Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Beranek-Daylight In The Dark (1986)

ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: February 22, 2017

Getting my Wednesday morning started with a little "Daylight In The Dark", a requested album from the 80's catalog by the Norwegian pop/new wave singer Espen Beranek Holm. My formal introduction to him and his distinctively commanding, gritty voice started with the energetic opener, "Dancing In The Wind" (I kept wanting to write 'Dancing In The Dark', the title to a popular and very memorable Bruce Springsteen hit; so easy to get the track and the album's title mixed up here). Well this Beranek hit is sure to be popular amongst 80's listeners, thanks to its lively hook of a chorus where his rising vocals come to life! Didn't think twice about jumping down to the 5+ minute remix right afterwards, as I still wanted to stay in that get-my-morning-off-with-an-energetic-kick mode. I can see the producers had some fun playing around with the added effects, highlighted by the deep-voiced gluttonous monster (at least that's how I'd describe it) who sounds like he's just devoured its prey in the beginning, then the very end where that same gluttonous monster is paired opposite the chirpy female vocalist. Beranek shines most, in fact, on these peppy, upbeat tunes—the one called "Shine!", plus "Man Without Soul" (although his voice is much smoother here and the music has a softer, easier-listening air), "Paradise" (I love how his voice soars up on that delivery of 'paradise' in the chorus, and there's some real-life truth to his words of 'money serves you, money will obey') and the oddest and most new wave-spirited tune of them all, "True Love", where that same gluttonous monster from the "Dancing In The Wind" remix returns while the 'Phantom Of The Opera' style keyboard riffs and the Norwegian singer's spoken, emotionless words delivered in the verses (had me thinking about vampires there for a moment) create a noticeably dark, unsettling feel all throughout. But not to worry; there's plenty of daylight to be enjoyed elsewhere. Darkness, I gathered, seems to be Beranek's constant companion in quite a few places on this album He's haunted with the dilemma of wanting to tear down a wall of ice, but afraid of being caught in the fire back up on the second track; the woman in his life won't show hardly any outward emotions at all on "Teardrop" (the lyrics contrast nicely with the warming, airy vibe of the music, highlighted by the jazzy spark midway and the endless stilled ocean breeze of a backing ambiance throughout); he's done with playing all of the games on "Game Over"; and my favorite one, "A Stream Of Daylight", shows him searching for the exit from darkness in the woman who lights up his path. I could even throw in the slowed 2+ minute instrumental curiously called "Design" as contributing further to the whole 'darkness' theme. Whether you're in a bright mood or a moody mood, however, "Daylight In The Dark" is a delightful music collection that's sure to make somebody's day:

1. Dancing In The Wind
2. Play With The Fire
3. Shine!
4. Man Without Soul
5. Teardrop
6. A Stream Of Daylight'
7. Paradise
8. True Love
9. Game Over '
10. Design
11. Dancing In The Wind (12'' Remix)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Reggie-On The Park (1985)

ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: February 21, 2017

My heart has been aching for a return to the good ole 80's for a while now; I look forward to an extended stay in my favorite music decade. In a way, indulging in my newly-discovered indie electronic pop group, MIIKE SNOW, for the past couple of days has gotten me back into the 80's synthpop mood, but that did not prepare me for the special treat I've had sitting on the music backburner for waaaaaaaaaay too long! The sultry voice of Réjane Magloire, who served as the heart of the Euro-house project TECHNOTRONIC on the 1991 album, "Body To Body", had graced me before when I had the pleasure of tuning in to her 1989 debut album, which was previously featured right here at "The Music Spectrum". So happy to say that she's delighted me again on this rare, three-track standalone single she released prior that self-titled debut entitled "On The Park". Fans of 80's Freestyle music—and just 80's club music altogether—will surely get the same thrills out of this 6+ minute jam as I did! Great beats, great vocals, and even some sublime jazzing up all throughout are a formula that always equates to pop perfection! As for the actual lyrics&mash;sounds like she's giving a tribute to various different parks, with direct mentions of New York City's Central Park and MacArthur Park (the latter had me thinking about the late disco legend, Donna Summer, who recorded that hit disco track by the same name). If it's mostly all beats and groove that you want, the follow-up three-and-a-half-minute dub mix is just for you! Then speaking of getting into the groove, my latest 'Music Surprise Of The Day' is definitely the third track on this single: a hot cover of the memorable Madonna classic, "Into The Groove". Same chords, same beat and same 80's pop deliciousness! Reggie's deeper vocals, which are in stark contrast to Madonna's more girly chords, take a moment or two of getting used to, but it really works well here, especially with the added jazz element not heard on the original recording. I only wish that the part where she keeps repeating ' now I know you're mine ' the second time through hadn't faded out so soon, but the music is so good that I'm willing to accept this as a minor oversight on the producers' behalf:

