Catherine M. from SHEVLIN, MN Reviewed on 1/26/2013...
Pretty much awesome from start to finish. It's Adrian Belew so the guitar is great, but the surprise is in the strong melodies and Belew's astonishingly passionate singing (take note of the title track in particular). He covers the Traveling Wilburys and King Crimson, writes environmentally concerned songs without too much preachiness and invites 1/4 of Tin Machine to sing on two tracks (Pretty Pink Rose, a rocker about a woman who "tore down Paris on the tail of Tom Paine," and Gunman, which is a little too Tin Machiney for my taste). One ballad, the gentle and drifting Phone Call from the Moon, is simply the icing on the cake. A first-rate CD well worth hearing.
Standout tracks: Young Lions, Pretty Pink Rose, Phone Call from the Moon, Heartbeat.
Weakest tracks: Gunman.
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The Complete Belew.
Jason Stein | San Diego, CA United States | 02/28/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you are interested in Adrian Belew, Young Lions is a good place to start. What you should REALLY begin with is Inner Revolution from 1992. It's been out of print for some time, but you might get lucky. Otherwise, Young Lions and Mr. Musichead are places to start. Young Lions is Belew at his most commercial. 10 solid tracks of guitar genius. Adrian is an experimental guitar player so if you are looking for Eddie Van Halen or Steve Vai or Johnny Lang or Stevie Ray Vaughn, you will have to look elsewhere. I became a fan of Adrian when I saw his video for Oh Daddy on MTV back in 1989. Since then I have collected everything that's in print (though I wish Island records would re-release his first two albums). However, if you want an early overview you can pick up Desire of the Rhino King which compiles key tracks from his first three Island albums. If you really LOVE Belew then try King Crimson's Discipline, Beat, Three of a Perfect Pair and Thrak cds. He's also done much session work on Talking Heads, Paul Simon, David Bowie and Nine Inch Nails albums. Young Lions won't disappoint, unless you like more non-commerical fare, in which case you could try Mr. Musichead or Op Zop Too Wah."
Adrian Belew's Best?
G. YEO | Singapore | 02/22/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a great album. Though I was familiar with Adrian Belew for his work with King Crimson and David Bowie, Young Lions surpassed my expectations.The album resonates with its own verve. The songs are all good, the lyrics are full of images and the guitar work is as belew as it gets. It's a very listenable album, and representative of an idiosyncratic pop stylist. Belew carves his own niche with his manic guitar style and vocal wail (reminiscent of Bowie in some ways yet distinctive in itself).The killer track here for Bowie fans is "Pretty Pink Rose". (As a sidenote, Bowie seemed to fare better in one-off outings with other artists in this era including Pat Methany and Mick Ronson.) PPR is easily one of Bowie's best songs from this period, and Belew makes it click all the way.Certainly underrated by pop and rock pundits, you'll find this often in bargain bins or not at all. Worth getting."
Young Lions Bite The Hand That Feeds Them
Lunatic Muse | El Paso, TX | 03/25/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In 1989, Adrian Belew released his crowning achievement, the understated masterpiece "Mr. Music Head". The following year, he followed it up with a decidedly schizophrenic recording, "Young Lions". Once again, Belew opts for the one-man-band approach, playing all of the instruments himself. He also gains ample support from friend and collaborator David Bowie, who rocks out full tilt on the first single from this release, "Pretty Pink Rose". Belew's guitar prowness is in full display and his vocals are emotional without sounding shrill. "Young Lions" also contains three absolute classics in the Belew canon; the title track is a majestic sonic landscape depicting the African veldt with drum rhythms and tribal chants working a formidable backbeat. Two tracks later, Belew reworks "Heartbeat", a song he wrote for King Crimson, and outshines the original with his shimmering guitar flourishes. The overall effect is brilliant. Track number nine, "Phone Call From the Moon", is evocative of the title; Belew's guitar work is slow, almost bluesy, and his electronically modified voice sounds distant, almost awash in the vastness of space. On these and several other pieces, Belew's songwriting is clear, focused and undeniable. However, the spectre of Belew's environmental concern raises its head in three cuts ("Looking For A U.F.O.", "Men In Helicopters" and "Gunman") to put a damper on this otherwise fluid, coherent recording. On these three tracks, the artist becomes condescending, preachy and pushy, all elements that would come to haunt his subsequent work. "Young Lions" hints at the darkness that would overtake Belew's later releases. It is the calm before the storm. It is also, along with "Inner Revolution" (strangely no longer in print) and "Mr. Music Head", Belew's best work. Personal Favorites: the propulsive beat of the African rhythms found in "Young Lions" and the wonderous retooling of his Crimson classic, "Heartbeat". Representative Lyrics: "Hot tribal night underneath florescent skies/ bonfires rage strange/ wild waving shouting Picasso faces/ in the guise of a lioness/ the wind kisses her burning dress" ("Young Lions"); "Men in helicopters fly/ shooting rhinos from out of the sky/ why do we always assume/ the planet is ours to ruin/ what a legacy we're leaving behind..." ("Men In Helicopters")"
H. Clark | Phoenix, Arizona | 09/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This CD is my first time hearing this artist. I wouldn't have described myself as an aficionado of progressive rock before now, but I really loved this cd. It rocks!"
"When great big cadillacs roamed the Earth"
Michael Stack | North Chelmsford, MA USA | 07/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The standout in his catalog, Adrian Belew's "Young Lions" successfully finds common ground between Belew's pop and progressive leanings. It is also I feel the record where Belew began to establish his identity unique of his past collaborators-- the overt King Crimson and Talking Heads influences on his sound had finally been assimulated without shining as brightly as they had in the past.
The album is all over the place, the common thread being Belew's monster guitar playing and fantastic songwriting-- from tribal churning ("Young Lions") to delicate pop "Looking For a U.F.O."), eco-conscious rock ("Men in Helicopters"), ballads ("Phone Call to the Moon") and duets with David Bowie (the explosive "Pretty Pink Rose") and some crazy radio guy ("I Am What I Am"), the album covers a lot of ground. The important thing is that, quite frankly, everything is really, REALLY good. Witty lyrics, clever arrangements, and phenomenal guitar.
This is the place to begin investigating Belew's catalog. If you're already listening and you don't have it, get ahold of this-- its essential material. Highly recommended."