time: 43:57

The Players:

  • Colin Greenwood (bass)
  • Jonny Greenwood (guitar, keyboards)
  • Ed O’Brien (guitar, effects, backing vocals)
  • Philip Selway (drums, percussion)
  • Thom Yorke (vocals, guitar, keyboards)


3.573 out of 5.00 (average of 26 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“Faced with a deliberately difficult deviation into ‘experimentation,’ Radiohead and their record label promoted Kid A as just that – a brave experiment, and that the next album, which was just around the corner, really, would be the ‘real’ record, the one to satiate fans looking for the next OK Computer, or at least guitars. At the time, people bought the myth, especially since live favorites like Knives Out and You and Whose Army? were nowhere to be seen on Kid A.” AMG

“That, however, ignores a salient point – Amnesiac, as the album came to be known, consists of recordings made during the Kid A sessions, so it essentially sounds the same. Since Radiohead designed Kid A as a self-consciously epochal, genre-shattering record, the songs that didn’t make the cut were a little simpler, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that Amnesiac plays like a streamlined version of Kid A, complete with blatant electronica moves and production that sacrifices songs for atmosphere.” AMG

“This, inevitably, will disappoint the legions awaiting another guitar-based record (that is, after all, what they were explicitly promised), but what were they expecting? This is an album recorded at the same time and Radiohead have a certain reputation to uphold.” AMG

“It would be easier to accept this if the record was better than it is. Where Kid A had shock on its side, along with an admirably dogged desire to not be conventional, Amnesiac often plays as a hodgepodge. True, it’s a hodgepodge with amazing moments: the hypnotic sway of Pyramid Song and ‘You and Whose Army?,’ the swirling I Might Be Wrong, ‘Knives Out,’ and the spectacular closer Life in a Glasshouse, complete with a drunkenly swooning brass band. But, these are not moments that are markedly different than Kid A, which itself lost momentum as it sputtered to a close.” AMG

“And this is the main problem – though it’s nice for an artist to be generous and release two albums, these two records clearly derive from the same source and have the same flaws, which clearly would have been corrected if they had been consolidated into one record. Instead of revealing why the two records were separated, the appearance of Amnesiac makes the separation seem arbitrary – there’s no shift in tone, no shift in approach, and the division only makes the two records seem unfocused, even if the best of both records is quite stunning, proof positive that Radiohead are one of the best bands of their time.” AMG

Notes: In 2021, Kid A and Amnesiac were issued with a bonus disc of previously unreleased material. The unreleased material included two songs, “If You Say the Word” and “Follow Me Around,” which were released as singles.

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First posted 10/9/2008; last updated 6/2/2022.

Friday, May 11, 2001

100 years ago: “Tell Me, Pretty Maiden” hit #1

Tell Me Pretty Maiden

Harry MacDonough & Grace Spencer

Writer(s): Leslie Stuart (music), Owen Hall (words) (see lyrics here)

First Charted: April 27, 1901

Peak: 17 US, 3 GA (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, -- video, -- streaming

Tell Me Pretty Maiden

Byron G. Harlan with Frank Stanley, Joe Belmont, & the Florodora Girls

First Charted: June 22, 1901

Peak: 13 US, 3 GA (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, -- video, -- streaming

Awards (MacDonough/Spencer):

Click on award for more details.

Awards (Harlan et al):

About the Song:

“Tell Me, Pretty Maiden” was introduced in 1899 in London via the musical comedy Florodora. It has been called “the most successful show tune of its time.” PD The original stage version of the song was performed a double sextet by six men and six parasol-twirling women. The women, all five-foot-four and 130 pounds, “received an indordinate amount of adulation and publicity” TY2 and were rumored to have all married millionaires. TY2

“Maiden” was “the first major song hit from a show not performed by principal singers.” CH “With its upbeat and carefree rhythm, that sense of meandering aimlessly, and beautiful and unexpected traditions, it completely transcends the conventions of popular song.” CH

Leslie Stuart, the composer, started out as a church organist before he started writing for musical shows in 1895. Florodora was his first hit. PD It opened in London on November 11, 1899 and ran for 455 performances at London’s Lyric Theatre CH and another 552 for the New York production. PD The story is about “an attempt to cheat a beautiful young heiress out of her rights to a perfume fortune.” CH

Harry MacDonough and Grace Spencer recorded the first version of the song to chart. It reached #1 in May 1901. After seven weeks on top, it was dethroned by another version of the song by Byron G. Harlan, Frank Stanley, Joe Belmont, and the Florodora Girls. Grace Spencer was a soprano singer born in 1872. She was one of the first women to record for Victor PM becoming known as “the First Lady of the Phonograph.” CH “Tell Me, Pretty Maiden” was one of only two chart hits for her. THe other was also a duet with MacDonough.

