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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Punishing Kiss

Ute Lemper

2000

Wikipedia

Punishing Kiss

Rating

2.48

Votes

3135

Reviews

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2

This kind of cabaret-muzak tripe owes 99% of its sales to business entities. The "corporate communications" departments at outfits like the Marriott Group approve it as album of the month, and this moves a few hundred thousand units. It spends its 30 days of patronage on repeat in hotel lobbies and art gallery gift shops, and afterwards it ends up in op-shops. The corporate world then forgets about Ute Lemper because Norah Jones has a new album out, it's lounge jazz covers of Soundgarden songs and for some reason, hotel chain executives think that is a good idea. Meanwhile, the wider public remains mostly unaware of this album's existence. Maybe Ute will have another album in a few years that's picked up in the same fashion, but for the moment she goes back to whatever artsy-fartsy theatrical bubble she came from. Soon enough the op-shops, inundated with copies of an album no one's ever heard of - let alone care enough about to pay $2 for - give up on trying to sell copies of it as individual units, and include them in bulk lots that are offloaded to Chinese ebay merchants. The CDs remain in warehouses just outside Shenzhen, the ebay listings untouched. This repeats as bulk lots are shifted from reseller to reseller. But the CDs never sell, and after a while they end up in landfill. The booklets disintegrate and the plastic begins to slowly decompose. Climate change eradicates humanity long before the CD cases are broken down into their base elements. Eventually, as the universe expands beyond its ability to maintain thermodynamic energy, everything comes to a slow, frozen, irreversible halt. 2/5.

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1

You know when you were a kid, and your parents dragged you along to some event? And you sat there, quietly and politely, all the while withering away inside and wishing it was over so you could do literally anything else? I have never heard that feeling captured so impeccably into music as I did here.

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1

Awful in ways difficult to describe. A performance hammier than a telenovela set on a pig farm, wrapped in spun-sugar arrangements so saccharine they made my teeth melt. This has been, easily, my least favourite offering on this app so far. Punishing Kiss is ridiculous, but not in any kind of fun way - it feels like a horribly calculated misstep. I imagine this is in 1001 albums one must listen to, so that every now and again were are consoled that the sweet embrace of the tomb is not so far away.

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4

I listened to this while playing the Lord of The Rings game on my psp and eating mint aero so I think maybe it was situation that I'm giving a 4.

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4

I feel like this should be the soundtrack for Cats

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3

If James Bond theme music was just about real life shit. This would be the theme music and I dig it

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1

Sounds like the soundtrack to a musical I don't want to see.

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5

Unique!

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5

This album is now on my list :)

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4

an hidden gem

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4

The lyrics on the first song were so literal... Then I saw Nick Cave co-write and that made complete sense. I feel like this album would be a first draft pick in the middle of a manic episode.

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4

Felt like a musical. The features are very noteworthy. Not the biggest fan of the vocals, but I loved the rest

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4

interesting, more like a musical

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4

Surprised myself by how much I enjoyed this

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4

Dramatic! Some really excellent performances.

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4

Ute is new to me. Such a powerful voice, and I loved the orchestration. They kind of feel like Bond tunes, with how dark and grand many of them are. Pleased to hear a couple Tom Waits tunes on the album.

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4

This is stunning...why am I late to this. 👏👏👏👏

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4

Haunting and visceral

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3

Respectable, but not my style

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3

Bit dramatic

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3

Music beds were awesome. Cool, jazzy, emotional, experimental. Vocals and lyrics were over dramatic. This seems like what theater kids listen to.

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3

man idk anymore

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2

What a bonkers album. Didn't sound particularly good, not sure if it gains or loses points for the song about the whorehouse. Either way a 4/10

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2

Brand new to me. First 2 songs YES! 3rd song not so much. As it goes along I still prefer the opening songs . Reminds me of Holly Cole at times. All in all there are some enjoyable moments, particularly The Case Continues and Split but in the end I'm left wondering as I have from time to time with this list; why this artist? why this album? 2.5 🌟

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2

Thoroughly did not enjoy it

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1

Started off thinking it could be interesting and quirky but the singing quickly got annoying

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1

I would describe the process of listening to this album as "tortuous". Absolutely. Fucking. Miserable.

