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Step on my old size nines and I’ll take you ‘round
Just Enough Education To Perform - Stereophonics
Member Name: Modena
Just Enough Education To Perform - Stereophonics
Date: 24/04/01, updated on 24/04/01 (144 review reads)
Advantages: It’s the Stereophonics with a more mature and inspired sound that oozes class. Enhanced element, it is the number 1 album at the time of writing this, presentation is good.
Disadvantages: No obvious classics, no “Bartender And The Thief” type songs, only 11 tracks, Kelly’s handwriting is difficult to read, do not buy the un-enhanced one, not as good as the other 2 albums.
The Stereophonics released their third album, J.E.E.P (Just Enough Education to Perform), on 9th April 2001 through V2 Records. I have had my hands on a promo of this since early February and have recently purchased this CD, which is currently the UK’s best selling album. If you want to know more about the previous two albums, feel free to read the opinions on them (including my ones).
<Quote from official website>
Speaking to Kerrang!, Kelly Jones (vocalist, guitarist) says "There's extra vocalists, gospel singers, some slide guitars, a lot of authentic pianos and Wurlitzers - it's not bigger, there's just a load more flavours on it. It's more dynamic as well, a free-sounding record that we can't wait to play live."
<Sounds good, is it?>
I will look at JEEP track by track and then ramble on. (Bear in mind I am a big Stereophonics fan, and I know that a lot of people do not like them, however I do not wish to participate in the Britney/Christina debate, nor whether the chicken came first or the egg, sorry). So far, judging by reviews of JEEP, it is not too well received, the bottom line in my opinion is that these reviews are too harsh and the writers of these have not really bothered to appreciate the new flavours.
The presentation is good, not the best front/back cover in the world. But as usual the lyrics are there, but they’re hand written, and Kelly’s handwriting is really difficult to read, as usual there is a tiny description of each song and where and when it was written, a great touch. All the doodling seems original, but I prefer a standard set of lyrics and some band pictures.
1 - 'Vegas Two Times' (4:28)
Okay I put my CD in I hear gospel singers and I know I have the right CD. 47 seconds I hear some guitars and then drums, Stereophonics are BACK! This was inspired by their trip to the US, some how they went the wrong way
and ended up in L A S Vegas two time. This is a medium paced rock song, nothing special lyrically, nice guitar background, I’m not too sure what I can compare this too, the closest I can think of is Roll Up And Shine (first track on Performance & Cocktails) but slower. I really like the gospel singer touch here. It’s a nice tune to listen to, if only I knew the lyrics, but it sounds as if it repeats itself.
2 - 'Lying In The Sun' (4:30)
This was inspired when Kelly saw a tramp on a Portuguese street, his face was deformed and they gave him some money, it was one of the saddest things Kelly had ever seen. This song is basically about how lucky we are. This is a more subdued affair, slow and oozing class. “wish I could lie in the sun, wish I could fly like every one.” Something to sway and relax to perhaps? Or something to have a refreshing cry over? I think this is beautiful and there are also surreal qualities about this if you listen a few times. Okay, this gets a bit dreary after a while but as usual, for me, Kelly’s voice and the sitarish beat in the background rescues it. One of my favourite songs actually.
3 - 'Mr. Writer' (5:18)
The first single, released on the 19th March 2001, and was a top 10 hit. I can see why too, it’s one of the more radio friendly tracks in JEEP, and this was co-written by Kelly and Marshall Bird. “Mr. Writer… why don’t you tell it like it really is?” Obviously it’s about the press, and how they think they can make or break you, and for the opinions of others. Lovely background vocals, in a slow and relaxed song. One of the more memorable tracks, and a bit of piano in the middle jazzes this up a little. Once again, it does repeat itself a little.
4 - 'Step On My Old Size Nines' (4:00)
Harmonica! One of the things I like about the Stereophonics, now I like this, this is something I would have expecte
d in the previous 2 albums, the relaxed harmonica sounds and the almost acapella chorus “step in my old size nines and I’ll take you round”. This song oozes class, a bit like “traffic”, but maybe less provocative. This is kind of about the thoughts of old age, what it feels like to be old, the worries etc, very mature.
“I’d like to know what it’s all about? What’s out there?
Am I gonna get old and laugh? About something
Will I get a boy or a girl”
Then the mood changes with this line
“Then I watch the old couple dance ‘step on my old size nines and I’ll take you round’”
The meaning is that there’s an old couple, the male offers the female to dance and she says her legs are tired and then he says to her, “don’t worry, step on my old size nines and I’ll take you round”. Beautiful…
5 - 'Have A Nice Day' (3:24)
Based on a conversation Kelly had with a taxi driver on a taxi in San Francisco, about “corporate communism”, and a kinda globalisation thing. Easily one of the most easy to listen to songs, this is a bit more up-tempo than the previous tracks and some may complain that Kelly is just saying “have a nice day” 50 odd times, and that there are some nice backing vocals, fair enough. This is described as some kind of happy rock with black clouds in the background, I must admit that I like this song, this sounds nothing like “local boy in the photograph” but it has the same appeal to me. “We dress the same ways, only our accents change”. This could be a release, especially in the summer, and I can see why Kelly can’t wait to play this stuff live. In fact this is the next single, good luck to it...
