A marvelous collection of power pop love songs
Robert Moore | Chicago, IL USA | 01/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"More than any group of the past thirty years, The Shoes were the most passionate practitioners of rock and roll pop songs about love in the tradition of the early Beatles and the Raspberries. There albums without exceptions are about love between guys and gals. Each song focuses on an upcoming date, the hopes of requited love, the heartache of a relationship that has ended, the regret of things gone wrong. Virtually none deal with love in full bloom; the songs always deal with the hope of love that may be or the lost of love that was. In other words, the wongs deal with the most enduring of all human themes, our need for love.
Musically, these songs stand out for three things: great vocal harmonies (two of the members, Jeff and John Murphy, are brothers, and siblings always seem to blend especially well, and Gary Klebe sounded like their long lost brother), tremendous hooks, and guitars. Interestingly, though they chose in the late seventies, eighties, and nineties to write particularly untrendy tunes on unfashionable subjects, the Shoes were always popular with the critics. This is only just, for these are absolutely great pop songs.
Shoes's fans tend to fall into two camps: many regard their early BLACK VINYL SHOES as their best album, while others (of which I am a member) prefer their two masterpieces TONGUE TWISTER and PRESENT TENSE. The latter two were combined into a single CD, a twofer that for me stands comparison with Gram Parsons's G.P./GRIEVOUS ANGEL or Big Star's #1 RECORD/RADIO CITY. It remains the single best Shoes CD to find, though it is currently Out of Print. Wish List it here on Amazon and get the first copy that you see available.
Though BOOMERANG and SILHOUETTE were also fine albums (though I will admit to liking STOLEN WISHES more than most reviewers, with the heartbreaking "Torn in Two," one of my favorite cuts by the band, which I wish had made it onto this album), most of the great songs on this anthology come from PRESENT TENSE or TONGUE TWISTER. "Tomorrow Night," "Turnaround," "Karen," "She Satisfies," and my favorite "Too Late" all come from one of those. Although this album hardly exhausts all of their best work, it serves as a superb introduction to anyone wanting to sample their work.
Anyone who loves great power pop will love this album. If you adore the early Beatles or Big Star or the Raspberries, this is an album you absolutely must own."
Best of the Shoes
kel nicholson | Little Rock, Arkansas | 06/13/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This CD is a must have for rock and roll fans who like to mix a little acoustical guitar with some electric up-tempo tunes. The songs "Too Late", "The Summer Rain, and "Tomorrow Night" will have you singing along even when your not playing the CD. Most the songs are typical "boy-girl" relationship themed that should remind anyone of the fun and emotions of early adulthood."
A perfect "power pop" band that most have never heard of
Scott B. Saul | COOPER CITY, FL USA | 08/30/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Shoes were a Chicago suburb D.I.Y. power pop band. They had a lot of talent but never made it.
This compilation is excellent especially if your a fan of Beatles, Rubinoos, Fountains of Wayne, Rasperies, Knack and all the other power pop favorites.
What makes the Shoes so good is that they were really good songwriters. There are a lot of songs on this compilation yet the tunes are different and not repetitive. If somebody with the proper business acumen ever were to get involved with this band they would have been much bigger.
It seems as though the band has a bigger fololwing today (b/c of all the power pop affecionados) then when they were around. The music has a real lasting quality and sounds fresh and contemporpary today.
If you are looking at the entry for the "Shoes" it means that you are really into music. Go ahead take a chance, be adventurous and try a listen for this wonderful band. Evey song is a quality tune. I wont tell you the highlights since nobody is familiar with the titles anyway.
This is classic jangly guitars, multi-part harmony songs.
What hampered their career probably also enhanced the music. This stuff has not been infuenced by any corporate interests and is purely the work of a young band following their own muse."