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4

Tango Ballad: Quando canta il tizio della Divine Comedy non so perché mi ricorda le colonne sonore di Akira Yamaoka, tipo quella di Silent Hill 4 In conclusione: Sono in difficoltà sulla votazione. I primi due pezzi m'hanno fatto pensare che questo album sarebbe stato un 5, purtroppo però manca di consistenza, che è anche comprensibile considerando la quantità di gente che ha partecipato. Ute Lemper è senza dubbio talentuosa, forse a tratti esce troppo la sua vena musical e diventa un po' patetica, però dall'altra parte il fatto che è anche attrice le dona un'interpretazione che quando funziona fa venire la pelle d'oca. Purtroppo nella maggior parte dei pezzi non fa click però con qualche eccezione tipo Little Water Song, The Case Continues o You Were Meant For Me. Che dire, peccato, nei punti più alti è sicuramente da 5, purtroppo però la media è così così. Mi sento comunque di premiarlo con un 4.

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4

I liked this alot. Zo rustig, zo mooi, een echt verhaal in het album, een beetje musical een beetje niet. Ik ga dat zeker nog eens opzetten. De tango ballad ging gewoon hard

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4

Последние два трека!

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4

Rad and a little mad, this was epic

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4

This was an interesting album. A bit slow for my taste but I enjoyed it nonetheless. A cool thing about this is how you can clearly hear the influences of the "guest" artists for each song

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4

A genuine discovery through this project, really liked it.

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4

Fantastic singing, poetry and writing. I think Ute gets too much credit here, though. She's got an amazing voice and is unique talent. But the people who wrote the songs, and the guy who re-envisioned them should get at least 50% of the credit, in my opinion. That aside, still a four star album.

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3

6/10 FT: split

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3

This lacks a bit of life, which keeps it from being as beautiful a set of songs as it hints at. Lemper has a good voice, but the recordings seem a bit by-the-numbers. Ditto with the instrumentals, though they have nicely sharp bits. It's certainly cozy, though, and I can see myself returning if I become fonder of any of the non-Scott Walker writers or listen to more Lemper or Divine Comedy. The closing song is a great Walker suite, but it speaks to his strengths more than it reinforces the rest of the album.

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3

Classy, pretty interesting. Favourite song: The Case Continues

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3

I would never have heard this without this project, I maynever hear it again, but it was a nice listen while it was here. There are a couple of wonderful songs, and a couple of almost unbearable ones. Those couple of wonderful ones are so wonderful they make up for the rest. The woman has a killer voice too.

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3

good sound but not really what I'm ever looking for

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3

Interesting idea for an album but the music just didn’t sit well with me. 5

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3

Eerie and beautiful. I don't think I'll revisit it, but the haunting sound here will stick for a while.

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3

6/10. Weird that there was a duet about missing the good old days when they were living in a whorehouse.

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3

5/10. This was so weird, the vocal performance was great but the songs were so cheesy and I only liked a few of them

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3

Buen disco. Tiene algún tema maravilloso y otros demasiado grandilocuentes y agotadores

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3

Is this a musical? Very wierd, but interesting. A lot of drama. Music was a little... cabaret for me at times, but also quite beautiful. A lot of big names on here...I don't really understand what's going on, but it kept me semi intrigued

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3

Great voice; the lyrics dig into deep narrative and character development. Tho it sometimes falls into too much edgy cynicism for my taste

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3

This has strong musical vibes. Which for me means I sort of hate it. I love to listen to the soundtrack for a musical if I know the songs and can sing along. It’s a chicken/egg situation.

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3

Did listen, and quite liked. If you were into this go see Camille O’Sullivan if ever things open up enough for gigs to be played.

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3

Complex and odd (in a bad way) but I did like passionate fight

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3

Very interesting cabaret style album

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3

Wow I actually like this album (Apple Music previews), but it's not available here :(

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3

Dramatic, ominous showtunes. A good time!!

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3

Sounds like it are musical songs All songs are good, but feel like there from a musical 3,5/5

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3

A strong vocal performance from Ute Lemper. My first time listening to any of her work, but I'm very much intrigued to hear more of her music.

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3

So theatrical. A bit surprised to see some Tom Waits covers but it sort of makes sense. I generally do not get into this sort of thing, but she's clearly talented.

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3

weird album. not bad just weird

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3

I feel like I *should* like this... I like Tom Waits, Nick Cave, and Elvis Costello quite a bit, I like this style of cinematic 60s belter... it just doesn't connect for me. Maybe it's the darker modern production and the heavy leaning on strings over brass in the arrangements... this needs some big ol' Henry Mancini swells or something. This style of music is self-aware enough to wink at the audience but it's being blended with songwriting so self-serious that it keeps its winking behind closed doors. However, I could see this album being a grower worth revisiting.

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3

Nah I'm skipping this one, who is this person and why should I care lol I'm sorry if this is pretentious but like cmon

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3

Pas trop mon style mais belle voix. Je n'ai pas écouté jusqu'au bout. 3

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3

Esta chido... pero como que le hecha mucha crema a la voz y termina enfadando.

