Is Think Tank an underrated masterpiece?

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KingLouieLouie76
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Re: Is Think Tank an underrated masterpiece?

Post by KingLouieLouie76 » 04 May 2018, 01:46

To reiterate what I've posted a few times over the years regarding the only positive of Graham's absence from "TT" is that it enabled Dave and Alex to showcase both of them respectively to their fullest extent to try to compensate for not having Graham's excellent array of guitar effects. Damon's guitar-work isn't all too bad and his keyboard playing is probably at his best ever! Of course, "TT" sounded much better live w/Simon on guitar during the 2003 tour and tv performances, but obviously even better whenever they've played any of the "TT" material w/Graham (lord, do I love "Caravan" in 2015)! I wish they'd perform "TT" live in its entirety with Graham on guitar... "Ambulance" and "On The Way To The Club" would be ESPECIALLY amazing!

The only track that grates me at times is "Brothers and Sisters" but it honestly really isn't all too bad. "Jets" is very experimental and I don't even mind the sax on it! Graham would add something special to it though! "Crazy Beat" to me has always been such a solid feel good song!

Honestly..."TT" again is very wonderful and I'm glad something that great came out during such miserable times/conditions!

EDIT: "Gene By Gene" w/Graham would be flat out FILTHY!
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Re: Is Think Tank an underrated masterpiece?

Post by tom_cas1 » 04 May 2018, 14:06

I would definitely love to hear Think Tank from start to finish with Graham on every song. That would be one hell of a show.
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Re: Is Think Tank an underrated masterpiece?

Post by aldamasta » 04 May 2018, 16:16

KingLouieLouie, thank you for the mental images/sounds of Graham playing on Jets and Gene by Gene. I've often imagined what it would be like with Graham on TT songs, but those had never crossed my mind. Just imagine the NOISE he could bring to Jets. And if Graham were on Gene by Gene, the way I imagine his riff makes it sound like it could be a song from the Modern Life days. Again, this is all in my head, but it's a great way to let the imagination run wild.

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Re: Is Think Tank an underrated masterpiece?

Post by Daysleeper » 04 May 2018, 20:49

Any album with Crazy best, MPRBC and Gene by Gene on it can never go in the category of masterpiece.

The album is littered with half finished songs and lyrically is one of Damon’s worst. Add to that the absence of Graham and sterile production.

No chance it is a masterpiece!!

That said, several great songs- Ambulance, Out of time, Good Song, Caravan and Sweet song.

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Re: Is Think Tank an underrated masterpiece?

Post by dougharrison » 05 May 2018, 06:59

Two separate questions for me, is it underrated? Yes. Is it a masterpiece? No. It's a very inconsistent album with some very underrated strong tracks (on top of the obvious, MWN, OMTTC and Ambulance are often overlooked as great tracks) but there are too many misses on there for me can't stand CB or Jets and MPRB & B&S don't have any impact on me, although FWIW I like GxG. Too many tracks that are substandard to consider the album a masterpiece. Like Leisure it's a 7/10, but Leisure has a consistency of quality that TT simply doesn't.

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Re: Is Think Tank an underrated masterpiece?

Post by AdvertBreak » 05 May 2018, 19:39

Happy 15th birthday to the album

Enjoying the greatest song of the 21st century, Ambulance, as I type

dparrott
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Re: Is Think Tank an underrated masterpiece?

Post by dparrott » 05 May 2018, 19:47

I like some songs, others are b-sides at best. Jets being on the album and The Outsider not makes no sense to me. It's also too mellow for me. But we're all different and like different things.

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Re: Is Think Tank an underrated masterpiece?

Post by AdvertBreak » 05 May 2018, 20:02

I love the whole album except Crazy Beat, which I still like for its post-punk-revival-meets-big-beat goofiness, all things told, even if it is obviously out place on the album and has terrible lyrics.

Super underrated:
Revolutionary Bowls Club - polyrhythmic joy, Blur's It's Nearly Africa
Gene by Gene - great melody-instead-of-a-chorus (OMD's greatest weapon)
Jets - Blur's The National Anthem

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Re: Is Think Tank an underrated masterpiece?

Post by bugman » 05 May 2018, 21:22

AdvertBreak wrote:I love the whole album except Crazy Beat, which I still like for its post-punk-revival-meets-big-beat goofiness, all things told, even if it is obviously out place on the album and has terrible lyrics.