6 - 'Nice To Be Out' (3:08)
Another somber tune, but melodic nonetheless. This is a bit of a strange affair,
Kelly just seems to be uttering lines that rhyme and at the same time be reflecting on the past, and based on these memories, “it’s nice to be out”, I think. More piano too, a few notes right at the very end. Not my favourite track.
7 - 'Watch Them Fly Sundays' (3:29)
Another slow song, “not thinking no more, not drinking no less, not sleeping at all never in the same bed.” I’m not sure what they watch fly Sundays though, then near the end, a kind of clue is given as to what flies. Okay, I think this is not going to be an a-side. I do like this though, it’s very Stereophonics, brilliant ending too.
“They say, if something flies away, and flies back to you again, then it’s yours”
8 - 'Everyday I Think Of Money' (3:24)
Haha, on the first listen, this was my favourite track. It begins: “I drive truck, it carries money, and every day, I dream up my fantasies”, and it is in the tone of Billy Davey’s Daughter or I Stopped To Fill My Car Up. Then he’s in a truck that carries convicts, a bit surreal. Obviously this is about the cliché that money cannot buy you love, “Every day, I miss my family”.
9 - 'Maybe' (4:34)
Typical Stereophonics I think “I give a lot, I take a lot, it’s nothing new to me”. A tiny bit like Hurry Up And Wait and Just Looking in some aspects, but not as good as either in my opinion at this point in time. It is a very relaxing song, if there was a video to this, I am sure the sea will feature in it.
10 - 'Caravan Holiday' (3:12)
This is one of the slowest tracks; it seems to be about a caravan holiday “seven days watching rain inside with you.” This is probably the total opposite of Feeder’s brilliant Seven Days In The Sun. Very very very slow and dreary. This is a song that is better left to be played live I think, maybe b
etter as a poem perhaps?
“There’s always time to complain about the weather,
seasons change in a day just like each other,
but we for summer….”
11 - 'Rooftop' (6:14)
The final track, and it feels like I have just started. There’s a fairly spooky intro,
“Standing on a rooftop, trying to clear my mind,
I only came up to look, but now there’s such a crowd”
Basically someone has just come out to have a breather or a smoke and people gather thinking he will jump, then he goes through the emotions of jumping, if he jumps, he’ll have fame but be dead, if he don’t then he’s alive but has nothing.
Then it sounds like “who feels love” by Oasis for a few seconds. Nothing special here, lots of harmonica again in the middle, but I just like this song, another one to be played live I guess. Very clever though…
There are 2 CDs one enhanced one not, the enhanced CD has two acoustic tracks (video), Lying In The Sun and Step In My Old Size Nines. There is a band interview and Kelly & Co go through every track of the album, this stuff is very detailed, the lyrics are also there (still in hand written format).
The videos are all in .mov format, meaning quality is poor, I can probably do better with my webcam. Quite funnily, the quality is poor on my Pentium 3 with 320 megs of ram and a 1024 voice soundcard, but okay on me 200MHz laptop with 32 megs of ram and a 16 bit soundcard.
There’s also “Songplayer” software, something that teaches you to play music, quite a novelty, and Mr Writer is the track includes for this.
<How does it compare?>
Well first of all, I personally think that Performance & Cocktails is better than Word Gets Around, and I am in a minority I know. Given this, I think that overall Performance & Cocktails is still the best album and W
ord Gets Around is slightly marginally better than this. I cannot pinpoint where, but I will give it a go. As you can see, there are only 11 tracks here and all of them are slow to medium slow. There is no “Bartender And The Thief” or “Local Boy In The Photograph” or “Pick A Part” here, and this is probably what disappoints me. Don’t get me wrong, JEEP is a class album and compared to the average Britrock album, I think there is no comparison.
Having said that though, although JEEP does not have as many hits as its predecessors, the album as a whole is a classy product, the Stereophonics have in my opinion matured further and produced another masterpiece. I am sure that my perception on this will change when I hear a few songs on the radio and gain a deeper understanding or see a few videos.
For fans like me, you should buy the album, you will not be disappointed, it is worth your £10, the Stereophonics did not just complacently write another album, they have also gone for the same sound as before with another dimension but with less of the harder rock flavour that has brought them so many admirers. I don’t see any “Just Looking”s or “Local Boy In The Photograph” or “Thousand Trees”. I don’t think they will be remembered for anything on this album though, it’s a great listen for the more mature rock lover. Travis fans have a right to diss this…
Remember stick with the enhanced CD, if you don’t have the other 2 CDs I suggest you buy one of them, and wait for this to be in the sales or something. If you’ve got a DVD player, why not buy their Performance and Cocktails DVD?