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Brian Eno Song Reviews

No Pussyfooting (1973)

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No Pussyfooting

The Heavenly Music Corporation 8/10

This track starts out with a very calm and quiet buzzing of some peaceful synths ... and then, finally, after about two and a half minutes, we get a more of a higher-toned synth delivering a very passive melody. ... And then we finally get to hear a bit of Fripp! His lulling electric guitars, never very exciting in this album, are what makes the song interesting if that Eno's snythscape isn't enough to numb your brain! About five minutes into the song, we get some buzzing sounds, more synths and it all gets a bit louder. ... Yeah, and this all pretty much just goes on forever until the apocalypse ... that is, I guess, if the apocalypse will be in 21 minutes. Surprisingly, this isn't very effective mood music ... it's serene, but it doesn't exactly leave me feeling peaceful ... as if I were listening to Enya or somebody. ... No, it leaves me feel unnerved. I can't really get any sort of vivid image in my head when listening to this ... like I would later on in Eno's career when he would do Heroes with David Bowie. Yeah, this isn't exactly a fun song to listen to, but it doesn't get boring for me, either, although, this isn't something that I would want to listen to much after this. ... It's an interesting song! And there's something undeniably magical about it if it's only for the fact that this is the first Eno synthscape. I guess that would make this song a historical landmark of rock!

Swastika Girls 8/10

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz... *wakes up* Huh??! "The Heavenly Music Corporation is Over???" Oh... *rubs eyes* ... alright. Well, the second song on here (which, for some reason, is entitled "Swastika Girls") also doesn't give me much of an image ... but that's alright! The beginning of this, we get a rather interesting Eno synthscape that sounds rather tinny and sci-fi. Very slowly, we hear an guitar-sounding thing getting louder and louder. ... From somewhere, we start hearing a jingly (and very monotonous sequence) that sounds like a monotonous wind chime ... (indeed, though, if the wind chime had a more random quality, then this would probably be more effective as mood music, then!) ... Yeah ... It makes me fidgit in my seat when I pay close attention to it, so I think I'm just going to surf the 'Net until it's over. Au revior!

Here Come the Warm Jets (1973)

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Here come the Warm Jets

Needles in the Camel's Eye 9/10

A hilarious pun and a great opening track for Eno's debut album, this is a track that's flooded with quite a lot of sound, which is Eno's main goal in songwriting it seems. Fortunately, it was done with a pop mentality, so it's fairly accessible. That's a winning combination there if you ask me --- art music that's accessible! Freaking awesome.

Paw Paw Negro Blowtorch 9/10

Poor Brian Eno is still writing Roxy Music songs now! He even gives a Bryan Ferry like performance, but this is just as good as any old Roxy Music song ... after all, Eno was in that band! He does his weird sound effects thing in the middle of the track with these odd squeaking noises. This track is also enormously enjoyable. Seriously, there should be more Brian Eno fans...

Baby's on Fire 9.5/10

This is another interesting song. Eno lays on the crazy and threatening studio synthscapes and sings a crazy song about a baby being on fire! The part that makes this song wonderful is not just the exotic synthscape but that awesome electric guitar solo from genius Robert Fripp that takes up the bulk of this track.

Cindy Tells Me 10/10

This is possibly the catchiest track on the album. That's pretty unusual, because this album isn't really played for vocal hooks. Naturally, Eno inserts a huge array of sound effects in here ... it wouldn't be a Brian Eno album if it wasn't crazy like that. I like the locusts sound effects in particular!

Driving Me Backwards 9.5/10

Here is a rather dissonant track done in the form of a droning pop song! I guess that's the best way I can describe this. If there was a pop star on another galaxy, then this might have been one of his hits! Eno delivers a crazy, almost amateurish, vocal performance, and it all seems like it was done on purpose. It gets even weirder toward the end with an assorted array of bizarre sound effects. Bwah-hah-hah-hah!!!

