|Tyce: Hero - My full album review.|
||ashkent7 03:51 pm MST 03/10/17|
|So having listened to the album twice to give it a good chance to shine, this is my review of it. |
First, i will say that just like Braver, people will like Hero and people will dislike it. Some will like bits of it. I think I'm in the latter category.
Hero for me is an album of missed opportunities, musical over indulgence and I'm actually quite sorry to say tracks that just seem pointlessly redundant in the face of what has gone before. It is like the music industry equivalent of Hollywood remaking Japanese horror films - flashy and loud but missing the subtleties and nuances that make the originals so memorable and long standing.
It is hard to single out the tracks as the main things that stopped me truly getting on board with the album is present throughout. I can't actually say it as well as Jim himself did ten years ago when talking about Bat 3 on his blog. It went a little something like this.
"The only words that crossed my mind a lot during the CD were: DYNAMICS; HUMOR; SPOKEN WORD, PIANO THUNDER and OPERATIC POWER. I missed those, but I "like" the album."
That leads back even further to the heading of a music magazine review of Couldn't Have Said It Better which was "It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Jim".
The song Couldn't Have Said It Better, was said by the magazine to be an attempt to imitate that almost worked but had some clumsy moments that gave it away, and in those three paragraphs is probably a better overview of Hero than i could put together. There are moments when it looks like something truly rooted in the magic on Steinman is about to appear ( for me the openings of Gonna Love Her For Both of Us and I'll Kill You If You Don't Come Back are the best things on the album, but only equate to around 30 seconds between them.) but then it becomes somehow lost in a niggling grind of background guitar noise and production so deep the voices are occasionally almost lost.
At the other end of the production spectrum, Heaven Can Wait is like Vince Vaughnís shot for shot Psycho remake with nothing new to add, and in my opinion nowhere near the emotion of Meatís original vocal. Objects In The Rear View Mirror severely lacks in the ethereal background vocals that Jimís production gave it on Bat, or the emotional resonance of the Tanz Der Vampire versions.
Holding Out For A Hero and Total Eclipse of the Heart both start well, Total Eclipse in particular with a dark brooding edge, but then again something seems to change and to quote someone (I canít recall whether it was Jim or in response to something Jim once said) who said it about Land of The Pigs on Bat 3, it is like no one can wait to blow their load in the first act leaving nothing to wait for. And that again is apparent time and time again.
For me, to do Steinman properly you build it. Thereís always something coming in his biggest songs and there is a constant melody even when there shouldnít be. The guitar solo of Frying Pan and Objects on Bat 2, the transition into the coda of All Revved Up, the loop back to the first verse repear of Bad For Good, the piano/drum build into the Say a Prayer section of Going All The Way.
This is partly why for me, Braver Than We Are on Hero will always be a step behind Going All The Way. The song, as it appears in Tanz, and on Braver, and in demos, is a building epic of movements with musically genius links and pay offs. On Braver each chorus arrives with a different gift to offer and the final segment is like everyone is racing towards that final moment. On Hero, it plays its hand early then at times feels rushed but without any drive behind it. It takes more inspiration from the theatrics of Tanz than anything else on occasion but doesnít have the feeling Going All The Way injects with its nostalgic guitar sound and piano drive.
There are guitar solos lifted direct from their predecessors (Gonna Love Her and Kill You most notably), and the others just kind of sound like most other rock music out there, which again raises the question of why if the originals canít be bettered. There are clunky moments in some transitions when changes happen in tone or depth that just seem out of the blue rather than planned and flowing, and occasionally it sounds like every sound effect and hand held ringing item had to be used somewhere and has been.
Tyce himself is a great singer, thereís no doubt of that. There are some times though he is so high, without much in the way of protection that good backing vocals would have helped out on, that it almost becomes screechy. His calibre is proven more, and this is a massive tell on the album as a whole, in the acoustic songs included as bonus material. It does seem odd that All Coming Back To Me Now is in the acoustic section as the main album version is barely more than that, but again, Tyceís emotions, effort and abilities are must more apparent in raw acoustic version than the album take. Sometimes, it seems less is more and this is one of those times. For all itís bells and whistles, there is something peculiarly hollow about the main album, while the supplementary add ons are actually what are worth a larger part of the cost of the album and to me would have made a better album on their own merits with minimal additional production. These versions lend something more to the honesty of the songs, and give a truly different perspective on some of them.
The album will sit in nicely with the other Steinman featuring playlists for me, but even though I had really high expectations of this and will listen to it, it doesnít knock out any of the versions of the songs that have gone before.
BUT...that's my take. I fully expect there are those who will really like it, particularly those who couldn't accept Meat's vocals on Braver, and they are just as right in their eyes as I am in mine.
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