Sunday, March 8, 2009


Something remarkable happened this Saturday night. Van Halen was a no show when it came to the late night concert. Granted that the music started very late in the evening and I didn't want to stay up all night, but subconsciously I was delaying putting on the headphones, probably because a) I was not in the mood to listen to Van Halen and b) I was not in the mood to flood my body with another dose of tequila. But I did changed my mind and at around 11 PM went outside into the cold and listened to someone other than Van Halen and flood my body with a moderate amount of tequila. I'm not sure yet whether this means my "Year of Van Halen" is officially over.

Instead of a live concert, I opted for a collection of studio and live recordings, Echo & the Bunnymen's Ocean Rain, the expanded and remastered version that came out in 2003. Ocean Rain was first released on May 8, 1984. The album was marketed as "the greatest album ever made" and McCulloch later said it was because they believed it was. Although he also said it was meant as a joke when he said, "That wasn't my idea! I was on the phone to Rob Dickins (managing director of Warner Bros.) just joshing and I said 'Oh, it's the greatest album ever made.' And he used it on the poster." In a 2005 interview for Record Collector magazine, Sergeant asked, "Why not?" After wondering "what all the fuss was about", he went on to ask, "Doesn't every band think that way when they've got a new record out?"

Music journalist Max Bell said in his 1984 review for The Times newspaper, "This time vocalist Ian McCulloch has tempered his metaphysical songs with a romantic sweetness and the band's melodies are more to the fore. Acoustic guitars, brushes and sparingly used keyboards all add to the album's optimistic warmth and there is a consistency of atmosphere in songs like 'Seven Seas' and 'Silver', the current single, which justifies the departure

In the review of the original release on Allmusic, Ocean Rain was described as Echo & the Bunnymen's "most beautiful and memorable effort" and went on to describe "The Killing Moon" as the band's "unrivalled pinnacle"

Blender described the album as "a portrait of splendid derangement with spectacular orchestrations".

Mojo said the album had "effervescent songs, sympathetically orchestrated".

In his 2005 book Rip It Up and Start Again: Post Punk 1978–1984, British music journalist Simon Reynolds describes the album as "lush, orchestrated and [...] overtly erotic".

Along with the other four of the band's first five albums, Ocean Rain was remastered and reissued on CD in 2003 – these releases were marketed as 25th anniversary editions. Eight bonus tracks were added to the album. This is the version I listened to this evening.

When reviewing the 2003 remastered edition Allmusic added "the bonus material is nothing less than superb, and makes the band's best album even better".

He closes his eyes
Reality's grip released
Carried far away

Fresh snow coats the ground
Bright stars awash in moon's light
Feels the winters chill

Swept by musics sound
He offers no resistance
Rides emotions wave

Download it here:

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