Philip Glass

Philip Glass: Songs from Liquid Days

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Songs From Liquid Days became Philip Glass' most popular and successful recording. The title holds the clue to the music's accessibility: These are songs, providing a more familiar and comfortable format for appreciating the world of minimalism than Glass' operas or instrumental pieces. Working with such lyrical collaborators as David Byrne and Suzanne Vega, he created art music which sounds radio friendly. There is also great variety displayed on this album. While the musical backing is unmistakably Philip Glass, the arrangements and vocal treatments range from the coolly subdued chamber music of "Freezing," featuring the Kronos Quartet and Linda Ronstadt, to the appropriately electrifying and almost new wave-ish "Lightning." The album's highlight, however, is the opener, a ten-minute opus called "Changing Opinion." With unusually oblique lyrics courtesy of Paul Simon, it condenses the odd excitement and drama of a minimalist opera into a single, creative burst of melody, rhythm, and momentum. The minimalist composers originally wanted to reconnect Western art music with a broad, popular audience. On that basis, Songs From Liquid Days may be their single greatest achievement.

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