Cruel Inventions

Last updated
Cruel Inventions
Studio album by
ReleasedMay 28, 1991 (1991-05-28)
Genre Alternative rock
Label Virgin
Producer T Bone Burnett
Sam Phillips chronology
The Indescribable Wow
Cruel Inventions
Martinis & Bikinis

Cruel Inventions is the sixth studio album by American singer and songwriter Sam Phillips.

Sam Phillips (musician) American singer

Sam Phillips is an American singer-songwriter. She began her career in the contemporary Christian music industry but, uncomfortable with that image and industry, she re-branded herself as "Sam"—transitioning into the mainstream market after meeting producer T Bone Burnett. Her albums include the critically acclaimed Martinis & Bikinis in 1994 and Fan Dance in 2001. She has also composed scores for the television shows Gilmore Girls and Bunheads.


Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svgStar empty.svg [1]
Chicago Tribune Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svg [2]
Christgau's Consumer Guide Scissors icon black.svg [3]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [4]
Entertainment Weekly A [5]

Cruel Inventions received mostly favorable reviews from critics. At Entertainment Weekly magazine, David Browne gave the album an A, writing that it " fraught with both beauty and tension, making it one of the year's most beguiling records." [5] Browne named it his sixth favorite album of 1991. [6]

<i>Entertainment Weekly</i> American entertainment magazine published by Meredith Corporation

Entertainment Weekly is an American magazine, published by Meredith Corporation, that covers film, television, music, Broadway theatre, books and popular culture.

David Browne is an American journalist and author. He is currently a senior writer at Rolling Stone, where he has been a contributor since 2008. He was the resident music critic at Entertainment Weekly between 1990 and 2006. He was an editor at Music & Sound Output magazine and a music critic at the New York Daily News before EW. He has written articles for a variety of publications including: the New York Times, Spin, New Republic and Time. He is the author of six books: Dream Brother: The Lives and Music of Jeff and Tim Buckley a dual father/son biography of musicians Jeff Buckley and Tim Buckley; Amped: How Big Air, Big Dollars and a New Generation Took Sports to the Extreme, a history of extreme sports; Goodbye 20th Century: A Biography of Sonic Youth ; Fire and Rain: The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor, CSNY and the Lost Story of 1970 ; So Many Roads: The Life and Times of the Grateful Dead ; and, most recently, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: The Wild, Definitive Saga of Rock's Greatest Supergroup , which received a starred review in Kirkus and was included in the Summer Reading issue of The New York Times in May 2019. Browne was born and raised in New Jersey and attended New York University, where he received a bachelor's degree in journalism, with a minor in music. He lives in Manhattan.

Track listing

All tracks written by Sam Phillips.

2."Go Down"3:38
3."Cruel Inventions"3:00
4."Standing Still"3:10
5."Tripping Over Gravity"5:21
6."Now I Can't Find the Door"3:36
7."Private Storm"4:10
8."Raised on Promises"3:11
9."Hole in Time"3:19
10."Where the Colors Don't Go"3:02


Chamberlin Keyboard instrument

The Chamberlin is an electro-mechanical keyboard instrument that was a precursor to the Mellotron. It was developed and patented by Wisconsin inventor Harry Chamberlin from 1949 to 1956, when the first model was introduced. Various models and versions of these Chamberlin music instruments exist. While most are keyboard-based instruments, there were also early drum machines produced and sold. Some of these drum patterns feature the work of Chamberlin's son Richard on them.

T Bone Burnett American musician

Joseph Henry "T Bone" Burnett III is an American record producer, musician, and songwriter. Burnett rose to fame as a guitarist in Bob Dylan's band during the 1970s. He has received multiple Grammy awards for his work in film music, including for O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) Cold Mountain (2004), Walk the Line (2006), and Crazy Heart (2010); and won another Grammy for producing the studio album Raising Sand (2007), in which he united the contemporary bluegrass of Alison Krauss with the blues rock of Robert Plant.

Elvis Costello English singer-songwriter

Declan Patrick MacManus, OBE, better known by his stage name Elvis Costello, is an English pop/rock musician, singer, songwriter, composer, record producer, author, television presenter, and occasional actor.


Tchad Blake is an American record producer, audio engineer, mixer and musician.

Kevin Killen is a music producer, engineer, and mixer. His work has been recognized by multiple awards and nominations, and he has worked with a range of recording artists including Shakira, Peter Gabriel, U2, David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Tori Amos, Kate Bush, Jewel, Bon Jovi and Shawn Colvin.

Bob Ludwig American audio mastering engineer

Robert C. Ludwig is an American mastering engineer. He has mastered recordings on all the major recording formats for all the major record labels, and on projects by more than 1,300 artists including Led Zeppelin, Queen, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Ocean, Bryan Ferry, Paul McCartney, Nirvana, Bruce Springsteen and Daft Punk resulting in over 3,000 credits. He is the recipient of numerous Grammy and TEC Awards.

Related Research Articles

<i>Good Stuff</i> The B-52s album

Good Stuff is the sixth studio album by new wave band the B-52's, released in 1992. This is the only B-52's album in which vocalist Cindy Wilson does not appear.

<i>This Desert Life</i> 1999 studio album by Counting Crows

This Desert Life is the third studio album from Counting Crows. The cover art is by noted comic book artist Dave McKean, best known for his work with Neil Gaiman, and was adapted from the cover art McKean did for Gaiman's picture book The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish.

