Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Been Here and Gone
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
Thalia Zedek has charted a singular course through rock history virtually unnoticed by critics and listeners alike. Whereas each new Nick Cave release has the critics feverishly reaching for the Vaseline, Zedek's band th... more »
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Amazon.com's Best of 2001
Thalia Zedek has charted a singular course through rock history virtually unnoticed by critics and listeners alike. Whereas each new Nick Cave release has the critics feverishly reaching for the Vaseline, Zedek's band through the '90s, Come, released a string of classic albums that were almost universally ignored. Her work in the '80s--with Dangerous Birds, Uzi, and later fronting Live Skull fared even worse. Been Here and Gone is Zedek's first solo effort, and it delivers. Her vision of what is the blues is perfectly presented on songs such as "Excommunications" and "Temporary Guest," but this is the blues like Leonard Cohen (whom Zedek covers here) and Bob Dylan are the blues--the feeling not the form. On "Strong," Zedek opens with "You're going to hell / you're gonna be living with yourself." Strong stuff indeed, but delivered in a tone more measured than maniacal and the effect is sharper for it. Zedek doesn't go in for posturing, this is the real deal and not for the weak of heart, yet those who make this journey with her are greatly rewarded by the music. Without a doubt, Been Here and Gone is among the best albums released in 2001. --Mike Johnson
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A shambling funeral procession. Sensual and sombre.
Campbell Roark | from under the floorboards and through the woods.. | 04/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If Bob Dylan were murdered in some horrible, edward Gorey-like fashion and then his spirit made love to Leonard Cohen in a dream by PJ Harvey- this album might be the result of such sanguine, acrobatic copulations...Indeed it opens up with an homage to L. Cohen- 'Eveybody Knows,' but only the single guitar line that kicks off the album is Cohen's... the rest is entirely Ms. Zedek's (though, truth be told, it sounds like Concrete Blonde's cover from the pump of the volume sndtrk.). Her voice is kin to Dylan (weary and monotone), so much so you'd think she's his little sister that someone hid away in a dark (very dark) closet for many years. Whew... It's a mess. No arguing with that, but a sprawling, gorgeous, weary, anguish-laden mess. The kind of mess that takes your breath away, like staring out over a city late at night and having it hit you in the chest that you'll never really be able to loose yourself in someone, that love fades, honor rusts, visions curdle, dreams evaporate... Entropy has the last laugh... It's the kind of album that reminds you that we are ultimately finite and useless creatures... at least, that's what I take from it. It's not the kind of album I can write to- to demanding, the music forces you to listen. Nor can I run or work out to it. It just sucks out your energy like some demonic sci-fi machine... I don't like `Strong,' so much... and `treacherous thing,' seemed a tad out of place too... this is a definitely a less is more scenario. Especially as most of these songs are long and lustrous (most over 5 minutes). There's much piano, tons of eerie violin and sad, sombre clean-tone guitar. The mood is a bit uneven, bit that works well to the album's advantage. Oh, don't expect this to sound like a 'Come,' album- it just don't. There are many standout tracks and great moments. I really dig the hell out of the L. Cohen cover (Dance Me to the End of Love)- a sweet piano opening and the way it just boils away into some gypsy dance of pure lush abandonment at the end, wow. `10th Lament,' is a gorgeous instrumental piece. The cover of Luiz Bonfa's 'Manha de Carnaval,' is spellbinding and made me track down the original, it's a phenomenal closer, it calls to mind the song "masquerade,' from the 50's or 60's film of the same name. The centerpiece and the album's strongest song- a cover of Gary Gogel's (who the hell is Gary Gogel?!?!?!! I googled him awhile back and didn't come up with anything substantial- if this song is any indication, he's got some great music!) 1926- A song that just slays me ever time I hear it. The end, portion, the "God hates me, he can't feel my flesh..." Fantastic. You don't hear sentiments like that expressed so economically and poetically in this world we have inherited...Now, I'm inclined to agree with Mr. Carragher (below), but only up to a point. This album does drain you. But in a good way. It's a great; lying on your bed, staring at your ceiling music. Maybe I'm getting old, but I don't have it in me to do that so much anymore. All in all, I'm glad I picked this up, always dug Come. It's good to hear Ms. Zedek putting out the good ish. Can't wait for more."
Setting The Standard for 21st Century Blues
Sam White | Littleton, colorado United States | 08/03/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"True, I'm a biased reviewer. Come is hands down my favorite band of all time. When news came that they had finally (after more than a decade of genius in a critical and commercial vacuum) called it quits, I was heartbroken. My sadness was lifted upon hearing this album. It is, without a doubt, of true artistic and musical importance. Zedek has resurrected my faith in American art with her solo album. Hauntingly low-key and without a power cord in sight, she has surpassed all of the Come albums in terms of emotion and musical resonance. While her lyrics still get stuck in sometimes dense referential depression, this album marks a turning point in her maturation as a truly Great (capitalization needed) writer. Her voice has grown in power nearly as much as her skills at penning heartbreaking lyrics. Her raspy, smoke-filled yearning are stirring...to say the least. When I got my copy, I listened to the album three times in a row. After countless rotations I am still getting lost in the true beauty of the harmonies and the over-all production. The songs ebb and flow from stark raspy downers to full-blown rhapsodic waltzes. Far removed from her punk roots, Zedek has emerged as one of the strongest voices in American blues. Of special importance is her incredible cover of Leonard Cohen's "Dance Me To The End Of Love." Zedek's songwriting is something special, mysterious and instantly listenable. Please, anyone reading this, do yourself a favor and pick up this album. Zedek never disappoints."
An Affair to Remember
Sam White | 02/26/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A friend of mine bought me this CD for my birthday. He knew I like Leonard Cohen a lot, so he ended up picking Been Here and Gone because it happened to include a cover of Dance Me to the End of Love.
Been Here and Gone is nothing short of amazing - I went from never even having heard of Thalia Zedek and firmly believeing no one could really do a Leonard Cohen song justice except Cohen himself, to being mesmerized by Zedek's voice and wishing she would record an entire album of Cohen covers. (I could see her doing almost any song of his, like, say, Ain't No Cure for Love, Bird on a Wire or Coming Back to You. But I digress.)
The songs she wrote herself are stunning as well, as are 1926 and Manha de Carnaval.
My only complaint is that on track 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 and 9, I feel the vocals are often obscured by the instruments. Don't get me wrong; I love the arrangements, and the musicians all sound great, but I think I would have liked the end result even better if the tracks had been mixed so that the instruments complement Zedek's voice rather than compete with (and sometimes overpower) it.
Other than that, I can't say enough good things about this album. I don't think I'll grow tired of listening to it any time soon, if ever."