On Some Faraway Beach 9.5/10

This is an instrumental that sounds like it might go on a romantic soundtrack of a movie... if the director overdosed on crack or something. Eno starts to sing but after the track's already half-finished playing. These instrumental ideas are what Brian Eno is most revered for (you know the work he would do later with the Talking Heads, etc.) It's strange and enormously entertaining.

Blank Frank 9/10

And as if all that couldn't get any weirder, Eno throws this oddity into the mix. It's a rhythmic and percussion heavy song (although it's probably closer to swing music than world music), and he inserts the sound-effects in here strongly. This is the least accessible track of the album yet it still manages to rule in its own awesome way.

Dead Finks Don't Talk 9.5/10

This is more on the quirky side ... I want to say that it's more like a performance song. It's not a far cry at all away from early Roxy Music either. The melody is actually pretty catchy and I like the chord progressions. That ugly electric guitar solo is awesome by the way. The song stops suddenly at the very end, and some weird mechanical noises pipe up ... UGLY!! BUHAAA!!!!!!!

Some of Them Are Old 9/10

This sounds like an old-timey song ... something that would exist today as a school alma matter jingle. Of course, it wouldn't be an Eno song if it wasn't thoroughly weird in most respects. Here, he accomplishes that with a thick synthscape, and a phenomenally odd instrumental interlude featuring a strangely played, strange-sounding stringed instrument. Eno is enjoying the hell out of doing this, obviously!

Here Come the Warm Jets 8.5/10

It could be the worst song on the album ... although that's a distinction that's pretty difficult to make on this album!! It's an instrumental that features a pretty heavy and dark synthesizer playing a groove. Slowly, a drum section gets faded in. Other noises eventually fade in including a vocal track. Of course, this track is entertaining, but not so much as the others. It's not as weirdly delightful as some of the others.

Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategery) (1974)

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Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)

Burning Airlines Give You So Much More 9.5/10

This is an odd mid-tempoed tune. (Naturally, everything Eno's going to do is odd --- but I still have to point that out.) For some reason Eno actually focused on trying to write a catchy melody --- almost more than he seemed to concentrate on the oddity. That's always a nice idea. I do like a good tune. But the instrumentation is off kilter in a way that makes it sound --- I dunno --- freaky.

Back in Judy's Jungle 10/10

Now he's getting even more strange. This most memorably features Bridge on the River Kwai style whistling. It's naturally safe to assume that Eno was an evil, freaky genius, and here's all the proof that you need. The quirky instrumentation from the drunken military beat and the crazy synth and guitar noises coming out of the speakers every which way ------ Seriously trying to describe an Eno song seems like an impossible feat. I'm not even going to try. You should try to listen to this thing for yourself if you haven't already! Again, Eno decided to write a great melody. I think you'll enjoy it.

The Fat Lady of Limbourg 9/10

This is a slower song although it's creepy and completely engaging. The sound-effects Eno uses are always ear-catching! I think this song is a bit too slow moving (especially for Eno). Usually, you'd expect him to give a song like this more dynamic evolution. But who's to complain? I'm enjoying this. Especially that weird tango in the middle. Eno's melody is still in pretty good shape --- he writes pretty good for hooks for some reason. He probably didn't have to.

Mother Whale Eyes 8/10

This switches back and forth between a quietly with a strange, pulsating synthesizer and a more upbeat glam tune. The transition between the two is a bit rocky, but it's hardly off-putting to any Eno fan, because we expect him to be weird. Maybe this isn't as brilliantly weird as we hope for? His simple chord progressions are nice, and he has a good hook or two in the melody.

The Great Pretender 9/10

Alright! Back to the crazy sound effects! This doesn't have one of those great melodies like we were getting in much of the previous songs. There's still a melody, but it's not too catchy. But that doesn't really matter because the full-scale weirdness is definitely here. The freakishly odd sound effects and a guitar that sounds like it's played under water are on full display. And who's to say anything bad about those synths at the end that sound a bit like frogs. This guy was a weird synthesizer scientist!