MacDonough was a tenor singer born in Ontario, Canada, in 1871. He was second only to Henry Burr as one of “the great ballad singers of recordings’ pioneer pre-1920 era.” PM He was the most popular recording artist of the decade, PM making over 350 records by 1908. CH “Tell Me, Pretty Maiden” was his first of fifteen songs to top the Billboard charts. PM


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First posted 12/2/2022; last updated 12/14/2022.

Monday, May 7, 2001

Marillion Anoraknophobia released



Released: May 7, 2001

Peak: -- US, -- UK, -- CN, -- AU

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: neo-progressive rock


Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release)

  1. Between You and Me [6:28] (10/8/01, --)
  2. Quartz [9:27]
  3. Map of the World (Hogarth/ Rothery/ Kelly/ Trewavas/ Mosley/ Eede) [5:02]
  4. When I Meet God [9:18]
  5. The Fruit of the Wild Rose [6:57]
  6. Separated Out [6:13]
  7. This Is the 21st Century [11:07]
  8. If My Heart Were a Ball It Would Roll Uphill [9:28]

All songs written by Hogarth/Rothery/ Kelly/Trewavas/Mosley unless otherwise noted.

Total Running Time: 63:31

The Players:

  • Steve Hogarth (vocals, percussion)
  • Steve Rothery (guitar)
  • Pete Trewavas (bass)
  • Mark Kelly (keyboards)
  • Ian Mosley (drums)


3.283 out of 5.00 (average of 23 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“Marillion took a bold step with their 12th studio album; having run their own record label for some time, they issued a call for advance orders, payable directly to the band, thereby obviating any need for an advance from a larger company and allowing the band to retain all rights to the finished work. 12,674 fans worldwide answered that call; their reward was a deluxe package with a bonus track, thanking everyone who'd paid before a certain date.” AMG

“The quintet muddied their waters somewhat with the high ‘pricing’ of their new project. A press release from the band didn't help, with its quote from singer Steve Hogarth, ‘You're all wrong about Marillion,’ followed by an imperious ‘challenge’ from the publicist to review the album without using a certain seven terms…‘because if you do, we'll know that you haven't listened to it.’ This odd poise of seeming to snap on feeding fingers carries over to the record on several levels.” AMG

“Hogarth asks, ‘What gets in between,’ at several points in the otherwise joyous Between You and Me.” AMG Despite the song’s six-minute-running time, it was released as the sole single to promote the album.

“For the nine-minute Quartz, the band plods out a deliberately madding rhythm while the protagonist first suspects, then lathers himself into believing that he and his significant other are incompatible.” AMG

Map of the World, co-written with Cutting Crew's Nick Van Eede, celebrates the flight of a young girl into the world and adult adventures, even if it isn't clear how ‘Paris, London, and New York’ will differ from the lights of her town, ‘all singin' 'buy some of this, come on.’” AMG

Separated Out hisses and screeches the pain of freakdom; the listener may not know that dedicated Marillion fans call themselves ‘freaks,’ after a Fish-era B-side that seemed to celebrate freaks finding each other. Is this latter-day song a plea for acceptance on behalf of the band, or a repudiation of what came before?” AMG

“If Marillion can't or won't solve any of these dilemmas, they at least uphold their tradition of lyrics flush with text and subtext and ever-shifting music that incorporates up-to-date influences with authority and no track of trend-mongering slavishness.” AMG

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First posted 3/14/2008; last updated 3/6/2022.

