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Ian Miller
01-10-2007, 07:14 PM
Please explain why every music fan needs to hear Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons' psych masterpiece "Genuine Imitation Life Gazette".

I could, but I want you to. Please.

http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B000007YYL.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg

Don Guarisco
01-10-2007, 07:19 PM
It would be my pleasure, Brother Miller. Here's a review I did a few years back for All Music Guide - hopely, this will do the trick:

This wildly ambitious opus lives up to its reputation as the most bizarre album in the Four Seasons' catalog. With the help of young songwriter Jake Holmes, the straightest of pop groups went psychedelic to create a concept album that casts a satirical eye on American life. The end result is often excessive both lyrically and sonically, but it's also relentlessly inventive, skillfully constructed, and never dull. Genuine Imitation Life Gazette never feels like a cheap cash-in because the group chases its cosmic muse without any worry of pandering to commercial concerns. In fact, fans of concise Four Seasons pop classics like "Dawn" and "Big Girls Don't Cry" will be shocked by songs like "American Crucifixion Resurrection" and "Soul of a Woman," both multi-minute epics that abandon tight pop song structure in favor of symphonic structures spiked with all manner of psychedelic sonic trickery and elliptical, satirical lyrics reminiscent of Van Dyke Parks' late-'60s work. The best of these epics is "Genuine Imitation Life," a critique of artificial pleasures in modern life set to a psychedelicized lounge backing that remains surprisingly sharp by modern standards. These moments are interspersed with shorter songs that combine sharp lyrics with lysergic but catchy melodies: highlights include "Mrs. Stately's Garden," a jazzy, up-tempo pop track with society send-up lyrics worthy of Ray Davies, and "Saturday's Father," a haunting ballad that underscores its tale of a divorced father visiting his kids with a ghostly tapestry of vocal and keyboard textures. Despite all these musical flights of fancy, Genuine Imitation Life Gazette retains a stylistic consistency throughout thanks to the group's stellar vocals. Valli delivers some of his finest leads on songs like "Genuine Imitation Life" and "Saturday's Father" and the rest of the group provides lush, flawless harmonies that match the varying moods of each song. The end result is an album that, while not for all tastes, offers a stunning example of the artistry of the Four Seasons at their most ambitious.

Chad Haden
01-10-2007, 07:28 PM
Hmm, sounds interesting to me

Ian Miller
01-10-2007, 07:29 PM
Thank you!

This is a record that I keep going back to, my most recent thought on it is that LOOK UP, LOOK OVER needs to be a centerpiece in the next P.T. Anderson film, during a really heavy scene. Oh, and is that the same Jake Holmes that Page ripped "Dazed and Confused" from?

Don Guarisco
01-10-2007, 07:31 PM
Oh, and is that the same Jake Holmes that Page ripped "Dazed and Confused" from?

Indeed it is. He's also the same songsmith who penned the WATERTOWN album for Frank Sinatra.

And while I'm here, I'll throw in my song description for "Genuine Imitation Life" from AMG:

The Four Seasons turned every pop fan’s concept of their sound on its ear when they released Genuine Imitition Life Gazette, a stunning experimental work that took their blue-eyed soul into psychedelic territory. It’s centerpiece was “Genuine Imitation Life,” a societal critique that feels like a Las Vegas take on psychedelic pop. The lyrics take aim at the indifference that permeates civilized society, albeit in a rather surreal fashion: “Chameleons changing colors while a crocodile cries/People rubbing elbows but never touching eyes/Taking off their masks/Revealing still another guise/Genuine imitation life.” The music avoids conventional pop song verse/chorus hookiness in favor of a hypnotic melody that drowsily builds from minor key depths to a pained dramatic peak before resuming its uphill climb. It seems simple on paper but transforms into a hypnotic psychedelic epic on the Four Seasons’ recording on “Genuine Imitation Life” thanks to a strong arrangement that slowly but surely builds from a harpsichord over a stuttering drum beat into a full-blooded production piece that weaves bluesy acoustic guitar riffs, Vegas-style ‘soul review’ horn arrangements, and backwards tape loops into a psychedelic wall of sound. It’s a fascinating sound but the true star of the show is Frankie Valli’s stunning lead vocal, which conveys the challenging lyrics in a mannered yet emotion-rich style that shows off the skill for drama he had been developing on his solo recordings. The rest of the Four Seasons also contribute some impressive moments with their backing vocals, including the hypnotically slurred counter-harmonies at the song’s midpoint and their wordless ad-lib of the chorus from “Hey Jude” during the song’s finale. The end result was too lengthy and bizarre for pop radio but, like much of Genuine Imitation Life Gazette, “Genuine Imitation Life” has earned a cult following amongst psychedelia aficionados for its combination of gutsy lyrics and odd yet catchy music.

