Great pop music is driven as much by raw emotion as it is classic textures. While this Scottish band excels in the latter trait, Texas has grappled with finding its own voice ever since making its 1988 debut. White on Blon... more »de is the perfect example of an album that sounds right, but feels wrong. The band may borrow key traits from pop history in constructing its gentle blues style, but it woefully fails to give its songs any resonance. From the Motown influenced "Black-Eyed Boy" to the delicately gritty "Halo," the grooves fall into place just fine, but the sentiments ring hollow. Singer Sharleen Spiteri's voice--radiating warmth and soft-focus edginess--is still sweet on the ears; and the band's impenetrable sound will make radio programmers get down on their knees and praise the album-oriented rock gods. --Aidin Vaziri« less
Great pop music is driven as much by raw emotion as it is classic textures. While this Scottish band excels in the latter trait, Texas has grappled with finding its own voice ever since making its 1988 debut. White on Blonde is the perfect example of an album that sounds right, but feels wrong. The band may borrow key traits from pop history in constructing its gentle blues style, but it woefully fails to give its songs any resonance. From the Motown influenced "Black-Eyed Boy" to the delicately gritty "Halo," the grooves fall into place just fine, but the sentiments ring hollow. Singer Sharleen Spiteri's voice--radiating warmth and soft-focus edginess--is still sweet on the ears; and the band's impenetrable sound will make radio programmers get down on their knees and praise the album-oriented rock gods. --Aidin Vaziri
"Texas are one of the most important and significant bands to come out of Scotland ever. Frontwoman Sharleen Spiteri is a rock Queen, they have sold millions of albums and had some of the biggest radio hits of the past decade, but it wasn't always as easy as that. The band's first single was titled "I Don't Want A Lover," and crept into the UK top 10 back in February 1989. After that the band released many albums and singles - all of which flopped and failed to make Texas anything more than a commercially poor band. That all changed in 1997.
As a new year opened in the form of 1997, Texas released their album "White On Blonde." The album was a critical and commercial masterpiece which topped the British charts for weeks, sold millions of copies, spawned five Top 10 singles, and still ranks high in many charts as one of the best British albums ever. This is the definitive Texas album, and nothing they have done before or since it has quite matched up to its popularity and appeal.
White On Blonde opens with an untitled intro that lasts for a mere 34 seconds. It's a swirly concoction of beats, breathing and cultural influences and prepares the listener for what is to come. "Say What You Want" follows, and is arguably the band's most popular song to date. In the United States, barely anyone will have heard this song, but over in the United Kingdom, I think everyone over the age of 10 has heard this song at least a thousand times! The song peaked at No.3 in the UK in January 1997, and has some very catchy hooks and sunlight vocals from Sharleen. "Drawing Crazy Patterns" is an album highlight, where country beats and a catchy guitar blend with perfectly with the raw and unaltered vocals of Sharleen. The guitar breakdown after two minutes is a particular memorable part. "Halo" is one of Texas' biggest hits to date and peaked at No.10 in the UK back in April 1997. The song comes out of no where and slowly builds up its guitar riffs and melodies to peak towards the end in a glorious display of Scottish vocal power and lyrical supremacy. It's quite amazing, and rightly so one of the most played radio hits in the past decade.
The beautiful ballad "Put Your Arms Around Me" slows down the tempo with some very emotional and heartfelt lyrics from Sharleen. The instruments are perfectly matched and time seems to stand still after the third minute, right up until the end. The song was released in November 1997 and peaked at No.10 in the UK. "Insane" is an absolutely phenomenal song! This was released in March 1998 and peaked at No.4 in the UK. The song starts off in a rather average fashion, but as the first verse trundles on, you get a wonderful sense of the atmosphere that fills Sharleen's voice, along with the haunting trumpet and soaring strings. You can sing along to this so much, and the chorus is just anthemic. The whole song just lets rip after the third minute and loses control. "Black Eyed Boy" is the feel-good, live life to the full kind of anthem that was played at football stadiums all over Europe through the late-90's. It was released in August 1997 and peaked at No.5 in the UK. The brash instruments and loud screeching vocals are haunting and the lyrics - while not making very much sense - perfectly capture your mood and lift your spirits.
