The 12 tracks on One All proffer a more organic, rougher-hewn take on Neil Finn's solid classicism. While Crowded House's populist folk-pop tugged as many purse-strings as it did hearts, Finn's solo career has been charact... more »erized by nothing more strident than the soft shuffle of gentle understatement--as if the antipodean troubadour feared his former muse would be insulted by any attempts to out-pop the relentlessly tuneful House. Not that this follow-up to 1998's patchy solo debut, Try Whistling This, is in any way underwhelming. The swirling effects and treated guitars of "Rest of the Day Off" hint more at latter-day Split Enz and even, occasionally, Oasis, than Crowded House. Unfortunately, there is also a sense that the addition of such sonic accoutrements may be little more than a ham-fisted attempt to add techno-savvy flesh to basic, traditional bones--with "Hole in the Ice" and "Secret God" imbued with dubious guitar solos and irritatingly superfluous backing vocals (courtesy, bizarrely enough, of former Prince demoiselles Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman) that merely serve to detract from the music's warm-hearted core. Nevertheless, Finn's long-running lyrical concerns--love, loyalty, and, predominantly, self-doubt--have never been expressed more adroitly. --Sarah Dempster« less
The 12 tracks on One All proffer a more organic, rougher-hewn take on Neil Finn's solid classicism. While Crowded House's populist folk-pop tugged as many purse-strings as it did hearts, Finn's solo career has been characterized by nothing more strident than the soft shuffle of gentle understatement--as if the antipodean troubadour feared his former muse would be insulted by any attempts to out-pop the relentlessly tuneful House. Not that this follow-up to 1998's patchy solo debut, Try Whistling This, is in any way underwhelming. The swirling effects and treated guitars of "Rest of the Day Off" hint more at latter-day Split Enz and even, occasionally, Oasis, than Crowded House. Unfortunately, there is also a sense that the addition of such sonic accoutrements may be little more than a ham-fisted attempt to add techno-savvy flesh to basic, traditional bones--with "Hole in the Ice" and "Secret God" imbued with dubious guitar solos and irritatingly superfluous backing vocals (courtesy, bizarrely enough, of former Prince demoiselles Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman) that merely serve to detract from the music's warm-hearted core. Nevertheless, Finn's long-running lyrical concerns--love, loyalty, and, predominantly, self-doubt--have never been expressed more adroitly. --Sarah Dempster
"In a perfect world, Neil Finn's _One Nil_ that was released in 2001 everywhere *but* the US would've gotten the international release it deserved. _One Nil_ was simply a brilliant album - twelve excellent songs focused for the most part on Neil Finn's love for his wife and family. _One All_ is the 'American' version of that album, if you will, that replaces two songs and remixes several of the ones that was on _One Nil_. The only gripe I have with _One All_ is that it's unreal to think that an album as wonderful as _One Nil_ had to be tampered with at all. But Finn wanted to change things on the album so more power to him. Gone are the funky "Don't Ask Why" and ambient "Elastic Heart", replaced with the best song John Lennon never wrote, "Lullaby Requiem", and "Human Kindness." In my opinion, Neil Finn is probably the best pop songwriter of the last 25 years. His songs (solo or with Crowded House and Split Enz) range from excellent to very good - he simply doesn't seem to write bad songs. Again and again he writes one gem after another. Not only are the songs great, but the production is immensely enjoyable. _One All_ and _One Nil_ are treats to listen to - interesting instrumentation, songs are given space to breathe, and Finn's voice soars. In addition to being an amazing vocalist with subtly impressive range, there's a vulnerability in Finn's voice that makes his songs incredibly appealing. "Into The Sunset" is one of the best songs ever written about 'being on the road': "And I'm away from home/and it's a way of life/and I'm flying high/and I'm a wheeling gull." Other excellent tracks include "Anytime", where Finn expresses the common fear of never knowing when his time is going to come, and "Turn and Run", a duet with Sheryl Crow. Other guests on the album include Lisa Germano, Wendy Melvoin & Lisa Coleman (from Prince's Revolution), Sebastian Steinberg, and Mitchell Froom.I recommend _One All_ to music fans who like their pop/rock smart, catchy, and heartfelt. My utmost suggestion would be to buy both _One Nil_ (as an import) as well as _One All_ - the songs on these albums are *that* good."
For Fin's Fans
loce_the_wizard | Lilburn, GA USA | 07/17/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Neil Finn, the mastermind behind the late, lamented Crowded House, has again delivered an engaging, animated collection of tunes. No matter what you think of Neil's efforts, there is no denying he is a great and prolific song writer."One All"---which is a remixed and reworked version of the more cleverly named import One Nil---features Neil's trademark vocals and arrangements interspersed with some odd, even jolting, contributions from his sidewomen, Lisa and Wendy who are best known for keeping Prince in check with their great bass and drum work on Purple Rain. But the best tracks, in opinion, are those where Sheryl Crow melds her vocal with Neil's. Driving Me Mad is one of those songs that keeps haunting you hours after you have heard this CD. Another one that will haunt you is "Anytime."Though I prefer the earlier "Try Whistling This" just a bit to this CD---in part because some of the innovations there seem less obtrusive than they do here---"One All" is sure to make my favorites list for this year. I'm not sure if this CD will make many converts but it will surely satisfy the legions of Neil Finn/Crowded House/Split Enz fans around the globe. And the fact that Neil gets nil play on American radio further underscores just how moribund and stale a state the music industry here has lapsed into."
