|All Artists: Motels|
Members Wishing: 4
Total Copies: 0
Release Date: 10/25/1990
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
Style: New Wave & Post-Punk
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
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"Shock" deserves a little more love than that!
David Gasten | Denver CO USA | 07/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Motels: "Shock" (1985). Their fifth and last album.
I'm a HUGE Motels fan. I have all of their albums on CD (including "Anthologyland" and Martha's solo album "Policy"), a bunch of odd items (like the "Moscow on the Hudson" soundtrack), and some bootlegs too. I think I'm one of the few people who's figured out that guitarist Tim McGovern (also of the bands The Pop and Burning Sensations) was their secret weapon circa 1980-1982--they ROCKED and also got somewhat experimental when he was with them. There's definitely more to this band than "Only the Lonely", "Suddenly Last Summer" and "Total Control", that's for sure. Anyway, I fought long and hard for a CD copy of "Shock" and the best I could do was a pirated version, but that works for me.
Now, first off, I agree that "Shock" is probably the Motels' least great album. It sounds every inch like its period and producer Richie Zito (of Giorgio Moroder fame) is definitely in firm control here, as he was on Martha's "Policy" album which followed this. But if you like keyboardy 80's pop music, you will at least find it tolerable and not be too embarassed when you listen to it. They center the keyboardiness around Martha's songwriting and voice and stay away from cheesy, shallow effects ("Shaka Kahn, Shaka-Shaka-Shaka Kahn..."). "Shock" and "Shame" are great tunes that speak very vividly and in the first person about rape and adultery, respectively (the videos are great too--pull 'em up on YouTube). "Icy Red" is a bit of a hodgepodge, but like Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody", at least it's an interesting one. I wasn't crazy about "Hungry" originally, but now I love it and I can't expain why--not that it was ever a bad song to begin with.
Two of the best songs here are ones you'll NEVER hear on ANY compilation--"New York Times" and "Night by Night". "New York Times" swells with emotion like a Genesis or My Bloody Valentine song. "Night by Night" has a sneaky, whispery feel that makes it an appropriate closer for the album.
The Motels' truly atrocious music is the soundtrack work they did that shows up on Disc 2 of "Anthologyland" (think aerobics and Jazzercise here), but thankfully their albums (including "Policy") never went that direction. If you are new to the Motels, definitely start with one of the other albums (start with the remastered "All For One" with the "Apocalypso" tracks!), but once you get to "Shock", I think you'll find a lot to appreciate, assuming that you like (or don't mind) the keyboardy sounds of the period.
P.S. If you like Quarterflash's "Back into Blue" (which I also have), you should like this album too, although "Shock" is definitely not as effeminate sounding as "Back Into Blue" is."
Don't Be Too Shocked...
Bradley Jacobson | 04/10/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"For the final Motels album things take a somewhat drastic little turn, Shock has its moments but for the most part it doesn't take any kind of expert to hear the album is over produced and stuck in the 1985 rock that just didn't stand the test of time as some of the other 80's songs did. There are great moments of Martha and the boys even with the intense backdrop of synthesized rock. The single "Shame" was a bit of a hit and one of the best videos the band made, not to mention a damn catchy little song. Even the title track "Shock" has hit written on it (though it wasn't) either despite or because of the intense backbeat. In other places Shock demonstrates more the lack of passion than anything else - "New York Times", "State Of The Heart" and "Night By Night" all come off sounding like half thought out ideas. I'm sure Martha put her best into it, but from what has been said by everyone involved it appears Martha's full passion wasn't there anymore. When you put those songs along the brilliant pieces of music like "Annie Told Me", "Icy Red", "Cries And Whispers" and the aforementioned "Shame", you realize this album isn't all lost. It's just too bad it couldn't have kept going with that type of thought and precision into all 10 of the songs. But The Motels did leave a legacy of great albums and each of the five albums has moments of brilliance, so nothing's a complete loss when it comes to the back catalog of the band."