Iggy Taylor – ATARAXIS – Album Review
By : Jer @ SBS
I wasn’t prepared for this. Maybe I’m still not…
Iggy – first off, I want to tell you direct it is completely WRONG of you to make a heavily-bearded man like myself enjoy a song called “Coochie Coo;” brother, that’s just straight evil!
Ataraxis is an extremely interesting album that ranges in many sounds and styles. Iggy Taylor clearly not only has a number of influences but he also listens to music in a way much different than most, but one shared by yours truly…
This album incorporates one major element time and time again – great pop-rock songwriting. Each track has its own flavor and sound, just as each pushes the pop or the rock edge to a certain degree, exposing each as a lighter or a darker sound. The production on the album by Iggy also plays a major starring role as with each touch of the controls, Taylor has morphed himself and his sound from track to track. No matter how much of a musical chameleon he chooses to be – he still understands quite well how to write a hook and music that holds attention with each track that passes.
Now, because the sound varies so much between songs, it’s only fair to comment on what’s working well for Iggy Taylor on this album. For instance, the fact that the sounds and songs vary so much is an achievement in itself. Iggy has virtually set foot into many genres here and created many unique tracks within them on Ataraxis. Musically – Iggy has a tremendous ear for the harder rock edge as displayed on tracks like “I Sit Alone” and “Psycho Bitch” – both of which take the middle of the album and pump it up with some energy where most albums tend to sag.
“I Sit Alone” though I like a lot on an instrumental level; struggles a bit against the high-end vocals of Taylor. The contrast might be a little too far spread to truly appreciate that there is definitely a song here, and a good one at that. Although I like the vocal pattern – his vocals come awfully close to a “Weird Al” sound on this song and I’m just not sure that was the right sound for this particular track.
Production wise, a track like “India Love” just can’t be beat. This track lies in a weird spot between 54-40 and the oldest albums from The Tea Party and it sounds fantastic. Simplistic and clean – this is a standout to me for sure; and Taylor sounds right at home in a heavily filtered vocal melody that fits perfectly with this anthem-style song.
He ends this album on another fantastic piece of pop-confection. The ear-candy comes in the form of “It’s You” with beautiful sections of chorused out-vocals and harmonies and an immaculate guitar tone. The vocal pattern and style that Taylor chooses on this track really expresses some of the highlights in the music Taylor makes. The guitar solos towards the end of this track are out-of-control good and played with an excellent feel and touch, producing forth a tremendous tone and sound that fit perfectly within the song. There’s a common strength you can find in Iggy Taylor’s music from track to track, whether he’s chosen a sound you like, or not.
Cause I’ll admit – I look at a title like “Coochie Coo” and I want to poke both of my eyes in with the closest plastic fork. But I’ll also admit there’s no denying he’s written a catchy song and thankfully my eyeballs remain intact. While the sound effects push it past the point of being taken as a “serious” track whatsoever, the meat of the song is a truly catchy groove that has a classic feel to it. “Rosie, Rosie, Rosie” walks this line as well…again, completely well played but after breaking some truly new ground over the three tracks prior it comes in like an intermission between the chapters of the main event. And for myself, I’m much more sold on the serious side of Iggy Taylor. “Don’t Cry For Me” is a fantastic example of an epic acoustic track – one that you can hear the passion and depth…that extra 10% comes out big time from Iggy on this track. “I Do,” a Beatles-esque track nearing the end of the album, comes across compellingly honest and real. Focused. It sounds like Badfinger met the Beatles and made the ultimate pop-rock song, another excellent example of songwriting found on Ataraxis.
What I like by Iggy Taylor, I like a LOT. What sounds come out that I'm not as attached to are at the very least is still very well played and written with dedication to the craft and style. It’s tough to always like a range of sounds when we all clearly have strengths and weaknesses in what we record and play. At the end of the day, it really is that range of sound that makes Ataraxis the album that it is and really shows that the best attribute that Iggy Taylor possesses in addition to his songwriting ability is his courage to take on any sound with the maximum musical force he can bring to it, every time.
Episode 065 – SBS But No BS Part X.
"Nicely done and very Beatlesque indeed."
Bruce Springsteen Record Producer Mike Appel
The 10-song album titled Hits They Missed! was released early this winter, featuring Taylor's foot-tapping tune, "My Turn This Time," a country-sounding song about pushing forward in "a world that often says no." by Liz Seasholtz Issue date: 2/19/08 Section: Mosaic
"Of Head Bangers and Hamburgers John Iggy Taylor, a local rocker who shuffled around in a band called Too Little Time, entered a song he wrote into American Idol's first songwriting contest. The winning singer would belt out the winning song during the finale. Taylor and his twangy tune, My Turn This Time,didn't make the cut. But his song didn't go unnoticed. Oakland record label Melodies That Matter plucked the song from the Idol's dis pile and included it in a compilation CD, Hits They Missed! Songs Not Fit for an Idol (Or So They Say).Taylor, 54, is an unapologetic headbanger, but hoped his saccharine country tune would appeal to a wider audience. Now it can. Jordin Sparks must feel totally embarrassed for having missed out. "
"Often sporting a sleeveless tee-shirt that shows off his John Lennon tattoo, it's clear that Taylor, who lives in Hockessin, is a rock n roll enthusiast through and through"
"great flavors to get me up onto my feet and moving all around the room with my arms spread like an eagle shouting along with Iggy for 3 minutes"
"Love your song. It's delightfully politically incorrect in a hilarious way. I think you did a fabulous job with it."
"Just a fun Labor Day Song"
"I'll Be Your Bud...was one of the most fun singalong songs I had tonight. Had me singin' the chorus by the end of the song"
"I love Iggy's "Schtuff". Today ought to be a single".
A sonically complex project handled quite well.
Randy Newman with a bad attitude is who I liken Iggy Taylor to. He also has some pretty heavy Beatles overtones here. Not bad people to be influenced by. Iggy offers straight-ahead rock and some nice, melodic ballads. Low-budget rock at its finest.
"a mix of rock and pop influenced by life around him".
"What exactly would the Beatles have sounded like had they spent all their time in a dark basement with only a four-track and a whole bunch of grievances they wanted to air? Bad Betsy makes it a sonic reality".
"Reminds me of a Randy Newman song with a John Lennonesque sounding vocal. Sounds great.
"This sounds as if it came off the lost Lennon tapes. Stripped down and naked.
Iggy goes by Bad Betsy but by any other name he is a good Samaritan.
" music ranges from angelic and beautiful to rageful and cunning. Whether you find him strange, intriguing, quirky, maniacal, or all of the above, he is interesting".
Iggy writes from the heart and his music is so straight forward.
I like my Betsy's bad!
Imagine Randy Newman singing early Beatle's songs. Enjoyable.
His music ranges from very good to excellent!
You are going to love Alter Ego.
The talent and originality that you and your partner have is impressive.