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.
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!
"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:
Go on, comment and share your thoughts!!