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ABSENT FRIENDS : BBers rating
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luvly horse



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
Posts: 6209
Location: wondering what the hell she did wrong

PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ugly little bleeder
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Mr Nude



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
Posts: 2205
Location: Skank Town

PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gilderoy Lockheart wrote:
Give it up, you're never going to meet her...


In my mind I meet her every day.
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If...



Joined: 11 Dec 2002
Posts: 1206
Location: The Land Of Devil May Care

PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Three years ago, Geronimo joined this BB, in order to vent his anger at the abysmal nature of Regeneration to those who might understand his frustration (and distinct suspicion that he'd been... well... ripped off, frankly). And now I'm going to have to do it again...






Only joking.

Or maybe I'm not...

But I am.

Ho-hum, yes, this here album. It's really not too bad. I have to say that, since I've only been able to listen to it at work - thank you PicklesPost, your delivery men are, in their own way, minor deities - I haven't really been able to concentrate on it. However, my opinion, for what it's worth (the weight in platinum of a small space monkey), is that Neil has not wasted the last three years.

I would imagine that he himself is happy to hear this...

I particularly love Happy Goth, but I think that that is partly because I'm a tad down at the moment, and I think that that song - simple though it is - contains a kernal of truth that, much like the seed in the middle of a clove of garlic, gives pomposity indigestion...
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Brian Shelf



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
Posts: 2861
Location: Possibly back

PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GAAAHHHHHHH!

I hate top open old wounds but I still love Regeneration and get really upset when people slag it off.

It was just different that's all - different is good.
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StickFigureNinja



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
Posts: 3975
Location: on the corner.

PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brian Shelf wrote:
GAAAHHHHHHH!

I hate top open old wounds but I still love Regeneration and get really upset when people slag it off.

It was just different that's all - different is good.


Yass, i do agree. Great album.
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Flip



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
Posts: 1048
Location: The Emerald City

PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a theory about the type of people that don't like Regeneration, and the reasons why.

I love it. I think it contains some of the best songs Neil has ever written, lyrically AND musically. I can't think of any other album, by any other artist - that fits together quite so perfectly as a 'whole'.
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Black Sheep Boy



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
Posts: 364
Location: Los Angeles

PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Flip wrote:
I have a theory about the type of people that don't like Regeneration, and the reasons why.


Well, lets hear it..
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Flip



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
Posts: 1048
Location: The Emerald City

PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I tell you, I'll have to kill you.. Or at very least make you promise to burn then eat the evidence afterwards.
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Black Sheep Boy



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
Posts: 364
Location: Los Angeles

PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh man, what a cop-out. Haha! Come on, I'm seriously curious.

I always thought that the people who hated Regeneration were just dumb.
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Flip



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
Posts: 1048
Location: The Emerald City

PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

>I always thought that the people who hated Regeneration were just dumb.



Damn you! That way MY theory!!!
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Universal*



Joined: 24 Nov 2002
Posts: 2250

PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

black sheep boy wrote:

I always thought that the people who hated Regeneration were just dumb.

Love Regen. Love it.






I repeat. Love it.

The theory. I demand to know the theory.
(I'm bored. It's raining outside. I'm sitting in a hotel room. At this point I will read any theory about anything even if it's dumb.)


Oh. Just saw this.
Flip wrote:

Damn you! That was MY theory!!!

Very Happy
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Lord Football



Joined: 30 Mar 2004
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well this in an interesting little piece of plastic I have just purchased.... very remeniscent of Liberation in places.

Absent Friends,Come Home Billy Bird and Charmed Life jump out immediately screaming "listen to me!" Mutual Friend has some excellent orchestration, I wonder how they will tackle that one live? Happy Goth seems to be masquerading as Mastermind and Freedom Road sounds familiar but I can't place my finger on it.

The whole feel of the album seems to come from by-gone days of Summerhouse and Daddy's Car. To be honest not sure what to make of it after a couple of hearings. It doesn't smack you in the face like Fin or Regeneration did, and it's a complete departure from the latter.
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Benny J



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
Posts: 3310

PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lord Football wrote:
Freedom Road sounds familiar but I can't place my finger on it.


It smacks of Motorway To Damascus to my ears.
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drykid



Joined: 16 Dec 2003
Posts: 2217
Location: On the boundary

PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Absolute Power wrote:
Alternatively think of a dog cooking in space and it's big sad eyes.


