Painted From Memory on vinyl , June 2017, Mobile Fidelity's hybrid SACD , Oct. '17

Pretty self-explanatory
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noiseradio
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Postby noiseradio » Sat Jul 26, 2003 8:57 am

I don't like it. It leaves me completely cold. As does For the Stars. I'd say "as does the Juliet Letters, except I actually really like about 3 songs on that (and I love the concept, if not the execution).

But back to PFM. It bores me to tears. I remember the first time I heard it, full of breathless anticipation (following All This Useless Beauty, if you recall). Every track was a huge letdown. I don't even really like God Give Me Strength too much.

meh.
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
--William Shakespeare

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A rope leash
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Maudlin

Postby A rope leash » Sat Jul 26, 2003 10:21 am

You're not drinking enough!

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BlueChair
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Postby BlueChair » Sat Jul 26, 2003 11:37 am

Every once in a while I try to listen to this album, but it simply doesn't do anything for me.

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miss buenos aires
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Postby miss buenos aires » Sun Jul 27, 2003 8:37 am

Every time I listen to it, it does so much more for me than I expect it to. I always forget how much I like it, and then I find myself in the shower singing at the top of my lungs, "BECAUSE I STILL HAVE THAT OTHER GIRL IN MY HEEEEAAAAD!" For example.

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bambooneedle
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Postby bambooneedle » Sun Jul 27, 2003 11:00 am

I think it has particular tragic/comedic value, though you have to see it.

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SweetPear
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Postby SweetPear » Sun Jul 27, 2003 2:14 pm

miss buenos aires wrote:Every time I listen to it, it does so much more for me than I expect it to. I always forget how much I like it, and then I find myself in the shower singing at the top of my lungs, "BECAUSE I STILL HAVE THAT OTHER GIRL IN MY HEEEEAAAAD!" For example.

me too
I'm not angry anymore....

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pophead2k
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Postby pophead2k » Mon Jul 28, 2003 12:44 am

In response to Noise and Blue Chair, I think you do have to live through a few certain situations to appreciate it. I wish I didn't appreciate as much as I do. And I hope you guys never do. Cheers!

dave

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A rope leash
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So true

Postby A rope leash » Mon Jul 28, 2003 7:47 am

I think you've nailed it there, Pop2.

In the song, This House is Empty Now, there's sort of a hanging bridge betweeen the phrases "...to make you want to stay" and "...so tell me how" that I think would be hard to catch on to if one had never experienced the haunting absence of a freshly vacated lover.

Yeah, I sing along with this one...

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SoLikeCandy
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Postby SoLikeCandy » Mon Jul 28, 2003 9:32 am

There is definitely a dark element to the album, but it's so gorgeous...and I agree-- a person who's been through some shit will feel it more than someone who hasn't experienced much in the way of pain.

I'm listening to "This House is Empty Now" and remembering the ex-boyfriend...he's been asking me to come home. In this case, the song is a bit empowering. Strange how a song can mean different things at different times.
If there's one thing you can say about mankind--there's nothing kind about man

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noiseradio
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Postby noiseradio » Mon Jul 28, 2003 11:31 am

But it's not just the lyrics. The music bores me as well. And I don't think life experiences would change that for me.
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

--William Shakespeare

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Jackson Doofster
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Postby Jackson Doofster » Thu Jul 31, 2003 5:14 pm

Sorry to drag this old chestnut up..missed it earlier

I listened to PFM yesterday in the car (first time in a long time) and the first thing I thought was...'great songs, lousy backing singers'

Who the fuck thought it would be a good idea to have the bloody Andrews Sisters singing a la "close the door, dim the lights, blow out the candles....etc" Bloody pukesome. ruined a good song.

And as for the close of 'My Thief'...well, least said the better. Who was that ? Some 12 year old choir girl who'd had too much chocolate cake?

However, the corny backing singers in 'Such Unlikely Lovers' take the proverbial biscuit. IMHO, the production could have been better and the syrup singers should have been shot with a 12 bore!

A missed opportunity
"But they can't hold a candle to the reciprical war crimes which have plagued our policy of foriegn affairs."

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DrJ
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Postby DrJ » Thu Jul 31, 2003 6:47 pm

Yeah, they are the weakest link. One review likened them to Benny Hill's Ladybirds. Haha.

DrJ
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SweetPear
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Postby SweetPear » Fri Aug 01, 2003 2:29 am

Yeah Jackson, I think I have to agree w/you there about the backup singers! :roll:
It's definately a dark record and I agree...if I couldn't identify with the feelings expressed, then I think I'd dislike it too. But unfortunately I do~ hence the crying through the entire record. It's a 'glorious distress' (is that the quote?) And there's something about having a good cry (a really fucking good cry!) I don't know if that's a girl thing or what...but I'll tell ya....that's the beauty of Elvis.....his incredible ability to define and evoke such emotion, whatever it may be. Very honest, like so much of his other work.
ALL of his other work.
I'm not angry anymore....