1. On The Park (US Club Mix)
2. On The Park (Dub)
3. Into The Groove

Monday, February 20, 2017

MIIKE SNOW-Miike Snow [Expanded Edition] (2010)

ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: February 20, 2017

Genghis Khan was the older brother of Kublai Khan.....or was he? Turns out my memory of Mongolian history from middle-school social studies class has faded over the years, as I would realize that what I thought was fact for so long is completely false after I accidentally stumbled onto my discovery of an indie electronic pop group that calls itself MIIKE SNOW. Yes, the 'MIIKE' in their name is misspelled intentionally, and there's even a short story behind it that relates somewhat to Far Eastern culture. But cool misspellings aside, the 'Genghis Khan' thing plays into all of this because, somehow, the great ruler and founder of the Mongol Empire and the grandfather of Kublai Khan (now those are facts!) popped up in my head when I went to do some leisure music exploring via Youtube, which has been my preferred choice of music streaming in recent days. Impulsively and without thought, 'Genghis Khan remix' got entered into the search box; without even expecting there to actually be such a remix of a song ever recorded, I would soon be watching an audio-only recording of the 'Louis The Child Remix' of a song called "Genghis Khan" by this MIIKE SNOW group. Found myself being instantly hooked to the soothing, easy-listening synthpop sound and the lead singer's equally soothing vocals (the actual words kinda got faded into the background), and as I continued onward with a complete MIIKE SNOW playlist (which never quite got completed), I would uncover a whole flurry of similarly-soothing electronic pop tunes to the group's credits—some remixes and some originals. Excitement then came over me; I knew that I had made yet another amazing music discovery—albeit in the quirkiest of ways—and becoming a new listening disciple of MIIKE SNOW was the next thing I needed to do. Though instead of starting with the proper album from which their original version of "Genghis Khan" was recorded (I usually start with the album containing the song that officially introduced me to the artist), I chose to jump back to the beginning of the discography with MIIKE SNOW's self-titled debut. That's when I would find out a few other cool facts about them: the lead singer, Andrew Wyatt, being American while the group itself was formed out of my favorite Scandinavian country of Sweden, plus their symbolic icon being the fictional antelope/rabbit hybrid termed a 'jackalope', as pictured on the cover artwork above. So fitting, then, that the opening song here on their debut is simply called "Animal". As with that "Genghis Khan" remix, I was so caught up in the bouncy, ambient synthpop rhythm and Wyatt's distinctively airy vocals that I lost the actual words to the song. Still, the song was an instant attraction to my ears, as was the haunting follow-up entitled "Burial" (this one totally reminds me of the 80's), where he talks about being the killer of both himself and another woman and reminding her to cry at her own funeral. It's equally fitting that they recorded two other tracks about animals on their debut: "The Rabbit", which is almost as haunting as "Burial" with the lyrical metaphors of him trying to defeat the devil and the woman's love being tragic magic, and the super-hit "A Horse Is Not A Home" (like the spin on the old adage 'a house is not a home'), where there's even more emotional haunt, as he sings about galloping along with a hole in his heart. Presently, I've gotten attached to the melancholy slow gem, "Sans Soleil", and especially the beautifully haunting (are you sensing a trend here?) tune about a lady named "Silvia", which is simply electronic chill-out bliss and why I've loved every remix of it that I've heard thus far:

