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Almost Alice is an assortment of music by various artists, inspired by Tim Burton's re-imagining of Alice in Wonderland. Some releases of the album have bonus tracks, but this review is purely about the standard album. Sixteen new tracks by a selection of different musicians - many of whom I have never heard of and the majority of which are American.
Alice by Avril Lavigne - 4 out of 5
This is the main song on the Almost Alice album and the perfect track to open the album with. I do recall hearing it from Alice in Wonderland 3D, which I saw at the cinema a few weeks ago. It starts pretty dramatically which complements the song as a whole, as Avril's vocals are powerful and full of teenage angst (even though she's 25 years old).
In my opinion, Avril Lavigne is the perfect artist to be associated with the film, as she has that rocky, quirky edge to her, similar to Tim Burton's creation of Alice herself.
The Poison by The All-American Rejects - 4 out of 5
The vocals on this number are lovely and deep, with a nice rich quality. I don't think this is a particularly memorable song, but I like it. It's very easy to listen to and is actually quite soothing! I love that the melody perks up near the end with some great, regal-sounding beats. I found it quite exciting and it definitely kept my attention. The contrast is lovely, when it then switches back to a calm, sombre sound. The lyrics are brilliant, here are my favourite lines, which I think work so well because they are kept simple:
"I can be pensive.
You can be so sure.
You'll be the poison.
You'll be the cure."
The Technicolour Phase by Owl City - 1 out of 5
Owl City recently had a number one with Fireflies for three consecutive weeks. The Technicolour Phase has a very similar sort of feel to Fireflies, with what I would describe as electronic beats throughout, creating a sort of space-like feel to it. I felt the lyrics should have been clearer, as at times they were hard to understand. I wasn't sure about the words in this song, as they didn't make much sense or mean anything to me. This is not my sort of music anyway, so perhaps it's no surprise that I am only giving it 1 out of 5. Sorry!
Her Name is Alice by Shinedown - 3 out of 5
The piano at the beginning of this track is absolutely beautiful, reminiscent of The Corpse Bride. This leads nicely on to an American girl speaking over the music, saying, "If I had a world of my own everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is because everything would be what it isn't."
This is very Alice! It worked well because it reminded me of the quirkiness of the film, even if her voice was a little irritating. The vocalist has quite a dark tone, which I'm not often keen on, but feel it works well in this song. I was a bit surprised however when he started screaming and this put me off a bit! I rated this a bit higher than I usually would because it's an original and quite complex piece of music.
Painting Flowers by All Time Low - 2 out of 5
I am completely unfamiliar with All Time Low, but apparently they've been around for a few years in the US. This song is quite boy band-ish, but with a heavier edge to it. The lyrics fit beautifully with the overall effect the film had on me, but I think the song as a whole ruined this for me. Nothing special or distinctive.
Where's My Angel by Metro Station - 2 out of 5
I know of Metro Station from their song Shake It, which I thought was a great tune, but only reached number 6 in the UK Charts. Where's My Angel has a similar vibe to Shake It, but is less energetic and poppy. I wasn't massively keen on this song, but it improves about halfway through, when the beat gets stronger and the tempo changes. Also, I don't see how this song relates to Alice in Wonderland at all!
Strange by Tokio Hotel - 3 out of 5
I quite enjoyed the lyrics, even though they were pretty repetitive. It works well having both a male and female vocalist and is especially nice when they sing together. The two voices complemented one another well and created a pleasant harmony. The overall feel of the track, sort of gets lost amongst the many other pop-rock songs on the Almost Alice album. The ending was also a bit of a let down.
Follow Me Down by 30H!3 featuring Neon Hitch - 2 out of 5
A very chirpy and rather cheesy sort of song, Follow Me Down sounds a bit like it's from the rabbit's perspective, tempting Alice to go down the hole! Well, in parts, the rest is pretty unrelated. This song is pretty annoying and I don't think I would want to listen to it very much because its one of those songs that stays in your head!
Very Good Advice by Robert Smith - 3 out of 5
This is quite an unusual tune, but I actually think it would sound much better if sung by a female artist. Paloma Faith would do a good version I reckon! Again, it's not obvious that the music is inspired by Alice in Wonderland, but from research I have found that Smith in fact quotes Alice in Lewis Carroll's novel. The instrumental is very bad - a distorted sound that doesn't really work for me. For me this track is quite mixed and therefore I think it's only fair to give it a three out of five.
In Transit by Mark Hoppus with Peter Wentz - 3 ½ out of 5
Mark Hoppus is one of the founding members of American pop punk band, Blink 182 and Peter Wentz is known best for being the bassist for Fall Out Boy. The repeated notes in the background of this track improve the overall sound and help create a playful feel to the song. This song is good musically-speaking, but I wouldn't say it was a stand-out track.