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Postby Pov » Fri Aug 01, 2003 7:23 am

I love listening to PFM when I'm in a more laid-back kind of mood. I have to say it's one of my favorites, even with the backup singers (the first time I heard them come in it was a bit of a shock, but I'm used to them now :) . Also, my wife hates loud music so this is an EC album that we can both enjoy.

Frankly, I enjoy watching EC experiment with different genres. Sometimes it works fabulously, like with PFM, other times it's horrible. I STILL can't get through For the Stars. :roll:

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Meadowmeal
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Postby Meadowmeal » Thu Jun 30, 2005 3:23 am

What about the live-versions on the limited edition? Is it worth tracking down? And the Toledo-singles?
"A WONDERFUL WOODEN REASON"

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King Hoarse
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Postby King Hoarse » Thu Jun 30, 2005 8:39 pm

I love it.

You need it.

Tip: First listen should be in headphones in the middle of the night.
What this world needs is more silly men.

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whar
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Postby whar » Thu Jun 30, 2005 11:19 pm

PFM is one of my favorites. Elvis's voice is magical on it.
Oy with the poodles, already!

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Extreme Honey
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Postby Extreme Honey » Sat Jul 02, 2005 8:09 pm

Taz I'll put it this way, if you were to compare PFM to TYM, you'd be comparing an electric guitar to a grand piano. Which is more beautiful, more expensive and better all together? Painted From Memory. Warining!: If you are still hoooked on Armed Forces you may die of a heart attack listening to the opening song (In the Darkest Place, one of my fav. songs form his later years!). So I'd recommend you try MLAR before digesting this (If you haven't already, god help you if you havn't already...)!
Good listening,
The Later-Years-Costello fan
Preacher was a talkin' there's a sermon he gave,
He said every man's conscience is vile and depraved,
You cannot depend on it to be your guide
When it's you who must keep it satisfied

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Meadowmeal
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Postby Meadowmeal » Sun Jul 03, 2005 8:51 am

King Hoarse wrote:I love it.

You need it.

Tip: First listen should be in headphones in the middle of the night.

you mean the album itself (which I like very much too) or the live-stuff?
"A WONDERFUL WOODEN REASON"

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bambooneedle
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Postby bambooneedle » Sun Jul 03, 2005 3:32 pm

I hadn't known that it came out also with some bonus live tracks http://wwwp.musicmatch.com/album/album. ... MID=753408

johnfoyle
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Postby johnfoyle » Sun Jul 03, 2005 5:59 pm

My Thief from PFM has been discussed on a Bacharach forum -

http://bacharachonline.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=554


( extract)

Yes, it's a brilliant song. Like all of Burt's songs, it's got so many refreshing surprises.

What I like most about "My Thief" is the way the melody employs lots of dazzling non-chord tones. (Emphasizing on masculine beats notes which do not belong to the tetrad of the moment, but rather are passing tones, neighbors, appoggiaturi, suspensions, anticipations and échapées).

[N.B. If these musical ideas are new to you, really, you owe it to yourself to study them-- recognizing them will increase your appreciation of Burt's genius a thousand-fold.]

The bridge, based in E Major, especially is one of the nicest pop bridges ever written.

Then, when Lisa comes in, she comes in so unexpectedly on the note "A" (which Burt has very gently "prepped" for her with three piano notes). We've already heard E minor throughout Elvis's vocal, but he has leaned more towards the notes B and E. A is a "new one" on us, so to speak.

Then, when you think Burt and Elvis can spring no more delicacies on us, Burt augments the fifth scale degree of the GMaj7 chord in Lisa's tag... to bring us back into E minor.

Ingenious. Suave. Subtle. Brilliant.


Now, what I really want to know is: How much hand in the melody and harmony writing did Elvis have on that album... in proportion to Burt's? Maybe someday, years from now, we'll learn the whole story.

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Extreme Honey
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Postby Extreme Honey » Mon Jul 04, 2005 10:45 am

Actually John, according to various sources installed on my head, I know Burt only wrote 1 song by himself (Painted From Memory).
Preacher was a talkin' there's a sermon he gave,

He said every man's conscience is vile and depraved,

You cannot depend on it to be your guide

When it's you who must keep it satisfied

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King Hoarse
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Postby King Hoarse » Tue Jul 05, 2005 1:27 pm

I meant the original record. Don't know what bonus live tracks are on it, but if they're from Sessions...I'm sure it's well worth buying.

I bought the Toledo cds real cheap, and I can recommend anyone to do the same. The Inch By Inch/Fever medley is always nice. I remember starting the fingerclicking at a Stockholm gig, and when Elvis heard it he stopped playing the guitar intro to stare at me angrily, but then broke out in a huge grin and encouraged the rest of the audience to join in. When they did he started playing again, on the wrong beat! Ah, memories...
What this world needs is more silly men.

