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The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill - Lauryn Hill

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Genre: R&B & Soul - Soul / Artist: Lauryn Hill / Extra tracks / Audio CD released 1994-05-12 at Columbia

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      27.07.2010 22:20
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      Utterly Flawless.

      Undoubtedly, one of my favourite albums of all-time, would be the first and only studio album from Lauryn Hill. Regarded as one of the best records of the 90s, it combines hip-hop, rap, r'n'b and soul seamlessly, creating a unique style that was later drawn upon by singers such as Amy Winehouse and Alicia Keys in the neo-soul movement. The entire album was written and produced by Ms. Hill, and the lyrical content is far-reaching - ranging from love, inner-city oppression, betrayal to fame. Her lyrics inspired a generation, and as with most legends, she seems deeply troubled. In her happiness, there is great sorrow, and vice versa. Quitting music in the early noughties due to her growing disillusionment with the money-hungry music industry and the relentless press attention, she once asked a crowd rhetorically: "How did this thing that I love so much so easily and so quickly turn into something I loathe and hate?". Ms. Hill is not like any other singer. Her heart and her intelligence, along with an innate and profound musical talent, helped to craft this masterpiece. With each track bridged with a brief interlude, which consists of an inner city group of youths discussing their opinions on topics such as love and trust, the album gains the cohesion, that may otherwise be lacking due to the diverse range of styles and themes. It does this while also emphasising that the album is more than just a slice of musical fun, but is trying to (respectfully) teach lessons on life to the listener. 'Lost Ones' is the most rap influenced track on the album. It kicks off with a hard-hitting, reverberating beat which matches Lauryn's angry rhymes perfectly. It addresses principally the greed of humanity, and how easily people sell each other out in order to get ahead. "Now, now, how your talk's turned cold/gained the whole world for the price of your soul," she hisses, before the lyrics slowly explore the notion of karma, as Lauryn observes: "Can't slick talk on the day of judgement." As my ears are more attuned to pop songs, at first the song was a little jarring, now it's one of my favourites of all time. The message in the song is perfect for anyone who has ever felt used. The swagger and personality with which Lauryn delivers her lyrics is perfect, and is just a joy to listen to. The second song is the creatively named 'Ex-Factor', which is a painful song for me, given how much I relate to it. It's about the situation when you love someone so much, yet no matter how hard you try, you just can't get through to them and make the relationship work. Not rapping at all, but instead, a relaxed r'n'b production, the song has perfect vocals with Lauryn exploring her upper register as she pleads in the bridge: "Tell me who I have to be?/To get some reciprocity". Slow building, the layered background vocals and the incredible electric guitar solo lead the song to a stunning climax. Flawless. 'To Zion' is another incredible track from start to finish. It features the latin guitar work of Carlos Santana, along with a gospel choir who back Lauryn in the powerful chorus. It's lyrics are deeply personal and are unlike any I have heard before. The song addresses the pressure she felt from her management to abort her first child, reflected in the words: "Everybody told me to be smart/"Look at your career" they said/ "Lauryn, baby, use your head"/But instead I chose to use my heart." The chorus soars, speaking about the unconditional love that a mother has for her child once it is born. The gospel-tinged vocals help reflect the religious angle to the lyrics about the miracle of new life, and compliments the song perfectly. 'Doo Wop (That Thing)' has a bouncy piano riff and a thumping beat. It's literally a rap-soul collision, with Lauryn MC'ing the verses before launching into a Supremes-Inspired chorus. I really admire Lauryn for writing the song, as it conveys an important message to her audience about promiscuity and self-worth. Incredibly personable in her rap ('Lauryn is only human, don't think I haven't been through the same predicament'), she laments the notion that 'girls sell theirs souls because it's in'. The chorus is so catchy, this is one of the most played songs on my iPod - yet another smash from Ms. Hill. 