George Michael True Faith – The Review

I don’t usually write reviews on here.  However, the amount of nonsense I’ve read, and listened to on the radio, about the new George Michael single, True Faith, suggests to me there’s a more than a little groupthink going on out there among the great unwashed.  While it’s pretty hilarious to see so many idiots revealing their lack of musical credibility; and even funnier to see people actually geting upset/annoyed by this record, I do think there’s a need for an at least slightly intelligent review.

Two caveats before we start, though. First, I’m not saying you have to like the record.  Ultimately, you either like or dislike a piece of music for a whole range of reasons.  So, if you disagree with me, that’s cool.  Second, if you haven’t heard a high-quality version of this record, played on a music system that can reveal lots of detail in a recording, please don’t tell me you don’t like it, ‘cos honestly, you haven’t heard it properly. Right, then – with that said, off we go…

The Review…

Why Cover True Faith?

True Faith, was originally written and performed by the British band, New Order and released in 1987 when it reached #4 in the charts. If you don’t know the original, please go listen to it, it’s a great record.  George Michael’s new version is about as different as you can get to the original.  In a world of karaoke cover versions performed on shows such as American Idol and X Factor, it’s easy to forget (and in fact, it’s obvious that many people don’t even understand this) that, artistically, there’s really very little point in doing a version of someone else’s song that is anything other than completely different to the original.

When I say the new version is completely different to the original, by the way, I don’t mean the trite, “You made that song your own” comments that the judges on reality shows are so fond of making, usually in response to a straight-up karaoke performance. Rather, I mean, that George Michael has done something genuinely new, and artistically interesting with the song.  Not only does the new record have a different tempo to the original – it’s been slowed down,  and made into a ballad; but also George has drawn out of himself a characteristically authentic performance.

Why is the performance so authentic?  Well despite it being a cover, recording True Faith is, perhaps, the perfect “comeback” record after a recent turbulent period in his personal life. George has said he didn’t want to write a song about prison – possibly because  it just doesn’t seem like all that interesting an idea. However, True Faith is a song about drug addiction, and given the root cause of George’s recent problems – problems that led to jail – was substance abuse, both prescription medication and illegal drugs, it seems a fitting song to sing.

There’s a little more to the story, though. On the day he came out of prison, George Michael arrived home and put VH-1 on the TV. One of the first songs that came on was New Order’s True Faith. Now, George Michael is a long-term fan of New Order’s, and before that Joy Division’s, music. Still, he’d never really thought before what True Faith was about, and when it struck him as he listened that the song was about drug addiction, he thought there was a story in the lyric that resonated with his own experiences.

The bottom line then, is that there’s a reason George Michael chose to cover True Faith, and a reason why he made it the first record he released after being errr… released.

About The Music

With the background to the record understood, what about the music itself?  Let’s start with the backing track, given that’s probably a little less controversial than the vocal.  One thing you may not notice if you don’t listen closely, is just how musically accomplished the performances on the backing track are.  It’s played by the band he’s spent the last few years touring with, and it is a seriously talented group of musicians. Now, I don’t know if they’ve gotten used to playing together, or if they’ve got used to being able to understand what George is looking for in a performance, or if there was some special way they were recorded, but it really sounds incredibly beautiful. If you take the trouble to listen, each musician is doing something amazing in what they’re playing, from the percussion to the acoustic and electric guitars to the keyboards. But what really makes it special, is the interplay between the members of band, as they’re each doing their own thing, but also ensuring the dynamics of their individual parts fit together perfectly.

By any standard, this is one of the best backing tracks of any George Michael record. It’s certainly one of my favorites, and it’s raised the bar for his “live band” backing tracks  from his similarly conceived arrangement of Joni Mitchell’s Edith And The Kingpin that he recorded a while back, but released recently as a track on his Christmas single, December Song.

