Tracks: Oh Daddy; House of Cards; One of Those Days; Coconuts; Bad Days; Peaceable Kingdom; Hot Zoo; Motor Bungalow; Bumpity Bump; Bird in a Box; 1967; Cruelty to Animals
Best track: probably 1967, but Bad Days and Hot Zoo are also excellent
Tracks to skip: Cruelty to Animals, Bumpity Bump, Bird in a Box
Actually, Cruelty to Animals really isn’t ‘skipable’, but since I usually end up stopping the CD after 1967, it falls into that category. Cruelty wasn’t on the original issue of the album, so it’s a bonus track for us CD buyers. It’s not that bad of a track, it’s just that it doesn’t do or say much. But it’s not supposed to, since it’s a collage of all the sound effects used on the album. It’s a mix between Zappa’s grout and The Beatles’ Revolution 9 and while it’s nowhere near Adrian’s best composition, it’s a good attempt at weirdness. I’m not too fond of Bumpity Bump and Bird in a Box; they’re just pretty poor compositions.
The rest of the album? Very, very nice stuff. I think this was Adrian’s 4th solo album, and the one that really got him some attention from radio and MTV. Oh Daddy was a semi hit, although I don’t remember it at all from back then. Maybe it’s because I was listening to Iron Maiden 24/7 and couldn’t be bothered with watching MTV or listening to non-metal radio. Regardless, it was and it helped get Adrian a bigger audience outside of the Crimson and Zappa fans who were already there. Adrian plays a lot of piano on this album (he plays every other damn instrument too!), but the cool guitar stuff is still here. I think that’ll always be present on his albums. The guitars are for coloration, and the piano is for the foundation of the songs. Nearly all of these songs are really good with 3 superb standouts. 1967 (most Belew fans fave AB song) goes through about 10 different stylistic changes and it still manages to hold your interest. It’s a great piece of songwriting.
Really, that’s what Adrian Belew is about: songwriting. Yeah, he’s an amazingly creative and original guitar player and it impresses me how he can just record whole albums by himself (he plays the drums too, ya know), but (and I’ll say it for the record here) Adrian Belew is a great songwriter. Unfortunately most people don’t have a clue who he is, even though they probably own a few albums with him on there. This album is a perfect example of his creative and original pop compositions. Yeah yeah, he’s not ashamed to show off how much he loves The Beatles, but that’s a good thing. He puts his Beatles influence to great use and puts out a very good album. A great place to start or an essential purchase if you’re already a fan.