1. Animal
2. Burial
3. Silvia
4. Song For No One
5. Black & Blue
6. Sans Soleil
7. A Horse Is Not A Home
8. Cult Logic
9. Plastic Jungle
10. In Search Of
11. Faker
12. Silvia (Ernest & Amz Remix)
13. Billie Holliday
14. The Rabbit
15. Silvia (Roboberget Remix)
16. Animal (Mark Ronson Extended Remix)
17. Burial (DJ Mehdi Remix)

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Frank Dana-Lovers: Best Of (2009)

ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: February 18, 2017

The best voices always deserve a respectful share of the spotlight here at "The Music Spectrum". Today, the voice I would like to highlight belongs to an accomplished gentleman going by the name of Frank Dana (also known by his aliases of Francesco Scorza and Frank Scorza), Not having grown up with his music—and not even becoming acquainted with him until well into the New Millennium—I cannot offer much regarding his musical background. But what I can say is that he's a terrific singer, and you'll immediately find evidence of that upon taking in his striking and commanding voice while listening to the 1982 hit ballad that he's widely recognized for simply called "Lovers". In addition to that gem, which deservingly serves as both the opening track and the inspiration for the title to this eighteen-track compilation celebrating the earliest years of his career, there are a half-dozen similar stellar ballads where his commanding soaring vocals dazzle the ears. There's "Your Life" and "Same Again" (both are nicely jazzed up with the accompanying saxophone with the latter having an especially epic production with the big pounding drums and elegant orchestra), plus the tender yet haunting "Just A Lover Man", "For Ever More" (he totally has that romantic soul crooner's thing going on here). "Gloria" (this cuddly tune blossoms into a powerful performance as he cries out to a special lady whom he hopes won't leave him and his heart hanging) and my personal favorite and the grand showstopper of them all,"Believe Me", where Frank declares and confesses his love for the woman in convincing fashion! When his stunning ballads aren't impressing your ears, his collection of Italo-disco tunes, which make up the vast majority of this eighteen-track compilation, step in to entertain you instead. Lots of goodies to highlight on this dancey pop side of Frank, so let me start with the ones that thrill me the most. "I Remember": A funny coincidence how this one has that particular title, as the chords sound so similar to Sting and THE POLICE's "Every Breath You Take", a hit from the 880's that I 'remember' very well. Frank's song is like a faster version of that.....except with some added jazzy saxophone sweetness, plus the entirely different lyrics that speak about him not being the same without the woman's love. More 80's memories surfaced the first time I listened to "Set Me Free"; the chords here now remind me of Kim Wilde's cover of "You Keep Me Hangin' On" while the 'whoa-oh-oh' delivered by the backing vocalists at the end of the chorus sound very much like the same 'whoa-oh-oh' heard on the Laura Brangian hit, "Self Control". I'd gotten another wonderful surprise when I played Frank's funky disco jam of a remake of the STEELY DAN classic, "Do It Again" (there was no mistaking when I heard the signature line of the chorus that goes 'back jack, do it again') while "All You Need Is Music" is just a wonderful straight up 70's disco-sounding jam that sparkles and dazzles with its theatrical-like production! I really like the dreamy and magical feel of "Ti Voglio", which sees him delivering more of his characteristic honest and sincere declarations of love, while it's all fun times for me on the sunny guilty pop pleasure "Just You And Me" and the supremely catchy, hi-tech energy rush that is "Mister President". And that is how I will conclude these highlights of Frank Dana's career on a high note:

