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7 Worlds Collide
Artist: Neil Finn
Label: Nettwerk America
Tracks: 17
Total playing time: 74:36

The most common response I get from people when I ask them about Neil Finn is, "Who?" If you're like these unlucky folks, let me introduce you. Neil Finn was the lead singer/guitarist/songwriter for the critically acclaimed 80s band Crowded House. You're probably familiar with their single, "Don't Dream it's Over." But before you dismiss Neil Finn and his former band as a one-hit wonder, there's some songs you should hear.

With Crowded House, Finn was as good as anyone in the 80s at writing pop tunes with lyrics that would stick with you long after the song was over. Most of the music was in an optimistic, sometimes whimsical vein, yet Finn was always able to draw pictures with his words that few sketchers capture with pencil and paper.

In 1998 Neil Finn finally released a solo album, Try Whisteling This, to mixed reviews. This new collection of songs was a bit more brooding and mysterious than the Crowded House material, yet the charm was still intact. Songs like "Loose Tongue" (appearing here on 7 Worlds Collide) and "Sinner" showed an introspective side to Finn's work.

7 Worlds Collide is a live album recorded in New Zealand between April 2nd and 6th of 2001. The seven worlds are Neil Finn, Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam), Phil Selway and Ed O-Brien (Radiohead), Johnny Marr (The Smiths), Lisa Germano, bother Tim Finn, and son Liam Finn. The collection of songs here runs the gamut from the Crowded House years to Neil Finns solo material to some unexpected cover tunes.

The album kicks off with "Anytime," a song which deals with the unpredictability of life with an undeniably catchy melody and leaves the listener to ponder. Yet, ponder not long, because this album doesn't give the listener a moment to rest. This album just doesn't let up. Finn covers the classic Smith's tune There is a Light that Never Goes Out, Lisa Germano performs her song "Paper Doll," "Angel's Heap" is reminiscent of Meat Loaf's "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" without the dramatic overtones, Eddie Vedder renders a powerful, dark version of "I See Red" which was penned by Tim Finn, and of course "Don't Dream it's Over" is the album closer featuring a wonderful performance by the audience.

This album isn't for everyone. But for fans of thoughtful rock, great live performances, and talented artists, 7 Worlds Collide is a rare gem. This, folks, is Neil Finn. Get to know him.

Darryl A. Armstrong (04/14/2002)



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