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General Feedback for the Next Generation album
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Posted 27/12/2012 13:50
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Decided to put my feedback here rather than take up space with a dedicated thread, but here are my honest opinions on the New Generation album, which I recieved as a Christmas gift.

Okay, first of all, one word to describe Liam Neeson's narration; SNORE. Now I find Neeson quite engaging on screen, even in his weakest roles, but here he's fallen into that same trap that seems to afflict every big-name actor; as soon as they get behind a microphone they go dead. It's the case with Liam Neeson. He sounds disinterested, emotionless, drab and dull. Yeah, it's probably not fair to compare, as Richard Burton could have read out his shopping list and made it captivating, but the fact is that Neeson's performance just earns him the title of "Mumbling Munchkin".

Then we have Gary Barlow. Good God, does he sound bland. I mean, he's not exactly terrible, but he sounds like a total mismatch. Forever Autumn is just reduced to slush. I don't know who told him that the song was about heartbreak and not about despair, but it was utterly the wrong direction to go in. It's not meant to be as slushy as it is here.

Ricky Wilson as the Artilleryman is utter rubbish, which is a shame as I remember quite liking the Kaiser Chiefs once. The man cannot act. At all. Now I'm split as to my opinion of David Essex in the original, but at least in The Artilleryman and the Fighting Machine he did sound reasonably like someone who was shell-shocked and had just witnessed the deaths of hundreds, maybe thousands, of people. Wilson, however, sounds way too chirpy, as if he's just on a very interesting boy scout outing. He fares better for Brave New World, but not by much, and certainly not a patch on Alexis James, who did the Artilleryman in the first run of the live show (incidentally, why didn't they bring him back? He was great!).

Alex Clare may be the only redeeming quality on this album with his rendition of Thunder Child, but even then his performance is only adequate, and the unnecessary extra sound effects and echo get in the way of the vocals.

Joss Stone as Beth sounds barking mad, not really as somebody who's supposed to be the mentally stable one of the pair with Parson Nathaniel. When she sings, she's even worse, shouting her lines and making the song sound way too brash, nasty and out of place.

As for Maverick Sabre as Parson Nathaniel... No, Nathaniel, NO! I'm not gonna sugarcoat here; this guy is awful. He sounds like he's put a coat over his head and held his nose while recording his dialogue. I think I've figured out what the problem is; he's trying to do a Phil Lynott impression, but instead he comes across sounding like Rastamouse. I'm not kidding; he sounds like a Jamaican fop! The anguished yell that Lynott gave with the discovery of what the Martians do to humans is now reduced to one of the most impotent and laughable squeaks in history. The Spirit of Man, with both Stone and Sabre, is the absolute armpit of the album; it has been a long time since I have listened to something that is so wretched and foul. Hell, I'm no fan of Russell Watson, but I would have gladly taken his rendition of the Parson over this abomination! All the way through this song I actually came to envy the deaf.

The first track alone, The Eve of the War, highlights all the problems with the music in the entirety of the album. This was an opportunity to re-interpret the classic tunes, maybe try some fun new experiments, but instead the whole thing just sounds like an inferior carbon copy. Most of the time it sounds like they just added some needless new effects over the existing copy than re-recorded it from scratch. While it would always be a difficult balancing act, trying to do a new version of the songs while retaining their essence, the way this is handled just makes the new one sound lazy, like someone took the original and made a bad dubstep mix of it. The Red Weed has atrocious dubstep added for no reason partway through, The Spirit of Man sounds more like a calypso tune, and everything else just sounds overproduced and inappropriate, way too dance-heavy and stripping away the subtlety of the original. It feels horribly cluttered and a chore to listen through. Some extra snatches of narrative dialogue don't help much, and certainly don't justify this re-recording, which just sounds like it's trying way, way too hard, like your dad trying to be trendy but failing miserably. The original album has a timeless sound to it, but this version definitely sounds like a product of its time, which will (hopefully) date and be forgotten about very quickly.

I wanted to try to judge this as a newcomer, not comparing it to the original, but even then I can only say that I have found the music that will be accompanying me in my own personal Hell. This album - ALL of it - is embarrassingly bad. Pointless tinkering with timeless tunes, awful casting choices, an utter lack of subtlety or drama, wasted opportunities to experiment, drab narration, embarrassing acting, singing that ranges from passable to pure torture and an entirely inappropriate tone to the whole thing. Take all that, throw it in a blender and bring it to the boil, and what you have is a horrible concoction.

