Jason Falkner – Bedtime With The Beatles

Jason Falkner - Bedtime With The BeatlesWe’ve been awaiting something new from Jason Falkner since his second solo album. But while some diehard fans may have felt Bedtime With The Beatles was a misstep for their favorite practitioner of power pop, it does serve as something that, perhaps, another all-original solo project wouldn’t have done: it’s a testament not only to the enduring power of the Lennon/McCartney catalog, but also to Falkner’s incredible musicianship.

Falkner is known for playing virtually everything on his solo albums himself, and this album is no exception, with the only session musicians manning classical string instruments. The album’s packaging hypes it as a lullaby album, suitable for singing baby to sleep, and indeed it is quite relaxing; the webmaster’s cats dozed off listening to it pretty quickly. But those who stay awake can marvel at the intricate new arrangements. Beatles tunes have long been fodder for instrumentals, but this isn’t elevator music. It may be slowed down, but the sheer beauty revealed in some of the songs is staggering.

The album opens with “Blackbird”, the original version of which I’ll fess up to not particularly liking, and which I have to admit may even be the best track on the entire disc. Some of the others songs are among my personal favorites in the Beatles’ repertoire: “Across The Universe”, “Here, There And Everywhere”, “And I 4 out of 4Love Her” and “I’m Only Sleeping”, which in particular has an appropriately dreamy quality.

Lyrics are included for those who literally do want to make a lullaby out of the Beatles classics…and those of us who still have our eyes open at the end of “The Long And Winding Road” sincerely hope that Jason Falkner will find some time in his schedule to do another Bedtime With The Beatles album.

Order this CD

  1. Blackbird (3:36)
  2. Across The Universe (4:07)
  3. And I Love Her (3:07)
  4. I’m Only Sleeping (4:11)
  5. If I Fell (3:43)
  6. The Fool On The Hill (3:46)
  7. Mother Nature’s Son (2:51)
  8. Michelle (3:14)
  9. Here, There And Everywhere (3:53)
  10. In My Life (3:25)
  11. The Long And Winding Road (3:58)

Released by: Sony Wonder
Release date: 2001
Total running time: 40:09

Jellyfish – Bellybutton

Jellyfish - BellybuttonIt’s really too bad Jellyfish split up, because from the sound of this album and its solitary follow-up, they could have amassed a following as the premiere pop group of the 1990s. These guys really enjoyed making their music, and their joy in doing so is evident just from listening to it. If you need proof, listen to the goofy song “Now She Knows She’s Wrong”. I remember hearing “The King Is Half-Undressed” several years ago on MTV and disregarding the entire song until the bridge, which consists of some absolutely entrancing Beatlesque-going-on-ELO harmonies, and it turns out the rest of Bellybutton was at least as good as that one song, if not better. I have to single out “The Man I Used To Be”, “Bedspring Kiss” and especially the sobering “She Still Loves Him” – about a woman trapped in an abusive relationship – for special 4 out of 4praise. These guys could make some music. Sadly, after one more album, Jellyfish broke up, though some of its members are still active, even if their output is somewhat obscure. I highly recommend this album to you, and it’s hard to miss – it’s got the ultra-colorful, trippy cover featuring the band members looking for all the world like they’re auditioning for a live-action movie about the Smurfs!

Order this CD

  1. The Man I Used To Be (4:34)
  2. That Is Why (4:16)
  3. The King Is Half-Undressed (3:47)
  4. I Wanna Stay Home (4:06)
  5. She Still Loves Him (4:32)
  6. All I Want Is Everything (3:44)
  7. Now She Knows She’s Wrong (2:36)
  8. Bedspring Kiss (5:03)
  9. Baby’s Coming Back (2:57)
  10. Calling Sarah (4:03)

Released by: Charisma
Release date: 1990
Total running time: 39:38