Search - Mark Eitzel :: West

Mark Eitzel
Genres: Alternative Rock, Folk, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #1

It could be said that music makes strange bedfellows, and REM's Peter Buck cowriting and producing a Mark Eitzel album would be a perfect example. Departing from 1996's beautifully depressing, jazz flavored 60 Watt Silver ...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Mark Eitzel
Title: West
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 4
Label: Warner Bros / Wea
Original Release Date: 5/6/1997
Release Date: 5/6/1997
Genres: Alternative Rock, Folk, Pop, Rock
Styles: Indie & Lo-Fi, Singer-Songwriters, Adult Alternative
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 093624660224

It could be said that music makes strange bedfellows, and REM's Peter Buck cowriting and producing a Mark Eitzel album would be a perfect example. Departing from 1996's beautifully depressing, jazz flavored 60 Watt Silver Lining, we find Eitzel blending his tormented bourbon and sweat-drenched lyrics with Buck's shiny, happy, jangly pop. Quite surprisingly, it works. Buck's influence not only brings out a new found passion in Eitzel's vocals, but also highlights the glitter of hope in his work that has always been present, but usually overlooked. Quite frankly, Eitzel rocks out for the first time in his career and it sounds great--which is not to infer that it sounds optimistic. The album's premier love song is, after all, a little downer called "In Your Life" ("You're stuck with me / I'm hanging by / In you're life ... You threw away your life / Throw it to me"). --Bill Snyder

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CD Reviews

The Hardcore Fans Are Deaf, Dumb and Blind
Jason Motz | Victoria, BC Canada | 06/17/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Hype killed this one before it hit the store shelves. Thats the story of Mark Eitzels career. All praise and accolades, zero sales. Co-produced and (co-)written with R.E.M.s Peter Buck--whose contributions to the process vary depending on who you talk to--over three days in '97, this was to be Marks last major label release. More textured and varied than his previous lp's, from the punch-drunk revelry of 'Helium' to the skronkin'sax of 'Move Myself Ahead', WEST is yet another example of Mark refusing to dilute his muse for the sake of greater public exposure. Celebrity, I geuss, just isn't his bag. 'Stunned and Frozen', though it features the single most haunting and defeated Eitzel vocal to date, is one for the ages with the saddest interplay of piano and accordion, augmented by Buck's razor-like acoustic flourishes. 'In Your Life', a rare pop item for Mark, is sweet and mesmerizing in its own awkward charm. How much you will like this lp may depend on your opinion of R.E.Ms 'UP' as many of the production tricks--vibes, synths et al.-- seem to foretell the ambitious R.E.M. project. Many Eitzel-watchers were put off by the jazz pretensions of this and 60 WATT SILVER LINE, but do not listen to them. Listen to me. Trust in Jason. Both of these discs, both high among the very best of the 90's, are all but impossible to find now but so very, VERY worth it. It is both a compliment and a insult to this talented man to regard him as the Nick Drake of our time. Do not let this talent rot in obscurity any longer. BUY THESE DISCS!"
When South Meets WEST
Martin Dawson | Royton, Oldham, United Kingdom | 11/02/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"At the time of its release this album received a mauling from hard-core Eitzel fans(are there any other?)which seemed largely to be based on the fact that Peter Buck's guitar playing sounded like,er,Peter Buck.That view ignores two crucial elements:firstly,the friendship and mutual respect of Buck and Eitzel;secondly,the quality of the material.
'If You Have To Ask'is a slow-burner of an introduction but then we get the opening line of the second track,"The laws of purgatory...",which had me laughing wildly the first time I heard it,just thinking 'brilliant,Mark...'.There is a wry,very dry,wit at work here which is often missed.I would even go as far as to say that the live performances often become a cross between the heartache of the songs and the greatest stand-up comedy ever...
'In Your Life' was the potential hit single but we should all know by now what happens to ideas like that involving AMC/Eitzel,no matter how many formats I buy... It almost doesn't matter,it's a great song and the lyric,"Calling names and guessing games over my bi-loving life...",should really be the only interview Eitzel needs to give on this subject.
I think we all know the stories about how quickly this was written,recorded and mixed(what was it,ten minutes or so...)and I think this has become a long review because I wanted to defend it so...
Every great album has its central moment and this is no different.'Fresh Screwdriver'.It has Eitzel crooning ," I forgot there was such a thing as good people left..." before moving on to the chorus of,"I got a fresh screwdriver right before closing time...",making it sound like a celebration,a moment of wonder.Which,let's face it,it probably is.
A good intro,if you're into REM and are curious...for the rest of us,just a reminder that there really are good people left.Enjoy..."
Definitely Not Eitzel's Best
gillettecourt | 11/17/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Basically, this is Mark Eitzel's worst album. On "West", his beautiful guitar work and songcraft has been traded in for Peter Buck's (which is very hackneyed). That alone does a lot of damage to the potential in these songs. According to the liner notes, Eitzel just sings and doesn't play any instruments on this CD. That would normally be okay, but his voice is definitely not up to par with his performances on other albums, which may leave you feeling a bit disappointed.
Even though this is nowhere nearly as spectacular as any other Mark Eitzel or American Music Club CD, there are still a few great songs to be found here, including "If You Have To Ask", "Helium", and "Live or Die". If you are already an Eitzel fan, you will want to check out "West" for these songs. If you are new to Eitzel and American Music Club (his old band), I would not recommend this. Instead, check out American Music Club's "Everclear", or Mark Eitzel's "60 Watt Silver Lining" or "The Invisible Man". They are incredibly beautiful, emotional, intimate, and full of the intense melancholy and great songwriting that sadcore music and Eitzel are known for."