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3

Musicals. Not for me. She has a good voice though. Very musicals

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3

A bit odd, a bit musical, a bit over the top in places. Had never heard of this person but don't mind the album.

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3

A German cabaret singer who I heard in my childhood in Hunchback of Notredam. (see Spotify most listen) Again, I wonder why it's one of the 1001 albums? (6/10) FT: Tango Ballad, The Part You Throw Away

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3

Too theatrical to my liking, but there's no denying the singer's presence.

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3

Interesting sound with lots of good collaboration.

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3

So I was going to give this a 4, I really was. But that was before it went on and on way longer than it should have. I enjoyed it at first but I got tired of the same relentlessly dramatic style that felt tedious and redundant during the whole second half. Super theatrical, which would have been cool if it had ended 30 min earlier.

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3

I agree with the one review that says "Respectable, but not my type of music". It's very well done, but it's not my type of music. Favorite Songs: Couldn't You Keep That to Yourself, The Part You Throw Away, Purple Avenue, Scope J.

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3

Förvånandsvärt bra? jag var livrädd att det skulle vara trist swing yehaw det svänger katten ^.^ men det här var mer gothhhh. men fortfarande covers så lame zz.

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3

Eh

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3

This is the kind of thing that is so unexpected that ends up being a good experience. I'm not a fan of "The divine comedy", but these versions and songs are pretty much cool. They are not quintessential for music, but I already received many worst things on this list, so, this is nice.

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3

What a mixed bag. I wasn't sure what to expect going in but I saw names like Tom Waits and Nick Cave so I was hopeful. I think this music works better in small doses. I could see myself listening to more of her work and some of the songs on this album again. Ute has a nice voice and the music is generally good but sometimes the songs drag a bit. At about an hour I was ready for it to be over even if it was a mostly pleasant experience.

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3

this is the sort of album that makes you feel small until you realise it's Vegas cabaret schmaltz, not decadent chaise-longue sophistication

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3

On first listen, I didn't love this as much as I expected to but I suspect it will grow on me with repeated listening.

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3

A solid album with variety, good writing and every song is decent. I loved the musical composition and orchestration. And the features are very noteworthy, esp. Nick Cave, Elvis Costello and Tom Waits. Only thing that keeps me away from giving 4 stars is her vocals. FT: The Part You Throw Away Little Water Song  Punishing Kiss  Purple Avenue  The Case Continues  Passionate Fight

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3

Like listening to a string of Bond theme songs which I'd never heard before. She's CLEARLY a stage singer - everything sounds Broadway. Didn't add - though I did listen to chunks of her other THREE DOZEN albums.

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3

6/10 Best Song - Punishing Kiss

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3

Beautiful voice, music behind it was uninteresting

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2

meh, not my vibe

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2

очень скучно

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2

In no mood for this radio 2, Elaine Page crap today. More international box ticking?

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2

I wasn't feeling this. Not really paying attention, but it also wasn't speaking to me.

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2

Chansons, chansons! Felt a bit like a musical. Not bad, but not my jam.

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2

Beautiful voice, but not quite my thing. Maybe if I was sitting in a lounge in Paris.

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2

ei mun mieleen vaikka jazzia onkin, kuulostaa enemmän joltain oudolta musikaalilta

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2

Not for me.

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2

Bland is kind. 2*

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2

Very weird. Has some interesting moments but the overall theatricality gets a bit too much after a while.

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2

Non lo conoscevo, inizialmente credevo mi sarebbe piaciuto poi però ho avuto molte difficoltà a sopportarlo, eccessivamente teatrale come ascolto. Il suo modo di cantare è un polpettone letale.

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2

not my cup of tea

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2

Ute Lemberg has a fantastic voice and the collaboration with The Divine Comedy is an interesting one but the album doesn’t have enough of a spark to sustain your interest.

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2

Pros: alcuni arrangiamenti orchestrali li ho trovati interessanti. La cantante è molto tecnica ed espressiva. Cons: spesso mi è sembrato di ascoltare qualcosa di troppo pacchiano, lei è brava ma a un certo punto si accolla. Atmosfera da musical noioso.

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2

Musical feel. Heavy, somber. Couldn’t get into it.

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2

not my jam...

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2

I did not enjoy this. Don't particularly like her obviously proficient voice. The production is too crisp and clean for my taste. Ohh man I really don't like when the male vocalist comes in at all. It's funny cause the selection of material tries to come off hard edged and cynical but the execution makes it seem so inauthentic and unbelievable. I don't buy it. Most interesting track was the last; Scope J. If more of the album was like that one I'd be more interested.

