Prime example of New Wave/Synth Pop
SRFireside | Houston, TX United States | 06/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Howard Jones rode the wave of the second British invasion and this was the album that put him on the map. He was a part of a new breed of artist that was taking full advantage of the advances in synthesizer technology and taking it to levels that might seem common now, but back then were ground breaking.
First off just about all of the music on this album is from him alone. He wrote every note and lyric. He performed just about every note (with exception to stuff like sax solos and such). As a matter of fact he was the kind of musician that would perform his songs live all by himself. Imagine one dude with a mess of keyboards, a drum machine and a mime (you read that right... an actual don't-talk-just-prance-around-doing-silly-things mime). That's a Howard Jones concert from the Human's Lib tour. And he's not relying on sequencers to play everything either. You would see one hand on a keyboard playing the bass lines and another on a different keyboard playing chords or melodies (along with all the frantic button pushing and knob turning to get the rest of it working). Fun stuff.
Okay back to this CD. You're getting a studio version of these songs he performed live, which means he was able to tweak the music a little better and add a few more instruments to fill out the composition. While it's going to feel dated by today's standards if you're into electronic music in any way this album is a rather important milestone in EDM's history.
It's light and catchy most of the time with lyrics that lean towards giving a positive message to the listener. It's like Howard knew his music is going to be heard mostly by the younger generation and he wanted to give them something to carry with them. Not preachy lyrics, but it's enough to make you think if you let it.
The songs vary in style a little with catchy hit tracks like NEW SONG, WHAT IS LOVE? and PEARL IN THE SHELL, mellow jazzy tracks like DON'T LOOK AT THE RAIN, too brooding songs like HIDE AND SEEK. It's a pretty nice mix of music even if it all has a taint of synth on them. There is a bonus instrumental track called CHINA DANCE that was never released on any LP (but it was released on one of the vinyl singles) that is a nice addition too.
This album is a must for any 80's synth pop fan. If you are one and do not have this album then shame on you because this is pretty much required listening along with early Depeche Mode, Ultravox and Men Without Hats. Howard became a huge success with this album and deservedly so."
What is Love?
C. L. Phillips | Steamboat Springs, CO USA | 01/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This CD is one of the best from the 80s, period. The quality of the lyrics and melodies is far above others often categorized with Human's Lib, but this CD it truly peerless."