Dammit, I'm still wiping away tears of laughter. You should write a comedy series or something Razz
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Lazarus



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
Posts: 724
Location: Hawaii, Belgium

PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 11:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Listened to AF for 1st time very loud on headphones. Freedom Road sounds amazingly better, so powerful, another grower to me from now on !
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Absolute Power
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The whole album is immense at high volume. My car's got an MOT on Thursday but I think the doors might have fallen off by then.
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If...



Joined: 11 Dec 2002
Posts: 1206
Location: The Land Of Devil May Care

PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 12:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bubbles In My Beer wrote:
For me there is not one single track which makes me think "Brilliant"


I'm with Bubbles slightly here. However, the definition of a "mature" album seems to be, these days, that all the songs are growers. Apart from the Happy Goth. It just gets better.

I think that I have very high expectations. And expectorations.

However, I am sure that AF will reward greater listening...
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rachel2205



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
Posts: 724
Location: UK

PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 12:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like growers. Most of David Bowie's music is like that for me - I had to listen to Heathen about 3 times before I decided if I liked it, and now I adore it to bits.
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Lilypod



Joined: 22 Nov 2002
Posts: 1431

PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 12:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't rate the tracks by number. I found the album to be very different to what I thought it'd be like, in terms of what Neil was talking about in interviews, and in terms of the way the songs came together, including those I'd heard previously from airings at gigs. He was mentioning it being about comings and goings. I mostly got from it a sense of loss, but not a bad sort. I ended up feeling quite emotional by the end of my first listen, too. I may choose to blame that on the brandy and port.

Absent Friends - It's the song I'm most likely to put on repeat and is just a cracking, cracking track. There are at least six musical moments I could pick from it for the 'Champagne' thread. I just like the way the old touches are back, such as the opening bars repeating later under the main melody and the revving of the engine. It's not overdone. I like the lyrics and the way that Laika makes her first appearance here. I got a shiver when I was reading the Laika part of the lyrics while stuck on a train, coming back from Dublin on Friday. I may choose to blame that on the heating from Irish Rail.

Sticks And Stones - The lyrics really didn't grab me on first listen, but I definitely loved the music, and it made me wonder again when/if he'll ever do a film score. The music for verse and chorus doesn't really seem to go together, for me, but, ha, who cares?! I've since come round to the lyrics.

Leaving Today - I thought this was a bit melodramatic, on first listen. Then, I reconsidered. I think I just started wondering if he really pines that much before he's even left home on business and it became quite touching. I'm with other people on the 'yonder' bit and similar. But I love the music. Again, it's just beautiful. I find this really lovely in terms of how it's structured. Just the way it builds to a single point and then climbs down from that. It has a bit of a musical number quality to it, too. That's a good thing, btw. I could imagine Colm Wilkinson singing this.

Come Home Billy Bird - It's a great pop song. Hard to say anything else about it because I'd heard it so much in advance of the album, in all its forms.

My Imaginary Friend - I kind of thought of it as a novelty song when I first heard it. Then I decided that I liked the way it fitted in with some of the album's themes. I like the banjo, particularly since I've also decided that it fits with 'Charmed Life'. Also, the 'speak & spell' thing that people have pointed out is a nice touch.

The Wreck Of The Beautiful - This is one of my favourites. I wasn't sure about the vocals on the chorus when I first heard it. Then, I did a complete U-turn. I really like the lyrics to this one and its watery feel. It feels in some ways as if Promenade's ship comes in. The men who didn't drown are more sober than their namesakes in 'A Drinking Song', just as the glasses raised in 'Absent Friends' are less defiant than those raised on 'A Drinking Song'. And I love the final, low notes of the song: I have been educated since first listening to it, and informed that these notes come courtesy of a bassoon.

Our Mutual Friend - I find it hard to take the main character's plight seriously in the song (I end up heartlessly thinking 'But you've only known her for a few bloody hours!'), but I like the music and the way it pulsates along. It's the song that's been in my head all day today. (Most of them have been, at some point. I'll be at work and find that one of the Absent Friends songs has been playing away quietly on my internal jukebox.)

The Happy Goth - This was another one that I felt was a novelty song when I first heard it live, two years ago. But I really like the parent's lines in it. Maybe it's the sense of affection, despite the bafflement.

Freedom Road - This is another of my favourites. I really like the lyrics, too.

Laika's Theme - It's not a 'nothing' track and I really like it in context. It's not like anything I've heard him compose before. When I listen to the album, Laika goes into orbit in 'Absent Friends' and comes into view again on this track. I just find it poignant.