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2

Weird, like a theatre score or musical film music. Each song like a story. Out there, different, not surprising given that Nick Cave features. Intriguing though, not bad,but also not my kind of thing. 2/5

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2

11th August 2021 Started while our getting lunch when I went in to the office for our team day. Finished the morning after. Very strange, was it written for a show? Hugely dramatic, gothic, you could tell from the first song that nick cave had his hands on it.

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2

Not my bag but appreciated some of the tunes

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2

puf, menudo rollazo. Por los nombres de los autores pintaba bien, pero ...

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2

It sounds like the kind of music that would get played in Debenhams at Christmas. 2 stars because she looks a bit like Gillian Anderson in the cover photo and I thought that deserved recognition.

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2

Took a couple of listens - obviously clever stuff but washed over me really

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2

not my cup of tea

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2

The music is pretty cool, but then the singing comes in. A VERY polarizing style of lead vocal. A bit too melodramatic for these ears. 2.5/5.

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2

I started out on board with this album, and the first two songs are interesting and enjoyable. But the album just goes big broadway extravagence song after song that is a bit more obnoxious than entertaining. I want to give it a 3 for effort, as Ute has a pretty amazing voice, but i actually was getting irritated by the time i made it to the end of the album.

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2

Her voice is a bit hypnotic, and the band plays true. Nothing overtly objectionable.

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2

A bit of an uphill struggle to listen - very cabaret-y and wasn't too impressed by it.

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2

First listen. Kinda Showtunesy... hard to like, hard to dislike. 2/5

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2

Not my cup of tea

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2

La propuesta me parecía interesante, además me gustan The Divine Comedy pero el disco me ha parecido más o menos aburrido. No creo que sea algo a escuchar obligatoriamente en la vida. Le voy a dar 2 estrellas ** pero podría haber sido una, no por malo, sino por aburrido.

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2

A little Dresden Dolls-esque, crossed with Kurt Weill. Rich orchestrating and a very strong German vocal. Too theatrical for me, but it was nice to listen to once.

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2

Hm. Well. What this lacks in terms of being interesting it tries to overcompensate with being overly dramatic I guess. Anyway, I really didn't care for this one.

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2

So-so. I liked it better than The Divine Comedy's solo albums but still not my cup of tea

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2

What is this? A collection of show tunes?

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2

lol no

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2

Clearly everyone involved in the making of this album are excellent musicians and skilled players, but overall I just wasn't swept away by the compositions.

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2

Nah

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2

The way she sang kinda irked me at times; there was this kitschy, overly dramatic quality to her voice. She sounds the way I imagine a melancholy Cruella de Vil would sing while reclining on a long leather sofa in a dingy Paris nightclub smoking from a classy cigarette holder. If Cruella ever wrote a musical it would sound like this. Still, some of the music was pleasant and well-written, I can respect the work and creativity that went into the album. It sounds like a 1980s popstar decided to write a 1940s cabaret album. I didn't dislike it too much, but I probably won't return to this one.

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2

This is just so much

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2

I’m not quite sure who this is for? Kind of a collection of songs that would play during movie scenes that last a little too long? I didn’t turn it off (which is my criteria for a 1) but I did a lot of checking to see how close to the end I was

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2

Not for me

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2

Torchsong album that mostly fizzles.

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2

An exercise in technical appreciation, rather than enjoyment.

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2

First two tracks are cool Bond themes, the rest are melodramatic tripe. Why is this on the the list?

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2

Instrumentalmente bueno, pero falto de intensidad. No es ni pop.

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2

no

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2

Ive scraped worse from the sole of my shoes tonight. A complete waste of Nigel Spackman's time and money. I'd rather fuck a mouse.

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1

2000. Key Song: Little Water Song

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1

Connor: showtunes. boring ones.

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1

I really didn't like this album. I forced myself to listen through it because it was, admittedly, very different from my tastes. At best, some songs were nothing special. There were more than a few that I found almost discordant.

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1

Utter tripe

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1

didnt like it

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1

no no no

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1

Not great

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1

Just no

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1

false

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1

Enya meets Phantom of the Opera. Very poetic, but not in the way I like. Jazzy showtimes was the vibe I got, and then I read she started in Chicago. It's all making sense. Talent but not what I'm into

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1

Tosh. Surprising considering people involved.

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1

This was the worst garbage I’ve ever forced myself to listen to.

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1

Not my kinda of music

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1

Strangely reminiscent of peri peri.

