Richard Ashcroft: Keys to the World

I tried and tried to like Richard Ashcroft's old band, The Verve, but I never got into them. I don't really recall what they sounded like (other than the song "Bittersweet Symphony"), but if they were anything like Keys to the World, it's easy to understand why I didn't like them.

Music: 1.5 EPFL library cards out of a possible 5
If I still worked in the music industry and someone sent me this album, it would've lasted about 15 seconds before I took it out of the CD player and threw it in the garbage. The first four songs are the most miserably contrived Rock Songs™ you could ever imagine. This is what happens when mediocre producers hire lame studio musicians to back a generic has-been. Fortunately, the fifth song was almost worth the suffering I endured: "Keys to the World" is a really good song that would've been great if it'd been performed by the Twilight Singers. I'm not sure if the songs on the second half of the album actually got a little better, or if my ears were just so numb that anything would've sounded good.

Packaging: 1 EPFL library cards out of a possible 5
Look! There's a picture of Richard Ashcroft looking like a cross between Tom Verlaine and Andrew Eldritch! And there's one where he's gazing over the countryside like Nick Drake probably did. And there's one where he's wearing sunglasses and a leather jacket and... wait a second. Is there anything besides generic rock star photos in these liner notes? Oh, look, there on the last page, some tiny text that lists the credits. Brilliant!

Listen if you like: rock music, and you have no ability to tell the good from the lame.

If it were food, it'd be: bland


The Mad Hatter said...

Sad thing is that this is the best of his three solo albums. Not saying much, eh? I actually like "Break the night with colour" and the title track. Like you also, halfway through and I forgot where I was or what I was doing. Just a mess of recycled shit.

And no, this in no way resembles the Verve. Nick McCabe's guitar licks alone would have made all the difference for this album.

Anonymous said...

I think you're the Pratt. Where's your band and fame? You can't see genius when it's in front of you, Nob.

taotechuck said...

That was a truly insightful comment. You really helped me to appreciate the music in a different light. Your explanation of why you like Ashcroft resonated with me in a way I'll never forget. And your descriptions of the way this album makes you feel... you are obviously missing your calling as a poet.

Thank you for sharing such an insightful and -- dare I say? -- beautiful comment on my web site. Not only have you made me a better person, you've made the entire Internet more meaningful.

Anonymous said...

What an unfair and ridiculous review! By your own admission you only know bittersweet symphony? Indeed you don't know much about RA or the verve then. This album is consistently good, if you listen to it properly you can find it life affirming if you bother to hear what he's saying and heaven forbid actually make the effort to find the meaning behind the songs. Take world keeps turning for instance Ashcrofts voice is so rich it's hard not to be moved by it. Or the creeping danger in cry til the morning. This album is clearly wasted on you. Why critise the packaging? Photos of Rich looking the mean. What do you expect there to be??? Or are you jealous that you couldn't produce an album like this only a stupid scathing blog. LOSER

taotechuck said...

That's the beauty of music, Anon. What you find life-affirming I find dull, and vice-versa. My opinion of the music shouldn't change the fact that this album does something deep and powerful for you. Likewise, your opinion doesn't change the fact that I find this record to be completely contrived and over-produced.