1. Lovers
2. Your Life
3. I Just Love You
4. I Remember
5. Same Again
6. Ti Voglio
7. All You Need Is Music
8. Be My Woman
9. Sexy Lady
10. Set Me Free
11. Believe Me
12. Do It Again
13. For Ever More
14. Gloria
15. Rock'N Love
16. Just A Lover Man
17. Just You And Me
18. Mister President

Friday, February 17, 2017

TRUEFAITH-Bliss (1998)

ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: February 17, 2017

I've continued to concentrate on the OPM circuit with my music endeavors, now getting formally introduced with what I learned is one of The Philippines' most successful and popular bands: TRUEFAITH. I had already liked what I read about this band's background—their music being influenced by a blend of jazz, rock, folk and pop music&mash;but they sure made a new believer out of me only seconds into taking in the opening track, "Get It On". It was there where I'd get acquainted with their easy-listening pop side and the lead singer's warming, soulful voice, and it wasn't long before I found myself getting easily attached to the fluidity of the music and the words that talk about wanting to get away, yet being a prisoner, in essence, to the woman's love and having no choice but to 'get it on' with her within those prison walls. Once again, I ended up wishing that my understanding of the native Filipino tongue was on the same level of my proficiency with the Spanish language when I played the next one entitled "Sandalan". The song simply has a beautiful flow and an ear-appealing uptempo pop/soft rock fluidity (I will probably be using that word 'fluidity' a lot) with me especially finding something alluring about the main chorus. Had the exact same sentiments about two of the other Tagalog tracks: "(Awit Para) Sa Kanya" (the ambiance on this slow groove is so soothing) and the one I really like, "Magtiwala Ka", which just may be the most exotic song on the album with its distinctive Far Eastern acoustic stringed accompaniment complement the melancholy chords. Besides just the instrumental arrangement, which is a pure delight, I love how the lead guy's vocals rise up in some places, which is a talent he shows off with a tease at the very end of on one of my favorite English tracks, "(It's Just) Not the Time". Now THIS is one deserves the spotlight all by itself—a classy ballroom-jazzy slow piece with a cool bluesy sway about it that is music to my ears! Amidst the horns and the trumpets and all of the other ingredients molding this one into the elegant display that it is are some rather touching lyrics that explain how it's not yet the moment for crying or dying or flying or any of these things. Not the time to die, not the time to cry, not the time to fly. Not the time for all of these things. The mood is much more warming with the switch back to easy-listening pop on "Going Home", then the surprise house-inspired dance groove that is "Closer To Heaven". The latter seems to be a rarity within the OPM music circuit, where a lot of songs of the soft rock radio variety reign supreme in abundance. And despite the energetic tempo, the song retains that easy-listening fluidity with the tender, low-key vocals and the comforting, thoughtful words of how two people are closer to heaven as they live together and as their love grows together. Both "Closer To Heaven" and "(It's Just) Not the Time" served as the first two indicators of this band's eclectic nature; the trippy slow groove, "Kiss The Fire", served as a third example. A very haunting approach to extending a romantic invitation to another woman here, given the spoken, toned-down rap in the introductory movement (almost felt like walking through a dark, deserted street in a horror movie); even his hypnotic, monotonic words of 'this is bliss' and, further, talking about breaking her chains and walking into desire, are tinged with a bit of dark taint. Plus, the backing piano adds a chilling touch to that haunt; I found the deep striking of the piano keys at very end like a dagger stabbed through somebody's heart. Why do I have so many horror movie images on this one? All ghosts and haunts are lifted, however, by the time the concluding piece, "Take Me Back", filled my ears. This delightful slow piece brightens with the happy melodies of the accompanying harmonica and the words of reminiscing about sunny days of the past and longing for an idyllic paradise. 'Take me back where there is peace' is the line that stands out on this song; a place like that must be full of bliss indeed:

