Chris Rea might not immediately strike a feeling of recognition with you, but when I say Josephine, On the Beach, I Can Hear Your Heartbeat, or Fool If You Think It´s Over, then I am quite sure you know at least some of those tunes. For me, this album Wired To The Moon ranks among the most beautiful things he has done. And he has done a lot of beautiful things ladies and gentlemen!
Opening with the hypnotic groove of Bombollini, a 6 minute showcase of how one can write a catchy tune, yet still maintain a high level of artistic integrity. And a showcase of the stratocaster fretwork one Mark Knopfler would get a lot more praise for, yet here of course done by the master himself. Touché d´Amour is a reggae influenced song with that dark brown voice Rea is famous for. Shine Shine Shine is another example of the musicianship of Rea. Very tasteful playing catches the attention between the sung lines over another laid back groove with lots of keyboards. Next up is the title track. The pace is picking up, but that voice and the stratocaster are still prominent. As is the use of a vast array of keyboards. On board is also another hit single: I Don´t Know What It Is But I Love It. Yep, it does, although I do know what it is. It is the combination mentioned before, all wrapped in melodic pop rock songs and a lot of emotional appeal. So it is no wonder the last track on the album is called Winning. That is an appropriate tag for the man…
It is reasonably fair to assume that an awful lot of people know the track Drive from this album. Yet I also tend to think that those people hardly realize the genius that was (or actually is, they reunited) The Cars. Led by the talent of Ric Ocasek on song-writing, vocals and guitar, The Cars are a band that manages to combine pop and rock and put in some new wave sounds for good measure. And be highly accessible at the same time! Every track on this CD is proof of that.
From more rocking tunes like Hello Again, You Might Think or Magic, to more mellow songs like Looking For Love, Drive (sung by the late Ben Orr) or Why Can´t I Have you, this is class all over. Also the often witty lyrics of Ocasek deserve to be mentioned. Again Drive or You Might Think being examples. Other qualities are the vocal harmonies, the clever arrangements and songs that take you places without sounding like something you have heard a million times before.
Also older albums are very much worth your time, the new one I have yet to buy. Timeless!
Of course U2 need no introduction. A band that is already legendary. Music wise because of albums like this one and tours around the world in big arenas. But also because of the work singer Bono does before camera in the more political arenas. But politics are best left to people who are into, well politics, this blog is about music.
The band U2 can be characterized by the singing and lyrics of Bono, the guitar playing and sounds of The Edge, and the rhythm section of Larry Mullen and Adam Clayton on drums and bass. I bought this album because of the track Pride (In The Name Of Love), but grew very fond of the rest as well. So fond I was absolutely certain I owned the album. Which recently turned out to be not true. But that was quickly fixed, so here we go.
Opener A Sort Of Homecoming is a slow starter to welcome you to the album. Not in tempo, but in mood. Next track Pride is one of the band’s bigger hits and rightly so. Still gives me the chills every time I hear it. Next is Wire, which is more reminiscent of the groups previous work. The title track is also a corker. A beautiful soft intro that breaks into another timeless U2 tune: ” Ice your only rivers run cold“. They have that way with words, groove and melody that gives them an unique identity. And hugely successful one might add. Promenade and 4th Of July are moody tracks to lead us into Bad. The opening riff is The Edge all over. And the singing will touch anyone who opens up to it. Not to be touched means you do not listen, such is it´s beauty. I guess everybody already owns this. In case you are one of the few that don´t: why?
This years last post on a classic album is actually the first CD that made it into my collection in the eighties. So from that point of view alone, the classic tag is deserved. Also the artwork of Mark Wilkinson, inspired by the lyrics, adds to the picture.
But of course that would not be enough to deserve the “classic” tag. This second album with original singer Fish, and the first with drummer Ian Mosley, saw the boys recording in full digital mode. I believe they were one of the first bands to do that. And despite this resulting in a somewhat clinical sounding record, the songs have stood the test of time remarkably well.
Opener Assassin is a full blown progressive rock tune that tells us the band means business. A mystical opening, evolving into an up beat song that presents the perfect stage for the lyrical content Fish unleashes at the listener. As often, his words are open to various interpretation, but I prefer to mention the great guitar solo´s Steve Rothery fires at us here. A thing gone sadly missing in later years. And lets not forget the inventive keyboard arrangements by Mark Kelly. Next track Punch And Judy is a prime example of how this type of music can translate into catchy tunes that everyone should want to hear. Jigsaw has a peaceful opening with keyboards and vocals. Pete Trewavas supports the melodies with some excellent bass lines. After a few minutes into the song, the band again show their craftsmanship in turning the track into another prog workout with an extensive guitar solo. The opening drums and riffs of Emerald Lies are classic, and Pete´s bass lines bring Yes to mind. The track has many mood shifts but holds the attention with ease.
And so I could go on. So believe me when I say this album never tires. Timeless!