Charmed Life - This was another one that I didn't necessarily love on first hearing on the 'Children In Need' programme. I really liked the tune, but not so much the lyrics. But I love it here. I like its place on the album. Like I said, I got a sense of loss from the previous tracks. Not a bad sense of loss, more the natural sense of loss of a certain stage of life that comes when people make the next generation their primary focus. So this feels cyclical and celebratory, and about what's gained in doing that. I like the fact that the banjo from 'Imaginary Friend' turns up for the new childhood, and I love the repeating piano line. It reminds me of the first part of Debussy's Children's Corner, and I think Neil once mentioned that his father used play Debussy when he (Neil) was a child, so I get the sense of things coming full circle, again.

I don't think it's the best album he's ever written, lyrically, but I still like the lyrics. There's no way I could pick out all my favourite musical bits: I like the fact that I think it'll be a slow burner and that I'll still be discovering musical moments in it for some time to come. The arrangements are beautiful, as are the melodies, and it manages that DC trait of not simply being a repeat of what's gone before. Every Divine Comedy album has been different. This feels more personal, and less ironic than previous albums. Not that I don't like irony, just that it's nice to hear a non-ironic voice more or less the way through. Something new, again.

It gets a happy bunny rating. Nobody try to put the poor little blighter into space!
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If...



Joined: 11 Dec 2002
Posts: 1206
Location: The Land Of Devil May Care

PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BTW, hats off to Doctor Talbot for his superb orchestral arrangement...

It's such an important part of the album; to me the whole thing feels more like ASAAL than any of the others. The orchestra soars and bolsters the songs in a way that is only really done on ASAAL, and occasionally on Fin.

Quite brilliantly done...
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Absolute Power
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 12:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quite agree with If.. on that one, Sticks and Stones and Our Mutual Friend in particular. Sticks and Stones would sit happily on ASAAL, but then it would have to be called A Not So Short Album About Love.

Or not.
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If...



Joined: 11 Dec 2002
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 12:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A Slightly Short Album About Love?
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Brian Shelf



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
Posts: 2861
Location: Possibly back

PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 5:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Has anyone mentioned the hideouness of the very blue CD with huge text on it.

It's the only thing about the packaging I'm not keen on.

PS - is that a goat depicted in the last picture - I need to know so I can win half a point in a game of "Spot the Goat" I've got going.
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drykid



Joined: 16 Dec 2003
Posts: 2217
Location: On the boundary

PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brian Shelf wrote:
Has anyone mentioned the hideouness of the very blue CD with huge text on it.


Yes. Yes they have.
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luvly horse



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
Posts: 6209
Location: wondering what the hell she did wrong

PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

its a stag shelf (no NOT a shelf for stags)
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Brian Shelf



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
Posts: 2861
Location: Possibly back

PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

luvly horse wrote:
its a stag shelf (no NOT a shelf for stags)


Poo.

I was sort of hoping it'd be a goat 'cause he mentions a goat in Stick and Stones.

Unfortunately it's only real gots, pictures and statues that count.
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shropper



Joined: 16 Jan 2004
Posts: 1
Location: Shropper

PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 9:21 am    Post subject: the most beautiful tunes in the world Reply with quote

Absent Friends - 10
Sticks and Stones - 8
Leaving Today - 8
Come Home Billy Bird - 8
My Imaginary Friend - 7
Wreck of the Beautiful - 11
Our Mutual Friend - 10
The Happy Goth - 7
Freedom Road - 5
Laika's Theme - 8
Charmed Life - 9 - I love the Imaginary Friend banjo that sneaks back in just before the end of the album.

Absent Friends and Our Mutual Friend both made me well up on the way into work on the train this morning. Noise that beautiful just gets to me. Total Catharsis. I had to look out of the window and hope no-one noticed.
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Bérénice



Joined: 23 Nov 2002
Posts: 69
Location: France

PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just received mine (the limited edition ... but I sill have not listened to the 4 bonus tracks yet).

Absent Friends - 10
Sticks and Stones - 8
Leaving Today - 5
Come Home Billy Bird - 8
My Imaginary Friend - 9
Wreck of the Beautiful - 10
Our Mutual Friend - 10
The Happy Goth - 8
Freedom Road - 8
Laika's Theme - 8
Charmed Life - 10

I've loved it at the first listening ... as far as I remember, it has never happened before ...
This album makes me feel so happy/peacefull and well inside me (hard to explain) ... even my husband, children and friends have noticed it !!!
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airboy paul



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
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Location: londinium

PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i still need to listen some more before i can say how great it all is, but at least it's like previous albums where each song is distinguished from each other.
not so sure about the orchestration though. it's nice, but some of it just seems too standard. kind of like the embrace/verve/richard ashcroft (probably more if i could remember them) approach of having a song, and then 'let's add an orchestra, will make it sound better' mentality. sort of. not totally though, as some of it works really well, just parts seem not that new. but at least neil doesn't have the full orchestra throughout, and has lots of different sounding songs and instruments and noises like in my imaginary friend and happy goth, and the wateryness of wreck of the beautiful. and the banjo. oh the banjo. i bought another new album the same day as absent friends and that had a banjo too. banjos are brilliant Smile
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Chordmeister



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
Posts: 809
Location: Leafy Berkshire

PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 11:27 am    Post subject: Re: ABSENT FRIENDS : BBers rating Reply with quote

First impression:

Absent friends - 9
Sticks & stones - 8.5
Leaving today - 8
CHBBird - 9
My imaginary friend - 8
Wreck of the beautiful - 9
Our mutual friend - 8.5
The happy goth - 8.5
Freedom road - 7.5
Laika's theme - 7.5
Charmed life - 8.5

I was poo-pooing (or is that pooh-poohing?) people saying CHBB sounded so much better on CD than the mp3s going around, but they were right, and I like it now more than ever. My 'new' favourite is probably Wreck of the Beautiful, closely followed by Charmed Life.
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SmallWorldIncident



Joined: 25 Nov 2002
Posts: 105
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 11:48 am    Post subject: Re: ABSENT FRIENDS : BBers rating Reply with quote

I've opted for a binary scoring system where 1 = generally quite nice or better and 0 = less than quite nice or worse.

Absent friends - 1
Sticks & stones - 1
Leaving today - 1
CHBBird - 1
My imaginary friend - 1
Wreck of the beautiful - 1
Our mutual friend - 1
The happy goth - 1
Freedom road - 1
Laika's theme - 1
Charmed life - 1
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www.tom



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
Posts: 481
Location: North.

PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hehe...

nice to see you back!
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Geordie



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
Posts: 1677
Location: The Toon

PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 12:18 pm    Post subject: Re: ABSENT FRIENDS : BBers rating Reply with quote

SmallWorldIncident wrote:
I've opted for a binary scoring system where 1 = generally quite nice or better and 0 = less than quite nice or worse.

Absent friends - 1
Sticks & stones - 1
Leaving today - 1
CHBBird - 1
My imaginary friend - 1
Wreck of the beautiful - 1
Our mutual friend - 1
The happy goth - 1
Freedom road - 1
Laika's theme - 1
Charmed life - 1




You never disappoint! Very Happy
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The Boatman



Joined: 11 Dec 2002
Posts: 293
Location: The Lake

PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a long-time BB lurker, I'd just like to add some observations:

Since I'll always associate DC with Tori Amos (I got into DC after they supported Tori in '95), it's interesting that both Neil nad Tori have now written songs about Laika the Space Dog.

Also: I heartily approve of the revival of the 'second-last track as an instrumental' tradition: it worked on Liberation and Casanova, and it works on AF too.

'Sticks and Stones' should be the next single.

Oh, and it's about time Setanta released a B-sides compilation. It's a real shame 'Maryland Electric Rainstorm' isn't available on CD; my old tape of CoC is starting to decay...

Cheers

The Boatman
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Brian Shelf



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey be careful Mr Boatman - while I quite like Tori - she's pretty much detested on this board.

Prepare to face the wrath of the Kate Bush fans.
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Benny J



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
Posts: 3310

PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brian Shelf wrote:
Hey be careful Mr Boatman - while I quite like Tori - she's pretty much detested on this board.

Prepare to face the wrath of the Kate Bush fans.


Really? I'm a bit partial to a bit of Tori from time to time, though I do only have her best of album. Only tardos like Kate Bush (and I believe there's pictures of tardos dancing to Kate Bush to prove this point).
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blue circles



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What do you know, four eyes ?
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Benny J



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
Posts: 3310

PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



I don't wear glasses, though sometimes I wish I did.

Anyway, I think Laika's Theme is definitely becoming my favourite.
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Jennifer



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There was a picture of Laika on the back of the National Pop League magazine this month.
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If...



Joined: 11 Dec 2002
Posts: 1206
Location: The Land Of Devil May Care

PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kate Bush is great, but fairly inconsistent.
Tori is obviously heavily influenced by Kate Bush but, nevertheless, Little Earthquakes and From The Choir Girl Hotel are two of the most emotive and beautiful albums in my extensive collection. They touch my id more than DC, who tend more to challenge my ego...
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