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The Indescribable Wow
The Indescribable Wow
Genres: Music Video & Concerts

Produced by then-husband T. Bone Burnett and recorded by Rik Pekkonen, this was Sam's first Virgin Records release after changing her professional name from Leslie to Sam. This analog recording features audiophile favor...  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: 0

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Movie Reviews

The Greatest Pop Album Ever Made
ionadh | Texas, USA | 01/31/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"How do I even begin to do justice to this, the album that literally changed my life? Sam Phillips, like Dorothy Parker in go-go boots, is a sharply comic, radiantly lovely, fiendishly gifted singer of brilliantly intuitive, intoxicating pop songs, written with one eye toward thanking the Beatles and another toward raising the bar for other women in rock and pop, but she raises it so high it may well be invisible to the average observer. The melange of Sixties influences, filtered through her husband T-Bone Burnett's shimmering production, results in music that can be felt---almost literally so, like a tingling warmth upon the skin; simple tales of love lost and yearned for, answers sought and rarely received, and witty asides about this puzzlingly erratic universe of ours are dipped in the honey of almost painfully beautiful music---which is nevertheless, completely accessible. Released in 1989, it sounded like a "lost Beatles album" that had been locked away in some BBC vault for twenty years: "What Do I Do" (featuring Van Dyke Parks) does more for a full string section than any rock song since "Yesterday"; "Flame" reveals the hidden Brazilian samba siren behind Sam's ethereal-blond California beauty; "She Can't Tell Time" and "Out of Time" almost make bubblegum sound like a major food group, as if Leslie Gore could indeed have aimed her own material at 25-year-olds instead of their 15-year-old siblings, and been just as enchanting; "What You Don't Want to Hear" is in-your-face urgent and yet plaintive, a reluctant kiss-off to an unwanted love interest; "Remorse" is a giddy riff on violence and retribution, like a candied apple with a razor blade concealed within; "I Don't Want to Fall In Love" is so perfectly evocative of teenage heartbreak that it simply stuns one to realize Sam might have been closer to 29 than to 19 when she wrote it; "Holding On to the Earth" attacks vacant materialism with a psychedelic organ, sounding like a Sixties beach movie with a guest appearance by Vincent Price or Boris Karloff. There is simply not enough time, or breath, or ink to express how simply, astoundingly perfect and gorgeous this recording is; no serious collection of pop music dares to exclude it. I am madly in love with "The Indescribable Wow" (and I'm pretty fond of Sam herself); I just never get tired of this record, for its singing and songcraft, production and presence, mind and heart and great big beautiful soul. It is, quite simply, the single most luminous, extraordinary pop album I have ever heard."
EriKa | Iceland | 10/08/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Sam Phillips is so incredibly talented that it makes me just... sick that she is not well-known. In fact, she is barely known at all. I try to introduce her to music fans around the world, but it just never catches on. On the strength of the song "I Don't Know How to Say Goodbye to You" (a very powerful song with very catchy lyrics) I bought the entire album, and every song here packs a powerful punch. Sam Phillips is such a gifted songwriter... such a shame she is overlooked. The singles from this album actually garnered a lot of airplay on college radio, but even that was not enough to buoy it. Sam continues to record high quality stuff... just listen to Martinis and Bikinis, a stellar performance. On this album there is not a single BAD song. "Flame" is an introspective ballad("Flame, why do you paralyse my soul..."), "Remorse" is an extremely powerful tune ("He's so sorry he can't feel remorse... tries to keep the (healthy) ship on course..."), "I Can't Stop Crying" is another infectious tune, "Holding on to the Earth" is a sparkling song... heard widely on college radio of the late 80s and I believe also in several movie soundtracks, although the only one I can think of right now is the soundtrack for Ruby in Paradise, which starred the talented Ashley Judd before she decided to make plotless drivel like Eye of the Beholder. "What You Don't Want to Hear" is another gem. "I wish that I could lie to you, baby... I got what you don't want to hear, oh what you don't want to hear... I got what you don't want to hear... how do I tell you?" This is one of the rare albums which can be heard in pieces or as a whole but sound crisp, concise, and brilliant either way. Sam Phillips is a a great investment of your time and money. I highly recommend this album..."
Dr. Bill Tobin | Buffalo, NY USA | 11/28/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"First of all, let me say this: Sam Phillips is one of the most incredibly talented artists that I know. Disregarding her spiritual life, her new music has shown significant improvement. This was especially noticeable to me when I recently viewed a video of both her 1985 Leslie Phillips and her 1989 Sam Phillips concerts. The latter music is not only more progressive, but more pleasing. "The Indescribable Wow' is the closest that you can still get to the old Leslie Phillips style, and is a definite bridge for old diehard Leslie Phillips fans ( there are still many of them) to the more mature and interesting music of Sam Phillips. ATTENTION LESLIE PHILLIPS FANS: Buy "The Indescribable Wow" FIRST! Praise the LORD for Sam!"
She Can't Tell Time, But She Sure Can Make a Great CD!!
Batmanbrb | Seymour, IN United States | 06/09/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I really can't find the words to describe how incredibly wonderful this CD is!! It has some of the best adult pop songs ever made. She gracefully combines 60's-styled vocals and music and melts it with today's sound to create a release that 'wow'-ed critics everywhere. No one can deny the intelligent take on "I Don't Want to Fall in Love" saying that she wants to be in love and not fall in love with the 'idea' of love. I really love "Flame", which is a poetic gem about human temptation, as she says, "Flame, why do you paralyze my soul?". "What Do I Do" is one of my favorites because I absolutely love aerial background vocals and this song is a masterpiece in vocals. "Holding on to the Earth" first grabbed my attention because of its almost 'Ancient Egyptian' sounding music. Another big favorite of mine is "She Can't Tell Time" which has mysterious lyrics unless you know something about Sam's past experiences with Christian music. "What You Don't Want to Hear" is very upbeat and says, "I can't hide truth from you, in a closet of some kind, it will only sharpen its blade and it will cut you when you find it, I wish that I could lie to you baby, but I got what you don't want to hear, how do I tell you?" This was a highly praised release, but grossly undersold (as most of her music is). This was one of the best releases of the late 80's and deserves to be in everyone's music collection."