Album Review: Live – “Throwing Copper”

Live released their second album, Throwing Copper, on April 26, 1994, and it was produced by Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads. As of this writing, the album has sold over eight million copies in the United States.


My first exposure to Live came through hearing the song “Operation Spirit (The Tyranny of Tradition),” which was a single from the band’s first album, on my local CHR/Top 40 station back in 1992. This same station also was a sponsor for that year’s MTV 120 Minutes Tour, and Live was one of the bands on the bill. Since the concert was taking place at the college located where I lived, I went to the show and was impressed by what I heard from Live. So, when I heard the singles released for Throwing Copper, I was very interested to see how the band would follow-up its debut album.

Throwing Copper opens with “The Dam at Otter Creek.” It opens with a quiet musical introduction mixed with some speaking. The song takes a little bit to get going, but once Ed Kowalczyk’s vocals come in, the song begins to build. With how this song is produced, it definitely works best as an opening song for an album. Next is “Selling the Drama,” which was released as the first single for the album. It’s a rather pop-friendly mid-1990s alternative song, and it peaked at number forty-three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. “Selling the Drama” is one of my favorite songs from Throwing Copper.

This is followed by “I Alone,” which was released as the second single from the album; it peaked at number thirty-eight on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart. Musically, this is another pop-friendly mid-1990s alternative song; however, this meaning of the song’s lyrics is rather ambiguous. “I Alone” is another song that I really enjoy on Throwing Copper. The next song is “Iris,” which starts out with a slow opening, but quickly picks up in intensity. I like the sound of this song, and think it could have potentially been a single.

Next is “Lightning Crashes,” which was released as the third single from Throwing Copper; it peaked at number twelve on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart. The song slows the pace of the album down, but as the song progresses, it builds in intensity. The band has explained that the song tells the story of one family mourning the loss of a woman while a baby is born from a young mother in another hospital room, and that it tells about a “transference of life.” This is another song that I really enjoy from the album. This is followed by “Top,” which is the shortest song on the album. Not only is “Top” the shortest song, but it also picks the pace of the album back up after “Lightning Crashes.”

“All Over You” was released as the fourth single from Throwing Copper; it peaked at number thirty-three on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart. It’s another pop-friendly mid-1990s alternative song, and it’s another song that I really enjoy on the album. This is followed by “Sh** Towne,” which is a midtempo song that helps to slow the tempo of the album down. It has a good sound to it, but it definitely would never have been a single (both due to its sudden tempo changes and its title).

Next is “T.B.D.,” which starts out with a very quiet and slow introduction. As it progresses, the song basically stays at the same tempo; however, the volume does steadily increase over the course of the song, until it reaches a crescendo. This is followed by “Stage,” which picks the pace of the album back up, and is one of the more intense songs on Throwing Copper.

“Pillar of Davidson” is the longest song on the album. It starts out with an intense sound, but quickly slows down to a more midtempo song. It should also be noted that there is some swearing in the vocals rather early on in the song. This is followed by “White, Discussion,” which was released as the fifth and final single from Throwing Copper. It’s a very slow song, and it surprises me that this was even released as a single; it’s not a radio-friendly song at all. Not that it’s a bad song, but it just doesn’t sound like a single. There is a hidden fourteenth song on the album titled “Horse”; it picks the pace of the album back up after “White, Discussion.”

Overall, Throwing Copper isn’t a bad album, but it’s just not quite as strong as their debut album, Mental Jewelry.

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