Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Take Notice - This is One Terrific Album
L.A. Scene | Indian Trail, NC USA | 01/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you are fan of Tears For Fears, the name Nicky Holland is pretty well-known to you. Nicky Holland (or sometimes nicknamed "Nockles") started out as a touring musician with Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal during 1985's "Songs From the Big Chair" tour. On the subsequent Tears For Fears album, "The Seeds of Love", Nicky Holland became Roland Orzabal's primary songwriting partner on 5 of the 8 songs as well as studio musician (Keyboard, piano, and background vocals). On "The Seeds of Love", Nicky co-wrote some of the album's best work - namely songs that have become Tears For Fears classics like "Advice For the Young at Heart", "Famous Last Words", "Badman's Song", "Swords and Knives", and "Year of the Knife". Following the 1990 split of Curt and Roland from Tears For Fears, everyone seemed to go their separate ways. With all of the talent and promise she showed working with Tears For Fears, it seemed natural that Nicky Holland would release her own solo album. Thus in 1992, Nicky would release the self-titled "Nicky Holland" album. This is one terrific album and a great product by an artist who often goes so unrecognized.
When I hear artists like Norah Jones and Diana Krall getting so much attention, it surprises me that Nicky Holland has gone unnoticed. Her album probably falls into the same category as a Norah Jones. While Tears For Fears fell somewhere between an Alternative Rock and Pop sound, this collection has mostly a Light Jazz/SupperClub like sound. With Nicky's background as a pianist and Keyboard player, it seems to be a natural sounding fit. While you will hear some guitar on this album, it definitely plays a much more secondary role. This album makes a lot of use of "Non-traditional Pop Instruments" (String Arrangements, Woodwinds, etc). Nicky also brings her songwriting talents to her debut album - 10 of the 11 songs were either written or co-written by Nicky. These aren't weak efforts. Nicky shows she can write some very good music without having to collaborate with Roland Orzabal.
"Prelude" is the opening track to the collection. This is an instrumental piece and for the most part is Keyboard and piano based. It is a soft piece that immediately establishes the Supper Club feeling. It lasts a little under 2 minutes and is a perfect segue to the next song, "Ladykiller".
"Ladykiller" is the first song on the collection where you hear Nicky's vocals. In addition to Keyboards, you'll hear Brass and String Arrangements. Her vocals blend in perfect with the sound. The Supper Club style music continues. The song discusses a sophisticated woman taken in by the charms of a man. Lloyd Cole provides some terrific background vocals - and is the perfect fit for this song. Definitely one of the best tracks.
"Tongue Tied and Twisted" continues the Keyboard-laden instrumentation, but once again there are String Arrangements This has a quicker tempo than the other tracks of the collection. The song is highlighted by Nicky singing "I I I" on the chorus as well as the up-tempo vocals toward the end. Co-writer Ellen Shipley provides background vocals. Also one of the best tracks of the collection.
"Coloring Blue" goes back to the softer, supper-club style of the vocals. In this song, the theme is that it is Winter and Nicky is trying to put into words her romantic feelings for someone she had. Nicky does a great job contrasting the "pink of summer" to "heart of winter's" "blue".
"Independence Days" is another soft song. As the title indicates, it deals with a young woman coming of her childhood and realizing all that being an adult has to offer. More Keyboard and Strings, but there also is a very nice Drums/Percussion element. Jerry Marotta, who worked on percussions and sax with Tears For Fears works percussion on this song. This song is also highlighted by some (very) light congas.
"This Town" is a song in which Nicky finds herself alone looking for love. Lyrics such as "Keeps taking me underground ; Don't wanna be a stranger" describe this lonely feeling. This song is highlighted by the use of an Oboe.
"Box of Rain" is the one song that wasn't written by Nicky Holland. I believe Nicky does all of the vocals in this song - including the 2 part harmonies that open the song. While this song doesn't have a Supper-Club/Light Jazz sound - it is a very good easy listening song in which Nicky's voice blends in perfect.
"Face of the Moon" features legendary Sax player Gerald Albright contributing to the song. This Sax sound combined with Nicky's vocals give this a definite Supper Club/Light Jazz sound. Also featues more terrific Keyboard and String Arrangements.
"Running Around Again" does continue the Light Jazz theme, but this song also brings somewhat of an R&B element. This is one of the collection's weaker tracks, but it isn't bad. This song is highlighted by some outstanding Trumpet work.
"The Night We Never Met" also features some more Sax work by Gerald Albright. The best part of this song is when Nicky sings the chorus beginning with "On the night" (she holds the word 'night' beautifully).
"On the Stairs" is the collection's final tune. The theme of Keyboards and String Arrangements continue. Overall, not my favorite song -but still not bad. This song also features some Clarinet work that is the definite highlight.
The liner notes contain all of the lyrics as well as all of the songwriting, production, and studio musician credits. This is one solid collection. Chances are if you like Norah Jones or Diana Krall, this album will also appeal to you. It has great music and great songwriting. One thing that I really enjoyed with this album is the use of many "Non-Traditional" pop instruments such as String Arrangements and Woodwind Instruments. Overall this is an excellent effort - highly recommended."
A Brilliant Beginning!
David Dardar | Louisiana | 06/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Before anyone could compare Nicky Holland to anyone else she was composing and touring wonderful songs in the 80's with music icons Tears For Fears. As an established writer penning such classics as "Advice For The Young At Heart" and "Swords and Knives" on the wonderful Tears For Fears "Seeds of Love" album it would be no surprise that any solo effort would be nothing short of stunning as her self titled album proves. "Ladykiller" is a pure masterpiece, it's perfectly assembled and performed from beginning to end. The other songs are catchy and beautiful melodic gems highlighting Nicky's gifted talent as well. Much of this CD would have been great songs for any soundtrack. Tears For Fears fans can also find this to be a great addition to their collection."
Chill out music for grown ups!
T. Norton | key west | 12/19/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Amazingly sensual and soft, this first offering went largely unnoticed by all but the most ardent Tears for Fears,Cyndi Lauper and Lloyd Cole fans (Nicky had been working with these artists). Lloyd Cole co-wrote and guested on "Ladykiller" which is deceptively pretty but equates the "player" with the psycopath (and how far apart are they for that matter?). The Night We Never Met is a synopsis of the film by the same name. Been a while since I've heard this one, but I can recommend it for romantics! Nicky has vast musical talents and deserves a much wider audience. She covered Dusty and I didn't hate it (that's praise from a hardcore Dusty fan, believe me!). Worth a listen, for sure."