About The Vocal

Now, to “that vocal”.  To say this is controversial is an understatement.  To be honest, I’m shocked by the ignorance of the reaction.  Typical views put forth by people that think they know something about music, indeed make their livings by writing/talking about music, are along the lines of, “He’s dialled the Auto-Tune up to 11! Why? That’s for people that can’t sing.” or “He’s clearly just used Auto-Tune because he thinks it’s hip”.

Well, let’s get one thing straight first – there is no Auto-Tuning of the vocals in sight on this record. None. Zero. For the processing of the vocals, George used a TC Helicon product, which is nothing to do with Auto-Tune.  Now, TC Helicon do offer options for what they call “hard-tuning” on vocals (their equivalent of Auto-Tuning, but with a couple of extra tuning features). However, George turned off this option. So, not only is there no auto-tuning here, there is no TC Helicon hard-tuning either.

Instead, what George’s has done is apply a kind of vocoder/talk box effect on the vocals… you know (or perhaps you don’t) – the kind of electronic harmonizing effects that have been used by some of the greatest singers the world has ever produced… for decades. People like, say, Stevie Wonder.  This is just nothing to do with “rappers that can’t sing”. Artists like Stevie Wonder and George Michael don’t use these effects for anything other than the reason that they love the sound.  And it’s fine if you don’t love the sound; but you know, being among the best, most successful singers around, these guys do know actually know a thing or two about singing. So, if they see something artistically interesting and beautiful to listen to in this technology, simply dismissing what they do out of hand seems a little… I dunno… unintelligent…

What of the actual vocal performance itself? Well, if you ever wanted to hear a musically stylish George Michael vocal, this is a great example.  It’s clear just how proud George is of the vocal here, because if you listen closely to the record it’s pretty clear it’s mostly just one take.  George Michael almost never does that, agonizing over the finest details of every word in the studio. Here, though, George has left the mistakes in, presumably because he rated this particular performance so highly. It’s something special.

Along with many people that are fans of George’s voice, I’d be interested in hearing a version without the electronic effects on the vocal, just to see what it sounds like.  However, if George thinks the vocal sounds better with the electronic processing in place (he’s heard it without, obviously!), I’ll take his word for it. As it is, the effects create a kind of “sound picture” of drug use that fits beautifully with the lyric.

For Those That Don’t Like The Record

Maybe, though, you still can’t get past the fact that the record isn’t like the original. If that’s the case, perhaps you should watch a bit less American Idol or a bit less X-Factor because it may have dulled your brain and affected your ability to recognize a great record when you hear one.   Still, there’s one one more chance to see if you really don’t like it, or if you just can’t cope with True Faith being a ballad. Here’s a more dancey version in a remix made by a George Michael fan which works really well.

The Bottom Line

George Michael’s version of True Faith is dripping with intelligent musicality. You can like it or dislike it; but I’m sorry, if you just dismissed this record out of hand as crap or unlistenable… if you think that electronic processing of vocals was first done by Cher and popularized by rappers that can’t sing, and George is just copying that… well, you might have to face the fact you don’t know as much about music as you think you do.  The truth is – True Faith is George Michael’s best single in a long, long time. It deserves to be a bigger hit than it’s probably going to be…

42 thoughts on “George Michael True Faith – The Review

  1. Wow, you must have had a sleepless night Remarkable…😉
    Good job, though.

    I love what George did with the song. The outcome is brilliant, as beautiful as it is original. It reflects the lyrics so beautifully.

    Thank you Rem, for putting the link to that remix in a “working” way.🙂
    It is really cool!

  2. @Remarkable

    Did you just type all that to get me to listen? LOL

    I did read through the entire bit, but I still don’t wish to. I actually did click on Ani’s link last night and it did start playing but I had to stop it half way through. I understand that was a different mix and I understand the actual CD may sound a bit different even to the original mix on mp3 but I just don’t feel like listening to electronic stuff. I don’t like that kind of music with the only possible exception of Vangelis. I know there are others who ‘ve done interesting things with electronic sound and the occasional track over the years has been OK to my ears but it’s never been as interesting to me as the sound of real instruments.