1. Get It On
2. Sandalan
3. Panaginip
4. (It's Just) Not the Time
5. Going Home
6. (Awit Para) Sa Kanya
7. Closer To Heaven
8. Magtiwala Ka
9. Kiss The Fire
10. Take Me Back

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

TOGETHER-A Day Like This (1997)

ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: February 15, 2017

There was the fake parody of a boyband called 2GE+HER (I loved their music nonetheless!), and then there was this obscure (there's that mystery word again) Swedish trio that was a real boyband called TOGETHER; they even spelled their name the correct way without the '2' and the plus sign. I'd discovered them about a year or so ago while casually browsing the music databases for new additions to my 90's Europop collection; somehow, I knew that they and their debut album of English recordings entitled "A Day Like This" were a must-have! Perhaps their simplistic spelling of their name served as an early indicator of their simplistically poetic yet intimate lyrical style that I would gather first on the sunny, guitar-driven opening tune, "Be With You", then take notice of on every song thereafter. As I often say, the simplest and sweetest love songs are often the most fun and, ultimately, emerge as the best of the bunch. The simplest one of them all is the 2+ minute perky number, "Crazy Little Thing", which charms because of the slight BEACH BOYS/BEATLES punk psychedelia thing it's got going on and its very catchy, sing-along chorus. It's that same peppy, BEATLES-era pop/rock spirit I felt again later on the delightful listen that is "Common Old Dream", which is about a girl who wants to escape into a distorted reality that she wishes would last forever. A flash-forward to the 90's house era with the lively galloping rhythm of "Can't Get Over You" where, again, the simple-and-to-the-point lyrics—here, the repetitious delivery of the title track serving as the main chorus—are enough to please the ears. That same approach is presented further on one of this album's coolest tracks: "Naturally Beautiful". You can tell that this one's building up to something good with the electronic drum n' bass rhythm in the beginning movement, followed by the eerie, unsettling arrangement of the chords before the guys break through the haunting ambiance with their chanting of 'how can she be so beautiful?'. There's something distinctively Swedish in their pronunciation of 'naturally'..... "She's A Wild Girl" is a second cool track because the chorus is a lot of fun&mdash'oooh, she's a wild, wild girl' —and so is that brief 'oh-oh' chimed at the end of every pass, plus the quirky stab at rap midway through. Then from a musical point of view, it shines with its breezy sunniness, accented by the airy ambiance whistling in the background and the subtle reggae rhythm. And here's my pick for the coolest one of them all: "Happy Girl". I instantly got that 'uh-oh, it's-time-to-jam!' feeling the moment the reggae-inspired Europop beat jump started things here. Add to that the merry melody of the chords and hearing the guys' merry sing-along of a chorus—'happy happy girl, with a happy happy smile'—and you;ll see why this one makes me so happy listening to it! In fact, the lead guy himself even breaks off with his solo delivery of 'I feel so happy' during the beat drop break. Just a happy, happy song all around! And just when I thought I couldn't be happier, there's a beautifully lush selection of heartwarming soft rock radio perfect slow gems that fill me up just as much as—if not more than—"Happy Girl". There's the song whose title shares its name with this Swedish trio, which talks about the prospect of taking shelter and ending up united for all time; "While You Were Sleeping", where he gently tells about the things he dreams of as he watches her lying calm and still; "Wonderland", which could be seen as a fulfillment of those dreams, as he sings about the paradise he's inviting her to; and "Oh My God" (the title had gotten my attention; instead of the something amazingly unbelievably bad that it could've suggested, it turns out instead that he's astounded by her amazingly unbelievable beauty). Even the Swedish language track entitled "Vänner" is a nice listen, appropriately concluding this latest chapter in my Swedish Europop adventure:

1. Be With You
2. She's A Wild Girl
3. Crazy Little Thing
4. Together
5. Happy Girl
6. Can't Get Over You
7. While You're Sleeping
8. Anyhow
9. Naturally Beautiful
10. Wonderland
11. Common Old Dream
12. Oh My God
13. Be With You [Live] [Acoustic Version]
14. Vänner