'Superstar' is a re-imagining of The Door's 'Light My Fire'. The production and vocals are incredibly restrained, almost monotonous, which reflect the meaning of the lyrics perfectly. "Come on baby, light my fire/Everything you drop is so tired/Music is supposed to inspire/How come we ain't getting no higher?" she sings wearily, demonstrating her frustration at the lack of originality and staleness of the music industry today. It's hook isn't perhaps one of the strongest on the set, yet with every listen, it grows on you and you fall victim to it's charms. The production on 'Final Hour' evokes Lauryn's days with the Fugees. Panpipes and rapid-fire rapping, create an interesting blend. She shows off her MC'ing skills at their finest, as she delivers a memorable message - that it doesn't matter how much money or fame you accumulate, eventually, you will have to answer to God for your sins. There isn't a pop chorus here as such, but if you loved her earlier work, then you will adore this. 'When It Hurts So Bad' evokes the frustration felt with young love, much like 'The Ex-Factor'. Lauryn's vocals are vulnerable and soaked in sadness, as she sings the words: "I loved real hard once, but the love wasn't returned/Found the man I'd die for... he wasn't even concerned." The laid-back strings, ripples of harp playing and plodding beats don't strip away any of the emotion or take the spotlight off the lyrics, so are perfect. 'I Used to Love Him' is a duet with fellow r'n'b singer, Mary J. Blige. The production is surprisingly stripped back, and there's a certain roughness in the harmonies of the chorus (which in itself, is lyrically rather thread bare - "I used to love him, but now I don't"), yet it is in this simplicity, there is beauty. Lauryn wrote the song about her difficult relationship with Fugees bandmate Wyclef Jean, and penned it as a warning to other women - "Life is worth so much more than being a foolish man's wife". Lauryn and Mary's voice compliment each others perfectly, Mary's is more cutting while Lauryn has a softness to it, meaning that an interesting set of harmonies is created. Yet another of my favourites comes in the form of 'Forgive Them Father'. Filled with biblical references (the chorus is built around the bible quote of the same name), reggae beats and a Caribbean chant, the song immediately forges it's own identity. The strength of Lauryn as both a lyricist, and a strong, independent, enlightened woman really comes through in the song. It deals with the notion of being betrayed by those you trusted the most. "They say all the right things to gain their position/Then use your kindness as their ammunition/To shoot you down in the name of ambition" Lauryn warns in the verses as she seems to switch from rapping to singing so effortlessly. The song has such a great, relatable message and a strong hook, that makes the track irrestibly perfect. The most autobiographical song on the album is 'Every Ghetto, Every City', which takes the listener through the experiences of Ms. Hills' childhood which shaped her. Melodically, I believe it's the weakest on the album and is certainly the one I listen to the least, but there is a lot of charm in the lyrics and her delivery. 'Nothing Even Matters' features D'Angelo, a famous 90s r'n'b male vocalist. It speaks of an all-conquering, unconditional love that makes the two people feel they can accomplish anything together. "These buildings could drift out to sea/Some natural catastrophe/There'd be no place I'd rather be." The passion in their voices is chilling, and really heightened with the backdrop of the simple, finger-snapping production. It's so slow and melodic, while at first, it may not click with you as the listener, with every replay, you fall deeper in love with it. There are amazing synths in 'Everything is Everything' and a shuffling tempo. It has a unique twist on ideas of oppression and misfortune ("It seems we lose this game/Even before we start to play"), as she explores the idea of positive thinking, and using your pain to create something beautiful. This song just has such a great groove to it, and is so magnificently positive without ever being saccharine sweet, it's the perfect feel-good song. 'Miseducation of Lauryn Hill' is a poignant end to the album. It is a simple ballad, laden with old-vinyl effects such as a hazy quality to the audio and plenty of scratching sounds. The song is about throwing aside the expectations laid on you and forging your own destiny regardless, as it is the only way you'll ever truly be happy. It's a vulnerable end to the CD, but sums up Lauryn's philosophies perfectly. I really wish I could have spiced this review up with some scathing criticisms. I would write about how dated this album sounds, but the truth is, it sounds as fresh today as it did over a decade today. There is something timeless about the production and themes that make it universal. You will have noticed that the majority of this review addresses the lyrical content of the songs, which was a conscious decision of mine, as I really want people to realise that Lauryn Hill is more than just a singer. Her songs convey valuable life lessons, something which she confirmed when admitting every song of hers tries to cover three areas - "Problem, Cause, Solution". For me, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is not only one of the best r'n'b albums of all time - but quite simply, one of the best albums of all time. I simply cannot praise it highly enough. Listening to it is like a spiritual experience, it's cathartic for the soul. So, what are you waiting for?

