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Tuesday, 18. July 2006 - 23:22

Review: Holly McNarland - Live Stuff

Dieser Beitrag ist auch in deutsch verfügbar (empfohlen).

The second album, I want to review here, is from Holly McNarland, a canadian Singer, that I heard first on the second Lilith Fair CD. Her Song “Elmo” has inherently thrilled me when I heared it the first time. Primarily I found her voice very interesting. I found it so interesting, that I bought one of her albums recently. Because I always want to have an overview for the introduction, so my decision was set to take the “Live Stuff”-Album.

Holly McNarland is introducing seven tracks on this disc. Except of the last one, all are live recordings. The songs are well recoreded and I can't find much negatives that depends on the production of the CD.

I mainly expected very rocking songs, so can sing along with them very loud. But, the term “shout along” fits better to her music (that becomes clear in the recording of “Elmo”, too: Do you want to sing? Or... Or scream?). But this woman simply rocks and her voice is really outstanding. Both in the louder and in the quieter parts she gives the listener a goose-skin again and again.

But the voice of Holly McNarland can't take a away all negative points, I catched.
The songs seemed to played to slow for example. That's an attribute, that I still recognize although I often have listened to them. Besides the Lilith FairVersion of “Elmo” I knewed the studio version of “Numb”. Both versions are clearly more going on rather than the live versions on this CD.
Furthermore I think the songselection respectively the songorder isn't very good. On a rocking live album the setlist should be alike a real rock concert. A real wow at the start belongs to that, for example.

The songs in detail:

  1. Water;”: Actually it's a good song, it's just placed wrong. In the short temporary parts in the verses you can here the strenghts of Holly McNarlands voice. But, in my opinion, these strenghts appear too less in this song.
  2. Numb;”: Besides “Elmo” it's the most popular song form her. And that's right. Okay, the song isn't especially fast and it hasn't some crazy solos, but: This song rocks. However you can notice, how slow some tracks are played. But it was worth making a live recording of the song: The additional goose-skin-effect, when you can here the along singing fans, is really fantastic.
  3. The Box;”: I had to get used to this song. Meanwhile I really like it and it's almost on the same level of “Elmo” and “Numb”. Especially in the intro the songs develops a pretty power that doesn't barely abate. And I think, one can hear well, that the drumset sounds really interesting. I'm interested in knowing what cymbals he/she is plays. (Smiley: smile)
  4. I Won't Stay;”: In my opinion it's a pseudo-rock-ballad. I never liked something like that. Either all or nothing. It's the same here. There is absolutely nothing special and it's the low point of the CD.
  5. Elmo;”: From the low point to the high point. “Elmo” is the best song from her and I think when you hear this album you'll come to the same result. In fact this song is a song about hate, but even if you aren't in this mood, the song is perfect to shout out your aggresions. The recording is a little bit inferior to the recording from the Lilith Fair disc, but it has its speciality: You can better hear the audience, especially in the sing along part at the end of the song. Pure goose-skin feeling, really good!
  6. Stormy;”: As the last live song of this album this track should be a real high pint again. But it isn't. There are not so much songs from which I'm saying, that they are too long. But this one belongs to them. I'm expecting more from a 9 minute song. And the "everything seems to be too slow"-effect is present again. The intro is really athmospheric, actually a little bit spooky and well chanted. But it's too long. The part after the into is crashing, but it seems forced to me. Yes, there is a progression until the end, that brings some power in and is not only guitar-crashing. But basically it remains nothing special and Holly McNarland brings her general wordless singing at the end. That's cool, but not in every third song. It seems too uncreative.
  7. In The Air Tonight;”: That's one of the three songs I knewed before and I think it's good. I didn't knew that it's a cover version of a Phil Collins hit (someone told me some days ago). I think this version is okay but there some big ideas are missed. But, this version creates a kind of a summerlike “relax-mood”, because it's know rocksong that wants to be as wild as possible. It stays on a specific level and to me it works in this situation.

