How is this album deserving of 5 stars? [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


View Full Version : How is this album deserving of 5 stars?

08-05-2008, 06:44 AM
AMG gives this album, Willie Nelson's Stardust, 5 out of 5 stars:

(a) It's an album of all covers. There is not a single original song on it.

(b) It's all pop standards, done mostly in a pop style, with Willie singing.

To me, it's nice album, but is really akin to easy listening and it's all covers of songs that are popular and known. Is this an album that "you had to be there" for when it was released? Or am I just missing something? I would give this album 3 stars, 3 1/2 on a good day, maybe. There's no way I'd put this in the same league with the likes of Revolver, Village Green Preservation Society, or Blood On the Tracks.


08-05-2008, 07:12 AM
I really like Sunny Side of the Street, and Georgia on My Mind has possibly become the new standard for that...standard. I'd say it's 5 starts for the easy listening crowd and a compromise of 4 stars is about right because it's better than an average cover album.

08-05-2008, 10:38 AM
Kind of an audiophile classic, it does sound great on vinyl, can't say I'm a big fan though. Too smooth for my tastes, but I think it mighta been his biggest seller. I actually searched it out because of the great rating too. Technically speaking, and it has been a subject here before, but I don't think they are really rating it against other artist's records. In their books, they used to identify those 5 star records that they did think were genre essentials with an extra notation, but the artist ratings were supposed to be somewhat encapsulated.

One of my favorite records of all-time, one that just happens to be playing for the second or third time in a row right now, only gets 3.5 stars at AMG, and I think it mighta only been 3 at one time in the past when I first checked. Strangely though, Mark Deming reviews almost half the songs on the record, and gives much better insight than AMG founder Richie Unterberger gives the record as a whole, possibly he's too ensconced in the past to really evaluate music with a more modern view, though I do think he has a pretty solid historical perspective on the older music I grew up with. Who knows? Still an invaluable site, just not quite what I used to think it when I first discovered their books at Tower, and then after I later hit the internet and found you could get it all for free, minus a bit of that aforementioned perspective and context.

Prettiest Little Burden (

08-05-2008, 04:00 PM
It's not that I don't like him, because I kind of do, but he's just not that kind of talent. Thin voice, decent guitar...although I just read a quote that was attributed to him, sometime shortly after he turned 70 years old, that had me rolling on the floor in laughter "I finally outlived my d<a>ick".

Now that deserves 5 stars.


08-05-2008, 05:26 PM
...but his latest effort is worth 4 Stars and greatly exceeds "Stardust". Good stuff Swisheroo...

08-05-2008, 05:50 PM
Was wondering if anyone had that new one. I just picked up the free download of a track from Starbucks. It had me on the fence.

(I'm kind of wedded to Red Headed Stranger as an essential Willie album, btw)

08-05-2008, 05:55 PM
I picked it up as one of those balancing act routines...y'know when you're purchasing too much of another kind of genre and you need something to equal it out.

As it turns out, the disc itself is something of a balancing act. I felt that the sound was good but, most importantly, the arrangements were done to accentuate the skills of both men. Neither is exposed for too long at a stretch, allowing Willie to sound less strained and ancient and Wynton to be less "notey".

Tastefully done to these ears.

08-06-2008, 04:21 AM
In their books, they used to identify those 5 star records that they did think were genre essentials with an extra notation, but the artist ratings were supposed to be somewhat encapsulated.

Yeah, I understand that they do that (some of the time at least), but is Stardust really a genre essential? And even within Willie's own catalog, is Stardust worthy of 5 stars?

08-06-2008, 08:41 AM
I'm torn here. I can understand being a bit underwhelmed by this one. It's certainly nothing that jumps out at you. But, at the same time I really do enjoy the album on many levels. I think part of its charm is its broad appeal. I can throw this on while drinking with my grandma or grandpa and we can both find something to like in it. I'm not opposed to covers, especially when you're doing standards. There aren't songs where being the songwriter means squat. They are meant to be covered and interpreted by a variety of people. And, these interpretations, while certainly polite, come across very nicely to me.

And, I almost picked up that new collaboration last weekend, but the shop was out. Maybe I'll grab it this weekend.