Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Two Fans Discuss Neil Finn's Dizzy Heights

My friend John Dunbar and I have been e-mail volleying on a weekly basis for years now. Occasionally the subject is one particular record, like a few years back when Jules Shear released "More." We discussed the release for a series of paragraphs until I eventually posted the conversation. It seemed like a clever way of reviewing the record.

The two of us were at it again, though more concise, over one of our faves, Neil Finn and his just released "Dizzy Heights."

Here's John:

I just finished listening to Dizzy Heights (not the Lightning Seeds album). Neil Finn is one of those artists whose new work never hits me the first time out of the gate. (Except for "Everyone Is Here." That grabbed immediately and still hasn't let go.) But as I get to learn his records, I end up really loving them. I have a strong feeling that's going to be the case here yet again. I'm not blown away, but will be eventually I'd bet. I avoided hearing the songs that were released ahead of time. I wanted to experience the album as a whole.

I still am, and will always be, an album guy.

I appreciate him attempting new sonic areas. It doesn't sound like any of his previous releases. (Perhaps a pinch of Pajama Club?) His last two releases have made your year end top ten list- Pajama Club and the Paul Kelly live album- I wonder if in 10 months the streak will continue.

In preparation I went back and listened to Crowded House's "Time On Earth" after you said it sounded better than you remembered. I agree. It sounded fresh.

I look forward to hearing your take on this.


Also just listened without an earlier preview. Vinyl came on time, for a change, and it had a download for the bonus track. I loved it on first pass. Interesting how I have now gotten used to the fact that Neil's poppier days are behind him. First takes on the releases you mention, ""Time On Earth" and "Pajama Party" were not so pleasing, but I stayed with them and now love them. I went into "Dizzy Heights" expecting the same as those records and not the Split Enz/Crowded House "I Got You"/"Something So Strong"-type singles and it worked right off the bat. Fantastic production and some really great melodies.

I felt like I wanted to put it right back on after it finished.


I'm sure I'll get there in no time. I also understand he's no longer writing songs like he used to, but I wonder if he's so concerned with being an artiste that he purposely avoids the killer hooks. I look forward to falling for the album, which is inevitable.


I hear hooks. Maybe not so obviously as his earlier days, but I don't mind that at all. There seems to be a lot more going on here than on the first two Crowded House records, which as much as I love them, honestly haven't aged as well as Neil's first two solo records.

I think "Dizzy Heights" is really strong and I think you're going to feel that in no time.


buzzbabyjesus said...

As I commented in Shout It Out Loud a few days ago, I was sold in the first 30 seconds of the first track. The sound and feel knocked me out. I'll have to listen to the whole thing now.

FD13NYC said...

Very nice Sal! Judging from what you posted, definitely peaks my interest. I'll have to explore! Thanks. Great song of the day also.

Elroy said...

Thanks for the dialog on this album, I'm eagerly awaiting its delivery.

I think I've enjoyed Neil's solo work as much or more than the Crowded House so I was thrilled when I heard he was finally doing another solo album.

I clearly need to pick up Pajama Club as well - the bits of it I heard were so different from other NF I never followed up on it. Then I noticed it on your top 10 list.

Ken J Xenozar said...

Indeed, I agree with so much of what has been said here about Neil's work. First pass can leave you a little flat - not sure why. I would like to think he is using chord structures, progressions that are unusual, but not so sure. But man, after several passes, they are great. This does seem like a strong album.

Anonymous said...

Is Mrs. Finn slowly becoming the new Linda McCartney? I wish Neil would go back to working more with his big brother and less with his kids and wife.

Chris Swartout said...

I am not ready to comment yet, as the record is just now downloading. But give me a day or two. Neil Finn has been one of my all time favorite songwriters and to me has one of the greatest pop voices ever.