The Sky Is a Poisonous Garden - Concrete Blonde, Moreland, B.
Darkening of the Light
I Don't Need a Hero
Days and Days
Tomorrow, Wendy - Concrete Blonde, Prieboy, Andy
Concrete Blonde's best and most mainstream album benefits considerably from a stronger focus and good production. Consistent songwriting means a lack of weak material, and the dark inflection of most of the music gives the... more » songs an edge. The title track remains a favorite of the goth set, though it was the hit single "Joey" that garnered the most attention. The up-tempo songs are the best; "The Sky Is a Poisonous Garden", "Days and Days", and "The Beast" really stand out. Of the slower songs, "Tomorrow, Wendy" has an irony that gives it an edge. Concrete Blonde's later albums don't really measure up to the quality of this one. -- Genevieve Williams« less
Concrete Blonde's best and most mainstream album benefits considerably from a stronger focus and good production. Consistent songwriting means a lack of weak material, and the dark inflection of most of the music gives the songs an edge. The title track remains a favorite of the goth set, though it was the hit single "Joey" that garnered the most attention. The up-tempo songs are the best; "The Sky Is a Poisonous Garden", "Days and Days", and "The Beast" really stand out. Of the slower songs, "Tomorrow, Wendy" has an irony that gives it an edge. Concrete Blonde's later albums don't really measure up to the quality of this one. -- Genevieve Williams
""Bloodletting" remains Concrete Blonde's darkest, most masterful album. Mixing the gothic with the tragic (relationships gone sour -- "Caroline" refers to a "sad hallucination), it's dark and twisted, cynical and sad and angry. In short, it brims over with strong emotion and good music.The brooding "Bloodletting" evokes the world of Anne Rice's bloodsuckin' charmers, with its references to vampires, New Orleans, and "I may never see the light." The more uptempo "The Sky Is A Poisonous Garden" is still tragic, as is the catchy "Caroline" and the eerily poppy "Darkening of the Light." "I Don't Need A Soldier" brims with bitterness and independence, while the blasting "Beast" is full of savage and romantic imagery, more vampires and ghosts. And "Tomorrow Wendy" is a pure cry of pain against God and an unjust world. (The religious may want to shy away from this last one, as it will probably offend)The gothic flavor of "Bloodletting" is deceptive, with all its abandoned houses, vampires and blood, monsters and ghosts. The music, no matter how catchy it becomes, is never light and airy. It's relentlessly dark, sad at least and angry at most, claiming that "love is the leech... love is a vampire." The murky, creeping guitar seeps through the angsty songs like blood on the water. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of "Bloodletting" is the singing. While Johnette Napolitano clearly poured a lot of pain into these songs, as you can see in the writing, the emotion somehow doesn't filter through her rather low, occasionally hard to hear voice. But her growling works wonderfully in the less sad, more embittered songs.Painful and dark, this is nevertheless a a spooky ride down into a gothic world of beasts, vampires, and love gone wrong in a dark way. A little flawed, but haunting (literally)."
Jeff Hughes | Arlington, TX | 07/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Johnette Napolitano once said that she wished "Bloodletting" had never seen the light of day. It was written during a dark period of her life and the songs on this album reflect that. Amazingly (or perhaps not so,) it's the album her fans love most. The themes, music and lyrics of this album are very darkly tainted, and beautifully so. What initially drew me to this album wasn't the hit "Joey," but rather the lushly visual "Caroline" with its richly-textured melodies and haunting lyrics. It was just the tip of the iceberg. "The Sky is a Poisonous Garden," "Darkening on the Light," and "I Don't Need a Hero" are goregeous, moody masterpieces. The foreboding "Bloodletting" sings about vampires in New Orleans, evoking the vivid imagery of Anne Rice's earlier novels, and the classic "Tomorrow Wendy" is simply the most painful song I've ever listened to. As Johnette rails against God in her rage and frustration over the horror and injustice of AIDS, the world suddenly seems a very lonely place. Even the album's brightest track, "Lullabye" seems more a cry for solace amidst the darkness of the songs that surround it. This is the masterpiece album from a band without weak efforts. Napolitano is a consummate musician and songwriter, and "Bloodletting" displays her considerable talents at their darkest and most disturbing best."
Bloodletting: a beast and a lullabye.
H3@+h | VT | 06/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've been a fan of the band for 15 years, and own every album. Though each other disc of theirs is nearly perfect, this one is. 10 tracks that are dark, beautiful, aggressive, and moving. Some absolutely rock, while some are soft as a feather. This album is often labeled as goth, and between the cover art, and tracks like "Bloodletting (The Vampire Song)", I guess it just may be. Musically it's extremely consistent, and each track has a similar tone regardless of the pace. However I think that Johnette's singing makes the album (and band). Her voice is so emotional and strong it's addictive. Their biggest hit ever "Joey" is on here, but I gaurantee that it's an average song on a much above average album. Any of their collections may be a good pick also, but I could listen to this album for "Days And Days"."