Wednesday, May 2, 2001

Fish released Fellini Days

Fellini Days


Released: May 2, 2001

Peak: -- US, -- UK, -- CN, -- AU

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: neo-progressive rock


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

  1. 3D [9:11]
  2. So Fellini (Dick, Wesley) [4:06]
  3. Tiki 4 [7:32]
  4. Our Smile [5:25]
  5. Long Cold Day [5:33]
  6. Dancing in Fog [5:30]
  7. Obligatory Ballad (Dick, Wesley) [5:15]
  8. The Pilgrim’s Address (Dick, Wesley) [7:18]
  9. Clock Moves Sideways (Dick, Wesley) [7:17]

Songs by Dick, Wesley, and Young unless noted otherwise.

Total Running Time: 57:07

The Players:

  • Derek W. Dick, aka “Fish” (vocals)
  • John Wesley (guitar)
  • Steve Vantsis (bass)
  • John Young (keyboards)
  • Dave Stewart (drums)
  • Dave Haswell (percussion)
  • Susie Webb, Zoe Nicholson (backing vocals)


2.985 out of 5.00 (average of 12 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

Previous album Raingods with Zippos, while seen by some fans as uneven, seemed to be universally embrace when it came to its 25-minute epic “Plague of Ghosts.” Fans hoping for a follow-up that played on that, had to be concerned at the departure of Steve Wilson. As the frontman of neo-prog rock band Porcupine Tree, he’d guided them to a sound that owed a debt to Marillion, the group Fish fronted in the ‘80s.

However, for Fellini Days, Fish pursued a more straightforward rock sound, bringing in some new players. “The roughness of guitarist John Wesley and the melodic skills of keyboard player John Young…seemed very interesting at first thought.” JJ In regards to the latter, Young had composed some stuff for John Wetton ES and “adds some nice touches (‘Dancing in Fog’, ‘Our Smile’),” MS but largely “passes by almost unnoticed.” ES “He seemingly wasn’t much involved in the writing process (almost all of the songs are credited to Fish & Wesley) and the keyboards mainly play a supportive role on the album.” ES “Because of the lack of piano, the album misses a certain emotion.” ES One wonders if “he’s only there to start the sound-effects or the drum-machine.” JJ

While Young may not have been used enough, the opinion seems to be that Wesley was used too much. As one reviewer said in seeing Wesley perform with Fish prior to the album’s release, “all of the subtle and emotional guitar parts were destroyed and mangled into one unpleasant layer of noise.” ES

That assessment seems to mark the biggest criticisms of the album as well. First off, “Wesley might make a fine rhythm guitarist but he hardly plays any decent lead guitar part on the album.” ES His “overall performance on Fellini Days is below par.” MS

Second, “that same layer of noise [that hampered the live performance] returns on Fellini Days.” MS While Elliot Ness seems to be well-regarded for the job he did in producing the Raingods album, “the production and mix on Fellini Days is a mess. As mentioned, the music often just turns into a wall of noise, with some instruments becoming almost inaudible,” ES “mixed to an awful instrumental jumble, as at the end of ‘3D’ and during the chorus of ‘So Fellini’.” MS Also representative of the production is the fact that “the album opens with a projector starting, a sound that keeps up through out the entire album.” RS “It is especially irritating during the quieter parts, as in ‘Obligatory Ballad’ or the start of ‘The Pilgrim's Address’.” MS

“The idea of using the famous film-director Fellini as a source of inspiration, seemed very interesting” JJ and it “has been woven into and between the songs.” JJ

“Fish’s performance is fine as usual, though he misses the edge displayed on earlier albums.” MS “Most of the melodies and ideas on the album are not that bad, and some of them are even very enjoyable. However, most of these ideas are far from original” ES as “the lyrics consist of many expressions and themes you will probably recognise from other Fish (and early Marillion) albums.” HS In addition, all too often there is a “melody which in itself might be quite pleasing [but] is just stretched out and repeated far too often.” ES

3D is the album opener and “Fish’s vocals are quite okay here, dark and warm, but somehow the interplay with the background vocals is not perfect,” RS giving “the song a rather chaotic, out-of-tune sound.” HS “The composition definitely is strong” RS with some “very good verses, but the chorus doesn’t impress.” MS “The guitar work could have been smoother;” RS it is “played using an effect which makes it almost sound out of tune.” HS In addition, the keyboards have unappealing “easy listening-like vibes.” HS