A very good album becomes outstanding
commontone | 05/22/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Cynics may be tempted to think that the remixing, resequencing and addition of two new songs on "One All" are little more than a sordid attempt to woo US fans who bought "One Nil" last year into buying what is essentially the same album twice. Fortunately, this proves not to be the case, as the changes are substantial and actually manage to improve upon what was already a very good album. The tinkering merely confirms what a craftsman Neil Finn is, and lucky for us, because this may be the best album of his career.For "One All," his second studio album as a solo artist, Finn does what he's been doing routinely for the past 20 years: he conjures up a sparkling collection of elemental pop melodies and dresses them in earnest, plaintive lyrics that affect the listener in a way rarely experienced with pop songs. Never before, however, has it sounded so effortless. The two duds of "One Nil" have been replaced with two excellent new songs; the soothing arrangement and sing-song melody of "Lullaby Requiem" belie the deeply affecting lyrics, and "Human Kindness" manages to shuffle, shimmer and soar all at once.Four songs received complete, if sometimes subtle, remixes. The two most affected are "Turn and Run" and "Hole In the Ice." The former has transformed from snappy pop ballad to majestic, atmospheric dirge, while the swirling nightmarish verses of "Hole" have received a healthy dose of clarity, courtesy of Bob Clearmountain.The production in general is inventive but rarely intrusive. In a much more subtle way than on his debut solo album "Try Whistling This," Finn continues to explore the superimposition of drum samples, Mellotron and treated guitars upon traditional acoustic instrumentation. Some critics might call this an attempt to add a "techno-savvy" quality to the album, but that judgement owes more to Finn's image than his music. A happily married father of two at 43, Finn shouldn't be able to sound as current as he does, but he pulls it off with grace. One is hard-pressed to single out favorites on this album. Neil Finn has, perhaps for the first time, assembled an album of uniformly excellent songs, ditching the self-indulgence that sometimes bogged down his earlier releases. Lyrically "One All" leans toward self-doubt, mortality and mourning, but the last two songs, "Rest of the Day Off" and "Into the Sunset," introduce an altogether new theme for Finn: hope. Still, the optimism of "Sunset" is laced with doubt: "Faster into the weakness, off the wall into blackness--gifted." Such refusal to lapse into simple emotional sentiments is what makes Neil Finn so compelling as a songwriter. A line from Crowded House's "Four Seasons In One Day" aptly sums this up: "Sleeping on an unmade bed/finding out wherever there is comfort there is pain." "One All" is Finn's most focused attempt at exploring this yet, and is recommended for his fans or anyone curious about good, thoughtful pop."
Natster | Shrewsbury, MA | 11/29/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Neil Finn knows how to write a song. As an up-and-comer in The Split Enz, he spearheaded their success with I Got You, and continued the streak with his craftsmanship for Crowded House and The Finn Brothers. Neil's first solo effort, Try Whistling This, I had thought, was the pinnacle of his career. Until "One All." "One All," a reworked version of his "One Nil," which was released in 2001 to the world outside the US, is one of my favorite albums of 2002.Neil's songwriting has reached masterful proportions. One All starts out with a nice touch: " The Climber", a slow-tempo song filled with loneliness, builds and leads perfectly into "Driving Me Mad." Standout cuts are "Driving Me Mad," "Wherever You Are," "Human Kindness," and "Turn and Run." I tried not to like "Hole in the Ice," but after a few listens, I appreciated the John Lennon-like vocal and the lovely, airy chorus. And just when I was all set to write off "Secret God," as rather pedestrian, he finishes off the song with a killer acid-electric guitar solo and a rather free-form sounding cacophony at the end. Amazing.The backing line-up includes Sheryl Crow, Sharon Finn, Wendy Melvoin (yeah, THAT Wendy from Prince's Revolution), Lisa (yeah, the OTHER half of Wendy & Lisa), Jim Keltner, Lisa Germano, and ace-producer Mitchell Froom (who produces one track in addition to his piano/Wurlitzer playing). The female backing vocals found on One All are a perfect fit with Neil's light, airy touch. Neil's guitar work is nothing short of fantastic. Neil fans should love this one. I highly recommend this to Neil novices as well."
uselessbeauty | Los Angeles, CA United States | 05/22/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Someone PLEASE post a meaningful alternate review to the lexiconic traffic jam "proffered" by Sarah Dempster! I am sincerely interested in this album, but was confounded by this altar of words the reviewer has apparently built to herself. Mr. Finn has always been an artist worth keeping track of, but some of us haven't been faithful since the Crowded House days. I really wanna know... How's this album and what types of listeners will it appeal to? Thanks in advance!"