<i>Thankful</i> (Kelly Clarkson album) 2003 studio album by Kelly Clarkson

Thankful is the debut studio album by American singer Kelly Clarkson, released in the United States by RCA Records on April 15, 2003. "Miss Independent" was its first single, followed by "Low" and "The Trouble with Love Is". Initially, the album had been scheduled to be released in November 2002, however, Clarkson's demanding schedule and difficulty finding tracks that suited her taste and image forced the album to be delayed several times. By the time the album was released, over six months had elapsed since "A Moment Like This" had reached number one.

<i>Buckcherry</i> (album) 1999 studio album by Buckcherry

Buckcherry is the eponymous debut album by the rock band Buckcherry. It was released on April 6, 1999 by DreamWorks Records. "Lit Up", "For the Movies", "Dead Again", and "Check Your Head" were released as singles. As of September 2006, the album has sold in excess of 750,000 copies, and was certified Gold by the RIAA. It is the band's only album as a four-piece.

<i>Unforgettable... with Love</i> 1991 studio album by Natalie Cole

Unforgettable... with Love, also known as simply Unforgettable, is a 1991 album by American singer Natalie Cole. Released on June 11, 1991, the album focuses on covers of standards previously performed by her father, Nat King Cole. It was also her debut for Elektra Records, after being given her release from EMI Records.

<i>The Turning</i> (album) 1987 studio album by Sam Phillips

The Turning is an album by Leslie Phillips that was released by Myrrh in 1987 and re-released in 1997 under the name Sam Phillips.

<i>Fan Dance</i> (album) 2001 studio album by Sam Phillips

Fan Dance is the ninth studio album from American singer and songwriter Sam Phillips.

<i>A Boot and a Shoe</i> 2004 studio album by Sam Phillips

A Boot and a Shoe is the tenth studio album released by American singer and songwriter, Sam Phillips. The album was released in April 2004 and produced by T Bone Burnett.

<i>The Indescribable Wow</i> 1988 studio album by Sam Phillips

The Indescribable Wow is the fifth studio album from American singer and songwriter Sam Phillips. It is her first album for Virgin Records and her first album she released after moving from Christian pop to secular alternative rock and using the name Sam rather than Leslie. The single "Holding On to the Earth" peaked at No. 22 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart in early 1989.

<i>Rocks, Pebbles and Sand</i> 1980 studio album by Stanley Clarke

Rocks, Pebbles and Sand is the 1980 album by jazz bass guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Stanley Clarke. This was the first recording where Stanley featured his tenor bass.

<i>By the Light of the Moon</i> (album) 1987 studio album by Los Lobos

By the Light of the Moon is the third album by the Mexican American rock group Los Lobos.

<i>Elton John and Tim Rices Aida</i> 1999 soundtrack album by Various Artists

Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida is a 1999 concept album that contains songs from, but predates the main production of, the 2000 musical Aida.

<i>Sound of Lies</i> 1997 studio album by Jayhawks

Sound of Lies is the fifth studio album by American rock band The Jayhawks. It peaked at number 112 on the Billboard 200.

<i>Trampoline</i> (The Mavericks album) 1998 studio album by The Mavericks

Trampoline is the fifth studio album by the American country music band The Mavericks. The album was released on March 10, 1998, by MCA Nashville. It includes the singles "To Be with You", "Dance the Night Away" and "I've Got This Feeling". Although none of these singles were Top 40 hits on the U.S. country charts, "Dance the Night Away" reached #4 on the UK Singles Chart and "I've Got This Feeling" reached #27.

<i>Tooth of Crime</i> 2008 studio album by T Bone Burnett

Tooth of Crime is an album by T Bone Burnett. The album is a selection of music written by Burnett for the 1996 production of Sam Shepard's play The Tooth of Crime.

<i>When the Pawn...</i> 1999 studio album by Fiona Apple

When the Pawn... is the second studio album by American singer-songwriter Fiona Apple.

<i>In Thrall</i> 1993 studio album by Murray Attaway

In Thrall is the debut solo studio album by American musician Murray Attaway, released in 1993.

<i>Beauty</i> (Ryuichi Sakamoto album) 1989 studio album by Ryuichi Sakamoto

Beauty is the eighth solo studio album by Japanese musician Ryuichi Sakamoto. Both a Japanese and an international version were released by Virgin Records in 1989 and 1990, respectively. The international release contains the track "You Do Me (Edit)" featuring singer Jill Jones, a song previously released as a single.

Nothing but a Burning Light is the seventeenth full-length album by Canadian singer/songwriter Bruce Cockburn. The album was released in 1991 by True North Records.

Christmas is the eighteenth full-length album by Canadian singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn, released in 1993 by True North Records.


  1. McCartney, Kelly. "Review: Cruel Inventions". AllMusic . Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  2. Kot, Greg (27 June 1991). "Sam Phillips Cruel Inventions (Virgin)". Chicago Tribune . Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  3. Christgau, Robert (2000-10-15). "Sam Phillips: Cruel Inventions". Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s . Macmillan Publishing. ISBN   9780312245603.
  4. Larkin, Colin (2006). The encyclopedia of popular music: Indexes. Oxford University Press. p. 522. ISBN   9780195313734.
  5. 1 2 Browne, David (31 May 1991). "Cruel Inventions (1991)". Entertainment Weekly . Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  6. "1991's best (and worst) music". Entertainment Weekly. 1991-12-27.
  7. 1 2 "Cruel Inventions". AllMusic. Retrieved 12 June 2019.