Rebel, Sweetheart [DualDisc]

Rebel, Sweetheart [DualDisc]

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by The Wallflowers
     
 

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Arriving just 18 months after the Wallflowers' last disc, Rebel, Sweetheart is something of a rush job for this notoriously slow-moving band -- and it sounds it, in the most positive sense of the term. That energy is evident in the powerful, unfussy melodies of songs like the burnished "The Beautiful Side of Somewhere," as well as theSee more details below

Overview

Arriving just 18 months after the Wallflowers' last disc, Rebel, Sweetheart is something of a rush job for this notoriously slow-moving band -- and it sounds it, in the most positive sense of the term. That energy is evident in the powerful, unfussy melodies of songs like the burnished "The Beautiful Side of Somewhere," as well as the bare-knuckled "Days of Wonder," which, contrary to its seemingly exultant title, finds Jakob Dylan mining the dark corners of his psyche, wishing "happy birthday" to the Iraq war and finding little solace in the world around him. Part of the credit for the album's tenor certainly goes to producer Brendan O'Brien, who brings Rami Jaffee's organ to the fore and creates a vibe that's not all that different from his work with longtime collaborator Chris Robinson and the Black Crowes. No, there's not a lot of full-tilt boogie on Rebel, Sweetheart, but songs like "We're Already There" and the lurching "Back to California" push along with an urgency that's unequivocally compelling. Dylan -- like another famous singer-songwriter with that last name -- continues his quest to unravel the biggest of mysteries, wrestling with spirituality on "God Says Nothing Back" and pondering mortality on "The Beautiful Side of Somewhere." Sometimes, he swings and misses. But there are enough home runs on Rebel, Sweetheart to keep fans cheering for a good, long while.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
The Wallflowers, particularly their leader, Jakob Dylan, can't catch a break. They're not only bound to be compared -- not entirely fairly but certainly understandably -- to Jakob's father, Bob, but an equally large burden is that they're a straight-ahead rock band in a time that doesn't value straight-ahead rock bands. They were able to ride the post-alternative wave to the top of the charts in the mid-'90s, when all guitar bands were lumped into a nebulous alt-rock scene, but just a few years later, in the aftermath of trip-hop, MTV Amp, and OK Computer, all big rock bands were expected to tackle the serious challenge of electronica, since that was the wave of the future and all. Didn't matter if they were groups as singularly unequipped to fuse loops and guitars as R.E.M. or Oasis -- they all made tentative attempts to reconcile classicist rock with futurist electronica. Not the Wallflowers. They stuck to their guns and made driving, songwriter-oriented rock & roll in the vein of Springsteen, Tom Petty, and John Mellencamp. This stubbornness served their music well, but it won them no new fans, either among critics or the general public, who criticized them for being what they are: a working rock band, pure and simple. On each record, they have variations on their signature sound, given a slightly different spin depending on what producers they work with, but that's what most rock bands, good or bad, do -- they make records and go on tour. This happened more in the '70s and '80s than in the '90s and 2000s, when dwindling audiences and corporatization kept bands off the road and out of the studio for long stretches of time, but the Wallflowers remain a rock band in the traditional sense, mining a similar vein on Rebel, Sweetheart, their fifth album, as they did on their first. While there are no musical surprises here, this is a better album than its predecessor, Red Letter Days, not just because it's a stronger, more varied set of songs, but because they finally have a perfectly matched producer in Brendan O'Brien. Like his recent productions for Bruce Springsteen, O'Brien helps focus and revitalize the Wallflowers, opening up the music through subtly textured overdubs but also giving the band a harder attack than they've ever had. Simply put, they've never sounded better as a band than they do here, and they've never had a record as robust and interesting on a pure sonic level as they do here. Not that Rebel, Sweetheart offers anything all that different from previous Wallflowers albums -- they just do what they do better than they have before. Ultimately, there's a certain comfort in knowing that the Wallflowers can deliver sturdy, engaging classicist rock like this, since it makes them different from other rock bands of their time in yet another way: they're reliable. [Rebel, Sweetheart was also released as a DualDisc, containing a CD of the album on one side and DVD with a 5.1 Surround mix and bonus video material on the flip.]
Rolling Stone - Rob Sheffield
1/2 Jakob Dylan evidently decided to focus on growing as a songwriter rather than as a celebrity. Rebel, Sweetheart is proof that this was a smart move.

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Product Details

Release Date:
05/24/2005
Label:
Interscope Records
UPC:
0602498819722
catalogNumber:
000469382

Tracks

Disc 1

  1. Days of Wonder
  2. The Passenger
  3. The Beautiful Side of Somewhere
  4. Here He Comes (Confessions of a Drunken Marionette)
  5. We're Already There
  6. God Says Nothing Back
  7. Back to California
  8. I Am a Building
  9. From the Bottom of My Heart
  10. Nearly Beloved
  11. How Far You've Come
  12. All Things New Again

Disc 2

  1. Days of Wonder
  2. The Passenger
  3. The Beautiful Side of Somewhere
  4. Here He Comes (Confessions of a Drunken Marionette)
  5. We're Already There
  6. God Says Nothing Back
  7. Back to California
  8. I Am a Building
  9. From the Bottom of My Heart
  10. Nearly Beloved
  11. How Far You've Come
  12. All Things New Again
  13. Bonus Material

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Wallflowers   Primary Artist
Lenny Castro   Percussion
Jakob Dylan   Guitar,Vocals,Group Member
Rami Jaffee   Keyboards,Group Member
Brendan O'Brien   Guitar,Background Vocals
Fred Eltringham   Percussion,Drums,Background Vocals,Group Member
Greg Richling   Bass,Background Vocals,Group Member

Technical Credits

Nick DiDia   Engineer
Jakob Dylan   Composer,Cover Painting
Brendan O'Brien   Producer
Billy Bowers   Engineer
Larry Jenkins   Management
Karl Egsieker   Engineer

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