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        09.01.2010 16:40
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        One of the albums of the Nineties

        This is one of the best albums of the nineties for me, it really does have something timeless about it, although as a person I don't think Lauryn Hill's views are ones I entirely agree with she is sadly missed in a time when female vocallists seem to rule the world. This album was released at a time when the Fugee's her band were on top of their game and she was seen simply as the vocallist, this reinvented her as an awesome solo performer and a mature confident performer, but then she disappeared to have a family. The theme of the album with the inserts is that education ain't all about School, we hear songs about love, lost loved ones and life, it is an all encompassing album which totally deserves its 5 out of 5 score here. I'm not going to list all the tracks as there are about 15 including short skits, but there are some awesome songs on here, the beautiful revision cover of the classic 'Can't take my eyes off of you' brings fresh light to a beautiful romantic song in a modern style. To Zion is an awesome love song to a child, with full choir, The duet with Mary J Blige on 'I used to love him' is a showcase of two women on top of their game, as with most of the songs on the album it is musically and lyrically superb with fresh beats and laconic vocals. "When it hurts so bad" is a great mixed up song about love and as with most of the tracks appears autobiographical. The 'Ex Factor' also showcases a man who has hurt her badly and relied on her too much, it is easy to see why this honest, forthright album did so well. I would say there are at least 8 great songs on this album and at £4.98 it is wicked value, I bought it for a tenner when it first came out, this is a stone cold classic soul album and stands up there with the best of any era. It is a shame that Hill's live performances ruined the hype afterwards and a shame she hasn't made anything else but this is one hell of an album to have on your cv and she has a 10 out of 10 success rate.

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          25.09.2009 15:05
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          If you only buy one CD ever again, make it this.

          This is probably the most treasured CD in my music collection. I was way to young (8 years old) to appreciate or even know about Lauryn when this album first came out, but after hearing a couple of her songs (Doo Wop and Ex Factor) a few years ago I decided to find this album and give it a go. Thank god I did. It's one album I can listen to all the way through, over and over again, and every time I'm struck by it's intelligence, originality and the beauty of Hill's voice. The only thing I can negatively comment on is the rather strange snippets of kid's talking to Wyclef inbetween some of the songs which can be a bit annoying, but skipping these you have an amazing record. Some of my favourite songs of the album :- Ex-Factor : Probably my favourite song on the CD, in fact probably one of my favourite songs ever. It's a heartwrenching tale of a love that just seems to hurt; Lauryn's vocals are flawless and so packed with emotion it makes me emotional just listening to it. 'Tell me who I have to be, to get some reciprocity; see no-one loves you more than me, and no-one ever will'. Doo Wop (That thing) : Starkly contrasting with Ex-Factor, this a Hip-Hop song, fully showing off Lauryn's rapping talent and her ability to write clever clever lyrics. And the brilliant beat behind it that just makes you want to move doesn't hurt either! 'Don't be a hard rock when you really are a gem; Baby girl, respect is just a minimum'. Superstar : Soulful song about Lauryn's disillusionment with how the R'n'B/HipHop scene has ended up. 'Music is supposed to inspire, so how come we ain't getting no higher?' Nothing Even Matters - It doesn't take a genius to know that if you stick Lauryn Hill and D'Angelo on the same track it's gonna be good! So so soulful and sexy, but with a bit of an edge, this is definitely one to check out. 'These buildings could drift out to sea, some natural catastrophe; Still there's no place I'd rather be, 'cause nothing even matters to me' Everything is Everything - One reason that I love and listen to this album so much is that I find it to be truly inspirational music that I listen to when I'm in need of uplifting - and this song is one of my favourites! Again, her lyrics are clever and truthful. 'After winter, must come spring; Everything is Everything'. These are just a few of my personal favourites, but the entire album is amazing. It's clever, classy, and without the usual preoccupation with girls, guns, money and drugs that alot of Hip-Hop seems to have nowadays. If you don't listen to this at some point in your life you have missed out on a work of genius!

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            07.10.2008 00:23
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            One of the greatest albums ever!

