Paul Manchin Pools a “Swim”

“Paul has a penchant for adding a few instrumentals late in the game/ I wonder if he will revisit those tracks on his next album – but this time with lyrics added seeing how he sounds when the majority of songs are new originals…” 

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When you listen to a Paul Manchin album, you are guaranteed variety of sound, increasing, Michael Franks-style vocal creativity and his own, slightly quirky arrangements which transcends genres – even if not intentionally. He seems a slightly  sad and solitary soul who expresses his sullen longings via these vacillating tracks.

“Swim”, complete with sound effects, is the first song and if you’ve seen the “Lift” video, you know that he is stroking in his pajamas, dreamlike. It needs not be weird – yet is surely and slightly thus.  Pull your swimsuit drawstrings tight for the ride!

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The next pool dip is “Lift” (you make my day) and then the jazzy “What Makes People Happy”, followed by a remake of a song from his previous, “Salutations” album, “Take A Ride”; another cut is the same, but with a funky beat.  Are we in Remix City, Paul?

On track five, he explores Madonna’s 1980s smash, “Like A Virgin”, a totally different way.  I teased him that Madonna is going to come after him and, to my surprise, he replied that he secured permission from her!  Apparently this isn’t the first time Paul has covered it either. He did so back during his Fly-Life days on the 2011 album, “Prolific”.  Hmm.. This time it blends into “Blackjack”, another cut from his last collection.  “Power of Love” is a beautiful piano solo ballad. “Fly”, my favorite and representative of how I first met Paul Manchin, is a nice dance club number with breakbeat-into-the-mix possibilities for DJs.

I really love his respectful, guitar-only cover of Elton’s “Your Song” (track nine).

Tracks ten and eleven, “Chance” and “Decline” respectively, are both big beat instrumentals and “Trinity” is basically sfx and a pure question mark for this listener. Number fourteen, is really jazzy, while “Promise” takes us back to Paul’s penchant for adding a few curious instrumentals late in the game.  Any chance he will revisit those tracks on his next album – this time with lyrics added?  “Want” sounds like a piano soundtrack from a horror movie!

Track sixteen, “Wonder” is my second-place favorite here.   It also apparently has two remix versions, inside an overall retro theme, taking us back to the 1960s “British Invasion” sound of the likes of The Dave Clark Five on one; the next remix is ten years hence from the former. What is very troubling is that in the video for this song, he burns and acoustic guitar! What did this have to do with the lyrics?  Why not put out the album version and then the remix version as a single and video?!

Just snorkel-spy “Try”, and listen to an introspective guitar monologue.  “One” is also from the previous ‘Salutations’ album; this time with a different beat.  How bout more original new fare and fewer remixes, Paul?  Some of the blends and revisits seem random and are confusing to those listeners who desire a more consistent thematic approach to their listening.

That being said, this bath is the most listenable Manchin album throughout that I have enjoyed by him.  Four out of five stars for listenability ( the burning guitar almost makes me deduct a point).  I want to see how he sounds when the majority of songs are new originals – even if fewer overall – in the deep end.  Please do not drown us in remixes next time!  four of five stars

 

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Janey Street, “In My Own Skin”

“Janey doesn’t look especially happy on this album cover.  Ummm… So I think I will get under her “skin” to find our why.  Oh!  A musical album again!!

Nashville, Tennessee – August 31, 2017 Naphtali Jimi – Freelance Writer

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Ok, gang…“let’s listen!…”

This twenty-seventeen summer was not a bummer because Janey “Blues” Street dropped some coolness from within, on an album entitled, “In My Own Skin”.  Fresh off her award-winning tour and being voted LA Music Critic’s award “Best Rock, Best CD and an Icon Award in Hollywood, Smooth and easy Janey unabashedly continues to croon and apply a tender touch to her guitar, like she always does, with this fresh set about life, love, sex and music.  I have listened to this CD often during my car travels this summer and apologize for the late write-up, which, however,  is just in time for some introspective, romantic, Autumn leaves listening. Its never too late for nice music.

Janey Street’s latest album is like when you visit a friend’ house to grill and chill many a tasty feast, from seafood to tasty meats.  With just the right spice, a beverage and deep flavors, you will know that Ms. Street can be depended upon to deliver musically.  Upon initial listen, frankly I was underwhelmed until I heard cut number eleven, “Dignity”, with its hip-hop bridge, “Tryin’ to work a 9 to 5 to make a livin’/bills just keep on coming, they keep takin’ with no givin’…” then and there I put the brakes on, as the hairs on my own epidermis stood up.  I had to revisit the album, to hear what I had previously missed.

My ears found that, track two, “When You Are Loved” is the most appealing and heartfelt song on this album.  It brought tears to my lonely eyes several times because of its relatability.  Many hurting humans can relate to it and it would even garner today’s radio program directors’ airplay as the first single, IMO.

The whining, “woooo”, bluesy organ on “Guilty Pleasures” and her Marvin Gaye-ish over-dubbing vamp-to-cold ending vocals make this tune my second favorite one. “Undone” is UNder the radar, not a cover of The Guess Who, (although I wish it were) and the most blusey-County music-leaning tune on the album.      IMG_1732

No track is like another one on this, her sophomore album with Blue Elan, which includes this neat song lyric insert to the right!  There is something for almost everyone. The most fun tune is one from her distant past, Queens, New York City roots entitled, “Under the Clock”. Compare the first and recent videos about it.

Even more entertaining to my double entendre` radio DJ mind from the pre-corporate radio daze, are a few songs like “Sex Is Easy, But Love Is Hard”, “Wrap My Mind Around You” (really?) and “I Wanna Love You Deep”, all of which are getting my brains hard.  I can rework all of those lyrics amusingly, in a sexual healing heartbeat! (towel needed) Get some, Janey!

Bottom Line: Ms. Janey Street can leave a musical legacy like Janis Joplin, given proper promotion and support by great, pro-active public relations, an out-of-the-box thinking label, consistent touring and supportive mass media. Otherwise, her efforts may go down like track nine, “Wreckage”, which is not what I want to see. Therefore, I bestow three-and-a-half out of five, skinny stars for this album.  3-and-one-half-star-rating

We would have liked to have seen her also on this 2017 version for a grownup comparison! Alas…

Please leave your opinions in the “comments” box. Thank you for reading and remember to check in with “the Mothership” at www.achilliad.wordpress.com