Friday, November 17, 2017

SIX WAS NINE-Zen & Now (1998)

ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: November 17, 2017

I've walked with the spirits, let it come my way, made a few strokes with a brush.....and now I'm experiencing zen. That opening statement is a play on words in reference to the four-album listening journey I've enjoyed by this soulful SIX WAS NINE duo. At some point, it's a journey that I'll happily take all over again, but for the moment, I'm making my final stop here with their last collection of records, and I've got nothing but more good things to say about them! Seems they might've been headed in a direction closer to the realm of rock—alternative rock, even—given the heavy guitar and drum sounds exhibited early on with the insightful and well-written opener, "Speed Of Light"mash;which is about someone losing touch with reality and trying to run away from it all&mash;and "Like A Rolling Stone", which I somehow expected to be about something else other than the story told about what it feels like to be without solace in a home (perhaps I was thinking about something along the lines of "Papa Was A Rolling Stone", a classic from the Motown music catalog). Great vocals and energy on both of those tracks, and even more so on the album's third offering simply entitled "Pilot"—a very charming love song with a lovely breeze of a flow and thunderously epic production as the lead guy sings about his invitation to be the lady's personal navigator through anything and everything that comes her way. "Turning Wheel": another marvelously-produced song that got me thinking. The songwriter describes his life a simple wheel, but I would bet that wheel is a Roulette wheel, given the references to him saying that he just goes by the way he feels an can't tell heads or up or down; sounds like a gambling man taking chances to me. "Healing" is a real gem. Aside from the cool sound of the slight drum n' bass beat beneath the light guitar and the mellow tonality of the chords, there was something about the delivery of the ;healing words' that struck me here. "Karma Boomerang": I really like the lyrics to this one. Us believers in karma know that sooner or later, you're gonna get what's coming to you, but this German duo takes that idea a little further by saying that it'll find you, remind you and come back around to get you it will find you—just like a boomerang does after it's been hurled in the air. My #1 favorite is definitely "Mission Of Love", a delightfully sunny and charming soulful affair where the earnest confession of only wanting romance without all of the hangups, games and other tumultuous trials and tribulations is made. Been a while since I had that 'now where have I heard that song before?' feeling, but it resurfaced a couple of times towards the end of this twelve-track "Zen & Now" adventure. First on "Surprise Surprise", which I loved the moment the breezy mellow groove met my ears, then on "Drop Dead Beautiful", a great track that tells a rather humorous story about a man who wishes he had his best friend's girl and conjures up all of the excuses he could think of that would make he girl his instead. That's when I realized that I'dd actually heard both songs on a previous SIX WAS NINE album: 1994's "Let It Come Your Way". Not sure if the versions here are the 1994 originals or were brand new re-recordings when they released "Zen & Now", but it was still nice to hear this brilliant pair nonetheless:

1. Speed Of Light
2. Like A Rolling Stone
3. Pilot
4. Wonder
5. Turning Wheel
6. Healing
7. Karma Boomerang
8. Test Of Time
9. Mission Of Love
10. Surprise Surprise
11. Donna Lee
12. Drop Dead Beautiful

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