Neil Finn – One All

Neil Finn - One AllSome of us self-confessed pop music addicts are so gaga over just about anything by the Finn Brothers that we’ll plunk down thirty bucks to import an album that appears to have no chance of arriving on store shelves in America. And that was the case when I got One Nil, the second solo album by Neil Finn. And while my music-buying budget isn’t that big, $30 is worth it for a finely crafted album like One Nil.

One All, on the other hand, is the American version of the album, arriving a year later, subtracting two songs (both of which I liked a lot) and adding two more (both of which I like a lot). Why any tracks had to be deleted, I’ll never know, but Finn himself made that decision. He also had several of the surviving One Nil tracks remixed by Bob Clearmountain (who did so much to make Crowded House’s Together Alone album the masterpiece of atmosphere that it was), and changed the running order a bit.

The result is a nice album, but one which may now be missing its emotional core. One All is still, like its original version, largely about fidelity in a relationship, but the addition of the lovely “Lullaby Requiem” (possibly the most tragically beautiful pop song I’ve ever heard) and the quirky “Human Kindness” jars that running theme a bit. Even more than that, the absence of “Elastic Heart” – an abstract, atmospheric song about anger and forgiveness and stretching a relationship to its limits – damages whatever flow One All might’ve had even with the two new songs. I know “Elastic Heart” was probably a song that most listeners considered “weird,” but I grew to like its unusual melancholy brass-band ambience and especially its lyrics. I miss its presence here.

4 out of 4Overall, however, my reaction is one of relief that the album has been released in the U.S. in any form at all. I have a few minor gripes about the remixing done on some of the songs (I actually preferred the moody and sometimes murky mixing of the songs in their original One Nil form), but the songs themselves are still worth the price tag.

Order this CD

  1. The Climber (4:15)
  2. Driving Me Mad (3:56)
  3. Hole In The Ice (4:06)
  4. Last To Know (2:59)
  5. Wherever You Are (4:42)
  6. Secret God (5:24)
  7. Lullaby Requiem (3:44)
  8. Human Kindness (4:41)
  9. Turn And Run (3:41)
  10. Anytime (3:23)
  11. Rest Of The Day Off (3:57)
  12. Into The Sunset (4:12)

Released by: Nettwerk America
Release date: 2002
Total running time: 49:00