Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Split Enz - Conflicting Emotions

This month celebrates the thirtieth anniversary of Conflicting Emotions, the second-to-last studio album from Split Enz during the 1980’s. This 1983 release went to number 137 on the US Billboard Album chart, number 18 in the Netherlands, number 13 in Australia, and number 3 in New Zealand.

Side one starts with “Strait Old Line”; as the first single, it charted at number 42 in Australia and number 15 in New Zealand. It features a funky bass groove courtesy of Nigel Griggs and a light, bouncy piano line from Neil Finn.

“Bullet Brain and Cactus Head” has such an intriguing title that you don’t know what to expect. What you get is a very quirky song about two individuals caught in a conflict; the irony is that they both are very much alike despite any perceived differences. I do like the carnival style piano solo bridge towards the latter half of the song.

“Message to My Girl”, the second single, went to number 28 in New Zealand, number 13 in the Netherlands, and number 6 in Australia. In 2001, the Australian Performing Rights Association voted it the 36th best New Zealand song of the 20th century.

Noel Crombie works up some very tribal rhythms on the percussion for “Working Up an Appetite”. I like how it builds to a furious level for the chorus. It quickly jumped to my favorite track on the first half.

“Our Day” was written by Neil Finn in anticipation of the birth of his son. The music is full of uncertainty and excitement and concern and hope, all the things that a first time parent goes through. I remember those days well.

Side two begins with the bouncy, all-business “No Mischief”. It has a nice R&B groove underlying it.

“The Devil You Know” has a gentle sway to it that is almost hypnotic.

Time to snap out of it with an up-tempo rocker. “I Wake Up Every Night” was released as the third single from the album and is easily my favorite track on side two.

The title track, and B-side to the third single, “Conflicting Emotions” is next. The opening is a little chaotic and out there; after about a third of the way through it settles down a bit. By that point, I was kind of tuned out though.

The album closes with the moving “Bon Voyage”.

I enjoyed checking out most of Conflicting Emotions for the first time for this review. I like the variety of styles that Split Enz incorporated here; it keeps the record flowing and fun. There are definitely a few tracks from it that I plan on picking up soon.

For the band’s 1982 album Time and Tide, click here.

1 comment:

HERC said...

Just listened ot "Message To My Girl" this past weekend whilst in shuffle mode. Good, good song.

Split Enz are underappreciated in my book. Thanks for shining some light on their music.