"Polo Mint City" is a short interlude that pretty much continues on from the one that started the album, while "White On Blonde," the album's title track, is a definite album highlight. Sharleen's voice is very sweet and girly. It's being forced that way to begin with, but the chorus changes all that. She sings with such honestly and soul. "Postcard" is what you could call - for Texas - a hard rock anthem. The beat is raw and explicit from the beginning. Sharleen's voice isn't quite the best it could be, but you won't really care when you're bopping your head to this! Another short interlude follows, before "Ticket To Lie." This is yet another brilliant song, with some great and very visually effective lyrics from Sharleen. Her voice has a unique quality that makes it so loveable yet so diverse and different. "Good Advice" slows down the tempo to an almost haunting pace where Sharleen's voice is sort of muffled and subdued, like she's trying to tell you something, but quietly so no one else will hear. The album closes with the superb "Breathless." The strings on this song are what you instantly notice first, and they infiltrate the whole song with that British 90's post Brit-pop phenomenon that captured the nation. An excellent ending.
OVERALL GRADE: 10/10
White On Blonde is definitely Texas' finest album to date in my opinion. I have none of their albums prior to the release of this album, but I have "The Hush," "Greatest Hits" and "Be Careful What You Wish For" which are the three albums that followed White On Blonde. None of then match the masterpiece qualities than this album so proudly displays, and I don't think any album by them in the future will! When I was a preteen back in the late 90's, all the songs that were released from this album were played non-stop on British radio stations for years. I loved the songs, but I was too obsessed with the Spice Girls to care about buying one of their albums! Anyway, I'm glad I bought White On Blonde earlier on this year. It's a masterpiece, and your collection isn't complete without it! Americans, do something bold and discover the criminally underrated Texas!"
An almost flawless collection of great pop songs
riverwide | 01/06/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you've heard the singles and liked them, then don't hesitate to buy this album. The other tracks are every bit as strong as the singles. Every one is a gem in it's own right. Strong melodies and Sharleen's beautiful voice make for an incredible album that I never tire of. Any fan of good music, could not fail to enjoy this album. Make sure you also check out their latest album, "The Hush". It's almost as good as this one!"
This Album Sparkles
Wickerlove | Canada | 04/29/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Upon listening to this, it's like being hit with rays of sun. Although unrecognized in North America, this album is constantly ranked high on 'Best Of' polls in The UK, and deservedly so. 'White On Blonde' is sparkling feel-good pop for those who have lived life...an ode to the human experience with an undercurrent of maturity. Front and center is the wonderful range of Sharleen Spiteri's voice, who straddles between Deborah Harry, Diana Ross and Black Box Recorder's Sarah Nixey. The fact that many on this side of The Atlantic haven't had this album grace their ears does a great disservice to this undiscovered, yet celebratory gem."
wildgomie | midtown Atlanta, GA United States | 03/17/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I own all 5 Texas CDs, and this is the most unique. The last track, "Breathless," is amazing. For those of you who own this, please take the time to listen to "Breathless" for its yearning sexiness and infectious energy. All though I have listened to every song several times, this is not an album I can play in its entirety. If you are a non-Texas fan, I would recommend either Southside or Mothers Heaven for your first album as those are more raw and passionate (and unique). Sharleen's voice is so good that I had to give WOB (White on Blonde) 4 stars. Without her talent, I would be disappointed for it seems Texas gets off their creative track in WOB. Perhaps its just because I'm spoiled by the genius of Southside. But Breathless and track 5 (Put your arms around me) make WOB worth the money. And Ms. Spiteri's talent takes the rest of these songs and makes them something worth noticing!"
Simple, great music !
Amartuvshin Zuunnast | SF, CA, USA | 09/12/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"True beauty of Texas' music is its simplicity. They really can write amazingly simple, yet catchy songs which just grow on you with every time you listen. "White on Blonde" is the culmination of their work through the years which I believe paid off very well for them. Buy this album, enjoy good soft rock music, save live music, love Texas !"