Jeff Wayne, I can't help but shake my head at the thought that you're starting to go down the George Lucas path of desecration of classics. Please, I beg you to just abandon this pathetic rewrite and stick to the original composition for the live shows; I was looking forward to going to one of those at some point, but if this is the quality of the music I can expect then I shall be avoiding them like the plague.
"They must be cast out... and I have been chosen to do it!"
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Posted 27/12/2012 21:43


Supreme Being
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I share the views with Studio Asperger. Maybe I wasn't as direct with my review but I really share the points made.

 

" ... I was looking forward to going to one of those at some point, but if this is the quality of the music I can expect then I shall be avoiding them like the plague... "

I also haven't had the chance to see the whole show live yet, living in Germany and restricted time-wise due to work. I live 100kms from Oberhausen Arena where the show will be held on 4th Jan. 2013. But I will not attend it due to the essence within the added quote which I agree on 100%.

Bring back the original and burn the "new generation". (just kidding with the burning)

 

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Posted 28/12/2012 04:53
Supreme Being
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Everyones entitled to an opinion, but I disagree. I think for the most part the new cast is terrific, although I did feel the weak link was the Spirit of Man section. But the originals were SO good, IMO no one was going to be as good.

Each to their own of course, and for the most part it will be the original I will still play the most!

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Posted 28/12/2012 23:31




Enigma
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Indeed everyone is entitled to THEIR opinion.

Now I've got my sticky hands on my much awaited for CD for Chrimble day ...on The New Generation TWOTW album...I have to say in my serious honest, honest, opinion....it is absolutely FABULOUS!

Jeff, you are an absolute genius...WOW! 

The music is stunning..Ricky Wilson's voice haunts me...Parson Nathanial haunts me ... A HUGE HUGE thank you  well done...I am truly bowled over! And I thank you from my heart...What a project ...It is just fantastic. All my hugs,

Loxley xxoxx

 


Loxley xxx

"I got a plan..."



 

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Posted 29/12/2012 01:20


Supreme Being
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For me, i think its brilliant. The funny 'laggy' bits, in red weed, fighting machine etc were really good, and i didnt expect them first time around.
I didnt enjoy Maverick Sabre as the parson, i thought the distortion of his voice in some places was over the top, but Joss Stone did a good job.
The crowning moments were when everything fell silent, after the red weed part two, dead london and the epilogue part two. The fact that its digital, and higher quality than the original made the silence even more profound and sudden.
Liam Neeson will appeal to todays youth as a familliar face after his role in star wars, taken, batman, so a good job cast wise. Ricky Wilson did a good job, although when describing the carnage in the common, he almost sounds happy, while gary barlow did his part justice.
So altogether, well done everyone for bringing this fantastic album back :-)





*See fighting machine*
*Turn off footy*
*Pick up phone*
''Honey. Should I quit drinking?''
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Posted 29/12/2012 03:06


Martian Elder
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Ouch! I wonder, with all the other recordings and variants of musicals such as Les Miserables etc. out there why does it seem there cannot be a different take on this, why does this musical ALWAYS have to have the same cast?

Hey, I'm sure some people will say the only Ché should be David Essex in Evita but I happen to like the Banderas version (even if, IMO, the film of Evita was, ahem, bad) and think he does have more venom in him as well. In a simular fashion I also happen to think Michael Keaton was a brilliant Batman but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy the recent Batman movies, or the fact that Batman/Bruce Wayne is played by someone else.

So there it is folks, this version is NOT a replacement. And you can still listen to the Original - heck I still hear Richard Burton's voice as the Narrator/Journalist anyhow. No-one said this replaces anything, it's merely a new re-telling. Who's to say this will be the last?

 

 


"Grotesque gleam of a time no history will ever fully describe!"

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Posted 30/12/2012 02:25


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I find that the two renditions of the original book are uncomparable, considering they were created with the trends in mind. I like the original for, well, originality, while i like the new one because i am more familiar with the music, but as entitled as we all are with our opinions, i find that jeff has done a fantastic job.And BTW with all those who say 'why fix what isnt broken?' True it may not be broken, but also, it has not been fixed, has it? It has merely been updated, which eventually everything is.

Ta muchly,

09





*See fighting machine*
*Turn off footy*
*Pick up phone*
''Honey. Should I quit drinking?''
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Posted 31/03/2014 09:34
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Was on a road trip last week and opted to take the new version rather than the classic, have a listen with fresh ears...
I found it excellent. Better than original? No...but good enough to still to spin and enjoy! Is it redundant then? IMO it is different enough to enjoy in it's own right.
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