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

RISQUÉE-Risqing It All (1999)

ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: February 14, 2017

Taking risks is a frequent venture of mine when it comes to music, whether it's checking out new or unfamiliar artists recommended for listening or something of a personally requested nature. Though often times, I'm certain my ears will be treated to a great listen, simply because of who are what the artist in question is. The latter was the case with this all-girl pop trio that called itself RISQUÉE, who are not to be confused with the Dutch all-ladies 80's disco group that called itself RISQUÉE (without the extra 'E' added on at the end of its name). Since they're a complete mystery to me, and remain a virtual mystery in all of the music databases I've poured over, I can only tag this trio with the label of being obscure (that's just my favorite way of saying that a given artist is rare and unique). And since I've labeled them as being obscure, it could only mean that nothing but good tunes would flow from their one and only known album, "Risqing It All" (liking the stylistic spelling of 'Risqing', replacing the '-SK' that is properly read in the word 'risk' with the intentional omission of the 'U' behind the 'Q'), because nearly all of the obscure pop artists I've listened to are good! The first indicator of that: the groovy Latin-flavored Eurodisco jam called "Fiesta Mayor" I'd tracked on while in the heat of my initial investigations into this trio's origins; the Spanish lover in me was delighted in every way! "Fiesta Mayor" appears to have been a standalone single following this album's official release, so it serves as a special bonus here and makes up for the absence of the elusive track, "I Believe In You", which is found exclusively on the proper sixteen-track Japanese edition. Having been formally introduced to these RISQUÉE girls and their collectively pop-tastic voices on "Fiesta Mayor" (I needed to get filled up on that one at least twice before I proceeded any further), I was all geared up to receive their other tasty pop treats, starting with the smooth groove of an opener that is "Let Me Be (Your Only One)", where they sing about being the ones who can show the men in their lives things that they've never seen or dreamed before. It's that 90's girl-group pop spirit that attracts me to the suspenseful jam, "Whatcha Gonna Do?", the suspense coming from the slight edginess of the chords and accompanying rock guitars and the boy's dilemma of what will become of him if the girl walks out of his life and leaves him for good. 'Naughty or nice is the way to be'—just a few of my favorite words from the chorus. Then right after that, I would get my first 'Music Surprise Of The Day': a funky, jazzed-up remake of the Diana Ross disco classic, "Upside Down". A celebratory 'yes, I knew it!!!' erupted in my mental jukebox the moment those memorable words of ' upside down you're turning me, you're giving love instinctively ' entered my ears! The RISQUÉE girls sure did an excellent job in bringing this one back with some modern spunk; it had just made my day! Then two tracks later would be my second 'Music Surprise Of The Day': a modern dance-pop remake of the Pebbles 80's classic, "Girlfriend". Knew it was exactly that song when I recognized the opening words of 'I cried my last cry I'm out the door babe, there's other fish in the sea', then the words of sisterly advice that follow afterwards. 'Oh my God!', I must've shouted somewhere in my mental jukebox.....or at least mouthed it to myself. See, this is the reason why I love music so much; there are always surprises to blow you away! Then are are some songs that just whisk you away.....into a dreamland in a distant place. "The Silence Is Over" is one such song, a shift to a more touching, mellow side of the girls as they allure with their sweet collective voices of promise and dedication to be the one to free you, release you and the one you can run to. "Now I Know" represents another—a gentle, easy-listening slow tune that delights the ears and leaves you with a sunny air as the girls sing about their realization of what love truly is. More dance-floor thrills strike up on the high-energy, made-to-get-you-up-and-movin' jam "Get On Down" (the title already suggests some dance-floor thrills even before the music starts!) while it's a jazzed-up funk party getting fired up on "Good Love", "Everybody" (like the cool rap break where they throw in a reference to Christopher Columbus while talking about how everybody wants to be a lover), "Enjoy Your Life" (even more sisterly advice from them about making the most out of today since one never knows what the future holds) and "Silly Games", whose old-school feel of the music arrangement immediately captivated my senses before the fun lyrics that are the promises to stop all of the love foolishness got to me first. It's a sheer sign of pop addiction when even innocent, simple songs like "Call It Love" and its sensual hook'I call it love, baby, I call it L-O-V-E- love, baby' toy with your ears. So then what is it when a 30+ second long acapella snippet astounds you, too? That would be courtesy of the "Oh, What A Fool" interlude on Track #6, where these girls show off some sublime vocal harmony while admitting to being a fool to let the guy go. I only had to 'risk' about an hour of my free time to indulge in this pop treasure; perhaps checking out these obscure pop artists isn't such risky business after all?

