Three review by John Butler Trio

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  • Released: Jul 23, 2002
  • Sound: 5
  • Lyrics: 3
  • Overall Impression: 4
  • Reviewer's score: 4 Poor
  • Users' score: 9.5 (18 votes)
John Butler Trio: Three

Sound — 5
As the name suggests, this is the third album from the John Butler Trio. There are eight tracks and the album clocks in at just over an hour long. It's got a mainstream rocky/poppy sound to it that I'm not too fond off, and wasn't what I was expecting based the John's other work. The first two tracks, 'Betterman' and 'Attitude' are pretty cool (apart from a really overblown bit in 'Attitude', which spoils the songs fairly restrained feel), but the rest of the album doesn't match up to it's opening, in particular, 'Life Ain't What It Seems' is pretty lame, and since it's 8:14 long, it's a bit difficult to ignore. John's vocals sound genuinely impassioned and he shows a pretty good range in terms of pitch on the album. His guitar work is good, but not as spectacular as in some of his other work, never getting anywhere near the magnificence of some of his live renditions of 'Ocean', for instance.

Lyrics — 3
I totally agree with most/all of what John says with his lyrics, but he doesn't really have the lyrical ability to make what he's saying seem moving or especially relevant to the listener. Plus, since many of the tracks have a strong political view, people who oppose his views might find the lyrics really irritating as they lack any kind of subtlety, I find that lack annoying even though I agree with him. Songs like the aforementioned 'Life Ain't What It Seems' also take a ridiculously long time to get to the point.

Overall Impression — 4
I would not really recommend this album as it doesn't show John's usual high standard at all (with the exceptions of the two tracks, 'Betterman' and 'Attitude' that I already mentioned). I would advise checking out his other work, not this, as I really love his other stuff. As for the traditional "if it was lost or stolen" question, I'd buy a different JBT album, and laugh at the thief for wasting his time stealing a pretty below average album.

9 comments sorted by best / new / date

    It's much better than you make it sound. More 'pop'?. Whatever, Sunshine over sea is more pop, this is brilliant. You are strange.
    WTF? "mainstream rocky/poppy sound"? This is a hell of a lot less mainstream than Sunrise Over Sea. This is by far THE greatest JBT studio album, and their 3rd best release (behind the live albums). How can you possible review this album without mentioning "Take"? It's still the centrepiece of their live concerts. You are an idiot.
    ^ Agreed. It's much less mainstream, and also (in my opinion) less catchy. I wouldn't rate this album that highly (although definately more than 5, 3, 4) but for different reasons to Strat-Monkey's review.
    jesus christ man. you are dumb.... i agree with randy_roads. Fanstastic album, and actually the first album (thinks) to get him noticed for the great musician he is. no way is it pop. Songs such as betterman and attitude got limited air time on the radio in australia (where he is based) and if its anything .. its verging on fingerstyle/rock thingomabob. How could you not mention take? jesus christ man.
    in fact, "sunrise over sea" was his third album not "three". i really like it especially the betterman-version which is different to the "sunrise over sea"-version.
    Guys, dont just sit here calling me an idiot, write your own reviews. That's the point of this bit of the site, yeah? No-one had written a review for this album and I bought it, and regretted it, and wanted to make sure that people like me didn't make the same mistake, so I wrote the review. You write your review if you disagree. I could've gone into more detail, true, and I do like 'Take' a lot, but I was doing this late and just picked out the songs that came to my head as immediately being "good" or "bad". I also still feel that the points I did make were accurate with regards to the lyrics, etc, and while the 'pop' thing is open to debate, notice I said "rocky/poppy" was what I didn't like, not "pop" itself.