Sam Phillips


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The Indescribable Wow (1889), 6.5/10
Cruel Inventions , 6/10
Martinis And Bikinis , 6/10
Omnipop , 5.5/10
Fan Dance , 5/10
A Boot And A Shoe (2004), 6.5/10
Don't Do Anything (2008), 6/10
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Leslie Phillips giunse alla musica giovanissima attraverso la Chiesa: i suoi primi quattro album (per la Word) sono di natura religiosa (in particolare il quarto, The Turning, del 1987). Poi sposo` T-Bone Burnett, cambio` nome in Sam Phillips e da quel momento la sua carriera decollo`. The Indescribable Wow (Virgin, 1889), arrangiato in maniera quasi barocca benche' acustica, mise in luce una "rocker" capace di Holding On To The Earth e What You Don't Want To Hear, anche se gran parte del disco e` annacquato da ballad soporifere.

Cruel Inventions (Virgin, 1991) e` un album piu` omogeneo e maturo, che Phillips riempie di composizioni calibrate come Go Down, Raised On Promises, Where The Colors Don't Go che la propongono nei panni di una colta Kate Bush e una fatale Marianne Faithfull alle prese con dilemmi esistenziali. Forte di collaboratori come Van Dyle Parks, Elvis Costello e Marc Ribot, produce canzoni di gusto raffinato, ben orchestrate e cantate, ma spesso senza nerbo.

Alla psichedelia piu' barocca fa pensare infatti l'arrangiamento delle canzoni di Martinis And Bikinis (Virgin, 1994). Le melodie di Baby I Can't Please You, Strawberry Road, ancorano sofferte meditazioni filosofiche. I Need Love e` forse la canzone piu` originale della sua carriera.

Omnipop (Virgin, 1996) presenta una cantante ancor piu` smaliziata, anche se le composizioni sembrano piu` leggere e casuali (Entertainment, Animals On Wheels, Faster Pussycat To The Library).

Zero Zero Zero (Virgin, 1999) is a well-chosen anthology.

If English is your first language and you could translate my old Italian text, please contact me.
Fan Dance (Nonesuch, 2001), Sam Phillips' first studio album in five years, is the definite farewell to the alt-rock format that she championed in the 1990s. Five Colors, Love Is Everywhere I Go, Wasting My Time are intimate, delicate confessions of an innocent, childish soul. Thanks to a stellar cast of pianists and guitarists (and string arrangements by Van Dyke Parks), Phillips does not need a rock band at all. (Translation by/ Tradotto da Alessandro Isopo)

Fan Dance (Nonesuch, 2001), il suo primo album in studio dopo cinque anni, è l'addio definitivo ai formati dell'alt-rock che lei stessa aveva difeso negli anni '90. Five Colors, Love Is Everywhere I Go, Wasting My Time sono confessioni intime e delicate di un'anima innocente. Grazie ad un cast stellare di pianisti e chitarristi(compreso l'arrangiamento d'archi ad opera di Van Dyke Parks), Phillips non ha davvero bisogno di una rock band.

She further journeyed inside her tormented psyche on A Boot And A Shoe (Nonesuch, 2004), another unedulcorated confession although not as spartan as Fan Dance. In fact, behind the apparent calm and simplicity, the sounds are organized with manic precision, and the voice is coupled to the arrangements (T Bone Burnett, Jim Keltner, Marc Ribot) in an almost scientific manner. This is both a mature and profound collection, and a calculated emotional charade. One does not exist without the other. Far from being artificial, the latter is a skill that simply augments the former. In the end, the album appears to be both spontaneous and carefully, lovingly crafted. This is perhaps her richest album ever, boasting I Dreamed I Stopped Dreaming, Reflecting Light, How to Quit, Infiltration, One Day Late.

Don't Do Anything (2008), the first album not produced by ex-husband T-Bone Burnett since 1987, featured Little Plastic Life and Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us but hardly changed the format of her music, that remained superficial and nonchalant.

Phillips overcame the music industry with her "Long Play" website that released music to subscribers only. The resulting music was offered on five EPs and the album Cameras in the Sky (2010). Solid State (2011) compiles material from the five EPs and from Cameras in the Sky.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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