Better Can't Make Your Life Better re-release
by Eric San Juan


I have finally gotten my copy of the re-released, re-mixed, and re-mastered 'Better Can't Make Your Life Better,' and for those of you who have been wondering about it, I'll give an overview of it right here.

First off...is it drastically different? At times, but for the most part, no. A few songs (Cambridge California, Who Is Moving) don't sound even the slightest bit different. Others (Returns Every Morning, Can't Make Your Life Better) are quite different from the original. Other than some vocal mixing in A Nanny In manhattan, you don't realize that you are listening to anything but the "old" LP...a few horns come in at the end of Elevator, and then you are off. Can't Make Your Life Better is full of interesting instrumentation, bursts of strings, horns, funny little mouth harp type sounds, and all kinds of stuff. Excellent. Who Is Moving bounces by as the original, but then The Tennis System hits us in it's new form, and it's a good one. Upon first listen I did not like the changes, but after hearing it a ton of times now, I find that the subtle hints of strings running throughout this song bring it to a new level. The song, which was stunning to begin with, swells in ways it never did before. Amazingly enough, they improved on a song that was near perfect.

Paz En El Hogar has a few small changes here and there, with a slightly reworked bridge. If you've ever heard it performed live, you'll know what it sounds like here. Bring Up The Stamp sounds somehow new, but I cannot place it...I think it may be a vocal thing, but it's hard to tell. Gone is The Sammael Sea (the weakest song from the original release) and in it's place is Touch The Water. Great song, and it sounds much less "lo-fi" than it did on the Returns Every Morning single. It's nice to have it on disc, but it just doesn't seem to fit in with the mood of the record. Hmmm...it probably could have been left off.

The most welcome change comes at the very end, and it begins with Returns Every Morning. It begins in the normal manner, but by the time the bridge comes in, soft strings flow into the songs, a touch of sax dashes the bridge, and then it rolls into the end. Wow! Gorgeous violins swell and snake around the music, and instead of fading out like on the original, it keeps going, and going, and going. Just fantastic. Quite suddenly, as on The Gravity Free Atmosphere Of MSA, it cuts out. Bam. More Than That Is Deserved sparkles in, and it sounds so much better than it did on the Nanny In Manhattan single, I was in awe. It was fabulous. Out of nowhere, the album had the perfect ending that it always needed, and gained one of the strongest songs on the LP. Hooray!

Okay, so should you get it? If in the UK, yes. Without a doubt, snag this over the first release. Are you in the US? If so, you may want to think it over before shelling out the $25 price tag for an import. If 'Better' was one of your favorite albums of the last year or two, you'll probably really enjoy it's work over, but if you are a casual fan, or don't care for their recent output, stay away until you can find it for a lower price.

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