NEIL FINN - One All

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" 4 stars. In retrospect, Try Whistling This, Neil Finn's solo debut, seems like a conscious effort to distance himself from Crowded House. Filled with studio trickery, distorted microphones, and trendy vague trip-hop beats, the album was a deliberate move to establish himself as a separate, more adventurous entity from Crowded House -- yet one that remained a gifted, melodic songwriter. This is all put into sharp relief by his second solo album, One Nil, a record that finds him returning to solid ground, delivering his most straightforward album since Crowded House's Woodface. Curiously, for an album that plays to his strengths, a good portion is the result of a fruitful collaboration with Wendy & Lisa, plus a production pairing with Tchad Blake and numerous cameo spots, including Sheryl Crow, Lisa Germano, and Mitchell Froom. For all the guests and star power, the record is surprisingly subtle, lacking the knockout punches of Try Whistling This, where the singles leapt out of the grooves. This time around, the songs are gently insinuating, slowly working their way into the subconscious. Even the songs with the biggest hooks, such as the first single "Rest of the Day Off," aren't as immediate as "She Will Have Her Way." Yet, on repeated plays, the record begins to gel, revealing itself as a reliably solid effort from Finn. There may not be any new revelations, yet the little details -- the turns of phrase, the gently persuasive melodies, the slyly detailed productions -- all confirm his status as a gifted craftsman." - AMG

"In a perfect world, Neil Finn's _One Nil_ that was released in 2001 everywhere *but* the US would've gotten the international release it deserved. _One Nil_ was simply a brilliant album - twelve excellent songs focused for the most part on Neil Finn's love for his wife and family. _One All_ is the 'American' version of that album, if you will, that replaces two songs and remixes several of the ones that was on _One Nil_. The only gripe I have with _One All_ is that it's unreal to think that an album as wonderful as _One Nil_ had to be tampered with at all. But Finn wanted to change things on the album so more power to him. Gone are the funky "Don't Ask Why" and ambient "Elastic Heart", replaced with the best song John Lennon never wrote, "Lullaby Requiem", and "Human Kindness."

In my opinion, Neil Finn is probably the best pop songwriter of the last 25 years. His songs (solo or with Crowded House and Split Enz) range from excellent to very good - he simply doesn't seem to write bad songs. Again and again he writes one gem after another. Not only are the songs great, but the production is immensely enjoyable. _One All_ and _One Nil_ are treats to listen to - interesting instrumentation, songs are given space to breathe, and Finn's voice soars. In addition to being an amazing vocalist with subtly impressive range, there's a vulnerability in Finn's voice that makes his songs incredibly appealing. "Into The Sunset" is one of the best songs ever written about 'being on the road': "And I'm away from home/and it's a way of life/and I'm flying high/and I'm a wheeling gull." Other excellent tracks include "Anytime", where Finn expresses the common fear of never knowing when his time is going to come, and "Turn and Run", a duet with Sheryl Crow. Other guests on the album include Lisa Germano, Wendy Melvoin & Lisa Coleman (from Prince's Revolution), Sebastian Steinberg, and Mitchell Froom.
I recommend _One All_ to music fans who like their pop/rock smart, catchy, and heartfelt. My utmost suggestion would be to buy both _One Nil_ (as an import) as well as _One All_ - the songs on these albums are *that* good." - AMazon