On Throwing Copper, Live tightened their sound, added crashing crescendos for dramatic effect, and injected some anger into their sound and songwriting. They also eased up a bit on the Eastern philosophy; the result is a more cohesive, memorable record overall, and quite an improvement from the sometimes overly precious Mental Jewelry. And for all of Mental Jewelry's ideologies, Throwing Copper is ultimately a more passionate and successful album, thanks to tracks like "I Alone," "Selling the Drama," and "All Over You," all of which received heavy radio play. The rebirth-themed "Lightning Crashes," the album's biggest hit, was written in memory of Barbara Lewis, a classmate who was killed by a drunk driver in 1993. Other standouts include the Kurt Cobain/Courtney Love-inspired "Stage," the apocalyptic "White, Discussion," the bass-driven, obsessive "Iris," and the dark "Dam at Otter Creek." Of course, Ed Kowalczyk couldn't resist throwing in a song like "T.B.D." (for the Tibetan Book of the Dead), based on Aldous Huxley's slow descent into death, aided by heroin. Its melodrama is a bit much, even for Live, and is just a sign of things to come on their next album, Secret Samadhi. But Throwing Copper is still a huge improvement from Mental Jewelry, and is the least overtly preachy Live album to date.
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AllMusic Review by Gina Boldman