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Pandemonium Shadow Show

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Harry Nilsson 8/29/1995

Review

Harry Nilsson's debut album, Pandemonium Shadow Show, was notoriously loved by the Beatles, and it's easy to see why. This is the only record of its time that feels akin to Sgt. Pepper, and in some ways, it's every bit as impressive. Nilsson works on a much smaller scale, leaning heavily on whimsy yet cutting it with sardonic humor and embellishing it with remarkable song and studiocraft; it's as if McCartney and Lennon were fused into the same body. Pandemonium can't help but feel like a cheeky show of strength by a remarkably gifted imp, spinning out psychedelic fantasias and jokes and trumping his idols by turning out a cover of "She's Leaving Home" (recorded ten days after Sgt. Pepper's release) that rivals the original. Beneath all the light playful melodies ("There Will Never Be" is swinging London, L.A. style) or glorious laments (he rarely equaled "Sleep Late, My Lady Friend"), there are serious strains: the lyrics of "Cuddly Toy" are as unsettling as the melody catchy, the circus-stomp "Ten Little Indians" is a darkly addictive retelling of the Ten Commandments, and "1941" is quietly heartbreaking beneath its jaunty cabaret. Throughout it all, Nilsson impresses with his humor, cleverness, and above all, how his songwriting blossoms under his shockingly inventive studiocraft. Psychedelic pop albums rarely came better than this, and it remains a thorough delight. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Ten Little Indians Harry Nilsson 2:52
  3. 2 1941 Harry Nilsson 2:43
  4. 3 Cuddly Toy Harry Nilsson 2:52
  5. 4 She Sang Hymns Out of Tune Harry Nilsson 2:25
  6. 5 You Can't Do That Harry Nilsson 2:21
  7. 6 Sleep Late, My Lady Friend Harry Nilsson 2:44
  8. 7 She's Leaving Home Harry Nilsson 3:20
  9. 8 There Will Never Be Harry Nilsson 2:31
  10. 9 Without Her Harry Nilsson 2:20
  11. 10 Freckles Harry Nilsson 2:18
  12. 11 It's Been So Long Harry Nilsson 2:14
  13. 12 River Deep, Mountain High Harry Nilsson 4:22
  14. 13 As I Wander Lonely Harry Nilsson 2:4
  15. 14 She Sang Hymns Out Of Tune (Mono Single Version) Harry Nilsson 2:19

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