Sometimes you find the gems, and sometimes they seek you out. This one plopped through the mailbox with a note saying it reminded someone of Talk Talk--at least, that was what they thought. They were wrong; it's much bette... more »r than that. If you can imagine Nick Drake arranged by The Blue Nile, you'll have a pretty good idea where Duncan's coming from. And while that may not be the most cheerful place in the world--the overwhelming shade of the album seems to be blue--it produces some lovely songs. Sheik has one of those husky, whispery voices that makes emotions almost transparent, and the spare arrangements that frame it are like windows. Sounds airy, I know, but it's true. And since his songs happen to be damn good, the view, thought bleak, is one you can't take your eyes from. While there may never be a new Nick Drake, in Duncan Sheik there might just be a worthy heir. --Chris Nickson« less
Sometimes you find the gems, and sometimes they seek you out. This one plopped through the mailbox with a note saying it reminded someone of Talk Talk--at least, that was what they thought. They were wrong; it's much better than that. If you can imagine Nick Drake arranged by The Blue Nile, you'll have a pretty good idea where Duncan's coming from. And while that may not be the most cheerful place in the world--the overwhelming shade of the album seems to be blue--it produces some lovely songs. Sheik has one of those husky, whispery voices that makes emotions almost transparent, and the spare arrangements that frame it are like windows. Sounds airy, I know, but it's true. And since his songs happen to be damn good, the view, thought bleak, is one you can't take your eyes from. While there may never be a new Nick Drake, in Duncan Sheik there might just be a worthy heir. --Chris Nickson
Frances Eleni P. from SANTA CRUZ, CA Reviewed on 8/15/2006...
Isn't he adorable!
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Jason Stein | San Diego, CA United States | 03/21/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I see the reviewers can't decide what this cd is. I see Duncan Sheik as a generous artist. This debut is stunning. So heartfelt is his singing and songwriting, it's a moving cd. Few musicians have the ability to write and sing emotionally intimate songs, but Duncan, trained from childhood as a musician, is brilliant. His second cd is just as good, but I decided to review his debut instead. Just listen to songs such as "She Runs Away", "In The Absence Of Sun", "Barely Breathing", "Reasons For Living", "Days Go By", "November" and "Home" and you'd have to try hard not to understand him. This is a sad, moody recording, but it's brilliant just the same. Few artists can evoke a mood and stay with it for an entire cd. His second cd, Humming is not as sad, and he even shows off his wit in songwriting. I believe Duncan Sheik will be around a long time if the record company doesn't drop him because his sales aren't what they want. Even so, perhaps he'll go to an idependent label and continue his career. Both Duncan Sheik and Humming are must haves for any rock collector."
My Blue Heaven...
Dustin Weese | Great Bend, KS USA | 03/16/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Though this will probably not be seen, I thought it would be cool to write something nice about the cd and artist that has changed my life. I first heard Duncan with the song Barely Breathing... it took me about two years after to finally break down and buy the cd. I was totally blown away when I heard the cd. I am amazed how beautiful and meaningful Mr. Sheik can write. It inspired me to start writing folk-rock. That will probably be the musical genre I will forever play. I was a musician before hand but this turned everything upside down. I always thought to illistrate sadness I have to use distorted guitars... not according to Duncan. Every song no the cd is a perfect portrail of an emotion. I love it. I don't know what to say if you like blah blah you should buy this... all I can say is, no cd collection would ever be complete without this cd, period. Get it, listen to it, live it. It's freaking great."
da mirra' | Houston, Texas | 03/07/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What? He is so much deeper than the "teen idol"! Sorry just had to vent towards another's opinion. I can understand why some people might find the rest of his cd boring, but if you like kinda slow acoustic music with a heavenly soft voice and songs about love-lost then this cd is great. I put it on whenever I just want to chill on the bed on a rainy, grey afternoon. Beautiful meloncholy. And if you like Duncan Sheik, check out Nick Drake as well. (I am not depressed) : |"
Nearly 10 years later.. .still one of my favorites.
R. Aiello | Chicago, IL | 08/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I recently saw Duncan Sheik in concert at a free outdoor venue in Chicago. He was with a four piece band and had a shaggy beard, but he still gave an absolutely breathtaking performance. Afterward I was lucky to meet Duncan and purchase an EP of his upcoming CD, "White Limousine." While standing in line, I thought about what I was going to say to him. I have never met a musician like this before, and while he isn't as "big" as he was nearly 10 years ago, I can't deny that his music has touched me in some sort of way, and I still enjoy it today.
This album, while classified as a "debut" is most definitely one of the greatest pop albums ever made in my opinion. Duncan Sheik has the ability to excite, soothe, and invigorate the senses through the use of his velvety voice, his intricate melodies, and stunning use of imagery in his lyrics.
As I have read the reviews of this album posted here, I can't help but notice that, over time, from the first review in 1998 to the latest just a few days ago, the scope of opinions has gone from "It's OK" and "Boring" to "One of my all-time favorites" and "I would want this with me on a deserted island and nothing else." I concur with the latter of the two comments, and all other 5-star reviews.
I've memorized this album from start to finish. Before the advent of the iPod, I would put this CD in my "music bag" regularly and give it yet another listen, or add a song from it to a mix CD. They have that much value to me.
I can't list my favorite tracks, because each song has a place of meaning to me. "Barely Breathing," of course, is a classic, as timeless today as it was in 1996. "She Runs Away" evokes memories of driving with the windows down singing at the top of my lungs "She runs awa-a-a-a-a-ya ya yaaaay" and loving the sounds coming out of my car stereo. "Reasons for Living" remind me of relationships ended and the ability to cope and move on. "November" haunts with images of longer nights, shorter days, and dying leaves on the ground.
The Nick Drake and Jeff Buckley comparisons are accurate and honorable. Thankfully, however, Duncan is still with us to continue to produce magical music today. And upon hearing a sampling of his latest, I can attest that he still has the magic in his veins.
When I finally got to meet Duncan, he was friendly and completly approachable. I told him that I have admired his music for years and am a big fan. What else could I say? He smiled, shook my hand, thanked me, signed my CD cover and posed for a picture. And then it was over.
It all started here with this album. Buy this. Give it time. Let it sink in. And you'll see what we all mean."