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verbal gymnastics
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Postby verbal gymnastics » Wed Jul 06, 2005 6:10 am

Excellent.

I remember handclapping the fingerclicking bit at Bournemouth last year and there wasn't a great deal of participation. I was on the other side to where Elvis was trying to get the crowd going and at the end of the song he went back to the mic and reflected the light off his guitar at me and looked at me.

The additional tracks aren't from Sessions. They are all live tracks though:

1. This House Is Empty Now
2. I Still Have That Other Girl
3. In the Darkest Place
4. Painted from Memory
5. What's Her Name Today?

I'd say it was worth getting. You could probably pick it up for the same price as the normal priced CD.
international laughing stock...

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Jack of All Parades
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Re: Painted From Memory

Postby Jack of All Parades » Sat Feb 19, 2011 8:38 am

I have wanted to revisit this album for some time so it seems appropriate to revive this old thread, particularly as it pertains to one of my favorite EC records. There are two poems by Emily Dickinson that catch how I most feel when listening to the music on the record:

"Remorse- is memory- awake-
Her Parties all astir-
A Presence of Departed Acts-
At window- and at Door-

It's Past- set down before the Soul
and lighted with a match-
Perusal-to facilitate-
And help Belief to stretch-

Remorse is cureless,- the Disease
Not even God -can heal-
For 'tis His institution-and-
The Adequate of Hell-"

and this one-

"The Heart asks Pleasure- first-
and then- excuse from Pain-
and then- those little anodynes
That deaden suffering-

And then- to go to sleep-
And then- if it should be
The will of it's Inquisitor,
The priviledge to die-"

I have always thought that this album comes closest in contemporary music to the pain and anger generated by Richard and Linda Thompson's "Shoot Out the Lights" and that it fits quite nicely in the grander tradition of 'remorse' albums like Billie Holliday's "Lady in Satin" and Abbey Lincoln's "Affair", both exemplars of this genre.

The protagonist in this song cycle is wallowing in his pain and anger and to keep it fresh he needs to hide in 'darkness' much like Shakespeare's Caliban constantly refueling his despair and spite. I like the consistent play in the songs of lightness and darkness; the self inflicted torture that the singer punishes himself with in individual pieces. Regret is palpable and the wrestling match it plays on the conscience[the sense of wrong] is a struggle for the singer.

I like that EC broke his writing direction and deconstructed his typical lyric approach with its loaded word play and instead concentrated on lyrics that are essentially emotionally bare lyrics. I love that this album is the opposite of so many of his efforts; as the lyrics become barer, the music becomes lusher, more melodic and memorable. It also helps that his vocal abilities have matured so that the feelings of jealousy and obsessiveness are emotionally transferred to listeners by the controlled tonal quality of the voice- there is an allure in 'wallowing' in his pain and heartbreak. There is a marked effective usage of the strain in his voice to add depth to these feelings. Too often I have previously read on other threads the cliche that there is a 'novel' told in these lines or lyrics. What is a cliche elsewhere is true here.

EC, working with Burt Bacharach, has composed beautifully simple melodic motifs that are then skillfully punctuated with horns and strings. The backup singers act as an effective interlocutory chorus as they pop in and out acting as the 'conscious' of individual songs. There is not a song on this record that I would want left off or that I skip when I play it. I particularly like the self castigation in the refrain of "This House is Empty Now". The conceit that as the home is an empty shell, so too is the heart. The constant attempt by the singer to rationalize through memory with its fallibility " it's funny how my mem'ry will bring you so close then make you disappear." The notion in "Toledo" that we too often lose the origins of things like Toledo's namesake in memory and are left with faux memories the 'Florence, Alabama' and not the 'Paris' and 'Rome' we would like to think we had. Every song on this album is filled with such an inner dialogue of pain and remorse and I like that. The conceit of a boxing match in the song "The Sweetest Punch" and of being TKO'd is wonderfully executed and the arrangement so beautifully enhances the effect with the angelic bells. These are only a few examples of the pleasures this album provides as it timelessly works word and melody to make its points.

"Painted From Memory" is the last EC album I loved unequivocally. I remember the pleasure I experienced in Radio City Music Hall when EC and Burt performed the album with a full orchestra. A memorable concert for me and always a favorite. I firmly think this album deserves high marks for execution and for the sheer 'fun' and 'thoughtfulness' it has provided for me over the years and through numerous listens. It is firmly in my top 5 of EC's albums.

As a postscript, have always thought that the hat EC wore for the cover shot is one great hat. It is quite the sartorial statement. One of the best I have ever seen him wear. The inner sleeve color photo where the two look full on into the camera is quite good as well and I think catches visually the creative dynamic these two brought to the project.
"....there's a merry song that starts in 'I' and ends in 'You', as many famous pop songs do....'


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