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Marillion releases 'Happiness is the Road' for free

Sort of.  Kind of.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7606029.stm

I was one of those who pre-ordered the release, and though I wasn't really aware of it at the time, the 'extra' money charged helped the group to pre-pay for all of the studio time, etc. to record the music without worries.  At least that's what I gather from the info in the link and through various emails from the band.

Anyway, looks like they want to 'flood' all of the file-sharing sites with versions of the music that somehow let the band 'market' various purchasing opportunities to people who download those versions.  Since I didn't have any intention of uploading the music, I had the option (which I took) of downloading the release in 'not quite CD quality' format (with a video message from the band saying it was okay to download each song).  To be honest, the quality of the music files seems good to me.

Now that it is in the open, I take this to mean that it is kosher to post a review of the new release.  I may do so in detail at some point soon, but here's the mini-review:

For me, the Hogarth version of Marillion has always been hit and miss.  I think Brave was really good, and I think Marbles was excellent, but most everything else has been spotty.  Their previous release, Somewhere Else, was a perfect example.  I think the title song is brilliant, but outside of one or two other cuts, I thought it was mediocre at best, disappointingly boring at worst.  Having listened to it a few times, my initial reaction is that Happiness is the Road approaches Brave in quality, but probably doesn't hit the brilliance of Marbles.  'Side one' (the first 10 songs) works really well, while maybe a few of the songs on 'Side two' (the second set of 10) aren't quite as good.  Steve Rothery never really cuts loose, in my mind, on any particular track, but the melodies and lyrics (that I can tell...need the forthcoming full lyric sheet to know for sure) are solid throughout most of the effort.  It certainly isn't disappointing in the way Somewhere Else was to me.

But, that's a first reaction.

posted on Friday, September 12, 2008 11:29 PM Print
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