Like a less hefty Meatloaf, Joe Jackson goes the Bat Out of Hell II route with this sequel to his most commercially successful album, 1982's Night and Day. Fans of Jackson's earlier ode to New York City are afforded moments of déjà vu. Pop hooks and programmed Latin rhythms abound, and the signature chords from "Steppin' Out" find their way into "Glamour and Pain" and "Stay." But Jackson has new tricks up his sleeve, including a potent string quartet and character-driven songs with vocals from Marianne Faithfull (on the darkly operatic "Love Got Lost"), Iranian singer Sussan Deyhim (on the no less elegiac "Why"), and transvestite protégée Dale DeVere (on the Pet Shop Boys-like "Glamour and Pain"). Still, it's Jackson who delivers the sucker punch with his bittersweet delivery on "Hell of a Town," "Stranger Than You," and the particularly barbed "Dear Mom." The sequel gimmick may not get Jackson another hit, but it should reintroduce people to an artist whose skills as a songwriter, composer, and performer are as sharp as ever. --Bill Forman
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from VANCOUVER, WA
Reviewed on 10/8/2017...
Joe Jackson's part 2 to Night & Day is a faithful yet unpretentious follow-up to one of the best albums from the early 80's. The lyrics are interesting and honest and creative. And the music -- wow, the music! Awesome and beautiful. (It's music that could soundtrack a stroll through the city streets.) Joe's voice is as passionate, gritty and at times lovely as ever; and the voice of Marianne Faithful on one of the best (and strangest) tracks is hauntingly beautiful and freakishly sexy. I was a big fan of Night & Day in the early 1980's, and I'm a fan of this gorgeous follow-up. 5 stars!
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NIGHT AND DAY II
Charles Agee | Tahlequah, Oklahoma United States | 03/31/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am a big Joe Jackson fan, but I did NOT give this work a fair airing when I first heard it. Recently, listening to 2 RAINY NIGHTS (featuring songs from N&D II ) I decided to listen to the original album (yes, I'm a geezer) and am on my third listen today.
My original assessment was very, very wrong. As always with Mr. Jackson, he never stays anywhere too long. You KNOW it's his music (just as with The Beatles) but it's NOT the same. I would disagree with those who think so; please listen again and again, as I have, and I think you'll begin to really hear THE MUSIC that's there waiting for you. Thank you for your time."
Jackson's second love song to New York: a masterpiece
M. MESSINA | Brooklyn, NY | 07/29/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I loved the original "Night and Day." In fact, 26 years later, I remember the day I first heard "Steppin' Out" on the radio: I HAD TO go out to the record store (remember those?) and buy the album THAT VERY DAY, and then played it until I wore out the grooves and had to go buy another copy (hooray for digital!). Phenomenal album.
The sequel is SO MUCH MORE. Other listeners here have remarked on how the album as a whole evokes a very specifically-New-York setting and introduces you to a number of fascinating can't-be-anywhere-else characters, and as a New Yorker, all I can say is, Yeah, Jackson got that right on the money. These characters enthrall you from first listening, as does the music, but the album also rewards you by revealing more layers on repeated listenings. Listen to the work as a whole, in sequence, and you begin to hear the musical integrity and arc from beginning to end, with themes and chords repeated, but never obviously or tritely; likewise, the musical echoes of the first "Night and Day" are there, but subtle and delightful to discover. "Rock opera," as another reviewer dubbed it, works, or one could very easily imagine this as the score of a hip City-based musical. Speaking of opera, I was amused to notice that while the lyrics of "Love Got Lost" (with Marianne Faithfull turning in a staggeringly poignant vocal - this is what the song "Memory" from "Cats" WANTS to be and isn't) reference Puccini's "La Boheme," a little later in the song Jackson has written a choral passage quite reminiscent of the "Humming Chorus" from "Madama Butterfly," making the whole song musically a sort of ode to the Italian composer.
The album as a whole is so carefully and brilliantly detailed, down to the percussion that both begins and ends the work, a sort of heartbeat of the City that runs through the whole work.
Let me throw out a few names here:
Yeah, THAT good.
EDIT: Took me a few days, but I finally realized what that pervasive percussion figure sounds like: it's the beat of the subway trains, the rhythm of the wheels on the track."