Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
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More like a combination of 2 solo albums than a bonafide 10c
Dave | United States | 06/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"10cc's original 4 piece lineup was sort of reunited for the 1992 comeback album "...Meanwhile", but Kevin Godley and Lol Creme didn't contribute to any of the songwriting, sang but didn't play any instruments, and don't even appear on some of the tracks at all; plus, apart from a lead vocal from Kevin Godley on one song, all the lead vocals were from the angel-voiced Eric Stewart, and it seems Stewart was dominating the songwriting as well despite co-writes from Graham Gouldman on every track. 10cc embarked on the "Alive" tour in support of "...Meanwhile", but by the time of 1995's "Mirror Mirror", it seems that 10cc barely existed at all. However, unlike "Windows In The Jungle" and "...Meanwhile" where Stewart seemed to largely be running the show, "Mirror Mirror" is a different story.
I do want to point out that, strangely, there are a few different versions of "Mirror Mirror" floating around. Sorry if this is confusing, but it's worth mentioning. One of them is a 10 track release which includes the "Rework Of Art Mix" of "I'm Not In Love". The Japanese version which I have contains all 10 of those tracks plus 5 more including an "Acoustic Session '95" version of "I'm Not In Love". There's also a 14 track version which omits the "I'm Not In Love (Rework Of Art Mix)", but otherwise has all the same tracks as the Japanese version, though not in the exact same order. Unless you're on a serious budget, I can't see why anyone who's interested in this album in the first place should settle merely for the 10 track version. The "I'm Not In Love (Rework Of Art Mix)" is redundant and inessential (which I'll get to shortly), so, if you get the 14 track version, you're really not missing out on anything. As I said, I have the 15 track version and that's the version I'm going to use as the basis for my review.
In a nutshell, "Mirror Mirror" is solo material from Stewart and Gouldman compiled into one album to create a 10cc release. Not counting the versions of "I'm Not In Love" that bookend the album... All the tracks here were co-produced by Adrian Lee, seemingly in an attempt to 'unify' the album, because on none of the tracks do Stewart and Gouldman both appear, and Stewart & Gouldman share writing credits on just a couple songs. All six of the Stewart tracks were recorded at his own studio in France (where he subsequently would record nearly all of his "Do Not Bend"), a majority of which are Stewart solo compositions. The seven Gouldman tracks were all recorded in London--three of them are Gouldman solo compositions; there's also "The Monkey And The Onion" which Graham wrote with Tim Rice (of "Lion King" fame); and "Ready To Go Home" was co-written by Graham's Wax UK partner Andrew Gold who did also briefly team up with 10cc in the early '80s, and Gold even sings lead on this particular song. All that said, it's really stretching it to call this a bonafide 10cc album, and there's no doubt that there was still some hope of cashing in on the band's name, but regardless, "Mirror Mirror" is a great album.
Quite bizarrely, 'updated' versions of "I'm Not In Love" bookend the album. Admittedly, the "Rework Of Art Mix" is quite pointless--it uses the original recording, hence making it Godley & Creme's sole 'appearance' on the album, and makes some minor modifications and includes a new Stewart lead vocal, and unsurprisingly, it's inferior to the original. Both versions are listenable--after all, it's a great song--but they're extremely redundant and needless.
With that out of the way, we can focus on what a great album this is, starting with the Gouldman tracks, which, although not quite as uniformly excellent as Stewart's, prove that Graham's voice is still strong and that his melodic sense remains excellent. "Peace In Our Time" is a wonderfully catchy and bittersweet song with lead guitar from Rick Fenn, a great Gouldman vocal, and a programmed dance beat that nods to the Madchester scene of the early '90s. The reggae-fied Stewart/ Gouldman composition "Take This Woman" is silly but fun. The orchestrated, acoustic "The Monkey And The Onion", the breezy "Blue Bird", and the charming love song "Grow Old With Me" are all lovely ballads. "Ready To Go Home" is a gorgeous, deeply moving song that reflects upon the passing of Graham's father. The solo acoustic "Now You're Gone" seems to be Gouldman reflecting on a broken relationship in a deliberately lighthearted manner--unfortunately he goes overboard with the annoying, excessive 'silly backing vocal', even though the tune itself is decent.
