Jason Stein | San Diego, CA United States | 03/17/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I like TTD because he evaded pop stardom and redundancy. He's an artist that you can call your own without seeing billions of adoring fans agree with you. I think TTD is one of the most talented musicians of our time. I compare him with Prince, but without the popularity. Of TTD's four cds, I believe his first and Symphony or Damn are his best. Symphony or Damn outshadows his debut because of it's audaciousness and boldness. It's original, diverse, and satisfying. 16 tracks, and not one is a throwaway. Few artists can boast that they made a 16 track album with no filler. Symphony or Damn contains great songs like "She Kissed Me", "Do You Love Me Like You Say You Do", "Baby Let Me Share My Love", "Delicate", "Neon Messiah", "Wet Your Lips", "Turn the Page", "Let Her Down Easy" and "I Still Love You." Because the grunge and rap movements were so big in 1993, this great cd fell through the cracks because it's not easily categorized and it doesn't contain grunge or rap. This, and TTD's debut cds are must haves for any rock collector."
A SYMPHONY INDEED!
A. Owen | Stevenage, Herts | 12/01/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Terence Trent D'arby's Symphony or Damn is a musical tour de force. The albums 16 tracks run for 65 minutes and cover all styles from funk,rock,jazz,pop to beautifil ballads all sang with that distinctive signature voice.
TTD still has to convince the huge following who purchased his first album, Intoducing the Hardline, but with this record he more than matched it.
From the outlook you know this album is something special. It's initially in two parts. The first part, Confrontation, explores different musical boumderies for TTD with a harder edged feel than previous work, whilst the second part, Reconcilliation, is a slower based affair dominated by ballads reminiscent of Stevie Wonder's early seventies albums.
Clearly we are in different territory here from Hardline, guitars are used to great effect on She Kissed Me a rock-fest dominated by a standout chorus and a forceful vocal delivery.
Do You Love Me Like You Say? the first single explores new ground for TTD, funk, rock and jazz are combined to great effect for a track that runs like a musical opera changing styles frequently against a pulsating drum loop and percussion.
Delicate, another single is a lush ballad with great keyboard work and production. Des'ree makes an appearence to add depth to the beautiful vocals. Other guests appear throughout the album, the Tower Of Power horns appear on Neon Messiah a fast based rock-funk fusion.
Harvey Mason an excellent session drummer associated with many seventies artists including James Brown appears on Frankie and Johnny, a great little ballad used in the film of the same name.
One of the strongest tracks, Turn The Page borrows a very famous drum sample and is an ambitious epic, with TTD experimenting both musically and lyrically to great effect with astonishing results.
My favourite track on the album is Succumb To Me a rich phycadelic keyboard synth is the backgound to a emotionally charged vocal. This track never lets up and is a incredible power trip.
The album closes with three classic ballads. I still Love You features TTD at his most romatic, a great melody with beautiful lyrics, very similiar to his earlier classic Sign Your Name.
Seasons, an outstanding effective track really lets TTD's vocals impress the listener, with only a subtle backdrop of acoustic guitar, congos and atmospherics. The best track and final single taken from the album is Let Her Down Easy a classic piano led ballad with a wonderful vocal that pulls at the heart strings long after the album closes.
Released in 1993, this album was written, arranaged, and produced bt TTD and although recieved critical acclaim it didn't persuade the 8 million people who purchaesd the first album to diverge. Anyone who did by Hardline really should explore this album, they will not be disappointed.
TTD is a very underestimated as an artist and generally ignored by the record buying public, a shame because he is a wonderful talent and this album, his finest hour, really should be labelled a classic of the last decade. Recommended."
Sales Aren't Everything!
WILLIE A YOUNG II | Houston, TX. | 08/31/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Nearly a decade ago TTD released his third LP and the music world apparently couldn't possibly care less. Well, that's a shame since "Symphony..." is easily one of his greatest efforts (his best was 1995's "Vibrator") and stands as a major musical statement. In a rare TV appearance on the "Arsenio Hall Show" in '93(I still have it on tape!) D'Arby talked candidly about what drives hime to create the music he does and the two roads musicians take in furthering their careers 1 being 'following the safe path' as he put it, or by 'aspiring to be a true artist' which he has done from day one. Stunning songs like the brilliant, plaintive "Castillian Blue", the 60's pop jangle of "Penelope Please" or the shout-to-the-heavens soul wailing of "Do You Love Me Like You Say?" confirm that while accessability to a wide audience is indeed possible, it sometimes should take a backseat to the art itself. This nearly flawless song cycle infuses rock, pop, Dance, funk and straight soul together into a dizzying whirlwind of an album that never bores and will have you spinning it several times without a pause. His melodies are strong, singing unbelievable, and playing (he handles nearly all the instruments himself) remarkably tight. A Brilliant, Triumphant Album."
Helluva lot more worth than plain ol' 5 stars
luvbritney | usa | 06/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"where, oh where have u gone, mr e.g. o'reilly? music that sounds this good, this thought out, this philosophical, and this secure-with-itself should not disappear by any means. i can't even listen to all the new r&b singers after listening 2 this guy. vocally, he's a combination of sam cooke, otis redding, and michael jackson and can sound like all of them in a single phrase. musically he aims 2 be the beatles in'revolver/sgt. pepper' mode. again, it's just ridiculous how good this guy is. anyways: 'she kissed me' rocks like a mother, 'do u love me...' is a pretty song even with the psychedelic guitar buzz; the sweet and sexiness of 'delicate' should win a few hearts; 'penelope please' has a killer melody that may prove 2 be addictive; 'turn the page' is freeform poetry with the jb's in psychedelic mode; there's more 2 say but u get it. one of my favorite things on this album is reading the lyrics, and a quote here is used that people should use in their everyday lives: "when in doubt just live the questions and someday u will grow in2 the answer". right now the author of that quote escapes me but it's obvious this guy is very well read, and not as some sort of marketing ploy. please pick this up so he can get a recording deal and we can enjoy this man's talent over and over and over and..."