Chad Haden
01-10-2007, 07:42 PM
I'm completely fascinated by the cover

Fred Adelman
01-10-2007, 08:46 PM
I'm completely fascinated by the cover

They look like the Beatles after a trip to Hell.

mark t
01-10-2007, 09:13 PM
What's with this Franki Valli and the 4 seasons shit, when there are only 4 on the cover?

I've gotta be honest, i'm dubious after hearing the sonic abortion that was Oh What A Night.

Don Guarisco
01-10-2007, 09:15 PM
You, sir, are dubious in general.

mark t
01-10-2007, 09:17 PM
You, sir, are dubious in general.


Yeah, I am...but it's Frankie Valli.....it's not like i'm not entitled!

Don Guarisco
01-10-2007, 09:22 PM
Hey, if you want to go against Ian Miller's judgement, that's your privilege. Not the wisest choice.

Chad Haden
01-10-2007, 09:28 PM
I gotta admit that I dig "Oh What A Night!"

Fred Adelman
01-10-2007, 09:29 PM
Hey, if you want to go against Ian Miller's judgement, that's your privilege. Not the wisest choice.

I once went against Ian Miller's judgement and I woke up with a coyote's head in my bed. Not really sure what it means, but it was a coyote's HEAD!

I would recommend that you cowtow to him. He's usually right when it comes to music. And beer. And films.

Chad Haden
01-10-2007, 09:32 PM
I once went against Ian Miller's judgement and I woke up with a coyote's head in my bed. Not really sure what it means, but it was a coyote's HEAD!

I would recommend that you cowtow to him. He's usually right when it comes to music. And beer. And films.

WHAT? WHAT WHAT WHAT? Somebody chopped a coyote's head off? Well some motherfucker's gonna get cut now

mark t
01-10-2007, 09:56 PM
Hey, if you want to go against Ian Miller's judgement, that's your privilege. Not the wisest choice.


Have you seen my avatar, motherfucker??? I'll do what I want.

Don Guarisco
01-10-2007, 10:13 PM
Have you seen my avatar, motherfucker??? I'll do what I want.

I think your time would be better spent starting another homoerotic thread about your man-crush on Chris Isaak.

William R.
01-10-2007, 10:17 PM
Have you seen my avatar, motherfucker??? I'll do what I want.

As long as you don't do it around me, we're still cool.

mark t
01-10-2007, 10:20 PM
Fuck all...y'all.

Aaron G
01-11-2007, 01:06 AM
They look like the Beatles after a trip to Hell.

..or San Franciso

BobG
01-11-2007, 02:53 AM
I'm completely fascinated by the cover

I don't think that the Ace CD has the original cover, which looks like a mock newspaper with all sorts of late '60s mayhem going on within...I remember seeing it in cut-out bins for years after it came out.

Mike Brown
01-11-2007, 09:07 AM
A friend has a copy of this one waiting for me. I'm interested, but I've got to be honest, I usually hate the Four Seasons.

Ian Miller
01-11-2007, 06:31 PM
This may not sway you, but it's worth a listen or five, as the heart of what's going on may not be overly apparent at first. Is it the cd? If so, then just wait til you hear "Electric Stories", you won't believe it.

Mike Brown
01-12-2007, 09:08 AM
Yep it's the CD, and if you dig it Ian, my hopes are rising.:)