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Album Review

Some records defy explanation and rise above any praise or criticism. They exist in a realm of their own creation and definition, undeserving of attempts to categorize or humanize their artistic achievement. Words cannot capture their essence, and probably should not even try. With Mobilize, Grant Lee Phillips has set forth such a work. Superficially speaking, it offers 12 magically brilliant pieces, each and every one able to stand alone, comparable to the finest moments of U2, David Gray, R.E.M., and Radiohead. Collectively, they comprise true art, pure genius. Phillips has a superb, if not slightly altered, sense of melody and rhythm. The beats of his phrases play off of the percussive undercurrents of instruments and programming, winding the long way around when necessary to get his point across. The intimacy of each song is astounding, almost more so in the realization that Phillips wrote and performed every note himself, though assisted in production by Carmen Rizzo. Mobilize is certainly full of complex arrangements, sublime lyrical references, and intriguing instrumentation, but the overall impression is somehow much simpler. That's not to say that you'll be whistling these tunes after one listen, although a couple lend themselves to that reasonably well. It's more that one listen is so immediately enjoyable it will leave you wanting another and another, allowing the dedicated seeker to discover the secrets hidden in the layers. And of those, there are many.

Customer Reviews

This will grow on you

Generally considered his best, 'Mobilize' is a pretty big switch from the band orientation of Grant Lee Buffalo and the acoustic focus of his first solo outing Lyrically, the songs are extremely good, but they are couched in electronica backing that sometimes veers too closely to 80s pap. Many tend to be slow moving, without strong hooks. However, they work well as a whole. Despite some strong singles, this is a work that is more than the some of its parts asnd is best heard as a complete work. I prefer a full band backing grant, but he obviously disagrees. Nevertheless, this is an album that fits specific moods well and will grow on you. 'Sadness Soot' and 'Spring released' are some of his best work.


I saw Grant Lee Phillips perform late last year at Aimee Mann's Christmas show, and thought he was awesome. I listened to the clips and decided to buy the album on a whim. This is by far the best purchase I have made in the last 6 months. This album is unbelievable. Catchy, beautifully written songs that you just can't get off your mind. They're emotional, sad, happy, cathartic, melancholy, everything. Plus, any friend of Aimee Mann is a friend of mine. Please please buy this album.


I had always seen Phillips on Gilmore Girls and loved his music, so when I found out he had cds out I was really excited. However, this music makes me want to throw up. It's slow and electronic and strange and BORING and I have no idea why nayone would want to butcher such a great voice with songs like these. A few word of advice: don't waste your money on this album! And Grant, take a hint from the troubador, and stick to acoustics.


Born: September 1, 1963 in Stockton, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

After spending his formative years in Stockton, California, Grant-Lee Phillips headed to Los Angeles to study film. Finding himself beneath the spell cast by local bands like the Rain Parade and the Dream Syndicate, Phillips soon partnered with Stockton acquaintance Jeff Clark to form Shiva Burlesque. The band dissolved after two critically acclaimed records, and Phillips began writing and demoing under the Grant Lee Buffalo alias. Following several solo performances, he invited former bandmates...
Full Bio
Mobilize, Grant-Lee Phillips
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