            I have been longing for more music from Lauryn Hill and it seems unlikely, the last piece of information I could find about her said she had attackd the Vatican and many believe she has gone mad. Therefore this album, one of the masterpieces of the century becomes all the more a great treasure in my collection. You don't need to like any particular stlye of music to enjoy this album, all you have to do is sit back and appreciate a talented voice. An interesting addition is songs are often followed by recorded discussions about the youths of today and their views about the meaning of love. I grew up listening to this album and as I am still young some of the messages I still don't understand. For example, I have never really paid attention to what the track Lost ones is about. All i know is its reggae hip-hop influenced beat is catchy and the harmonies are absolutely enticing. The track To Zion however is a great example of creative genius. The guitars melody is beautiful contrasted with the message of the song. To Zion is not a gospel song preaching about the lord, not the I dislike these songs. It is more intrestingly a song about the thoughts that may have been going through Mary's head when she fell pregnant with Jesus. Lauryn puts herself in the mind of Mary and describes how an angel told her she would have a child. She considers the delicate subject of abortion, "Look at your career they say, Lauryn baby use your head" and how young women today can be encouraged to give up the life of a child. The song Doo Wop (That Thing) is not a song I could appreciate lyrically as a child however the catchy beat alongside the vocal arrangements was enough to keep me enticed. I prefer Lauryn singing to rapping but the two together is magic. I used to love him is another favourite song off the album, featuring Mary J Blige, the song is a heartfelt story about an old flame. With beautiful heartfel lyrics, "he stole my heart like a thief in the night" the song really deserves to be on the album. A popular track is Everything is Everything, I have never paid much attention to the song but it is catchy and at the end of the day its a Lauryn Hill track, so though not a favourite of mine it does no harm in its placement in the album. My favourite track has got to be Ex-factor, beautifully sung, wonderful arrangements and a fantastic electric guitar solo. It is one of the ultimate love songs, perfect to listen to during a break-up, the lyrics "see i know what we've got to do, you let go and il let go too" really emphasise the point that no matter how much you may love someone if the relationship is not working it is time to let go. How could I forget the remake of the classic Frank Sinatra track Can't take my eyes off of you". Vocally Lauryn Hill sounds amazing on this song and the choice of instruments, namely the acoustic guitar gives this classic song a fresh update.

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              05.06.2008 18:11
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              Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.

              Okay folks, just to show how varied my musical tastes are, I came across this CD whilst transferring all my CD's to itunes (work in progress). I had all but forgotton about it, and now I've been playing it for a good few days, almost without stopping, not every track, but certainly a few. For those that do not know, this was Lauryn Hill's first solo album after the 'Fugees (with Wyclef John). In my opinion she has not done much of note since so: Track 2. Lost ones. Hate the school register role call at the beginning (listed as track 1), not needed, but then a fantastically bassy drum and guitar beat comes in and she raps/sings over this in perfect timing and it is so catchy I dare you not to tap your feet. 7/10. Then we get another 'snippet' of school to end and then introduce the next track, gawd knows why. Track 3. Ex-Factor. Big hit in USA and UK, pure R&B nice slow beat and great angsty vocal from Lauryn, with a nice 'shadow' voice over, really good, strong piece of