    And the fact that it’s a George track right now makes it another reason not to listen.

  3. @Remarkable

    And where did you get all this info? George’s PR sent it to you? Or has he been tweeting it? But if he has been doing so, why bother talking about it here? In fact, I don’t get why you are using your blog to reproduce George’s Twitter news. Can’t people go there themselves and read?

  4. @Elena I wonder if you understand what “news” is? Let me explain – it’s the presentation of selected information, taken from multiple sources, about current events. It’s quite a significant section of the media. I’m surprised you haven’t heard of it before.😉

  5. I love this record more and more, beautiful ballad, complitely different from the original , i love the instrumental version, never would i think it is a cover from New Order’s when i listen to that, one with no words . Good job!

  6. @Remarkable

    Maybe I don’t understand the term the same way you do. And given that I don’t read George’s tweets, I couldn’t say what is reproduced tweets and what not. So it was a fair question.

    I also don’t understand why you are spending so much time analyzing George this George that on this blog. It’s not like you have a psychic connection with him that has affected you deeply over the years… Or have you??

    lol

    Anyway, I ‘ve asked you this many times before, no reply ever, I ‘m sure you have your reasons.

  7. For me, True Faith was a grower. But that’s happened before with George’s songs for me, so I wasn’t worried about it. Finally received my copy yesterday and was able to listen to it with headphones and the DETAILS that I started to pick up were just… I don’t have the words. But I do agree with your review Rem. Thanks for putting it all into intelligent words, for those of us who don’t have that ability lol!!!

  8. I think George is relieved after being released with the release of True Faith. I don’t think this song is necessarily about drug addiction, in my opinion there is just “something” that is “beautiful like the morning sun”, but “costs you too much”. The Art Of Living is to enjoy as much without forgetting the outside world and your bank account. L’égoïsme à deux, when two lovers lose their friends, is just one of the many examples. When you’re in debts and your bank wants the money back, then you’re in trouble.

    In the past, George neither made big statements what a song is about in order not to limit people in their interpretations of the lyrics, nor did he comprehensive explanations on the instrumental set or arrangements. So I’m not surprised that people judge the True Faith cover based on the result. And that is what counts. It’s like with wine: you know where the grapes grow, you can taste the result – everything in between in largely unknown, private, mystery, or uninteresting. Personally I am interested in seeing the steps in between, but that does not make the wine tasting better or worse.

    Anyway, I like this wine because I feel “something” inside.😉

  9. Thank you for the review!
    I’m pissed of with people who keep saying that vocoders are crap and they’re for auto-tune only… No way! Just try to listen Herbie Hancock or Stevie Wonder! It’s another level of that sounding, nothing close to autotune the voice… And I’m really amazed that George made that, because it’s absolutely new in his music.
    Also I’m wondered with fan’s reaction who didn’t understand that song at all… Non vocally, non instrumentally… They kept waiting for New Order remix, but cmon…. it’s George Michael, he always does it different… It’s another song, absolutely new, whatever like you or not… And it’s fabulous in my opinion, and very professional on music level… And I’m not that blindly obsessed fan, who loves everything, that George records, believe me… I think it’s one of the best singles ever for today… Just in time for nowadays!

  10. Take the good things in life to rejoice, and the bad things to learn from, to avoid doing the same mistakes.
    –taught by the spirit of my mother

    Everybody has to believe in something, I believe I’ll have another beer, or, erm, wine. LOL

    Rem, stop worrying or criticizing people who don’t enjoy this cover, just enjoy.😀

    When it comes to people’s religion, you cannot change it. It’s like talking about dogmatic theology with someone who defends these theories when you found your own attitude to life. Btw, I’ve spent (wasted) years with it discussing with my sis.

