Music Review: Tiffany Dreams Never Die

CD Review: Tiffany Dreams Never Die (2005)

This is a reissue of an album that was originally released in Asia in 1993, I believe, but was never before released in the states. The music scene in the US had changed a lot by that time, and even though Tiffany’s self-titled first album had sold 8 million copies and her follow-up album Hold an Old Friend’s Hand went platinum as well, pop music of this type just wasn’t popular at that time. I always thought she had a really versatile and unusual voice, and wasn’t really given enough credit, partly because she was a teenage singer. This version of Dreams Never Die also contains some demo tracks that were done about thirty years ago, in the late ’80s, but were not made into finished tracks or made available before. The first thing I noticed about these demo tracks is that her voice was basically just as good on the demos as it was on the finished album tracks. A lot of these songs would have worked fine on her first or second albums, and if you ask me, they are better than some of the songs that wound up on those albums. This is pop music, so the lyrics don’t tend to be extremely avant-garde, but then again, this isn’t alternative music, it is meant for the mainstream market. For the demos, my favorite songs are “You Can’t Break a Broken Heart” (which has an R&B kind of a feel), “Are You Lonely Tonight” (which is kind of bluesy and has interesting saxophone performed by Richard Elliot, who went on to release many smooth jazz recordings of his own), “I Ain’t Gonna Eat My Heart Out Anymore” (which gives her a chance to do some acting), and “Angel Baby” (which almost has an a capella feel to it). I believe the actual Dreams Never Die album is tracks 1-13 and the demos are tracks 14-18, although for some reason it doesn’t say this. As far as the actual album goes, my favorite songs are “Kiss the Ground”, “Dreams Never Die”, and “Ruthless”(which has more of a rock sound to it). One of the things I like is that included with the album is a nice retrospective (written by her producer at the time), about how Tiffany got started on her career. It’s kind of funny that the “Mall Tour” is mentioned, because I remember hearing about it at the time, and I thought it was a good idea, because everyone in the ’80s was so into going to malls. Check out her “I Think We’re Alone Now” video for a montage of outtakes from this tour. I really think that this album would be interesting to the general listener as well as someone who remembers her from the ’80s, if you are interested in good singing and seeing how demo tracks are produced.


Music Review: Winger, In the Heart of the Young

Music Review: Winger In the Heart of the Young

This was Winger’s second studio album, released in 1990. It basically kind of picks up where the first album left off, with a similar type of melodious rock music, some of it more on the pop/rock side. As I mentioned in my review of the Winger self-titled album (read my review here), I think that the “Seventeen” song is rather insensitive to teenage girls and their issues. I realized that I had a few more things to say about it, so I’ll just mention them here before I get into the review. One time when Kip Winger was asked about the song in an interview, he said that he couldn’t do anything about the song because it was very popular. I have to say, I just don’t think that it’s true that he can’t do anything about it. Maybe it is just time to lay the song to rest and stop making jokes about it. He has said that he doesn’t mind performing the song just as long as people know that he’s not taking it that seriously. Then why perform it at all then? He could perform a new song about a teenage girl, maybe a girl that has regular problems like most teenage girls do. It wouldn’t be too late for them (or Kip) to do a song like this. In another interview, someone mentioned his Isadora Duncan award nomination (for one of his classical compositions) and he said, “Thank you for asking. Everyone usually asks, ‘How’d you come up with ‘Seventeen’, man?’”. So maybe doing a new song would put more emphasis on the things he is more interested in now.

So, back to the review. There are some cheesy lyrics on this album, but for the most part, I think the lyrics are more improved and more involved on a lot of the songs. Some of my favorite songs are:

“Easy Come, Easy Go”—an up-tempo song that is rather fun in nature. It seems to be about not letting other people get to you, at least that’s what I’m getting from it. Even though it’s an upbeat song, it contains the line “This won’t break my heart, don’t you know.”

“Rainbow in the Rose”—this song has unusual construction for a rock song, with a lot of different sections and a long guitar solo at the end. The lyrics are unusual too, about someone searching for something elusive.

“Under One Condition”—this song is one of their softer ballads, about a couple that is trying to get along, and also sounds a bit different musically as well. It has more of a sensitive singing style and lyrics, such as the line “If he could only read to her the pages of his heart.”

“Miles Away”—this power ballad, about a relationship that seems to be over, was a popular single for them in the early ‘90s. I think Kip does a good job with the higher-range singing on this song and the next song, “In the Heart of the Young.” Is he a tenor?

“In the Heart of the Young”—this title track has rather wordy lyrics (which I like), that are sort of abstract in nature but tell story about a world where people are fighting for something they believe in. It is easy to find the lyrics a little silly, perhaps, but I just find it really stirring, somehow.

