Yes, It's That Good
BuzzGuy | Madison, WI, USA | 07/29/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Fans of Sly Stone, Average White Band, Sade, and Swing Out Sister, to name a few, will all find something appealing about Simply Red's sophomore release, "Men And Women", originally released in 1987. After enjoying a worldwide smash and instant standard in the single "Holding Back The Years", the temptation to produce a clone had to be on the band's mind. That clone is "Maybe Someday...", but let's put that aside a moment.
Delightfully, the rest of the album finds the band confident, exploratory, and exuberant. Lyrically, Mick Hucknall has love on the mind. Specifically, the lustful kind. The working class Brit viewpoint, especially on matters of the heart, is still intact and at its zenith here. The band sounds incredible too. From horns, piano, synth, and hearty background vocal, these are just the right bandmates to match Hucknall's take-no-prisoners mood.
The songs : "The Right Thing", a fine eighties pop tune. "Infidelity", an ode to that cheating mood. "Let Me Have It All", hands-down funk exercise a la AWB and Sly. "Love Fire", touches elements of reggae and ska. "Move On Out" and "Shine", smooth soul with slinky minor chords.
The good news : there's not a dud in the bunch, and this import adds six more tracks to the original album.
The bad news : the US didn't take to "Men And Women" as this great work merited. "The Right Thing" scraped the top forty; the rest was virtually forgotten. It put Simply Red in the position of slicking it up way too far on their next release, "A New Flame". The reward was another #1 in the form of a tame Philly soul cover on a tame release.
Here, they weren't yet playing safe, the results are spectacular. I'm not big on giving anything 5 stars, but I have no reservations about how highly I recommend this to fans of true soul music."