Neil Young STORYTONE
Attention rock stars: No matter how much you want to, resist at all costs orchestrating your songs.
Almost without fail, it is the wrong call.
Case in point: Neil Young’s latest effort, “Storytone.”
Thankfully, Young has done listeners the favor of presenting the songs both with full orchestration and solo acoustic. The single disc version is with orchestration and on three songs, a big band, while the solo acoustic takes are available in a deluxe double-disc release.
Not that the orchestrated versions are a complete failure, it’s just that taken as a whole “Storytone” works best, and packs a bigger emotional punch, when Young sticks with the more familiar acoustic guitar and piano.
At its worst, as heard on the environmental battle cry “Who’s Gonna Stand Up,” the orchestration sounds like something out of “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Protesting against fracking just feels right with a guitar backing, not a 92-piece orchestra.
Most often, less is more on “Storytone.”
The Associated Press
Calvin Harris MOTION
The UK’s pre-eminent dance hit-maker Calvin Harris is out with his fourth studio album, “Motion,” a smattering of hit-and-miss attempts at filling dance floors and minds with his relentless brand of acceptable electro-house.
The professional polish is there, and Harris’ fans won’t be disappointed with energetic tracks like “Outside,” featuring Ellie Goulding, and the much heavier “Burnin,” with R3hab. But make no mistake. This is everyman’s house. Just peppy enough to get you moving, but no approaches you haven’t heard before.
Even “Under Control,” the first single from the album, is less about the middling track and more about the collaborative star power by Alesso and synth-sound specialists Hurts.
The best track by far is “Love Now,” thanks to gorgeous vocals by Vanya Taylor from All About She. “Open Wide” with Big Sean handling the rap duties also stands out, with a sharp bottom end and adults-only lyrics.
Harris’ smartest move on “Motion” is partnering with white-hot featured artists for just the right songs. He picks his spots better than most.
The Associated Press