Welcome To Mystery by Plain White T's - 4 out of 5
I enjoyed the enigmatic, almost creepy vibe to Welcome To Mystery, which of course matched the title well. This was certainly one of the better tracks for me. I think it has a fun sense of adventure and creativity and the lyrics are quite beautiful. There are moments in the song that remind me of one of those freaky fairgrounds, quite Halloween-like. It does however drag a bit, perhaps a gear change three-quarters of the way through would have helped to prevent this.
Tea Party by Kerli - 4 ½ out of 5
It was great for me to hear another female artist on this album because I think that is one of the elements that Almost Alice definitely lacks. Kerli is a young, out-there artist that I think provides something a bit different, so I can see why she was asked to
contribute to this album. The song starts off in a childlike manner with a light, fun melody, which made me think of sailors for some reason! This song has lots of interesting layers to it, vocally and musically. I recommend listening to Tea Party - even if it's not your thing you will appreciate it in one way or another. Probably.
The Lobster Quadrille by Franz Ferdinand - 5 out of 5
I really like Franz Ferdinand, who have bought us some great songs, including Take Me Out. I was impressed to find that The Lobster Quadrille is a poem from Alice and this song is a musical version of the same poem. I loved the powerful vocals. I think this may have actually been in the film too because it sounds pretty familiar. As you would expect, the lyrics are bizarre! But that's not to say they don't work because I think it sounds brilliant.
Always Running Out of Time by Motion City Soundtrack - 4 out of 5
Motion City Soundtrack is another American band. Always Running Out of Time has a great beat which gives this song a wonderful energy. I thought the guitar riff in the background was a bit repetitive, but I suppose this is just being picky! The male vocalist on this track has a much brighter quality then most of the others on the album, which helps this song to stand out from the rest. Also, a nice bit of tambourine at the end!
Fell Down A hole by Wolfmother - 3 out of 5
Wolfmother are an Australian Rock band and I was very surprised that I liked this song! The music is not as heavy as I'd expected but still makes me want to bop along! The electric guitar in this is interesting, as they play around with the distortion in places. At just over five minutes, this is the longest song on the album. I started to feel this because when I thought it was about to end, turns out there is another two minutes to go! Hmm...
White Rabbit by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals - 4 out of 5
The whole of White Rabbit is about moments from Alice in Wonderland and I found this very effective. The introduction is interesting and I love the first lyrics - "One pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small." White Rabbit has quite a familiar feel to it and reminds me of a pop song from the nineties, but I can't think which one! Unfortunately the song goes a bit down hill at the end with remnants of music that lasted too long.
As you have seen, this compilation of Alice-related tunes is a mixed bag, ranging from Owl City's rather dire contribution, to the fabulous The Lobster Quadrille by Franz Ferdinand. In fact, on average the songs worked out at just over 3 stars each.
The overall vibe is largely pop-rock, which generally speaking is not my thing anyway, but I think there are some really great songs on this album. Well, amongst the riff raff, that is!
I do believe there should have been a larger number of female vocalists on this album. Partly because Alice herself is, of course, female. I also found that the women on this album had some of the most strong, memorable songs. I am also someone who generally prefers female vocals anyway.
I also think the album as a whole would be improved if it included more genres. I would like a couple of pop songs (from artists such as Girls Aloud), the odd ballad and perhaps even a bit of R&B and hip hop - why not, hey!?
The cover of the album is a wonderful picture of Johnny Depp's Mad Hatter, in front of a white background. I think this image is really stunning and eye-catching. Although it almost seems wrong to have a picture of just The Hatter, when the album is named after Alice. Surely she should at least feature on the cover?
Almost Alice is maybe not what I expected. I suggest researching a few of the songs for yourself before purchase, which currently costs £8.95 from Amazon and Play.
I hope my review has given you a clearer picture of what this album is really about and now I leave it to you to decide whether or not Almost Alice is for you!
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Avril Lavigne - Alice
2 The All-American Rejects - The Poison
3 Owl City - The Technicolor Phase
4 Shinedown - Her Name Is Alice
5 All Time Low - Painting Flowers
6 Metro Station - Where's My Angel
7 Tokio Hotel and Kerli - Strange
8 303H!3 featuring Neon Hitch - Follow Me Down
9 Robert Smith - Very Good Advice
10 Mark Hoppus and Pete Wentz - In Transit
11 Plain White T's - Welcome To The Mystery
12 Kerli - Tea Party
13 Franz Ferdinand - The Lobster Quardrille
14 Motion City Soundtrack - Always Running Out Of Time
15 Wolfmother - Fell Down A Hole
16 Grace Potter and the Nocturnals - White Rabbit