  11. “intelligent musicality” is word perfect for what “George Michael” always offers to us…Too bad that there are some who don’t appreciate him in that way…

    I liked “True Faith” from just the first few musical bars…not only for being different, but for being another piece of brilliant music from “George Michael”…You can still hear his beautiful(in tune) voice …only more layers and harmonies being thrown at us in a haunting effect…

    Loving what “George” can not only do what he does with his own music, doubles in admiration for what he can do with someone else’s piece of work…

    For me the bottom line is that “George Michael” stands alone in his musical genius and I will follow him in whatever direction he leads me…

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  13. @Remarkable

    I have to disagree with you on this record. I’ve heard a full quality version on a very high quality set of loud speakers, and I can’t say I think it’s a grower – and I’ve given it a fair number of spins. So many, in fact, that I’ve lost count. Because, quite frankly, I wanted to like it.

    The backing track is simple (call it “sophisticated” if you want to wrap it up), the vocal is plain (call it “sophisticated” if that makes you happier) and the use of the vocoder is something I’ve never liked. Nope, not even Stevie Wonder.

    I’m willing to bet, though, that people who enjoy Prince and his “sophisticated” output, will probably agree with everything you’ve said here. However, just because a lot of people “don’t get it” because it’s “too musically advanced for untrained ears” doesn’t actually mean it’s a sophisticated, likeable or great piece of music. In Prince’s case it seems to be more a case of thinking everything he does is excellent because it’s him doing it, and if people don’t immediately understand they’re gnats. End of. I have a word for that kind of thinking…

    Reading the review, amongst all the sophisticated blah blah, how I summed it up was:
    “I know all there is to know about music, voice and composing, and you lot – you ignorant idiots who don’t ‘get it’ when it comes to this insanely sophisticated piece of music by the one and only George Michael – are in fact so stupid I don’t have words to describe it. In fact, I feel sorry for you for missing out on a masterpiece. George Michael would be disappointed in you, because you don’t ‘get’ what he’s trying to do to reform himself after his drug abuse and jail time.”

    I don’t claim I know everything about music. In fact, I don’t. I, like most people, know more about certain types of music than I know about others. But do *I* know what *I* like? Let me see… I’ve existed in the same body for 30 years and I’ve listened to music of my own choice on a daily basis for at least 25 of them. My choices have changed, as I’ve grown up, as I’ve been introduced to new types of music, as I’ve grown tired of a style and discovered another.

    The thought of George doing a whole album of this kind of, you’ll have to excuse my unsophisticated output here, bollocks leaves me cold. A tour with a proper vocal and an exciting live band, bring it on. A tour with a vocoder vocal? Quite frankly, I’d rather stick a fork in my eye and twist it.

    This is my opinion, stupid and unsophisticated as it may sound. But the funny thing is, surprisingly enough there are *other* songs out there done by *other* artists that are just as easy to find – and easier to like. So you’ll just have to excuse me for not getting overly excited about a song it takes a musical degree to understand the depth and sophistication of.

  14. “For Those That Don’t Like The Record: Maybe, though, you still can’t get past the fact that the record isn’t like the original. If that’s the case, perhaps you should watch a bit less American Idol or a bit less X-Factor because it may have dulled your brain and affected your ability to recognize a great record when you hear one.”

    Seriously… could you be a little more codescending, please, cause I don’t think that statement was quite codescending enough.

  15. @Terri

    I don’t think I actually the word “sophisticated” in the review? I also said, “I’m not saying you have to like the record. Ultimately, you either like or dislike a piece of music for a whole range of reasons. So, if you disagree with me, that’s cool.”

    What I am saying, though, is that people who dismiss this record as “unlistenable crap” in a facile way are talking nonsense. The backing track is simple, yes. I think it’s very musical in its execution though.

    As for the vocoder effect. Of course, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. However, I’ve seen and heard many people pontificating about how these effects are used only by people who can’t sing… which is just factually incorrect. And more than that, some great musicians happen think the sounds are beautiful. No-one has to agree with their opinions. However, if people are going to dismiss people like Stevie Wonder and George Michael as having no clue about music and what it takes to deliver a great vocal on a record, it’s just a bit silly.

