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Cruel Inventions
Cruel Inventions
Genres: Music Video & Concerts

T-bone Burnett producing then-wife Sam Phillips in her second effort for Virgin Records pulled out all the stops by inviting Elvis Costello and Van Dyke Parks to participate. Mixed to 1/2" analog master tape by Tchad Bl...  more »


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Movie Details

Genres: Music Video & Concerts
Sub-Genres: Pop, Rock & Roll
Studio: Classic Records
Format: DVD Audio
DVD Release Date: 04/24/2001
Release Year: 2001
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2

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Movie Reviews

Lyrical, smooth and plaintive voice, adding up to a great CD
Tung Yin | Portland, OR | 06/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Sam Phillips is probably best known for three things: (1) she used to put out Christian music under her given name, Leslie Phillips; (2) she's married to rock producer T-Bone Burnett; and (3) she played the icily mute assassin and girlfriend to Jeremy Irons in "Die Hard 3." All of which is fine, except that it overshadows her fabulous work as a contemporary singer and songwriter.Under her nickname "Sam," she's released a number of CDs, starting with 1989's "The Indescribable Wow," 1992's "Cruel Inventions," 1995's "Martinis and Bikinis," and others.Her CDs show a definite progression, starting with the soft crooning sounds of "Indescribable" to the more subtle and plaintive songs of "Inventions," to a more Beatles like sound of "Martinis and Bikinis." Depending on what you're looking for, then, "Cruel Inventions" may not be to your liking.What "Cruel Inventions" offers is a collection of dreamy meditations accompanied by incredibly catchy musical arrangements. Phillip's voice is pure and heartfelt, almost like a less scratchy version of Kim Carnes.Best of all, the quality of songs is pretty even throughout; if you like any of the songs on the CD, you're likely to like most or all of them."
One of Sam's best
sweethev | 10/22/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Contrary to the thoughts of some, Sam Phillips has NOT abandoned her faith when she chose to leave the Contemporary Christian music field. She simply grew tired of the smug and confining nature of the genre that refused to allow her to grow as an artist. Like her husband and producer T Bone Burnett and their good friend Bruce Cockbrun, Sam's faith is still very much in evidence in many of her songs. She merely does not hit the listener over the head with it has is usually in the nature of the Contemporary Christian genre.With "Cruel Inventions," Sam has created one of the best albums of either phase of her career. The melodies are catchy and unforgettable, the lyrics thought provoking and relevant. Others may wish to keep Sam in a box, refusing to let her grow, but many of her fans welcome her artistic muse."
Sam is one of the Music Industry's best-kept secrets.
sweethev | Canada | 11/11/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Cruel Inventions" is not only Sam's best album, but one of the best in the industry. With her intelligent lyrics, articulate musical styles, and a darkened dreamlike mood, she is a role-model for many female artist who don't want the "girlie" stereotype. I have loved this album for years and continue to do so. Songs like "Tripping Over Gravity" and "Lying" are musical gems, and the entire album sparkles with creativity."
Religion and Spirituality Intersect
dev1 | Baltimore | 06/25/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I've been gushing about Sam Phillips ever since I heard the first note of Martinis And Bikinis, so if I begin to do the same for Cruel Inventions, forgive me. Just say "dev1, stop your gushing." Husband and producer T Bone Burnett plays a major role in sound of Cruel Inventions. The album is rich and baroque with an Eastern Beatlesque sound (Where The Colors Don't Go) sometimes very close to classical (the string section during the break of Lying). T Bone embellishes guitars and drums with strings, piano and synthetic sounds (ude and chamberlain? who knows what the heck they are). The melodic hooks and instrumental variations sound natural and effortless. And to save money, Sam's voice is multitracked for luxurious choruses: a chorus of Sams harmonizing with Sam is blissful (especially the "ooh wa, ooh wa" chorus of the title track).Although the string section is arranged by Van Dyke Parks (he's very civil and melodic with That's Where The Colors Don't Go), the strumming guitars and verse-chorus-verse structure clearly say "This is a Pop album." Sam has Beatles and Byrds (Now I Can't Find The Door) flying around inside her head. Lyrically, Cruel Inventions is introspective and confessional ("We tiptoe through air until we see the blood on their teeth" from Private Room). Please don't run and hide. "Sensitive" doesn't equate to "self-pity" here, but to a 100-foot pile of optimism. Sam abhors greed ("Break the code of death for profit. Break the guns. Break the silence of money" from Go Down), examines love's misadventures ("I'm afraid of you. There must be some back way or window I can climb out through" from Now I Can't Find The Door), and is always longing for...I don't know.Fans may argue that the most evocative composition is the haunting and mystical "Private Storm." I prefer `Where The Colors Don't Go": exhilarating musical structure, sensuous string section and radiant Sam, Sam and more Sams vocal harmonies. Try Cruel Inventions. If you're not into the metaphysical world where organized religion and spirituality intersect in strange and affecting ways, you can always tap your foot and sing along."