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Music Club

Jens Moller —

Every week at lunch time on Tuesday, Music Club meets in Room 119 to talk about everything and anything audible.

Although music taste is purely subjective it can often be mistaken for a personality trait, so one goal is to create an environment where students (and staff) can come and share their thoughts and feelings about music without judgement. We’ve spent Term One discussing music that we specifically brought to share, however we’re now going to start writing small “reviews” of albums that we may or may not traditionally gravitate towards.

The month of May is New Zealand Music Month, so for our first album we have decided to talk about Crowded House’s eponymous album from 1986. Wikipedia will tell you that Crowded House is an Australian band, which could be argued as fair considering 2 of the 3 original members were very much Australian, however Neil Finn is certainly a New Zealander and is responsible for writing the majority of Crowded House’s discography.

So… maybe you’ve heard the album. Maybe you remember the singles. Maybe you’ll recognise some of the songs if you’ve been to any sort of domestic sporting event in the last 30 years. But maybe it would be a good time to revisit the album and let the nostalgia wash over you. For these students it was a new listening experience, and here are some of their thoughts…

World Where You Live is a catchy song, I like how the chorus takes you up and down with Finn’s vocals.

On the whole the album sounds a bit dated to me.

Now We’re Getting Somewhere reminds me of The Kooks which is a modern band that I like.

Don’t Dream It’s Over is quite sombre, which is surprising for such a successful song, especially when you compare it to the rest of the album.

First line of Something So Strong made me think I was listening to Oasis (not sure if this is a compliment to Liam Gallagher or an insult to Neil Finn). Has that road trip feeling.

Don't Dream It's Over - nostalgic and maybe the only song I knew before listening to the album.

Definitely a banger and the chorus is so catchy. Verse and chorus go well together, unlike other songs where the verse seems like it belongs to another song.

Can’t Carry On is funky, groovy but other than that it’s not very interesting.

Overall, this album is definitely dated. I dislike it, but I am aware this is not due to the songs being awful - it is simply not for me. If you are going on a road trip with mates across New Zealand, maybe play this album while your mates talk over it. Otherwise, the standouts are definitely Don’t Dream It’s Over and Mean To Me. Don’t Dream It’s Over just sounds more timeless than the rest. I probably would not listen to this other than on a road trip. Mean To Me is quite a banger, though I feel the chorus dates it. Sounds like The Cure, as in dated but still fun I guess (not as fun as The Cure). Listen if you like to the 80’s cure music style. Also sounds like late 70's music.

The main singer's vocals are really good. Guitars sound old, as well as the drums. Something So Strong becomes catchy after a couple of listens. It’s not good at the beginning but takes time to really get into.

I'm from New Zealand, and I sort of don't really get the hype. Crowded House definitely has talent, and some great melodic moments and songs, but this really doesn't stand the test of time. Consider two major albums of the mid 80's - Cyndi Lauper's She's So Unnatural and Peter Gabriel's So. Crowded House’s Crowded House is on the first half of that.

A few great songs mixed in with some minorly good but albeit forgettable other songs while having some bad and average songs is what this album is. The half-baked production sounds exactly what you'd expect from a 1986 pop album, but I can't deny the fact that this is very catchy, and I can definitely see why this got radio play. Because of the overproduction it's almost hard to identify how skilled they are and how much they are actually putting into their songs.

I would 100% recommend the song Don't Dream It's Over, as it is a NZ classic, and one of the best melodies I have ever heard over some quite fun production.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more reviews in the future! Remember - this is all subjective - there is no such thing as a cool taste in music - and you are welcome to agree or disagree via email (jens.moller@obhs.school.nz).