    Also, just because George used the effect on one song, doesn’t mean he’s planning on using it for a whole album. That strikes me as a bit unlikely.

    As for Prince – the truth is, he is phenomenally, musically talented. He also used to be a great song writer, and he made some of the best pop records of the 1980s, as judged by record sales. That’s no small achievement. He’s also a bit mental, of course😉

    Also, I should also say – I don’t think True Faith is the best record in the history of pop music😉 What I said was that it I thought it was George’s best single in a long time. Better than December Song. Better than This Is Not Real Love. Better than An Easier Affair. Better than Shoot The Dog. Better than If I Told You That… in my opinion.

  16. @Terri

    re: condescending tone.

    Well, I’m sorry about that. However, again, that was a reference to people who have actually said that the True Faith cover is crap because it’s nothing like the original.

    I can only assume they have come to that opinion because of watching shows like American Idol and X Factor – where the hell else would that come from?

  17. @Remarkable

    re: “Where the hell else would that come from?”
    Probably from people who grew up in the 80s and liked the original then? I, personally, think the original is fun, but I wouldn’t expect a cover to be just like the original – cause that would be, kinda, pointless. I guess I’m just a little surprised at his choice of using a vocoder, cause it does make people who “know nothing about music” think he’s lost the ability to sing properly.

    re: “Just because George used the effect on one song, doesn’t mean he’s planning on using it for a whole album. That strikes me as a bit unlikely.”
    Well, he’s said he wants to make “an electronic album with a live band”. I don’t know, I’m not an expert, but it sounds like he’s referring to the voice, as the band is live. No?

    re: “What I am saying, though, is that people who dismiss this record as “unlistenable crap” in a facile way are talking nonsense.”
    That’s still their opinion and they’re entitled to it. Most people out there put on a record or a song, play it and if they don’t like it after the 1st/2nd/3rd spin, they dismiss it. That’s how the majority of the record buying audience works. This is obviously different to a small minority who don’t do anything else all day besides “getting into the groove” of new music, who can afford to spend six weeks figuring out why and how they’re supposed to listen to a song in order to enjoy the sophistication of it. Most people, just want to play the fucking thing and rock on.😉

    What I will say is that I think a lot of his fans will say they love the song on Twitter/to his face, and secretly think “what the fuck is this!?” – but out of loyalty, they’ll “love it” because “it’s George, after all”.

  18. @Terri

    Did he say, “Well, he’s said he wants to make “an electronic album with a live band”? He might have, but I haven’t heard that.

    I got the impression simply that the new studio album would have an electronic vibe; and to me that means backing tracks are going to be more electronic and more modern-sounding than his previous work. Certainly, that early stage demo he teased in a video on Twitter is like that.

    Clearly, the vocoder is confusing people. I think that’s hilarious. So silly. Why would he suddenly not be able to sing?!

    Look – of course people are entitled to their opinions. However, one of the things that prompted me to write this review was that there seems to be a “received wisdom” emerging among “experts” in the media that there is no artistically valid reason for using vocoder effects. So, I thought there was space for a contrarian view to be put.

  19. @Remarkable

    I have to agree with the gist of what Terri has said. I say “gist” because since I haven’t heard the record, I can’t have a proper informed opinion on it.

    Musical appreciation is both objective and subjective and anyone who knows the first thing about music *cough cough* would acknowledge that. The objectivity refers to a lot of elements that truly escape the “untrained ear” whereas the subjective refers to the soul of the musical composition, or if you like the vibe it gives off, and that is something that people can recognize without having studied music at all. There have been lots of case studies with babies and children which attest to that.

