Converting my CD collection to digital format #06

I guess I really did/do have weird tastes.

CD #0026: Mansun – Attack of the Grey Lantern [1997]
My biggest memory of this is how my mum thought the cover of the album looked evil and wanted to dump it (alongside my pirated copies of Silent Hill and Resident Evil games). As for the music itself…you could argue that it did sound a bit evil too, what with the weird fixation on vicars and somebody called Mavis running throughout. It’s hard to know what to make of the album now – there are some really great songs like their biggest hit Wide Open Space, Stripper Vicar and Dark Mavis…but otherwise it’s like a big gloopy, druggy mess that would probably sound like angels singing to those high on psychedelic substances. Somehow, Attack of the Grey Lantern made it to #1 in the albums chart back in the day – must’ve been a quiet week.

CD #0027: Eros Ramazotti – Stilelibero [2000]
I think my mom would want to claim this one, though I’m the one who plonked down cash for it. She was a big fan of his ‘sexy’ voice apparently. I guess the Italian language also made it sound alluring as well? Main single Fuoco nel Fuoco gained a bit of traction globally and it’s not aged too badly. Hell, I still remember the lyrics and can sing along to it…I don’t think I’ve even listened to it for more than a decade…! There’s also a multilingual duet with Cher which I hadn’t really recalled existing. It’s actually a nicely balanced album – nice mix of upbeat tunes and ballads, and it holds up well almost 2 decades later.

CD #0028: Jeff Buckley – Grace [1994]
This is one of those albums that a kid who grew up in the 90s just had to have in their collection, if only to seem cool. Obviously one that my brother picked up later on since we were like…10 and 13 when it was first released. Buckley’s version of Hallelujah was my first, and the only one I will acknowledge – sorry Leonard Cohen, it may be your song but your singing couldn’t touch my soul the way Jeff Buckley’s did.

CD #0029: SoulDecision – No One Does it Better [2000]
A head-scratching one for me. I must’ve been seduced by that one big hit of theirs, Faded – the original had the opening lyric ‘When I get you all alone I’m gonna take off all your clothes’ but alas, the cleaned-up version on this disc changes that to ‘I’m gonna move in nice and close’. The album did manage to shift a million copies worldwide, probably on the basis of those 2-3 excellent singles – the rest of the album alternates between leaden & cheesy. Lead singer Trevor Guthrie’s solo and featured on an Armin van Buuren track a couple of years ago but that’s pretty much I know of what any of the members are doing right now.

CD #0030: Bic Runga – Beautiful Collision [2002]
This is an album that I don’t need to take another listen to and reminisce about as I’ve never actually taken it out of my playlist rotation over the years. I suppose it’s a testament to the strength of the material on Beautiful Collision that they remain as relevant to now as they were 15 years ago; the fragility and honesty of songs like When I See You Smile, She Left on a Monday and Listening to the Weather still strike that chord deep within me. And her voice – a jazz singer’s sultry tones wrapped around lush, warm melodies, is one you’ll never tire of hearing.

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Sphere – ISM

As a formerly obsessed follower of this seiyuu idol group, I received the news of Sphere’s intended hiatus with a heavier heart than I expected I would have. I’d attribute this to the fact that they’ve just made the best album of their 8-year career to date and I was actually looking forward to see how the group would be developed in the face of their company’s increasing focus on their junior colleagues TrySail.

Notes, thoughts:
– TrySail is managed by the Sony group itself while Sphere has been with Lantis from the start, and that is where their musical directions obviously diverge
– Lantis is still giving them the best of their songwriters – the likes of rino, EFFY, Yuki Aira & the ultra-talented Takahashi Ryo all contribute
– I wonder if they’ll still be with Lantis when they return from their hiatus
– DREAMS, Count down! is a particular favourite – in fact, the Sphere song I’ve liked the most since Now Loading…SKY!!
– Also like CHANCE!, LOST SEASON & 夕立ちの欠片
– I do enjoy their respective solo careers in patches (Toyosaki can’t sing but her songs are great!). But not as much as I enjoy Sphere, where the whole is truly greater than the sum of all its parts.
– It only really hit me recently that Ayahime and Aki have hit their 30s orz. I suppose I never seriously considered that Sphere would last 10 years – there wasn’t exactly any seiyuu idol template back then.

See you in 2 years?