Stewart is in top-notch form as usual. "Code Of Silence", which features Paul McCartney on keyboards, is a powerful, chilling ballad about trying to help a woman who tries to hide her depression; it also has a great, Steve Hackett-ish guitar solo from Stewart. The atmospheric, confessional "Why Did I Break Your Heart?" is an absolutely wrenching and mesmerizing ballad--somewhat surprisingly, the writing credit is given to both Stewart and Gouldman. Not all of his tracks are as deadly serious as this aforementioned pair--the bubblegummy "Yvonne's The One", co-written by and featuring Paul McCartney, is an irresistible 'steel drum'-laden pop-rock confection. The 'steel drums' also crop up on the ultra-catchy "Margo Wants the Mustard" which has clever and twisted lyrics. Eric serves up one of his 'message' songs with the infectious, casually funky "Everything Is Not Enough". "Age Of Consent" is also strong with its edginess and slyly naughty lyrics.
"Mirror Mirror" is the last 10cc album to date, and it seems to generally be viewed as a hiccup at best when it's noticed at all. However, you really owe it to yourself to give it a try--even though there's barely any collaboration between Stewart & Gouldman, they each demonstrate that they've still got it going on."
Love this, but it is two solo albums
D. Moses | London, London United Kingdom | 03/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Gouldman is in fine form with this album, and I would love to have seen what he would have come up with, if the whole album had been his compositions. Stewart is also great, but a couple of his tracks, are a bit weak. His 'age of consent' and 'everything is not enough' are a bit tuneless and meandering. But everything else on here is brilliant.
It is mainly an album of ballads and tuneful pop songs. 'Bluebird', 'grow old with me' and 'monkey and the onion' are acoustic ballads by Graham, the latter two with orchestra backing. They are really beautiful songs, of the best he has ever written. He adds another touching tuneful, almost ethereal ballad, 'ready to go home', where he harmonises with Andrew Gold's lead vocal. The backing keyboards are really exceptional here.
Graham also composes what is perhaps the most single worthy song 'peace in our time'. It is a really tuneful pop song, with nice guitar parts and a nice vocal (although Graham is slightly out of his range on the higher notes.) He also contributes a silly little ditto 'now you're gone', just a simple acoustic ditty, which is clearly a throwaway, but it works well on this album. He also has the jokey reggae song 'take this woman', which has some trombone and nice comical parts.
Stewart shows his vocal versatitlity, I rarely hear someone sing so high and with so much conviction as he does and the beautiful keyboard ballad 'why did I break your heart'. Gut wrenching stuff. His ballad with Mccartney 'code of silence' is also memorable, with sounds of crickets and a nice melody. 'Yvonne's the one' is a remake of a demo Paul Mccartney laid down in 1986, and eric really makes it his own. Lovely calypso beat, this is an uplifting track.
I find 'margo wants the mustard' merely ok.
The remake of 'i'm not in love' demonstrates how the song can hold together really well, with a simple musical backing, as the melody is so strong.
A lovely album, highly recommended."
This is 10cc?
Peter Olafson | La Jolla, CA USA | 09/09/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I was a fan of the band in the '70s and was surprised to see on a recent visit to Amazon that it was still together (or back together) in 1995. Finding the 10-track version cheap, I thought I'd check it out.
Boy, I was disappointed.
It's not really 10cc. Mirror Mirror is a compilation of Graham Gouldman solo tracks and Eric Stewart solo tracks. Yes, they share songwriting credit on three. Of those, Why Did I Break Your Heart is mostly Stewart (without Graham), Take This Woman mostly Gouldman (without Eric) and the one actual 10cc track, the leadoff I'm Not in Love, is simply the band's Original Soundtrack classic re-released with a less poignant lead vocal, a new lead in and slightly different mix.
Presumably, this one song is the reason they were allowed to call this 10cc at all. But I guess the CD needed a touch of commercial appeal. For apart from that still wonderful tune, this is little more than fair elevator music. It pains me to say this, but none of the other nine exhibit a trace of the band's trademark wit or its knack for memorable melodies. Without the 10cc moniker, I'd -never- have identified this as 10cc.
Air Supply, maybe.