When I was initially suggested Joe Jackson, I was actually given names of two albums to try, and this was the second one. Now, I'll admit, I didn't completely enjoy the first one, but I never turn down a suggested album! So, here we go.
Body and Soul is Joe's 7th studio album, and gives us a mix of pop and jazz standards and salsa. It's actually a lot of fun when it comes down to it. The tour, however, took a huge toll on Joe, and he swore he'd never tour again afterward.
And, well, that's it.
So, Joe Jackson, round 2, let's go.
"The Verdict" almost has got me thinking Cheers-esq music is what we're in for. Lots of horns, strong drum beats, but the recording sound like the good-ol'-boys for some reason. The song kind of drags on a little bit, and as he's yelling "waiting," you're kind of understanding in the wrong way.
And now we're into the salsa we were promised with "Cha Cha Loco" and up dancing a bit. The beat is unmistakably a part of this genre, and something you rarely hear in other realms. It's approached really well here, maintaining his interesting lyricism while playing around with a new style of portraying it.
"Not Hear, Not Now" has that slight slow salsa beat in the background, compliments of what I'm guessing are wooden blocks being hit just so. I've got to say though, his voice is driving me a little batty this time around. I don't think it's as noticeable in the faster numbers, but as he slows down, I can't stand how he's wrapping his voice around words and notes in a way that screams distortion to my ears.
And here's the track I've been waiting for, "You Can't Get What You Want (Till You Know What You Want)" mostly because of this performance video:
That was just a lot of fun, along with being a pretty simple concept in lyrics. It's the truth, right? The song itself melds those horns and sweet bass bridge so well. Just love it all put together.
"Go For It." Well this is... um... cute. No, really, that's the only word I can sum this up with. I like the metaphors and references of American life, but it's so damn kitchy that something credibility-wise is lost on me here.
"Loisadia" is really a beautiful track, just done well musically. There are movements within it that are so not what the rest of the album's about. I love the flow of the whole thing, and it's experimental enough to remain appealing while having this wonderfully classiness to it that strikes a musical chord as a whole within a listener. Damn I'm getting good at this, lol. Kidding, kidding, I just like writing like this.
Elaine Caswell comes on board for the next track, "Happy Ending." We're back to where I think we were on the last album - interesting lyrics with awkward voices. Lyrically, this is a really good song. Musically, I would give anything for another melody.
I'm intrigued by "Be My Number Two" on title alone, mostly because it sounds like I'm about to get incredibly depressed. It actually turned out to be one of the sweetest songs on the album. I thought it was going to kind of be about being a runner-up to someone, but it's really about being a partner with them. It's musically and lyrics a gentle sweet song.
"Heart of Ice" is the final song we're given, and it actually strikes me as either an instrumental version of half of what was on this album, 80's romantic comedy background music, or elevator music - not that any of that's bad. It's a nicely put together piece that ends us on a relaxed note with very little vocals.
Stuff I wouldn't mind hearing again:
I most definitely liked this much more than the last album I listened to! I just enjoyed the overall sound a lot more, and was pleased with what was experimented with here. There were some new sounds that weren't too jarring, and the tracks that were particular gems were really very wonderful. I'm glad I got another go-around with this artist, and who knows - I may even check out more!
Not that I necessarily have daily readers, but I'll apologize anyway for no new posts being published the past couple of days. I've barely slept, let alone written. But I'm back and will be making it up!
Today I'm taking a look at one of Joe Jackson's albums on suggestion from the same guy who gave me the push to try Steely Dan. I was really pleased with that experience, so I'm more than willing to give this one a shot.
This one comes to us from 1982 and was apparently meant to be a pay tribute to the "wit and style" of Cole Porter as well as sort of to New York. It reached #3 in the UK and #4 in the US, and "Steppin' Out" reached #6 on the Billboard charts, while "Breaking Us In Two" get to #18. So it's one of those things that got a little critical and mainstream appeal, but not so much that it's over-talked-up. Sweet, right up my ally.
I really dig the opening notes and beat for the first song, "Another World." Given that note on the album kind of being about New York a bit, I'm feeling this song a little more on the second listen. It speaks about the city in a highly accurate way. Kind of just want to walk the streets of the city with this bursting through my headphones. It feels like the perfect beat for that kind of roaming.
This whole album flows into each other, making it a cohesive journey instead of individual songs. You can tell it's probably meant to be listened to as a whole, which makes me almost want to upgrade Spotify to get rid of the ads that make this too obvious. Anywhos, the second track is "Chinatown" and probably one of the more annoying tracks on the album vocally. I think it's the words and how he's hitting them for some reason.
"T.V. Age" is telling, considering when it came out. Can you imagine it today? When are we not staring at screens? I know my computer is the center of my world for far too many hours of the day, hence why I don't feel bad missing a day of blogging - it means I was too busy with great people to get near the screen. Anywhos, the song. Yup, great subject, not so in love with the music, but the breakdown in the bridge with the sax is awesome! A little Bowie-esq to me though.
Well, this isn't good. I didn't realize "Target" had started playing. While the salsa beat is interesting, it's not appealing to me as a regular track to hear. To me, this feels like album filler. It's just not an intriguing song, even though the concept of it may be decent. I just don't feel like it was attacked in the right way.
"Steppin' Out" is the big single from this album, and you know you want to see the 80's video for it.
This is most definitely the song I've heard before. I always did like the piano in the beginning helping to build the song in a different way with such a retro beat behind it. And maybe there's more to it than about going out for the night, or maybe I'm reading too far into it on subjects of youth and making progress. But we're all free to make our own opinions of songs, right?
I feel like the same thing is happening in "Breaking Us In Two," which was the other single, and there's a video for it too, from Joe Jackson's VEVO account!
Yet, it's a little more mature in a way. Hm.
"Cancer" drags on for me, but it's kind of a funny song in a weird way. "Everything gives you cancer." I mean, true according to news reports, right? We just can't win. I can't figure out if this is meant to be a sort of humorous song altogether or now, but it doesn't really appeal as something I'd like to hear regularly. I mean, I'd probably bop my head a little to the song if I heard it in a casual setting, but that's about it.
"Real Men" is intriguing. It's incredibly intelligent and would probably be a great conversational piece. I live with 6 guys, so I was interested in hearing the take on this just based off of the title. There's a lot to the song itself, and it does ask the question of what real men are to the world in what they do and contribute, or not.
"Music has charms, they say. But in some people's hands it becomes a savage beast." The final track is "A Slow Song" and it's a pretty good one. I'm having a tough time with it because it's stirring up some thoughts I don't enjoy (someone once tried to use music as a manipulative tool on me, and that first line just made me angry for its truth). It's very well written though and, while I don't want to re-listen to it, it's something I'd suggest checking out if you have a few minutes.
The stuff I wouldn't mind hearing again:
3/9. While I didn't love this nearly as much as some others I've gotten to review, I didn't hate it and would consider it again sometime. I can understand why there's something special about it though. The music's interesting, and the lyrics are fascinating. I'm looking forward to hearing more of this work in future sittings.Go on, comment and share your thoughts!!