heartfelt singing and writing. Unbelievably good guitar solo near the end that is very rock like yet just seems to fit well. 8/10. Track 4. To Zion. Nice guitar solo and voice over at the beginning and a break into an almost Latin beat which develops into a song that is really breathtaking in how it tells the story of her pregnancy, really, really clever. She then builds the sng into an almost gospel liek vocal, great range, fantastic music to back it too. 9/10. Track 5. Doo Wop, (that thing). Probably the best known track on the album, very neat, all about how boys and girls approach sex, hip hop, no, doo wop, no R&B. When this came out I thought it was a weak link, in retrospect it is damn good, and very clever. So catchy it sticks in your head for ages. 9/10. Track 6. Superstar. To me this is not the best of the bunch, great vocals again though, and a good 'story' asking questions of the music industry and what it means to (black) artistes, just in terms of the rest of the album not the best. Good mixing with 'light my fire' clever. 6/10. Track 7. Final hour. "I treat this like my thesis"....and the rap begins and it is a damn good rap at that, lyrical, musical and soft in tone, hard in story, how to break out of the ghetto, with a religeous undertone. Brilliant. 9/10. Track 8. When it hurts so bad. Another stonking R&B number, all love, angst n heart. Not my favourite, but I can see it packing the dance floor late on in the evening for some serious chin on shoulder. 7/10. Track 9. I used to love him. More R&B, all about a split up, with some added vocals from Mary J Blige, very angsty in a soulful way, okay, not great. 6/10. Track 10. Forgive them father. To me the best song on the whole CD. A mixture of rap, soulful singing, dub like vocals. I cannot work out whether she is down on men in power, music bosses, or just men in general, but it is certainly a powerful song. She throws in bits like Soweto, Cain and Abel, wow. "Caeser and Bruts, Jesus and Judas, backstabbers do this"....what a line. great. 10/10. Track 11. Every Ghetto, every City. Off we go on another musical journey, this time a strong 70's funk backing, supporting Luryn telling her story of growing up. 7/10. Track 12. Nothing even matters. Now soul, pure n simple, lovely song, lyrically quite weak but musically it is a 'dreamy' song, almost Mowtown meets trance. I do like this, vocal additions from D'Angelo, very relaxing. 8/10. Track 13. Everything is everything. Song all about being a strong, positive woman, again, strong 70's funk/blues riff, with a hip hop style talk over and some soulful vocals. 7/10. Track 14. The miseducation of Lauryn Hill. And now to a jazzy backing and vocal, with a soulful blend, an 'old record' scratchy sound deliberately included, kinda works. Very diva like vocals, great piano, showcase of her voice, love it. 9/10. Bonus track (14.) Can't take my eyes off of you. To a very Fugees' hip hop beat, really works, takes a cheesy classic and makes it modern and funky, some great vocals, yet again. Another massive foot tapper. To me the best version of this song ever. period. 9/10. Bonus track (15). Sweetest thing. Clearly time in the studio, or trying to sound like it. Very soulful, very 'nice' almost sung like a prayer. Sounds a bit like Aretha Franklin, but smoother. 8/10 Overall, the thing I like most about this album is the 'cleverness' of it all. It does not stick to Soul, or R&B, or hip hop, or rap, or funk; it has a bit of everything. Musically and vocally, probably one of the best and strongest 10 CD's in the last decade (1998). This is not my favoured style of music, nor is she my favourite artiste, but this is such a strong album it stands out any day. A definite 'must have' for any music collection, suspend your likes of other genres and give this a listen, you can't not like it. To finish, you can pick this up on amazon or ebay for a couple of quid, believe me, you will not regret it. Remember this album won grammy's for: Best New Artist, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, Best R&B Song, Best R&B Album,and Album of the Year in 1999.