Third Uncle 10/10

This is a great song no matter what you're talking about! Actually, its placement in the album seemed a little strange --- after those frog noises faded out in the previous track. This is a furious pop-rock tune with some guitar licks that sound like their on crack. Eno delivers a vocal performance that sounds nearly like rocking ----- this song is GREAT. That's all I need to say.

Put a Straw Under Baby 8.5/10

It sounds like a tune from a merry-go-round that's low on batteries. Most of the instruments sound like they're off key! Eno sings it like he took a sleeping pill and he's ready to go to bed. This is probably the one song on this album I'm least enthusiastic about, but ... at least it's sleepiness is rather effective. The diversity on the album is staggering --- the previous song was so furious, and this one is so sleepy.

The True Wheel 10/10

One of the great songs on the album is definitely this one. It's one of the greater poppy ones with a melody that's likely to get you tapping your toes immediately when it start to play! The singing is fun --- especially toward the beginning where he brings in some kid singers. The instrumental interlude sections are his typical loopiness that always make these experiences great.

China My China 9/10

My opinion of this track could point to me actually agreeing that this isn't Eno's best work. I refuse to make that complaint, because I still consider this to be a great song! The thing is --- the beginning of it is weird and I'm not really enjoying it. Well, Eno redeems that fully with the instrumental interlude featuring an off-kilter synthesizer and the tapping of typewriters. Those weird ideas is what makes the world go round (since Brian Eno might as well be considered the reason for the world). I have to mention those wicked guitar effects at the end! Woooof!!

Taking Tiger Mountain 10/10

And it all comes to and end! It's appropriate that this calm, synthscape heavy song would appear at the end since his follow-up album would be Another Green World, which is an ambient and instrumental album. It's just the prettiest thing you'd ever want to hear! Eno uses strange synthesizers, but he's trying to soothe us instead of weird us out. Sit back and let these beautiful vibes flow in and out of you. (Hey, Eno's the guy who pretty much invented New Age, so ... here's some proto-Enya forya.)

Another Green World (1975)

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Another Green World

Sky Saw 10/10

And the ceremonies begin. It's characterized by a synthesizer that sounds like this 'sky saw.' Such a weird instrument, and it's more evidence of Eno's mad scientist studio innovations! Naturally, he doesn't forget to include a chord progression, a snappy drum beat and catchy bass guitar for good measure. Eno's style is to write weird music, but make it enjoyable to the listener. Cool idea. This is almost an instrumental, but there's a brief section containing vocals!

Over Fire Island 8/10

It begins with a funky, noodly bass guitar, and a snappy drum beat. But then Eno brings in those funny sound effects. These sound effects are strange --- maybe not so glorious like they were in "Sky Saw" or 'pointed' if you will. But this is also fun.

St. Elmo's Fire 10/10

"St. Elmo's Fire" is a big ole barrel of fun. It begins with an enormously strange, dissonant loop from a crazy piano. And then Eno starts singing --- so this is more of a song in the general vein of his previous tracks. The artistry is arguably even more distant than the previous two tracks only because there are no backing drums and bass guitar. But this is more glorious --- just the keyboard sounds and a few subtle clicks and bongo drums. The instrumentation is so good, though! The crazy solos fit the moment perfectly (someone e-mailed me with the information that it's Robert Fripp!) ---- these things are both freakishly weird and awesome. Eno had genius. Perfect genius.

In Dark Trees 9.5/10

Awesome! "In Dark Trees" does exactly what it sets out to do --- it puts me in the middle of a freaking forest. We hear woody taps in different spots (great to hear with headphones). His synthscape is absolutely unique --- so wonderfully ambient and enjoyable at it. Most ambient musician these days are absolutely boring. And I'll have you know that Eno even inserts a slight bit of an instrumental melody in here. It's not a complex one, but it's enough for me.