Super underrated:
Revolutionary Bowls Club - polyrhythmic joy, Blur's It's Nearly Africa
Gene by Gene - great melody-instead-of-a-chorus (OMD's greatest weapon)
Jets - Blur's The National Anthem
good choices ! crazy beat would be much better without so many yeah yeah yeahs

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Re: Is Think Tank an underrated masterpiece?

Post by Mallard No. 22 » 06 May 2018, 05:23

Graham or no Graham, I don't doubt it is a Blur album, but 'Think Tank' didn't make much impression on me.

At the time, I was very busy in my life so I probably didn't have time to listen too much, however if it was an outstanding album, I think it would have grabbed my attention.

Whereas 'Leisure', perhaps the other main Blur album that divides opinions, did 'grab me' at the time, and I played it a lot. Maybe doug sums it up for me:
dougharrison wrote:Like Leisure it's a 7/10, but Leisure has a consistency of quality that TT simply doesn't.
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blurop4
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Re: Is Think Tank an underrated masterpiece?

Post by blurop4 » 09 May 2018, 02:13

Hmm, not one I typically turn to, but listening to it now. I am not sure the album as a whole is underrated. I definitely enjoyed it when it came out and saw it live a few times.

Like most Blur albums it contains an obvious massive hit/brilliant song in Out of Time, which is right up there with, if not better than Tender, Lonesome Street, Beetlebum, The Universal, For Tomorrow, etc. On his solo tour he played this on the piano and I was just blown away, what a song. Also, sounds great with the Syrian Orchestra.

It also has a bunch of other very strong songs that show off Damon's great songwriting and the band's creativity in arrangements - Ambulance, Battery, Good Song, Sweet Song. Again, no real drop-off in quality.

That's 5 very strong songs or better, plus a couple I am fine w/ in Moroccan People's and Gene by Gene as pleasant filler.

However, I hear a few major weaknesses.
- the middle of the album kind of drags. On the Way to the Club and Brothers/Sisters are very similar tempo plus on the slow side and it gets even slower with Caravan. That's 12 minutes of slow and slower before it picks back up.
- the punky songs, Crazy Beat and We've Got a File, are definitely the worst punky songs on any Blur album. Bugman, BLUREMI, Chinese Bombs, Song 2, Globe Alone, Bank Holiday, and so forth are infinitely better. Listen to Chinese Bombs and then put on Think Tank. They gave it their best shot, but the guitar tones, the drum sound, the distortion, etc. are tinny and terrible.
- the instrumental, Jets, has some cool elements, but it's too long and repetitive. Before the sax solo, it reminds me of French Song w/o the awesome accelerando. I'd rather listen to Theme from Retro, some of the interludes on 13, the Debt Collector, or Intermission. Those are all beloved Blur instrumentals.

Other thoughts:
- the drum sound is a little on the programmed side, which is a great sound for dance-y songs, but nothing to dance to here. I do really enjoy the additional percussion on certain songs. It creates a cool atmosphere.
- lots of folks cite Alex's bass playing on this one. It's fine here, but I think it's his least interesting bass playing. It's more prominent, but it's a lot simpler and driving. I think his bass playing on the other albums is as out there as anyone in a good, and he is a totally underrated bass player. Heck, even Graham put him on bass in his dream band! I love his bass playing, but it's like he had to anchor the songs more since Graham was gone.
- oh the guitars! Damon's playing is solid on several songs and surprisingly good in a few places, but it's the creativity, the tones, the effects, the unique sounds, the ability to make it sing. Listen to Battery then listen to the rest. Worlds apart.
- Song selection. Too many strong songs left off. At least 5 or 6 that could have made a big difference.
- The 3 Graham songs all belong. In particular, the Outsider, is brilliant! Better than most on the album.
- Me White Noise, too good for a hidden track
- What about songs like "1" and Sir Elton John's Cock? Both would have been great fits.
- Damon's singing is great on this one it must be said

How about Think Tank reimagined (kind of like folks have done w/Leisure)?
Ambulance
Out of Time
1
Good Song
The Outsider
Sir Elton John's Cock
Me White Noise
Some Glad Morning
Morricone
Moroccan People
Sweet Song
Gene by Gene
Battery in Your Leg

dparrott
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Re: Is Think Tank an underrated masterpiece?

Post by dparrott » 09 May 2018, 06:11

MWN as an album track? Uh no. That would not go over well. :lol: Best as a hidden track.

Neal Zeal
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Re: Is Think Tank an underrated masterpiece?

