A good, generous sampling of Aldo Nova
sauerkraut | 05/09/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"A Portrait of Aldo Nova, released in 1991, was the first album that I listened to from this Canadian musician. Beforehand, I think that the only song I had heard from Aldo Nova was "Fantasy." I find his music to be worthy, pleasing, and catchy. This hits compilation is taken from Nova's first three releases: his self-titled debut Aldo Nova (1982), Subject (1983), and Twitch (1985). A total of 18 tracks is included--eight from the first disc, seven from the second one, and three from the third. Everything from his first album is represented on this disc except for "You're My Love" and Can't Stop Lovin' You." All of the material is in a pop rock musical direction. I think that every song is worthwhile; all of them sport tight musicianship and gratifying sound quality. According to the CD packaging, this collection of songs has been digitally remastered, but I don't hear any improvement in sound quality. I like Nova's skilled guitar playing, too--his guitar solos are taut and energetic. When it comes to his good, distinctive vocals, I can't think of any other singer that I've heard that sounds like him. I also like how keyboards are used in combination with the guitar playing. Examples of songs that I enjoy are "Fantasy," "Ball and Chain," "Under the Gun," "Monkey on Your Back," and "Victim of a Broken Heart." The memorable and catchy "Fantasy" displays a frenetic, fast-fingered guitar solo; additionally, Nova plays all of the instruments on this cut except for the drums. The nice ballad "Ball and Chain" has an attractive chorus and a smooth guitar solo. "Under the Gun" features a well-constructed, appealing keyboard intro and a pleasurable chorus--another one where he performs every instrument besides the drums. The energy-filled "Monkey on Your Back" is a solid piece with tight, emphatic-sounding singing--also, this is a selection that features him solely playing everything but the drums. The keyboard playing from Nova on "Always Be Mine" is encompassing and pretty. "Victim of a Broken Heart" is another warm and engaging ballad that contains a good guitar solo. There's also a cover tune called "Hey Operator" that's respectable and originally performed by a Canadian band by the name of Coney Hatch. A Portrait of Aldo Nova is just over 74 minutes in duration. The CD insert contains an informative essay and a black and white photo of him. Anybody that's interested in sampling an overview of Aldo Nova's music shouldn't be disappointed with this consistent collection of songs. A Portrait of Aldo Nova is enjoyable from start to finish."
MAN LAID LOW BY THE FICKLE RUN OF FASHION
Crabby Apple Mick Lee | INDIANAPOLIS, IN USA | 05/04/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Aldo Nova had the misfortune of being a man of his time. The 1980's suffers from a lot of bad press. The 1980's has a bad reputation in part because Ronald Reagan was president for eight of those years and many regarded the mere fact that Reagan was in the White House as a personal insult to themselves. Many were just determined to have a bad time while he was there. Musically, the 1980's suffered under the infamous "production values" the big thinkers in the music industry thought were so absolutely necessary. This involved a souped up production in which all the rough edges were knocked off and all the sounds were mixed to bright finish. More to the point, guitars were placed to the back in the mix and synth keyboards were an inescapable presence. This is what the big thinkers believed was the wave of the future and the buying public did not disabuse them of this notion.Fast-forward into the 1990's and the emergence of the "Seattle" sound. Suddenly the public dropped all the old 1980's workhorses. Out of fashion became the 1980's "over production" of record albums. Gone was the "were they or weren't they" man or woman deliberate stage mystic. Gone were the giant "lion's mane" hairdos.What remains is a giant ten-year stretch we view with distain. My daughter came of age in the 1980's. My son (born several years after my daughter) came of age in the 1990's. My son tells me he feels sorry for my daughter because she had to listen to "all that crap" in the 80's.Aldo Nova didn't have "big hair" and no one mistook him for Madonna; but he did delve into that "over-production" values big time. Aldo was an excellent guitarist who knew his chops but in keeping with the times his instrument gets buried in the mix.The result is modern folk look down their noses at him. This is unfair. As this collection shows, Aldo Nova made some aggressive and smart music. Yet Nova also belonged to that much despised School Of Music known as "melodic rock". Given the context he worked in, Nova made some excellent records.This collection draws from three albums. Most heavily from "Aldo Nova" and "Subject". Aldo's third album "Twitch" was ignored in its time and so it is represented with only four cuts."Fantasy" and "Monkey On Your Back" are here as you would expect; but there is a wealth of lesser-known material here as well. Most of it done to the level of both of these two "hits" which makes one wonder why they weren't staples on the radio as well.We tend to regard Aldo Nova as a minor figure in the 1980's music universe. That he was. He was also very good. While Aldo Nova played within the confines of the music orthodoxy, he did try to point it in another direction. Rock and Roll is guitar music. Synth keyboards are great but a little goes a long way. With the exception of Jerry Lee Lewis, rock songs driven by keyboards tend to plod along due to the physical nature of plunking fingers on little pieces of wood. The synth sounds once thought to be so fresh and modern now only sound dated and amateurish. Every bit of that is true. But Aldo Nova was head and shoulders above most of the music of the time. This is good stuff."
THE FIRST THREE
Eric J. Weik | Dyersburg, TN | 03/20/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Aldo's first three cds, ALDO NOVA (4 stars), SUBJECT, ALDO NOVA (3), and TWITCH (2), are represented here. Most of the cd's music comes from his first release, ALDO NOVA, with 8 of the 10 songs on the cd from that album. The songs are also grouped by the cds, that they were on. Upon listening to this cd, you can tell were on cd ends, and the songs from the next one begins. ALDO is more middle of the road hard rock. SUBJECT is more toward the heavy metal side, and TWITCH is lite pop.
All the good songs, Fantasy, Hot Love, Ball and Chain, Heart to Heart, Monkey on Your Back, Hold Back the Night, Victim of a Broken Heart, & Tonight, are on this cd.
Only complaint, is the edited version of Armageddon. The best part of the song is the beginning, and it's not their.
This disk is a must buy, and if your not a Aldo fan, pick it up and crank it up."