The third solo
offering from Ian Brown
, following Unfinished Monkey Business
and Golden Greats
. Released in 2001, Brownie claimed that Music of the Spheres
would finally see his return to the pop music brilliance that marked his career with the Stone Roses
. If it weren't for the mild disappointment of tracks like Forever and a Day
, Brownie would have succeeded. As he did when crafting Golden Greats
, Brown moves in a completely different direction, leaning more toward airy string
arrangements and moving away from the subtle, moody electronica
that dominated Golden Greats.
- F.E.A.R 4:30
A standout track, considered by most to be the best on the album. Great lush strings, centered around an orchestral arrangement that often takes some unexpected turns. The real focus of the song, the lyrics, are not only good, but are carefully arranged so that the first letter of each word in every line constitues the word F.E.A.R. (i.e. "Forget Everything And Remember/ For Everything A Reason", etc).
- Stardust 4:30
Shimmery and ethereal, Stardust is a pretty good song, but not a standout track. The weirdo lyrics are definitely back, though, as made obvious by Brownie's declaration that he is "made from stardust/The same DNA as stardust".
- The Gravy Train 4:24
Complete with references to illicit drugs, The Gravy Train is pure Ian Brown, although it is sometimes compared to the work of Tricky or Primal Scream. Creatively arranged with low-key verses and an upbeat, funkified refrain.
- Bubbles 4:35
Pretty good song, with a backbeat reminiscent of "Beautiful Stranger" by Madonna, minus the raunchiness and the "na na na na"s. Has a bit of a 60s psychedelic flavour.
- Northern Lights 4:14
Great soothing song. Really calm and mellow, with a nice laid-back, muted rock sort of feel to it. One of the better songs on the album.
- Whispers 3:56
The second single from the album (the first one being F.E.A.R), Whispers has a 70s funk feel, which has a strong presence especially in the scattered orchestral strings arrangements throughout the song. Whispers is a bit of a weird one, but definitely not a song to be missed.
- El Mundo Pequeno 4:01
A really great song if you can get past the fact that it's entirely in Spanish. Has a really tranquil ambiance and a guitar-based melody that makes it a definite standout track. Very minimal. Very good.
- Forever and a Day 2:45
Forever and A Day is a jerky, repetitive guitar track, and probably one of the weaker tunes on the album. Nothing special here, really, although the intro riff sort of sounds like "Stairway to Heaven".
- Shadow of a Saint 4:12
A good choice for a third single, this is one of the poppier songs on the album, and is also a good one. An upbeat guitar melody blends well with some uplifting string arrangements and airy lyrics about "leaving on the wings of an angel". A good attempt to close the album on a positive note. Has the same feel as a Lightning Seeds song, only less saccharine.