Music

Pieces of a Dream: Pillow Talk

It's never a good sign when you half expect every song to suddenly be interrupted with a voice saying "Your call is very important to us, and a representative will be with you shortly."


Pieces of a Dream

Pillow Talk

Label: Heads Up International
US Release Date: 2006-03-28
UK Release Date: 2006-05-01
Amazon
iTunes

If you're unfamiliar with Pieces of a Dream, there's a really easy way to hear them right now: simply call up the tech support line for your computer, and wait to be put on hold. The music that plays is likely to sound a lot like Pillow Talk -- generic lite-jazz with peppy tempos and meandering solos that are about as memorable as a tic-tac.

Despite a nice mixture of up- and slow-tempo numbers, the album still remains regrettably forgettable. Pianist James K. Lloyd can find a groove, but can't take it anywhere: the songs never climax. Even the tracks with "hip-hop influenced beats" ("House Arrest" and "Attitude") remain as memorable as songs heard in a hotel elevator. Saxophonist Tony Watson Jr. has a bit more talent and can solo wildly, but is not given an environment where he can do anything dynamic. The production keeps his sax on a leash, leaving it so that it's nothing -- only floating by Lloyd's generic piano work. It's never a good sign when you half expect every song to suddenly be interrupted with a voice saying, "Your call is very important to us, and a representative will be with you shortly."

Guest vocalist Ramona Dunlap is brought in periodically. Though her voice is confident and wouldn't sound out of place on R&B radio, she, much like Watson's saxophone, is given no chance to truly shine. "Triflin'", a ditty about an unfaithful man, has the vocal qualities of a Mary J. Blige knockoff, but given a watered down, hotel-room friendly sheen that serves better as background music than actual music to which attention should be paid. Dunlap, however, does get the one song that overcomes its own mediocre surroundings, "Those 3 Words" -- a song that actually has a pulse, utilizing a male staccato backing vocal in the chorus that sound real, genuine, and fun. It should be noted that this is the only time on the album that this point is reached.

Though Pieces of a Dream has had a very long and established career, one can't help but wonder if their talents are now relegated to background balladry with an anonymous face. For their sake, let's hope not.

2

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less
3

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less
9

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image