Are the reviewers above listening to the same album I did?
gymnalice | 09/16/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was quite shocked to read the reviews by the so-called "critics" above. They are WAY off the mark. Maybe they're saving all their nice adjectives for someone more "popular", but they certainly don't speak for me or the legions of other Concrete Blonde fans. Bloodletting is a PERFECT album. It has no weakness. I love music, and I have a lot of CDs (well, around 500) ... and Bloodletting is, IMHO, amongst the top 5 classic albums of all time. I've had the good fortune of seeing Concrete Blonde and Johnette live and it is always an ethereal experience. I'll never forget the first time I heard Johnette's voice ... my best friend had convinced me to go hear a band at The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, and Johnette was singing with Andy Prieboy. I had no idea who these singers were, and asked my friend what kind of music they played. She said, "Have you ever heard 'Joey'?" It was a recent hit, and I had to reply honestly (I was about 16 and oh-so-subtle),"I HATE that song! I refuse to see them!" And my friend convinced me that Concrete Blonde and Johnette were about much more than "Joey". Thank goodness she brought me round to my senses, and I went. We sat at a table very close to the stage, and she made all the hairs on my neck stand up. Her voice is incredible; her albums barely do it justice. Anyhow, that was the beginning of a long love affair ... culminating in our driving 800 miles to see Concrete Blonde's final show at the Wiltern in Los Angeles. Since then, I've seen Johnette with Pretty and Twisted, The Heads, by herself. She's always a wonderful performer with very strong songs. She's NOT a "cutesy" singer, or someone just trying to be artsy and pretentious, and I guess that doesn't go over well with critics. Wow, this got long-winded! Sorry, but I couldn't help myself ... I obviously take great offense at how Bloodletting was described in the above "reviews". I think the "reviewers" need to listen to the album again, because they didn't really listen to it the first time. If they had, they would know truly beautiful music."
Bloodletting Will Not Leave You Dry
Richard Cody | Oakland, The Golden State | 11/15/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have been a Concrete Blonde fan since their first album was released way back in 1986 ("Still in Hollywood", the song that broke them on college radio, was the tune that hooked me). I bought that first album and their second release, "Free", and found each of them to be passionate, intelligent rock n' roll driven primarily by the soulful voice and lyrics of Johnette Napolitano and the articulate guitar playing of James Mankey.I was still listening to commercial radio in the days (1990) when "Bloodletting" was released and first heard "Joey" on the mainstream airwaves. I was glad that one of my favorite bands was receiving mass recognition but, while it was better than most of the pap on commercial radio, I found the song somehow lacking in comparison to the first two Concrete Blonde albums. So, I heard no more from "Bloodletting" until my wife, bless her heart, purchased the album - at which point I kicked myself hard for nearly missing what has since become a favorite in my music collection.As has been observed in other reviews here, the music of "Bloodletting" - with the exception of the lovely calm of "Lullabye" - is dark in nature. This may have been a surprise to those who bought the album for the hit, "Joey" (not as dark and generally more optimistic than many of the tracks), but to me the over all sound is a natural progression from their second album, "Free"; or at least a natural progression from certain songs on that disc - I am thinking of "God is a Bullet", Roses Grow" and "Little Conversations", for instance. I would think that the album title and the cover art depicting a single blood specked white rose amid a group of red roses might provide a clue as to the nature of the music for the uninitiated.The title track, without doubt a Gothic delight, is really much more than a simple vampire song. With the delicious dark creep of guitar and percussion which opens the song and the swirling musical shadows that accompany the lyrics regarding blood sucking and New Orleans, it is easy enough to enjoy this song at face value. It does not take much reading of the lyrics, however, to interpret the song as the lament of a victim of a bad relationship. Although it has grown on me, I still believe that "Joey" is the weakest track on what is really an exceptional album. "Caroline", "Darkening of the Light" and "I Don't Need a Hero" are all beautiful, personal pieces that showcase the power and subtlety of Johnette's voice. "Tomorrow, Wendy" (written by the great Andy Prieboy and performed by he and Johnette on his album, "Upon My Wicked Son") is a moving song about death (and therefore life) which ends the album just as powerfully as it began.It's too bad (and too typical, I suppose) that "Joey" is the song most people will know Concrete Blond for. A great band. A great disc. Quality rock n' roll."