For a conclusion I can say, that Holly McNarland is a really good singer. First of all she has a voice that is so indivdual that you can easily sound her out of many voices. I love this power and goose skin that she is able to create alone with her voice and it invites you to sing or shout along with her.
But this CD was a test about her song writer qualities as well. And unfortunately I had to realize what I had feared: She had to big Songs (“Elmo” and “Numb&rdquo(Smiley: wink) and she is able to write similar hits as you can hear with “The Box”. But it seems that these moments are “happy accidents”. The music that is doing otherwise is too poor and not entraining enough to me. I really hope, that she can better transfer her talent at the future anymore so we willhear the one or the other upcoming hit in the future.

If you want to hear more songs from her, you can visit Holly McNarlands Website. She has really much music stuff online, so you can listen to a lot of her music. At the moment she has only her newest songs online, but they are quite interesting. “Dear Pain” sounds really good. And now excuse me I have to rock. (Smiley: smile)

Closing rating: very short 3 of 5 points.

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  1. Nancy wrote at 19/10/06 - 03:37:05
    Sorry but how can you say that about a talented one like holly when you don't even know phil collins.... maybe you just prefer commercial music? cause holly mc is really not one of those diva some people may like...

    my 2 cents (Smiley: smile)
  2. Philipp Söhnlein (Website) wrote at 19/10/06 - 09:13:34
    @Nancy: I didn't say, that I do not know Phil Collins. As a drumer I know him of course. But that doesn't mean that I know every song he or Genesis has done. Especially I'm never listening to radio, if I have the choice. So I'm not really the guy who likes commercial and mainstream stuff. Or do you think that Tracy Bonham or Butterfly Boucher are mainstream divas? I don't think so, and I think these two artists are the most comparable to Holly McNarland in my collection.
    I'm sure you agree, when I say that music that is chanted by females doesn't mean that these females are divas. Actually I'm sure I'm not really listening to "real diva" music. Or do you think that Jewel or Sarah McLachlan are divas? Because these two artists are the most diva-like I'm having in my collection, I think...

    Greetings
    Phil
  3. nancy wrote at 19/10/06 - 17:28:11
    Hey I like sarah mc and jewel too,what i regreat is that u seem to underestimate holly's talent but thats only an opinion on both side i know!... But please do me a favor and try to listen her new stuff like the komrade sessions or home is where my feet are... anyways i guess with holly you adore her or just not cause a real fan of her could hear «stormy» all night long... and «More» 2.For me you cant compare holly her voice is pretty unique,you can notice that if you looking at her dvd live at the great all. =)

    Peace!
  4. Philipp Söhnlein (Website) wrote at 19/10/06 - 22:20:06
    Hey Nancy,

    please don't get me wrong. I always said that Holly has a great talent and she is a great singer. But I think I'm not 100% compatible with the style of the most songs she has written. Like I said, I really like Numb, Elmo, Dear Pain and The Box. But the other stuff is just average to me. I knew from the first time I listened to Elmo that I want more stuff from this awesome singer. And then I tested this other Stuff with the Live Stuff Album, and I was a bit disapointed, because I hoped that all of here songs had this quality. But in my opinion they haven't. Okay, we agree, that's my opinion.

    I was also thinking a long time, about buying "Home is where my feet are", but I decided to go with "Live Stuff", because it's a live album, and I like live albums.
    I think I will give "Chin up Buttercup" a try.

    Sorry if I got you wrong with "Stormy", but I think is one of this average songs, I'm talking about.
    Okay, you're are right, when you say that her voice isn't comparable to anyone out there. I haven't heard such a voice before, too. That's cool, that her big plus.

    About the DVD: I really want to have a look on it, but it's hard to get it here in germany.

    BTW: Nice discussion. (Smiley: smile)

    Have a nice day/night
    Phil

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