"Although those who first heard Jill through "Jill Sobule" or "Happy Town" may not agree, this, her first set is in my opinion still the ultimate. Simple songs, with no over-played production and that pure insightful yet childlike voice. First came to my attention as sounding similat to Harriet Gavurin from the Sundays, this has been regularly on my CD player for several years. Buy and enjoy!"
...THERE'S NOTHING WE CAN DO FOR THEM IN EVIAN...
Eric Goldstein | firstname.lastname@example.org | 06/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Most people know what the town of EVIAN in France is famous for: its mineral water. Most people don't know, however, what the town of Evian is infamous for: the pre-WW II conference of world nations where Nazi Germany tried to solve its 'Jewish problem' by exiling its Jews to any country which would take them in. Most countries would take none. And the countries that would 'generously agreed' to take ridiculous numbers of Jews, 2 here, 5 there, etc.And with this apathy, the Nazi's, rationally (as measured, at least, by their ultimate goal that is) decided that kicking the Jews out of Germany and Eastern Europe would not be a feasible option to get rid of them. Hence, the Nazis ultimately devised their Plan B--the 'final solution'. No country really wanted the Jews--as evidenced by the ill-fated Evian Conference--and thus the only practicable means to get rid of the Jews would be to kill them. The Wansee conference, implementing the 'final solution' and Auschwitz, etc. followed.The song EVIAN, rolling gently like a tranquil love song, stands as a poignant accusation: Underneath the song's gentle ballad, juxtaposed in silence behind the song's quiet words of love and tenderness, Jill lays the infamy of Evian as the gateway through which the apathy of the world laid the foundation and made the conditions upon which Hitler carried out his final solution to the 'Jewish problem', the murder of the 6 milllion. Behind these words Jill wrote, the reality of history still haunts us:
"She asked them what did they decide to do, to help them through..."
"...Let the water wash away these troubled times..."
"...THERE'S NOTHING WE CAN DO FOR THEM IN EVIAN....""
Once Again, Todd Produces a Jewel (for Jill)!!
Tim Brough | 06/11/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Wizard, the True Star Todd Rundgren applies his producing wizardry to Jill Sobule, a slight-voiced folk singer in the Jewel mode. What he turns in is genius -- through sophisticated, overlaying vocals, swirly Eleanor Rigby production techniques, Todd takes these simple, spare songs and dresses them in a shiny, beautiful showcase. The results are heavenly, haunting, and memorable.
Apparently Sobule didn't care much for the production process here, and is still bitter her career has not taken off. Believe me, if anything Todd helped her turn in her best album by far -- forget the cutesy, average followup, Jill, or the weak Pink Pearl -- Jill's best work is her first work, and this one is it. Every song is a winner, each melody one you will not forget.
Like Todd did for XTC, he did here for Sobule -- molding something good into something great. This one is worth seeking out, you will not be disappointed!"
Best of the first 3
R. Rundle | 06/11/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have not heard the most recent release, but I can tell you that her first album is the best of her first three albums. I thought her self titled album was good as well, but the hit on that one "kissed a girl" is really over-rated. Her true first "hit" was on this first album, it's called "Too Cool to Fall in Love" and is really a great, great song. If you like the first two albums, I'd say stay away from "Happy Town" because it's very different in tone than the first two."
A debut that was too cool
Tim Brough | Springfield, PA United States | 09/09/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The debut from Jill Sobule was a wonderfully promising first effort in the years that saw a multitude of female artists getting deals in the wake of Tracy Chapman and 10'000 Maniacs' breakouts. Jill's sweet, high voice found a perfect foil in the usually over-bearing Todd Rundgren. Where he often made anyone he brought into a studio sound like a Utopia side-project, in the case of Jill, he framed her almost perfectly.
The song that made me a fan was "Too Cool To Fall In Love," a jazz-lite piece of desire/heartache that got modest radio play at the time. It is, in my humble opionion, one of Todd's finest moments as a producer, next to XTC and Meat Loaf. While "Things Here Are Different" wasn't all that successful (Jill was dropped by MCA and it was another five years before Atlantic issued Jill Sobule and "I Kissed a Girl," the excellence that came forth on her later albums is apparent in "Living Color," "Pilar (Things Here Are Different)" and "Evian." "Pilar" was written with inspiration from Jill's year in Spain while a student, contrasting the brash young and American optimism with the staid and sad view of women under the traditions of old Europe.
Even more stunning is "Evian," a subtle prick at the historical failure of Europe to give asylum to German Jews before Hitler decided that, if he couldn't exile them, he'd exterminate them. While not part of the lyric, a quote from an anonymous Austrian representative stings: "As we have no real racial problem, we are not desirous of importing one." Bearing that in mind as the star-crossed lovers whisper:
"What did they decide to do to help them through? He said 'Don't let it worry you... there's nothing we can do for them in Evian.'"
It points to the brilliant insight that would follow on her various albums to come, as sporadic as they may have been released. While I doubt I will part with this CD, I would recommend starting with the second album of the near perfect 2005 "Underdog Victorious." She is also a total blast live, if you ever get the chance to see her play."