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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Stacie Rose

Alter Ego EP

Review by Gary Hill

I’ve got mixed feelings about this set. Of course, based on the thematic concept, that makes sense and really fits. This is a double disc set of two EPs. The first EP is made up of original songs by Stacie Rose. The music on that disc is catchy rock with a big nod to classic rock. The second disc includes remixes of a bunch of Rose’s songs. At times this works. Even when it does, though, it really showcases the problem with the whole dance music trend. There is little actual music there, but rather a bunch of production trickery and fluff arranged to get people to dance. Sure, it’s catchy, but you have to wonder how an actual musician, like Rose gets talked into letting people turn their music into pop dribble like that. Some of it is terrible. Some of it is quite listenable. None of it is music. “Death to dance mixes and the talentless producers that create them,” I say. How’s that for a stand? While that disc is largely a throw away one, the first CD is strong enough to make this worth having.

If it was a record label that pushed Rose into the second CD of the project, I hope she gets a real deal with a real label for next time around. That was a terrible idea and she’s a much better artist than to have to put up with something that cheesy. Although, the two discs, as a package, show off the contrast between real music and the garbage that’s being pushed on the radio as music. One has substance. The other does not. One is worth listening to and pushing. The other is worth throwing in the waste basket or publicizing as what’s wrong with popular music today.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Means to an End
Means to an End
This is a great rocker that has a real classic element. It’s got a bit of a bluesy element, but overall it’s kind of like a less punky Joan Jett.
Alter-Ego
Modern rock meets classic rock on this energetic number.
Sunny
Connected more to a modern pop rock sound, this is good.
Enrapture
A mellower cut, there’s a soulful sort of element to the earlier parts of this. It rocks out more as it continues, but overall is a melodic rocker that borders on prog. In fact, as more symphonic elements are added later, this one really does qualify as progressive rock. It’s also quite powerful.
Raw Sugar
Here’s a straight ahead rocker that’s got a real pop rock element to it.
Maybe Only Tonight
Another hard rocker, this is catchy, but also rather meaty. It has some pop rock elements built into it, but is one of the stronger classic rockers here.
Raw Sugar
Raw Sugar (Hi-Cal Mix)
This mix is cool. It has quite a R & B meets house kind of texture to it. I think I actually like this version better than the one on the other disc. There’s almost a jazz element at times. I’m not crazy about the auto tune segment, though.
Supernatural Wonder (Captain Danger remix) Featuring Garrison Hawk
This is turned into a hip hop and reggae styled sound here. It’s alright, but not really my kind of thing. The melodic movement later, though, is tasty.
Alter-Ego (DJ Reverend Soul mix)
Completely overproduced, this is a worthless piece of dance music. There’s not much of the original song left here.
Waiting to Fly (Allergic to Gravity mix)
Although this is also over-processed and over-produced, it’s also very cool. It’s not really very organic at all, but it’s quite cool in terms of sound and tone. I really like this a lot.
Here in the Now (Yellow Note mix)
There’s a bit of a country edge to this, mix with a club/house sort of element. Interesting enough, this one is far from the weakest number on show. Again, the whole over-mixed element is prevalent, though.
Maybe Only Tonight (Quixotic Glam mix)
A percussion oriented arrangement, this one is definitely a throwaway.
Standby (Caffeinated-Procrastination mix)
This is definitely the worst of the bunch. I can’t understand using auto tune on vocals when the singer can sing on key. Whoever destroyed this song should be shot, after hanging by the thumbs for a couple days in the heat. This is a travesty. If I were Rose I’d be very angry about this one.
 
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