    I ‘m wondering though, if you believe yourself to be so knowledgeable as you presented yourself in this entry and able to recognize the finer nuances of every piece of music, why don’t you go away for a couple of days and have a go at it too? You know, like writing a symphony or two?😉

  20. @Elena

    As Mozart wrote in 1782, “I’m up to my eyes in work, and now you ask me to write a symphony!” However, in that case, Mozart gave in, and did write one. It took him more than a couple of days though.

    Still, perhaps I might write a song for Lady Gaga, as long as she agrees to name-check me as “RemOne” in the intro (listen to the intro to Just Dance if you don’t get that) …

  21. @Remarkable

    Oh please no, don’t ask me to go check a Gaga intro! At least not now! I find her vibe toxic. And the videos full of disturbing symbolism and dark sexual imagery. I don’t know what her contribution to those videos is but I suspect there’s someone out there that’s using her in a very negative way and guiding her to include lots of stuff that appear in them. And the thing is, OK, if she wants to be used in that way, fine, her choice, but the fact that she has been put in a position that allows her to poison lots of young people’s minds with dubious images… really alarming, if you ask me.

    By the way, I once checked the credits to her records, it’s not all her. There are other people who share co-writers credits. So one can’t even be sure how much of her music she truly writes.

    As for that theatrical streak, I too have such a streak so eccentricity in itself I don’t mind. What turns me off is when one adopts an eccentric persona for shock value/attention.

    I do like her voice though. Interesting.

    As for Mozart, what a sweet genius he was. Love the playfulness! And the purity.

    How long per symphony, do you know?

  22. If there was no need for vocoders they wouldn’t be manufactured. :p

    When I first heard it on a small radio I was one of those, “What the hell is that?” people. Now having heard it through a CD player and decent speakers, I love it.

    I think it’s rather surprising and uplifting to see that he’s not going to drift into the bland territory of someone of his years of standing.

  23. “How long per symphony, do you know?”

    Symphony No.40 (K550) … “occupied an exceptionally productive period of just a few weeks in 1788, during which time he also completed the 39th and 41st symphonies (26 June and 10 August, respectively). (Wikipedia)

    I have heard quite a few versions of that symphony, but it is the slow live version I have (performed somewhere in a London church back in 1995) that has all the profoundness that wakes all the high and low feelings in me. You don’t enjoy the landscape in a high speed train, you enjoy the ride at slow speed where you actually realise what things pass you by.

    I’ve never given much attention to the original True Faith version, but I like George’s slow version. The vocoder or whatever effect used on his voice gives me the feeling to be in trance, to see that certain “something” more beautiful, like the morning sun.

    Janosch, asked in an interview on his 80th birthday for when and how he gets his best ideas, said, “Sober I know nothing. After a few glasses (wine or beer) I know everything.”

    If you have never reached a certain state of mind, or have never reached a certain attitude, you will never feel what this song is about.

  24. @Yogger

    Just a few weeks… now that’s something to aspire to… Though I don’t think it adds to the beauty or the intrinsic value of the work. It’s just that the faster you can write and write well, the more masterpieces you can produce over a lifetime.

  25. @Yogger

    Since I haven’t heard the record, I ‘m not sure what you mean when you say

    “to see that certain ‘something’ more beautiful, like the morning sun”

    Is there a certain something in the lyrics? I don’t remember that… unless he’s changed/added lines, has he?

  26. @Yogger

    “If you have never reached a certain state of mind, or have never reached a certain attitude, you will never feel what this song is about.”

    I can deff feel what the original song is about. It’s a state where things start becoming incoherent. Check the lyrics to see what I mean. That’s why I was feeling so uncomfortable from day 1 about this release.

    Actually, it does say “something” in the lyrics.

    The “morning sun” in the original song is drugs, New Order has talked about it in interviews.

    But if you don’t know that, you can assume other things, you could say “morning sun” is a person. You can become addicted to a person.

    Or it could be both. Like you take the drug, the morning sun, as a substitute for the person.

    The thing is, when he says “You took my money and you took my time”, does he talk to the person or the drug?