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1

"1001 albums you must hear before you listen to this"

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1

I did not dig it

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1

Not my kind... only Lili Marlene but from another disc

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1

No lo pude terminar de escuchar. Hice un gran esfuerzo.

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1

Ute Lemper is best known for her interpretations of Kurt Weill, so covering artists influenced by Kurt Weill might turn out to be either inspired or reductive. Looking at the track list, I was like "Oh, yeah, Elvis Costello's later work is influenced by Kurt Weill," which had never occurred to me before. I'll be interested to see if that's true about Philip Glass. Of course, everyone knows that's true of Tom Waits and Nick Cave. But who are Noel Scott Engel and Neil Hannon, both of whom have the lion's share of composing credits? Oh, shit--Noel Scott Engel is Scott Walker, who Americanized the songs of Jacques Brel and who never met a 72 piece orchestra he didn't want to masturbate to. Neil Hannon is the founder of the contemporary group The Divine Comedy, a throwback to the days when melody was paramount and kitchen sink arrangements were the norm. Worse, the members of The Divine Comedy are the backing musicians! I dislike The Divine Comedy and both of the latter composers, so now I'm more than a little apprehensive about Punishing Kiss. Here goes. Predictably, it all falls flat, but it's difficult to accurately apportion blame. Of course, no song would have had a prayer of withstanding the overwrought orchestrations and performances of The Divine Comedy, but the effect is to make all the songs seem slight and jejune, even the Kurt Weill piece, which can't possibly be true. Ute Lemper strikes me here as melodramatic in her readings instead of deadpan, which is more appropriate for a Weill-influenced set, but she really had no choice given the accompaniment. At least she's better than Neil Hannon, who is pure ham in his duets with Lemper. Pretty fucking awful.

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1

I didn’t really enjoy it.

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1

I found it boring.

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1

Sounded like the boring songs in a musical

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1

Not for me

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1

Wow, this is ~VERY~ dramatic and bizarre. The highlight is the duet with the even more dramatic male singer where Ute gets nostalgic about being beaten and forced into prostitution.

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1

Weird and terrible

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1

Just terrible, i dont know how to describe it, lounge music mixed with showtunes?

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1

The play count on Spotify at this time should have been warning enough, but alas, an attempt at being open-minded backfires. Perhaps a success in small circles, but no justifiable reason this review can conjure as to why a person should listen to this prior to leaving this mortal plane, except for an object lesson in what is bad. If one has proclivities to enjoying cabaret music, or storytelling through song without context, then this album could very well be the scratch on that itch. What this album is not though, is enjoyable, and perhaps because the genre/style is very specific. Ute Lemper and her guests on this album perhaps made an album only they would be interested in. Ute Lemper is a talented singer at times, but at others it is though she is impersonating a bad version of herself. Perhaps, this is the fault of the music being put to wordy stanzas that have no rhyme or reason, with fluctuating highs and lows that would never sound sensical in a song worth listening to vs. a song being played out a la theatre with accompanied visuals. While it may be considered a lack of imagination for those that might find this type of music exhilarating, the fault here is that the imagination lacks motivation. It is a chore to the mind, it is that excitement of a new food and moderate expectations that instead gets met with dislike. In fairness, "You Were Meant For Me" did make better use of melody and vocals, granting the type of repetition that makes music inclusive, but it ends there and is not enough to redeem the overall experience of this album as being anything other than dismal. The album very likely can find its appreciation in the world of cabaret, music theater, the niche elements of broadway entertainment, but that is it, and that is okay within those shared interests just not here.

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1

Trash covers

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1

I made it through a few songs. She has some vocal talent and some big name collaborators but this was giving me a headache. Couldn't do it

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1

Nope, couldn’t enjoy this.

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1

Hmmm... a little weird... Reminds me a little bit of Bjork but without the good instrumentals and special something that Bjork's voice has. Midway through the first song I was already starting to get sick of her voice. Not good. To her credit, she seems to have mostly dropped the weird thing she was doing with her voice after the first song, but it's still just meh. Then the man's voice comes in and I... what's happening? What are these lyrics?

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1

Inorganic and stiff, nice execution but with as much soul as elevator or mezzanine music. Was going to give it a 2 for the execution but meh

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1

Proof that not every stage star should record an album. A voice that gyrates between annoying and awful with all of the appeal of fingernails scraping a chalkboard. This has a William Shatner meets William Hung element to it.

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1

not for me. couldn't get into it

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1

Fuck

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1

what the fuck is this? i can't work it out. its like some 30s vera lynn but trying to disguise itself as modern and edgy by using names of popular sad singer songwriters. ether way its not listenable.

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Frank Black hype is overrated apparently.

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