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Neil Young comparison overstated

Started by Matt_Dowell, Sep 06, 2003, 10:05 am

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Does Jim really sound THAT MUCH like Neil Young?!  To my ears, he doesn't.  Perhaps I would concede "Come Closer", but that is about it.  I appreciate the positive reviews, but by the way that Neil Young is constantly cited, you would think that he's a member of the band.  I wonder if and when those comparisons will stop.  It seems like a crutch that the writers are using.  It is almost as if they are reading other press on MMJ and have agreed that it is part of the necessary protocol when discussing MMJ.  I know that when discussing an artist, comparisons to other artists are inevitable, but this one is worn out and overstated.  

Maybe there is a similar spirit behind the music, but then there are other artist who share a similar spirit.  As far as the actual sound is concerned, I don't think it is really that close.

peanut butter puddin surprise

While I too have read and heard that comparision a lot, I think that it is a huge compliment.  Think about it.

It's not as if Jim is being compared to, say...Justin Timberlake constantly.  Now that would get old fast.

Writers and critics are funny;  they have a recipe book of influences and "RIYL" (recommended if you like) memorized to whip out when they cannot otherwise characterize a band's sound.  Hence the Skynrd thang, or the Allman thang...where does that come from?  That the guys are from Louisville and therefore the South, meaning they have to be lumped together with all things Southern Fried?

K-Tel records once had one of their infamous compilation albums in the early '80s called Southern Fried Rock that included The Outlaws, Molly Hatchet, Lynrd Skynrd, .38 Special, with a picture of a fried egg on the cover.  (Yes, I once owned a cassette copy of it).  Sometimes I wonder if some of these folks are listening to that record when they make those comparisions.  

MMJ=rock music.  There are elements of other subgenres, but it's just too hard to catagorize into some neat subcategory of a subcategory that journalists love to do.  Hence their popularity, originality, and charisma-or Je Ne Se Qua', if you will.  ;D
Runnin' from somethin' that isn't there


I always heard The Beach Boys in some of the songs, like "Heartbreakin' Man", but they are hardly ever mentioned. But well, Jim's a singer with a high voice in the 'Americana'-genre, they are being introduced to a big audience for the first time, so a Neil Young comparison is inevitable. It'll fade in the years. There is no one that still talks about Kate Bush when Tori Amos is mentioned, is there?
I'm ready when you are

peanut butter puddin surprise

QuoteThere is no one that still talks about Kate Bush when Tori Amos is mentioned, is there?

Unless you are asking me, of course... ;)
Runnin' from somethin' that isn't there


The range and number of comparisons the guys get is proof of their strength and originality. Critics - the ones I like - love music, and they find themselves, Hell, I find myself trying to come up with comparisons, starting points. I hear Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev a little in the earlier stuff, but the comparison makes no sense in the most recent songs. People mention everyone from Skynard (and, with It Still Moves apparently, the Allman Bros.) to Radiohead. Interesting. The Neil Young thing doesn't quite work. For one thing Jim has control of his voice (the beauty of Neil is that in a wonderful way, he doesn't). Neil's voice is the perfect partner to his big, crazy guitar. Jim's voice is the perfect emotional soul-coupling with MMJ. Bigger, kinder, more giving than Neil's. The comparison I haven't seen from anyone except Jim himself is Roy Orbison. That's the instrument I hear most clearly.


Yeah, Roy Orbison! That's a mighty good one! Jim'll be pleased, should he hear that.
I'm ready when you are


Yeah! Orbison is closer to it than Neil Young. I'm a huge Neil Young fan, but I just don't hear it. I never really did. But I agree with you O, I've always heard a little Beach Boys in Jim's voice... Probably Carl Wilson. Jim could sing "God Only Knows" perfectly.  
You came around when I needed you, now I'm up to my neck in you.


Graham Parsons and Roy Orbison. I can hear that! I heard somebody mention Christopher Cross the other day! Now that's crazy!


i'm a huge neil young fan too, and if anyone has read the book "shakey", you would find that neil young was a fan of orbison.  i've often thought that young sounded a lot like orbison (listen to his first solo record).  people tend to be drawn to their influences, and those influences usually show thru in their art.  i think this whole conversation is silly.  in the end, jim james has his own voice, and it's great.