1. Let Me Be (Your Only One)
2. Whatcha Gonna Do
3. Upside Down
4. The Silence Is Over
5. Girlfriend
6. Oh, What A Fool (Interlude)
7. Get On Down
8. Call It Love
9. Now I Know
10. Good Love
11. Number One
12. Silly Games
13. Everybody
14. If I Were You
15. Enjoy Your Life

*****BONUS TRACK*****'

16. Fiesta Mayor

Sunday, February 12, 2017

B*WITCHED-Awake And Breathe (1999)

ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: February 12, 2017

Now this is where my memory of this Irish girl group fades, although listening to the B*WITCHED girls here their second and final studio album—that is, their final one before releasing an EP after their recent reunion less than a few years ago—isn't any less charming than their debut! They weave a slightly different kind of magic right at the beginning with the pop/rock opener, "If I Don't Fit", as their bold, angst-driven lyrics about a guy who's more trouble than he's worth brings out the wicked side of them. The memorable words from the chorus on this one include ' you're not bigger than me ' and ' you're replaceable ' , which are surely the spoken truth in a lot of other rocky romantic relationships. The main charm for me on the follow-up, "Jesse Hold On", is the musical arrangement, particularly the country-spirited horse-galloping stringed instrumental that plays along with the beat. Meanwhile, it's the collective instrumental melodies and ethnic ambiance that charm my ears a second time on the gem that's served up following after that: "I Shall Be There". Had a sudden sense that I'd gone back on that "Tomb Raider"/"Indiana Jones" expedition from my recent BAHA MEN adventure on that "Exuma's Reincarnation" track I enjoyed a couple of days ago, given the tribal chants and the whole ethnic presentation of this song. Besides that, there was something especially gripping about the simple lyrics delivered in the chorus: 'I shall be there; will you be there?'. It's those gentle, soothing pieces were these Irish girls and their sweet, collective voices seem to shine the most, whether it be the soothing piece "Leaves" (and I'd even predicted something soothing along the lines of a peaceful autumn and the other changing weather seasons when I peeked at the title), the ballad of reflection that is "It Was Our Day", the blissfully cute "Are You A Ghost?" (just an imagination, or is he really the real thing, in order words) or a personal favorite of mine, the calming acapella track "In The Fields We Lay", which is the best place to escape with their beautiful vocal harmony (the way their voices echo at the end of every line is most delightful). The girls also glitter on the breezy, middle tempo guitar-driven grooves; their performance of "Red Indian Girl" falls into that distinctive category. And it was great of them to record a special orchestral version to the one song from their self-titled debut that, looking back, possibly was their best song overall: "Blame It On The Weatherman"; the inclusion of the violins and company adds an elegant touch to this already epic musical adventure:

1. If It Don't Fit
2. Jesse Hold On
3. I Shall Be There
4. Jump Down
5. Someday
6. Leaves
7. The Shy One
8. Red Indian Girl
9. It Was Our Day
10. My Superman
11. Are You A Ghost?
12. In Fields Where We Lay
13. Blame It On The Weatherman (Orchestral Version)