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                30.05.2002 02:15
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                Before 1998, I had never really considered Lauryn Hill as a great soul diva. She was just a member of the hip-hop band The Fugees. The Fugees were a great band, but Wyclef was the main member- as he did most of the producing and writing. The first time I noticed Lauryn's incredible vocal range was on the song "Killing Me Softly", but then The Fugees basically disappeared a while later. So getting back on track, I only purchased this album recently and I was addicted straight away! How could this woman be so young and fresh, yet so damn talented?? She can write, produce and sing better than every other female singer of the '90s (Whitney and Aretha are counted as 80s artists). Unlike some talentless musician, Lauryn doesn't just shove any old sample anywhere (we're all looking at you Jennifer Lopez!). The lyrics are 100% original and beautiful. Instead of the standard "I Love you with all my heart" there's "It's silly when girls sell their souls because it's in". And also, she manages to sing about the most delicate issues in a light and clever manner. There were rumours around claiming that other Fugees members Wyclef and Pras had co-written 14 of the tracks, but I believe this was just a big lie- how dare they rob Lauryn of her talent! It's clear everyone found this CD a jem as it was critically acclaimed worldwide and won something like 7 grammies! Whereas India Arie and Alicia Keys' albums are all in one style, "The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill" has many different formats; soul, hip hop (occasionally quite hardcore), reggae, latin, gospel and jazz. You ask yourself, who else provides this much in a 16 track album? What ever people may say about Lauryn Hill, they can't call her over hyped. INTRO- Throughout the album there are quite a few of these, and although they are simple, they are brilliant. I gather the conversations held are supposed to be in a classroom and it sounds incredibly real. Good start. LOST ONES- Heavy street wise rap track with very interesting lyrics. One things for sure, Lauryn's not scared of revealing her emotions and feelings, as expressed amazingly here. EX-FACTOR- After the hustle and bustle of the first track, Lauryn dramatically slows down the pace with a ballad (without the sappy lyrics). Complete with quivering piano notes, this is an all round excellent track (which managed to reach the UK top 10!). TO ZION- A latin/gospel track wisely featuring the brilliance that is Carlos Santana (she later repaid the favour on Santana's album "Supernatural" by appearing in one of the songs). The lyrics are based on Lauryn's baby, and they are beautiful, it describes how she felt whilst pregnant. DOO WOP (THAT THING)- Rightfully this was a worldwide smash (the video probably helped though). "Doo Wop" is a stunning mixture of modern day hip-hop and pretty 50's soul (which is apparently what "Doo Wop" means). I cannot describe how excellent the chorus is- especially the breath taking vocals. SUPERSTAR- Cleverly reshaping Jim Morrison's "Light My Fire", this is a clear highlight. The song is sung throughout (no rapping) which also improves it's flavour. Brilliant stuff so far! FINAL HOUR- This song is similar to some of Lauryn's work with The Fugees. "Final Hour" has a sweet melody consisting of oriental pipes and fast, strong rapping. She can make a ***** star performance out of anything! WHEN IT HURTS SO BAD- An r and b track which is obviously describing Lauryn's dodgy relationship with a man and how she can't really hold it together. Full of morals and lessons, just what we want (much more inspiring than "I need you forever"!). I USED TO LOVE HIM- A duet with fellow soul diva Mary J Blige, so it's clearly brilliant. I don't really know what genre the track fits into, it's a mixture of r and b and soul, with top grade performances from both ladies. FORGIVE THEM FATHER- Gospel with a distinctive hint of reggae- superb! Lauryn is sort of talking as if she was God (not in a bad way) telling people to watch for back-stabbers. There is a reggae singer guest appearing, but she's sadly annoying- the song's still well above though. EVERY GHETTO EVERY CITY- Absolutely delicious! A gospel/r and b version of Lauryn's autobiography. Totally original and smashing lyrics. with a real groovy tune! I can't see how you could hate something like this. NOTHING EVEN MATTERS- Yet another guest appearance from smooth r and b star D'Angelo. Once again, this is no mistake, in fact it's quite the opposite. A chilled ballad which is similar to some of D'Angelo's earlier work. Lauryn's vocals work much better than you'd think with the D'Angelo, and the result is very pleasing. EVERYTHING IS EVERYTHING- Fast and quite loud song with some more exceptional singing and writing and production and everything!! THE MISEDUCATION OF LAURYN HILL- Wow! One of the best ballads I've ever heard. To give it a vinyl old effect, there is a lot of scratching, luckily this just gives the track more od a bbost. Sweet and beautiful. Right that's it. NOT!! There are 2 other hidden tracks (why they're hidden I'm not too sure) CAN'T TAKE MY EYES OFF OF YOU- Ok so it's a cover version, there's nothing wrong in that (as long as you don't do it all the time!). Although the lyrics are cheesy and pretty poor, Lauryn makes it automatic gold with "that voice" she owns. Better than the original? In my opinion, easily. TELL HIM- I gather this is another cover version from the kin da bad lyrics. Anyway, the song is presented so beautifully, you don't really care. A perfect end to 1 immaculate album!

