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also by Brian Eno:
As the premier rock intellectual, Brian Eno has nothing whatsoever to prove, so doesn't lose any cred for not being completely original on his first vocal album in years. He seems to have a similar muse to his former studio partner Daniel Lanois, in making a soft-edged, too-tastefully polished adult pop. What hits me most about "Another Day on Earth" is its overwhelming New Age feel, a somewhat less cool label to apply to the master of ambient. A lot of this digital synth-heavy ear candy is more like something you'd expect from latter-day Mike Oldfield.
The pretty little tunes themselves, such as the fluffy oompa "How Many Worlds", have a two-chord nursery rhyme simplicity. They aren't meaty enough to feel stifled by being suffused in an ethereal sound wash. (He's also acquired a strange taste for that Cher's "Believe" vocal effect.) There's a couple of moments, such as shuffling opener "This", that remind me of his last vocal album, the "Wrong Way Up" collaboration with John Cale. But it's so far from his left-field glam pop of 30 years ago that it's ridiculous to draw comparisons.
The backing of "Just Another Day" seems like a nod to Susumu Yokota's ambient classic "Sakura". Inge Zalaliene does a credible imitation of Laurie Anderson's spoken-word fragments on "Bonebomb", also adding her hypnotherapist's whispers to the ambient haze of "Going Unconscious". It ain't going to get any PhDs written about it, but it's pleasing enough for late-evening background music.
August 10, 2005