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May 26, 2008 | by  | in Music | [ssba]

Album Review: Jimmy Stern – Killing Time til Time Kills Me

At first glance “Killing Time ‘Til Time Kills Me” looks pretty fucking average. If the cover (displaying a clichéd photo of a ‘pained muso’ holding his guitar, gazing pensively into the distance) isn’t enough to stop you, another major warning sign is the fact that it was recorded at human FM.

Listening to this album was fairly fucking soul destroying to be honest. By track two, ‘I’d Take a Bullet’, I felt vaguely sick, and somewhat violated. I liken listening to this c.d. to being forced to watch a child’s musical performance; you cringe at every high note, feel incredibly uncomfortable and somewhat embarrassed, and then applaud politely before getting the fuck out of there. However there was no escape for me. I was forced to listen to this POC (piece of crap) for over an hour in order to be a fair reviewer. Waste of time.

Admittedly, he is incredibly gifted at the guitar, and has mastered a whole range of styles from ballads, to blues, to country. I’d go so far as to call some of his melodies pleasant, some even warranting the word beautiful. This guy sure knows how to play the guitar. Plus the title of the album itself is excellent. He is also pretty good at the harmonica (although its use is sparse and slow, and the melodies are pretty basic).

Production-wise, the levels were inconsistent, with irksome love ballad ‘You and Me’, starting off really well, then plummeting like a lead balloon once the vocals enter the scene, “serrated edges, of life, fit together in a puzzle”, is far quieter than softer, country track ‘Stuck in Transit’ (shit song too).

But by god, his voice. His gruff, half spoken/half sung vocals could be amazing if he hit just one fucking note right. Seriously – it’s flat, out of time and quite frankly unpleasant to listen to. Added to this, the array of topics he covers (drinking whisky in the wind, moonless nights, Mississippi, women being books to name but a few) are contrived and clichéd. Basically this guy wants to be Dylan. Bob Dylan can sing buddy. If you’re going to waste your money producing a piece of shit like this, you’d think you would have invested in some singing lessons first, unless you want everyone who listens to it to beat the fucking shit out of you for wasting their time and nearly driving them clinically insane.

Album favourite? Hard to say since I could barely listen to one track on this without pulling out all my hair, and grinding my teeth into a throbbing, bleeding pulp (mind you, that would probably be preferable to this incessant torture). However, my top track would probably be the catchy, country classic ‘If Women Were Books’, which, lyrically, was top notch, “Oh ho ho if women were books, if women were books, if women were books/ I never would judge by her cover… I’d read ‘em with a lot more ease/ I’d read her by candlelight, with a bottle of wine on a starlit night… Oh ho ho, if women were books/ That’d be the bees knees”. This track even included a spot of hideously out of tune yodeling, which was fucking painful to listen to.

To be honest, I’m not even sure if this album is serious or a joke. If it is a joke I’m going to be fucking pissed off. Especially because I was driven to the brink of insanity by listening to this POC, and ran from the library in such a hurry that I left my calculator behind.

Jimmy Stearn, you owe me 1 hour of my life back, and a new calculator.

T for trying


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Comments (6)

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  1. supporter says:

    tthhaannkk you!!! someone actualy came out and said what we were all thinking, if i ever meet you Ana i will seriously buy you a drink.

  2. Jakie Kusanagi says:

    I think that Jimmy Stern is top quality,
    His songs are down to earth and authentic.
    I give full credit to local musicians who record and produce their own material.
    I am disappointed after reading such an obnoxious review.
    Surely the author must be working on their own infamous brownie-points.
    If I ever meet you Ana, I would be inclined to spike your drink.

  3. Karl Bronstein says:

    Is it “an obnoxious review” just because you don’t agree, it must be easy to not have to make any points but Ana did and while its not the best review i’ve ever read (too much hyperbole) it is her opinion and she does a better job of expressing it than you have.

    If I ever meet you Jakie Kusanagi, I would be inclined to call you a fucking moron.

  4. Eric Rodgers says:

    This review is the most unprofessional thing I’ve read in Salient, and that is saying a lot. Even though I do reckon the articles are getting a lot better. It’s childish stuff like this that is letting it down.

    I can very much tell that it was Ana Chadwicks first attempt at writing a review. Not just because of how poorly it was written and all of those really obvious things, but because she is trying to make a statement and draw attention to herself. It worked, this article says a lot more about her and what kind of person she is than about Jimmy Stearn. Reviews aren’t just about dissing a type of music you don’t like/ understand. Real writers know that you have to take something for what it is, and not dismiss it just because you strictly only listen to “indy” music or whatever. How would Ana Chadwick review the country great, Hank Williams?
    “It’s not a genre of music that I appreciate much, but as I’ve looked into his music I can see that he has a great vocal range , sang for his heart, has some witty lyrics, and has interesting instrumental arrangements. Not really my cup of tea, but I can see that there would be some people that would enjoy it.”
    “It’s fuckin’ shit music (if you can call it music), because it sucks. His voice sounds like it’s pre-pubescent boy and it makes me want to cut my face to shreds with a jagged, rusty knife that has been sitting in a bucket of rat poison and petroleum jelly for a decade”?
    It makes you think.

    Firstly, I’d like to say that I’ve heard the CD and there’s first of all no blues songs on it like she mentions, and it’s more folk and country than anything.
    Secondly, the idea of women being books isn’t really cliche, like she says.
    Thirdly,no mention of the really awesome violin in the CD. Nor the banjo and mandolin.
    Fourthly, it reads more like a personal attack than a review, and it’s the most poorly written piece of writing I’ve read in a long time. If Miss Ana Chadwick wants to be taken seriously as a reviewer, she’s got a lot of work to do. It makes me think of 13 year old boys bitching about their fathers taste in music, of which they have no real understanding, on the back of a school bus. I was offended reading this article, and if I ever meet Ana Chadwick, I would be inclined towards breaking a bottle into her drink.

    Review rating:
    E for Embarrassing

  5. Eric Rodgers says:

    What the hell is wrong with HumanFm?! They have the best and most diverse music in Wellington! Their DJs are passionate about what they do, and everything from indy to world, pop, country, classic rock, classical, blues and reggae is played! I don’t kow any other stations that come close to competing!

  6. And says:

    you misspelled his name

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