In The Name of Money Indeed!
Deinara | Hamilton, Ohio USA | 04/11/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Big Dreamers Never Sleep
I must preface this review by saying that I love Gino Vannelli's music. Having said that, I must also say that this album is one of the least favorite in my collection. When I first listened to this record, and the last song had played, my thoughts were that despite the wonderful artist that he is, sometimes Gino has to be pragmatic and think about making a living....hence, the title of this review.
On this album I feel that Gino reigned-in his most powerful instrument... his voice...on many of the songs; drowning it out with the "Sheena Easton"-"Jane Child" musical sound of the 80's, seasoned with a pinch of jazz and funk. The album's sound was certainly for the most part commercial.
"Wild horses", "persona non grata", and "king for a day" are the most interesting songs on the album. "Wild horses" is "a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll", perfectly proportioned. The vocals and the musical styles work to create a catchy tune that has you singing along before you know it. "Persona" has a nice latin, cuban cha-cha beat that makes you move to the music. The music tends to overshadow the "cruelty of illegal immigration" message. "King for a day" has an ironic, meaningful, message about the reality of having the fame and fortune fantasy come true. I have come to actually love these three songs over the years, because when Gino sings them now, he does them with all of the passion and energy of his artistic genius, ditches the "Sheena sound", and unleashes the power of that beautiful voice.
This version of "down with love" is OK. It does have a big dollop of funk, which improves the music, but the heavy "synth" sound drowns out gino's voice, relegating the lyrics to "afterthought". The jazzy, vocally powerful remake on the "slow love" album erases the memory of this version, and makes you actually appreciate the cleverness of the lyrics.
"Young lover", a poignant ode to the one-night-stand is likeable, as is "someting tells me". "In the name of money", "time out", and "shape me like a man" leave me wanting the music to quiet down, and longing for the richness of Gino's vocal power.
I am sure that among Gino fanatics (and I am indeed one of them) I am a lone voice in the wilderness, because I have always felt that neither "Black Cars", nor this album enraptures the human heart and soul the way his other works do.
I was growing and changing in the mid to late 80's, and this sound was never really a favorite of mine (with the exception of one guilty pleasure...Jane Child's "don't wanna fall in love"), so perhaps these things colored my perceptions of the album. Gino does infuse a little of his other musical styles into the mix, and sometimes this worked for me and sometimes it didn't ("shape me like a man").
I appreciate the fact that Gino is such a versatile artist that he can do any style of music on earth, but on the whole, I do not really savor this album. Gino's music has alwalys made me feel that it and his life journeys are intimately connected. This album has always left me wondering just what he was dealing with when he created it.