The Big Ship 9.5/10

"The Big Ship" is probably more ambient in the way that you're thinking. It's calming instead of threatening like "In the Dark Trees." Still, there's something unsettling about it. Eno's excellent chord progression here reminds me of good old Philip Glass who I love listening to so much. But Eno's instrumentation is phenomenal. It's pretty simple this time --- I nice tribal beat keeps the rhythm, and glorious synthesizers slowly build-up through it. It sounds like something that would be on an '80s film soundtrack except good. Just guess how influential Brian Eno was. This album came out in 1975.

I'll Come Running 9/10

It's back to Eno's enjoyable pop music in a similar vein of his two debut albums. The melody is simple, but catchy in the way all his songs are! The instrumentation isn't quite as interesting and wild as those previous ambient tracks, but I love his disjointed pop music every time I hear it.

Another Green World 8/10

It's always a good sign if I accuse an artist of not making a track long enough! Usually, (as in the case with these Madonna albums I've also been reviewing lately) it's the exact opposite. "Another Green World" falls under this. It's too dang short! Plus, the instrumentals aren't that great. Sure they're weird, but not in the glorious sense as in "Sky Saw" and "St. Elmo's Fire." He's going for some genuinely calming stuff here (with a very simple two-chord progression) and achieving it. The instrumentation consists of synthesizers that don't build up on each other like "The Big Ship" but rather it's a simple fade-in and fade-out. Hm... Somehow I feel cheated!

Sombre Reptiles 8/10

Another ambient track that's a little more trancey. Again, this seems to be more of a fade-in, fade-out thing, and Eno doesn't vary the instrumentation up within the track. Naturally, I like what he has here. The percussion instrumentation rings of World music a few years before inserting such things in electronica was popular. I hate to say: Nothing major to report here.

Little Fishes 8.5/10

Oh, here's something that's pretty awesome. "Little Fishes" sounds like Eno was writing music for a wind-up music box except someone accidentally dropped it, and it broke horribly. A few notes have been replaced with some hits. A few synthesizer keyboard have been replaced with some wobbly, watery notes. (That's appropriate for this rather watery subject matter!!!)

Golden Hours 9/10

This is longer than the previous two tracks combined, so it's excellent that he's using this as an opportunity to turn in another one of his weird pop songs. The hypnotic synthesizers sound like a more brilliant version of what all those synth-pop acts were doing in the '80s. The repetitive and simple chord progression is all that he needed!!! A few crazy instrumental solos give this one even more color --- as if that proto-synth-pop didn't do that enough!

Becalmed 10/10

A spooky old ambient song. A creepy piano plays while we hear some strange wind sound effects. Eno's very much for transporting us to different worlds in his music, and I feel like I'm on a different planet right now. This sounds like a Vangelis song (chord progression and everything) except it's only four minutes long!! Brilliantly calming...... My mind is soaking everything up.....

Zawinal/Lava 8.5/10

Slower than the previous track but perhaps more instrumentally involved. The instrumentation is wholly unique --- though not so "interesting" I guess. Though you'd certainly change your mind about that once you hear it progress. It starts with a creepy piano loop, and some really peculiar instruments slowly build up on that. Eno even inserts some old ghoulish screams in here --- For one very brief moment, you hear this thing explode. Like it just ripped through the dimensions!! This song is quite rare though not as readily enjoyable or internally consistent as most of these other tracks.

Everything Merges With the Night 8.5/10

I love this old ballad in which Eno sings!! At first, "Everything Merges With the Night" sounds less boring and uninvolved, but those echoing pianos are absolutely mesmerizing and hypnotizing. The vocal melody is quite nice and fairly rich for an Eno track here. This is another strange song --- strange and wonderful!!!!

Sprits Drifting 9/10

Ah, he saves one of the best ambient tracks for last. "Spirits Drifting" sounds exactly like the title says it does. Oh, so spooky. This isn't just a track full of ghoulish sounding synthesizers, but it also has a real chord progression consisting of dissonant chords! You'd almost wonder what this would sound like if the progression actually went somewhere, but then again I'm arguing something that generally doesn't matter here.... I'm wondering where all the ghoulish shrieks are, but I guess he wasn't going for something so obvious....

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All reviews are written by Michael Lawrence.