So Fellini is “a rich-sounding track with lots of howling Hammond and other keys.” RS “Nice, rocky guitars and a pounding drum rhythm set the scene.” HS “The simple chorus works very effectively” HS and an “addition at the end of the track of a whole venue full of Fish fans singing the chorus is a nice and original touch,” HS although another reviewer said “the sing-along bit has by now been done to death.” MS “A good composition, although quite repetitive. The same can be said about the lyrics.” RS “Fish obviously hasn’t got the vocal skills he had ten years ago, but he manages to avoid…risks.” RS

Tiki 4, an “ode to chilling out,” HS “leans back on the days of Internal Exile and Songs from the Mirror, combining Fish’s rock sound with more traditional folk composition.” RS “Fish’s vocals are sounding off key every now and then, whereas the backing vocals give the track an even cornier atmosphere than it already had.” HS While “it has some impressive instrumentation and a strong end sequence,” MS it “excels in repetitiveness…And it goes on for seven-and-a-half minutes!” RS

Our Smile is enjoyable,” MS but “is a typical Fish ballad.” RS The lyrics “are really good and heart-felt, but the music sounds a bit too ordinary.” HS “This could have been on any previous album as well. Redundant track and irritating guitar.” RS

“A great, raw guitar intro sets the scene perfectly” HS for the “pleasantly nasty” MS Long Cold Day.” HS Fish “is quite good…and delivers the track with feeling and emotion.” RS He “is angry at someone (someone he loved) who has betrayed him and brilliantly makes that clear in the intensity of his vocals. At the end they are almost drowned out by the backing vocals, though.” HS

“The beginning of Dancing In Fog seems to be the prelude to an exciting song, but after the intro the song changes into a rather average, somewhat boring track.” HS It “has a bit of a dance beat, like some of the ‘Plague of Ghosts’ sections,” RS but “can’t live up.” MS “The melody line is nothing special and very repetitive.” RS In addition, “the raw sounding guitar interlude brings a few sparks back into it, but the music calms down again soon after. For some reason, there are bongos on this track as well.” HS

Obligatory Ballad is a track that you either hate or love. The idea is good, but it could have taken another recording since the very first word Fish sings (Time), is not sharp but shakes…This one works excellent if his voice is in order…On the album it is marginal.” RS “The metallic guitar sound (the electric guitar is the only accompaniment of the vocals during most of the song) does not really help and only tends to underline the false notes.” HS “The personal nature of the lyrics almost beg for a gentle, fragile approach, but here the nasty guitar-sound doesn't create the right atmosphere.” JJ It “would have been much better if it would have been piano/vocals-only instead of piano/electric guitar-only.” ES

Pilgrim’s Address is another ballad, and starts almost acoustic. A Dylan-esque protest song, this one takes us a long time back! It is not a bad idea of Fish at all to wander around Dylan’s tracks once in a while. From a musical point of view this is not the most exciting part, but at least he knows how to put his feelings and thoughts on paper.” RS He “brings the fate of the many half-forgotten soldiers all over the world into the limelight, [but] the song is way too long for its rather unvaried structure.” HS

“A drum machine, some more raw guitar and a haunting keyboard line create an eerie atmosphere on Clock Moves Sideways.” HS “With some really interesting bridges and climax-building, this is absolutely the highlight of the album.” RS “if you can live with the digitized percussion,” MS which “is way too high in the mix.” HS It “contains some interesting ideas that actually work.” ES “With a bit depressing New Age-like chord sequence, it reminds a bit of the final sections of ‘Plague’, and Wilson’s efforts.” RS This song “also gives us a good-old angry Fish” ES as he “finally finds the guts to scream his lungs out, for the first time on the album.” RS His “sneering vocals fit in perfectly. The chorus is a great outburst of thundercloud-like threatening sound.” HS

In conclusion, “the album is too full of raw guitars (although it works in ‘Long Cold Day’), and Fish's voice is at some points too low in the mix.” JJ “Fish still is a skilled songsmith…but most of these songs have some shortcoming in them,” JJ making for “an album of very variable quality. Some tracks are good like the first two, some are mediocre, or even boring, and there is one killer (the last one).” RS It is really “Fish’s most disappointing studio album to date,” ES “his only bad album so far, in that it mostly contains songs of meagre quality.” MS

Notes: A bonus disc included alternate versions of most of the songs, including five live cuts, three remixes, and one acoustic recording.

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Last updated 8/9/2021.