    Either way, one minute the tone is nihilistic, then it becomes accusatory and then it’s back to feeling extraordinary… It’s a dangerous state of mind to be in. And I ‘m still not sure why he chose to release it. Because if he is saying “Oh that’s how it feels to be on drugs and I wanted to give other drug users something to identify with” OK, but does it help them in any way? I personally don’t think so.

    And anyway, is this where he is at now or is this where he was then? What did he say in interviews?

    Mind you, he often lies to journalists.

  27. @remarkable…your assessment of this song in all aspects is spot on! I guess you have to be there(in most cases) to get the lyric and the conviction of the vocal to appreciate this version in every aspect….its not a one hear wonder,but after a few times…well its genius IMO…loads won’t see this though,and there lay’s the problem for the general crowd

  28. First, I have to tell you, what a shame that you don’t usually write reviews! Because you do it fantastically. I take off my hat to you. Thank you!

    Your review is very intelligent, competent, thoughtful, free of excess emotions and very timely!
    We all are so weary of reading this trash about the True Faith in comments on forums and in papers where I haven’t yet read no one review from TRUE musical critics. George for a long time makes not just nice songs, but The Music as it is. And I don’t understand how his fans who love his songs and his music style, are not able to LISTEN it – and not able to HEAR it!
    This Song is brilliant both musically and vocally. It’s the next masterpiece from George after December Song.

    Thanks to you, Remi, many thanks to Nathan for his excellent work, and THANK YOU, George, for your True Music!

    P.S. sorry for my clumsy English )) but that’s from the bottom of my heart. Thank you again.

  29. I heartily agree with you Rem. This is a beautifully recorded cover version with a whole new slant on the original. As you point out the backing track is beyond excellent and I only found you blog because I was looking for the guitarist info, the last electric riff sounded amazingly like Dave Gilmour, and the acoustic is crisp, simple and understated which complements Georges vocal tracks. I say tracks because it sounds to me that George used his original vocal as well as the vocally processed result as you rightly say, for the effect not because he’s a talentless X factor wannabee who only thinks he can sing!
    All in all it’s a great track and for those of your critics who have pondered your positive critique I suggest they re-read the whole blog and they will get that you are provifing a little balance where, sadly, paid music reviewers who should know better have slagged this off as George’s worst single. The truth is otu there – you only have to listen for it.

  30. Remarkable, your review is thorough and I find it most impressive that you took the time to fully understand the song.Thumbs up to your review. As many people above, I really appreciate your work and would like to read it more.

    As for some of the remarks above and on this site I can’t help but wonder why do people who do not listen to the song, or do not listen to it attentively, have only superficial knowledge of the artist and his work come on here and start bashing the artist and the reviewer. I am an outsider and neither one of them needs my ‘help’, yet I can’t hold myself back from refuting some of the comments above.

    Terri, I fully agree that tastes differ and we don’t all like the same kind of music and I respect your opinion; but all the other speculation I just don’t know what to do with. And this is especially true for Elena.

