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Kirsty MacColl - Tropical Brainstorm (Bonus Tracks) Japan torrent

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To call Kirsty MacColl the greatest singer you've never heard is a fallacy, since the honey-hued harmonies of this U.K. artist graced dozens of notable records, by artists including The Rolling Stones, Simple Minds, Robert Plant, and Talking Heads. Yet while her solo recordings occasionally cracked the charts overseas and won praise from critics on both sides of the pond, in the States she was better-known for playing Shane MacGowan's foil on The Pogues' Christmas classic Fairy Tale of New York than for her sublime compositions and razor-sharp wit.

Released in Europe shortly before her accidental death last December at the age of 41, Tropical Brainstorm marries MacColl's incisive lyrics and spirited delivery to Latin arrangements and melodies born from travels throughout Cuba and Brazil during the last years of her life. South American attitudes toward sex and romance certainly permeate the risqué In These Shoes (later recorded by Bette Midler) and Here Comes That Man Again, a libidinous look at Internet romance, complete with a sly Primal Scream quote ("get your rocks off, baby") for its coda.

Yet not all of MacColl's sentiments are garlanded with barbed wire; there's nary a sly aside in earshot on the album's catchiest number, Nao Esperando, which segues into Alegria, a joyous, percussive cut reminiscent of Paul Simon's Afro-Latin fusions on 1990's Rhythm of the Saints. That said, the most straightforward tale of love gone awry (on an album dominated by them), Wrong Again, is also the disc's weakest number.

The U.S. edition of Tropical Brainstorm appends a trio of bonus tracks to the English version's original 13. Golden Heart is a bittersweet trifle better suited to Astrud Gilberto, while Things Happen is a wistful, bare-bones ballad that could've been penned by Irving Berlin, and Good for Me features unusual chord changes that suggest MacColl was not unfamiliar with the Burt Bacharach catalog. All three are fine; none are essential.

In an era where any idiot that rhymes "skills" with "bills" can call him- or herself a songwriter, MacColl was a rare craftsman who had more in common with enduring greats like Noel Coward, Cole Porter, and Rodgers and Hart than the airbrushed androids clogging up the charts. And while she may never cast a shadow as long as those musical theater legends, Tropical Brainstorm is a lasting reminder of a unique talent eclipsed far too soon.

- wallofsound.com

"I know an island where the people are kind / And the rest of the world seems far away / Maybe it's only in the back of my mind / But I know when I go that's where I'll stay." One could not wish a better end result for the late Kirsty MacColl, whose last album opens with this prediction. Tropical Brainstorm serves as a sunny and joyous bookend on a career cut tragically short. Musically, it is a bit of a departure, favoring vibrant Latin-flavored flourishes over the slightly darker jangle of earlier material. There is, however, no mistaking the album's creator from a lyrical perspective. "Treachery" giddily turns the star-fan scenario on its head, imagining MacColl stalking a fan who has abandoned her for the musical flavor of the month. "Here Comes That Man Again" is a decidedly naughty and wise survey of cyberculture's impact on modern romance. In "Us Amazonians," a hearty romp that's easily as good as anything off of Paul Simon's The Rhythm of the Saints, the narrator punches out her true love to show him what's truly important in life. These are not your ordinary pop songs, and that's a fitting way for things to end, if they had to. MacColl always held a singular place in Anglo-pop. She was equal parts Morrissey as a less self-obsessed heterosexual woman and Flannery O'Connor as pop star. In other words, unique, and an incredibly precious resource for music to lose.

Amazon.com's Best of 2001

- amazon.com

This is a very difficult album to critique in a dispassionate way. A singer/songwriter with a nearly perfect bloodline (her father was Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger was her step-mother), Kirsty MacColl had been writing brilliant songs and releasing modestly successful albums since the early '80s. The last time listeners heard from her, on 1993's grim Titanic Days, she had just gone through a painful divorce; she swore that she wouldn't record another album until she could make a happy one. Almost eight years later, she did just that. Tropical Brainstorm is, in part, a celebration of the musical traditions of Cuba, Brazil, and Mexico; mambo and samba rhythms are everywhere, and Latin percussion bumps up against violins, trombones, and nylon-string guitars on almost every track. But the songs' lyrical themes range more broadly — while "Mambo de la Luna" is all about the flavor of life in Cuba, "England 2, Colombia 0" is a hilarious tale of romantic treachery and "Us Amazonians" a wry depiction of a matriarchal tropical utopia. But even when her lyrics cut to the bone, there's an underlying sense of happiness and good humor that was entirely missing from her last album. And there's the rub. What makes this album so difficult to approach with much critical distance is the fact that MacColl was killed in a boating accident several months after it was completed; she died in the ocean off the coast of Mexico, one of the places that inspired the exuberant and sweet-natured music on this wonderful record. How to listen to this music in the wake of that fact? With grateful joy, one supposes. And with a gentler gratitude that she was this happy at the end of her life — if Titanic Days had been her last effort, it would have been difficult listening indeed.

4.5 Stars

- allmusicguide

Bonus Tracks:

13. Head
14. Golden Heart
15. Things Happen
16. Good For Me
17. Mambo De La Luna (Mint Royale Mix)
18. My Affair (Live)

Artist: Kirsty MacColl
Album: Tropical Brainstorm - Japan
Date Of Release: 2000
Genre: Alternapop, Adult Alternative
Bitrate: VBR --alt-preset extreme

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