Kip said in an interview that he would have liked to remix this album because the final version was a bit too pop oriented for him. It doesn’t bother me at all, because I like pop music, but there are also different versions of a lot of the songs on here, on some of their lesser known albums. The Demo Anthology contains the demo versions of the songs, and is generally a more guitar driven sound. The difference really shows up on something like “Easy Come, Easy Go”, which really does have more of a pop/rock feel on In the Heart of the Young. But interestingly, “Under One Condition” actually has a softer sound on the demo version, and the title track “In the Heart of the Young” almost sounds like a different song, with a slower tempo, slightly changed lyrics, a completely different guitar solo, and it sounds like it might be done in a lower key as well. “Rainbow in the Rose” is similar sounding, but with some slightly changed guitar sections, and for some reason, “Miles Away” isn’t included at all. On Kip’s solo acoustic album Down Incognito, there are acoustic versions of “Easy Come, Easy Go”, “Under One Condition”, “Miles Away”, and a live ballad version of “Rainbow in the Rose”.

Music Review: Winger Self-Titled Album

This is a review of the self-titled first Winger album, from 1988. I first became aware of this band by watching the “Madalaine” video on MTV on one of their specialty shows at night, so this has some nostalgia for me. (I was studying dance, and I thought it was interesting that Kip Winger was doing dance turns in the video). I wouldn’t really call this heavy metal, and some of it isn’t even hard rock. It is actually very melodious, and to me Kip’s voice has more subtleties than a lot of people that sing in this genre. The different instruments all seem to blend together fairly well. Some of my favorite songs both in terms of the singing and the melody are “Madalaine”, “State of Emergency”, “Hangin’ On”, and the lovely ballad “Without the Night”, which also contains a rather soothing guitar solo. Also, there is the power ballad “Headed for a Heartbreak”, which was a popular single back in 1989, and contains a very long guitar solo at the end that probably clocks in at at least a minute in length. Kip also said in an interview that part of the song was based on a particular musical scale called the Lydian scale, which is an interesting fact for anyone who has studied musical scales. Another interesting fact about this song is the song undergoes a key change in the bridge, from F to Db and back again (I have the sheet music).

The lyrics are sometimes a bit clichéd (“Beware of the girl, beware of the pain.”), although I must admit that that line from “Madalaine” does make me smile. Some of the lyrics are actually kind of interesting, like this first line from “Time to Surrender” (another song about a relationship gone wrong): “I’m out the back door, just before midnight.” All in all I think the lyrics are probably more developed on their second album, but a lot of the time it just takes time to develop something like lyrics.

It seems like it is hard to do a review on this album without bringing up the “Seventeen” issue. It seems like a strange addition to the album because they really have much better material. It doesn’t really matter if it is meant as a joke, because girls like to be taken seriously just like guys do. It doesn’t really matter if he didn’t realize that it wasn’t legal in all states, because people should be concerned with more than just what is technically legal. It doesn’t really matter if the girl is coming on to the guy, maybe this girl has her own problems, but in any case, the guy could just walk away, and there seems to be a double standard of behavior here. The problem is that it promotes negative stereotypes, of both males and females, that just seems rather outdated now. That said, there are still other songs on this album, I’m just saying it’s a bit weird because it doesn’t really fit in with a lot of the other songs.

A few years ago, Kip gave an interview where he talked about some interesting musical concepts, such as the aforementioned Lydian scale. Then when he was asked about the “Seventeen” song, he said that he didn’t feel that it was the song that represented the band the most, but then went into a lot of detail about the guitar part in the song. He didn’t mention anything about the lyrics, except to make jokes about teenage girls, which I thought was rather uncalled for, especially after all these years. Especially since he is now trying to appear more cultured. Over the years he has been involved in composing ballet and contemporary classical music, and has also released several solo albums that have been described as singer-songwriter material. His classical compositions have been nominated for an Isadora Duncan award (a dance music award) and a Grammy for contemporary classical composition. One of his compositions was used as the score for a San Francisco Ballet production, and the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra performed his compositions on his classical CD. After all, he has criticized other musicians for “living off their laurels” and “cranking out the same stuff as if it’s their brand”.

Music Review: Madeleine Peyroux Careless Love

Careless Love is an album of jazz songs, mainly ballads. Madeleine has a soft and rather unique sounding voice, and also plays acoustic guitar on this album. There are a lot of different musicians on here, playing piano, organ, guitar, celeste, and trumpet, among others. Even though there is only one song sung in French (“J’ai Deux Amours”, which I believe means “I have two loves”), the album still has a French feel for me, somehow. There is a kind of wistful and sometimes hopeful sound to a lot of the songs that I really like. Some of my favorite songs are “Don’t Cry Baby”, “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go”, “No More”, “Lonesome Road”, “J’ai Deux Amours”, “I’ll Look Around”, and “This Is Heaven To Me”. On the inside liner notes it says: “Dedicated to poets, writers of these songs, memorable people of memorable times such as these, wherever you are…”

The Eclectic Review

I am starting a blog called The Eclectic Review. I have been studying beginning voice, keyboard, and basic music theory (I never really had music classes when I was younger) and I wanted to share my music and book reviews. My musical tastes tend to be quite eclectic, so I’ve decided to call it The Eclectic Review. I also like creative writing, photography, wildlife observation, and knitting/crochet. My other blog (Studio Blue Spruce) focuses more on these things.