    Elena, you say how much you appreciate Mozart and his playfulness–but you don’t seem to appreciate the same characteristic in George Michael by calling his playfulness ‘childish’. (When even the ancient philosophers claimed that the homo ludens is the more intelligent form of the homo sapiens) I try to follow what George Michael says and does, not as a hardcore fan, but still; and I have never heard him say or do childish or silly things when it had to do with serious matters. NEVER did he do it. On the contrary: just an example from yesterday: when Dame Elizabeth Taylor died, he, instead of commonplaces like most others did, tweeted some really heartfelt sentences that showed he cared about the person and her deeds. And if we are at that, he had done so much charity work that has never ever been advertised or even mentioned: from giving away his tour-income to supporting abused mothers and children-all sorts of things. I find he is serious when he has to be serious and is playful when he feels he can be, and incredibly witty. But it surely takes knowing his work and life and intelligence to be able to tell when he is saying something tongue-in-cheeks, joking or when he is being serious. (I had the honour to meet and chat with two Nobel-prize laureates, both of them were like that-they loved to play and one had to be very much alert when talking with them.) I am sure George Michael often jokes with the press and in interviews in general, just as he does in many of his videos-he even did at the tour, poking fun of himself in the background videos. I wonder if you noticed any of those jokes… I think if you watched those and tried to understand him and his work and his interviews in light of that, you’d see a completely different person. One of the most sincere ones, amongst ALL famous people-let them be musicians or scientists or simple celebrities.
    Also, please allow me to differ from your, in my view, very new age approach to listening to music; even though there is definitely art that has a bad but explicitly bad influence on people, the hidden evil influences on the subconsious of any music, or one’s behaviour or that of a picture etc. that you refer to-they do not exist. (only in books like those written by Brown or Coelho etc.) Based upon your logic any music, plus all works in the MET, the Chicago Art Museum, the Uffizi Gallery and the National Gallery in London, plus all our childhood tales-they all should be banned, or at least not listened to/watched because they might carry some hidden evil meaning and/or encourage drug abuse. In my view, where there is none, then please don’t try to interpret it as if there were; in our case: if the song was intended as is, ‘True Faith’, then let’s not try to interpret as if it had some hidden evil meaning.
    Finally, even Mozart and the other classicals famous for their ‘easily digestible’ music wrote dissonant things just to dissolve those in harmony-why couldn’t contemporary artists do so?

  31. Certainly a well written review. But i have to agree with a couple of people here. Its a bit like a film that has great special effects but is overall just awful. I have to say that I listened to this tune three times now and the fourth time it came on i turned it off after 3 seconds.

    In my opinion albeit just an average guy who likes to listen to music, this tune is pretty awful I am sure the individual pieces are amazing like you say but the sum of its parts sounds dreary and horrible. Again just my opininion but i think the emperor’s new clothes attitude of if you don’t like it you don’t know enough to get it kind of misses the point of releasing a song to the general public.

  32. Tom, I agree. Ultimately, if pop music doesn’t sell well, then it fails the test of being a great pop record. As I said at the top of the review, I really wasn’t meaning to suggest anyone has to like the record.

    The points I was seeking to make were: 1) People in the media, and elsewhere, referred to this as the worst record ever made, and then went on to justify their opinions by displaying profound ignorance about music; and 2) This record doesn’t sound that great on the TV or the radio. On headphones, or on a really good sound system, however, where more of the detail can be heard, it is sonically rather beautiful… in my opinion.

  33. @Remarkable

    “On headphones, or on a really good sound system, however, where more of the detail can be heard, it is sonically rather beautiful… in my opinion.”

    LOL!

    I still think you have not been able to digest the fact that “the great unwashed” as you like to call the masses have decided No27.

    C’est la vie!

  34. I don’t consider myself as the general crowd. I just love beautiful music and not the crap that is on the radio or on TV. Despite of that I think this version of True Faith really sucks!

  35. Thank you for this review. It was thoughtful & true. From the first note I could feel George’s emotions & I understood immediately his reason for using the vocoder & it does not at all detract from or hide his voice. It seemed to amplify it & make it even more powerful.

  36. You know, what I would actually love to know is this:
    If an artist you didn’t have any connection to at all do this song, in the exact same way George did it, would you still think it was a great track?

  37. I think I would yes… I’ve always been a big fan of talk-box/vocoder effects. It’s one my favourite electronic music effects of all time.

    There’s a few records I really like, that I actually wouldn’t rate at all if they didn’t have that effect on them. A great example would be “California Love” by 2Pac. For me, without the effects, I wouldn’t like the track at all. As it is, I love it (and I can safely say I’m not a particular fan of 2Pac)…

  38. Thank you for a great review. I had not listened to this song until recently and I am totally blown away by George Michael’s vocals on the song. The guy is just s genius!

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