Post by Neal Zeal » 09 May 2018, 07:57

blurop4 wrote:Hmm, not one I typically turn to, but listening to it now. I am not sure the album as a whole is underrated. I definitely enjoyed it when it came out and saw it live a few times.

Like most Blur albums it contains an obvious massive hit/brilliant song in Out of Time, which is right up there with, if not better than Tender, Lonesome Street, Beetlebum, The Universal, For Tomorrow, etc. On his solo tour he played this on the piano and I was just blown away, what a song. Also, sounds great with the Syrian Orchestra.

It also has a bunch of other very strong songs that show off Damon's great songwriting and the band's creativity in arrangements - Ambulance, Battery, Good Song, Sweet Song. Again, no real drop-off in quality.

That's 5 very strong songs or better, plus a couple I am fine w/ in Moroccan People's and Gene by Gene as pleasant filler.

However, I hear a few major weaknesses.
- the middle of the album kind of drags. On the Way to the Club and Brothers/Sisters are very similar tempo plus on the slow side and it gets even slower with Caravan. That's 12 minutes of slow and slower before it picks back up.
- the punky songs, Crazy Beat and We've Got a File, are definitely the worst punky songs on any Blur album. Bugman, BLUREMI, Chinese Bombs, Song 2, Globe Alone, Bank Holiday, and so forth are infinitely better. Listen to Chinese Bombs and then put on Think Tank. They gave it their best shot, but the guitar tones, the drum sound, the distortion, etc. are tinny and terrible.
- the instrumental, Jets, has some cool elements, but it's too long and repetitive. Before the sax solo, it reminds me of French Song w/o the awesome accelerando. I'd rather listen to Theme from Retro, some of the interludes on 13, the Debt Collector, or Intermission. Those are all beloved Blur instrumentals.

Other thoughts:
- the drum sound is a little on the programmed side, which is a great sound for dance-y songs, but nothing to dance to here. I do really enjoy the additional percussion on certain songs. It creates a cool atmosphere.
- lots of folks cite Alex's bass playing on this one. It's fine here, but I think it's his least interesting bass playing. It's more prominent, but it's a lot simpler and driving. I think his bass playing on the other albums is as out there as anyone in a good, and he is a totally underrated bass player. Heck, even Graham put him on bass in his dream band! I love his bass playing, but it's like he had to anchor the songs more since Graham was gone.
- oh the guitars! Damon's playing is solid on several songs and surprisingly good in a few places, but it's the creativity, the tones, the effects, the unique sounds, the ability to make it sing. Listen to Battery then listen to the rest. Worlds apart.
- Song selection. Too many strong songs left off. At least 5 or 6 that could have made a big difference.
- The 3 Graham songs all belong. In particular, the Outsider, is brilliant! Better than most on the album.
- Me White Noise, too good for a hidden track
- What about songs like "1" and Sir Elton John's Cock? Both would have been great fits.
- Damon's singing is great on this one it must be said

How about Think Tank reimagined (kind of like folks have done w/Leisure)?
Ambulance
Out of Time
1
Good Song
The Outsider
Sir Elton John's Cock
Me White Noise
Some Glad Morning
Morricone
Moroccan People
Sweet Song
Gene by Gene
Battery in Your Leg
Nice post. Couple of things to mention though.
- Out of Time was no massive hit. Although it went top 10, it flew out of the top 40 in record time, and sold way fewer than any other first single off a Blur album.
- What are these three Graham songs? I'd never heard of them? Songs that he wrote himself (words and music) that were going to be used on a Blur album? That's a first isn't it? Thought he only ever contributed guitar lines rather than entire songs. And were they actually recorded as Blur, or did he end up putting them on a solo album? Apols if everyone knows all this stuff already!

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bugman
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Re: Is Think Tank an underrated masterpiece?

Post by bugman » 09 May 2018, 09:40

In tt session graham made 4 tracks with the boys : Butterfly, outsider, morricone and some glad. The Last 2 should be on the record. Im not a big fan of the outsider

Neal Zeal
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Re: Is Think Tank an underrated masterpiece?

Post by Neal Zeal » 09 May 2018, 13:28

bugman wrote:In tt session graham made 4 tracks with the boys : Butterfly, outsider, morricone and some glad. The Last 2 should be on the record. Im not a big fan of the outsider
Oh, so it's songs he played on, not songs he wrote.
He played on Battery in Your Leg, with the 4 you mention that makes 5 in total.
Are those 4 songs floating around online?
Also I think I remember talk of a song called Saturday or Saturday Night? Did that ever appear?

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