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                  19.07.2001 20:24
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                  My taste in music is simple. I know what I like, end of story. I'm not keen on being boxed in a genre, I may naturally lean to the more rock, indie and guitar based music, no doubt influenced by my own feeble attempts at the guitar in my youth. Send the music on and I will give it a listen and come to a simple yeah or nah decision. Simple is as simple does I suppose. I did not buy the CD 'The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill' until two years after its 1998 release. Oh yes, I am one of those old fashioned people who won't part with her cash for an album until she's been convinced by the single releases - well what do you expect from someone who remembers vinyl? The bad news for those around me is that the CD comes with full lyrics...tonight Matthew I am going to be Lauryn Hill...BizzyB can clear a room with this intro! I have to say this is one of the best albums I have ever had the pleasure of listening. When packing for a holiday the first thing into hand luggage is this CD. Off on a long car journey - grab Lauryn Hill. Sat working at my computer - well there's only one choice of musical accompaniment to keep me sane. This CD isn't music to me, it's medicine. How else could I describe this piece of art? It's chocolate fudge cake topped with whip cream. It's the taste of salty tears at the end of a relationship. It's the first date butterflies in your stomach. It's the smell of fresh cut grass on a Sunday morning. This 14 (16 in actuality) track CD is interlaced with classroom-style interludes of youngsters debating the great mystery of love which I do not find at all distracting though I suspect some people may. I find these interludes add to the CDs feeling of reaching out and communicating with the listener. I personally feel that Lauryn Hill is a class apart from the run of the mill music that is churned out of late. There is a spiritua lity and honesty in her music that sets her apart from the usual chart toppers. Track by track, I reckon you get more than your moneys worth as we travel with Lauryn Hill through a myriad of emotions I'm sure reflect many of our lives. Track 1 - Lost Ones is a strong and powerful opener. Blimey, wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of Ms Hill as she lets it be known she can't be played for a fool. The song extols one of my long held beliefs - watch out in the world because what goes around comes around. Track 2 - Ex-factor, possibly my favourite song of all time. I cannot enthuse about this song high enough. Ever been trapped in a damaging relationship - listen to it with your heart open. The most beautiful of melodies with as sensational yet simple guitar riff at the end. This is a song that makes your heart melt. And as so often, how can a song that speaks of a dysfunctional relationship sound so damn sexy? Track 3 - To Zion, a very personal tribute to her son Zion. This heartfelt song charts her surprise pregnancy and some people's opinion that she should not go through with it. Lauryn praises the joy her son has brought her - what a beautiful gift for any child. This track features the fine guitar work of Carlos Santana. Track 4 - Doo Wop (That Thing) is possibly best remembered by many for its innovative split screen video simultaneously showing and comparing the Block Parties of the 1950s to the 1990s. An immensely catchy tune that makes you cry for the sun to come out. Hidden in this bouncy little number is Lauryn's hard hitting lyrics - take a listen - ouch. That's Miss Hill telling some people to grow up with the highly quotable "The quick to shoot the semen stop acting like boys and be men" Track 5 - Superstar is a clever reworking of the classic 'Relight my Fire'. An interesting use of harp and harpsichord gives this song an interesting, delica te backdrop as Lauryn once more tells us what goes around comes around. Warning of not buying into our own image. Track 6 - Final Hour, possibly the most Fugee-esque tracks on the CD, a fast moving track that see Lauryn Hill at full speed with a low-key back beat. Track 8 - When It Hurts So Bad, the lyrics open "When it hurts so bad, why's it feel so good?" Ah, the eternal question! For all those suffering the pain of unrequited love let this song guide you through. Track 9 - I Used to Love Him sees Lauryn collaborate with Mary J Blige. Remember Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson singing 'I Know Him So Well'? Well, think of this song as the street cred version of that! Blige and Hill work well together producing an effective funky version of the often used two women moaning about a bloke song template. Track 10 - Forgive them Father, a mildly reggae influenced song that has aspects of the Marley legacy who has inspired Lauryn Hill so much. Track 11 - Every Ghetto, Every City, one of my favourite songs on the album. For anyone who enjoys going down the nostalgia road, in my case that's watching the I Remember the 1970s series on BBC2 and oohing and aahing over the sweets and toys of my childhood, well this Lauryn Hill's version! An extremely catchy, finger clicking and happy tune recalling her childhood with great fondness. Bring on the pacers (chewy seventies mints for you youngsters amongst us ;-) Track 12 - Nothing Even Matters sees the very sensuous collaboration with D'Angelo. Immensely sexy, turn the lights down low and pour the wine for this one. Ooh, spine tingling stuff. Track 13 - Everything is Everything is classic Lauryn Hill get up and move stuff. A rousing and positive song, a great way to pep you up before the day or a meeting. Track 14 - The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, don't worry, the CDs not broken its recorded to sound like a n old fashioned vinyl record with a dust needle! A beautiful, slow piece which reminds me of the great female Blues singers of the last century with a sparkling piano accompaniment. Track 15 - NB Not listed on the CD cover - this grooved up version of 'I Can't Take My Eyes Off You' is a resounding and singalong rendition of this holiday hotel foyer classic. Track 16 - NB Another treat not listed on the CD cover which I suspect is called 'Tell Him' is a very moving and sensual song, a lovely, mellow way to end this beautifully crafted album which I would whole-heartedly recommend.

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                • Product Details

                  Disc #1 Tracklisting
                  1 Intro
                  2 Lost Ones
                  3 To Zion
                  4 Doo Wop (That Thing)
                  5 Final Hour
                  6 I Used To Love Him
                  7 Forgive Them Father
                  8 Every Ghetto Every City
                  9 Everything Is Everything
                  10 Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill
                  11 Tell Him