A bit more to offer than just "The Promise"
J. Derek Reardon | KC, MO, USA | 05/03/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
" In the late 80s, When in Rome stormed onto the US music scene with "The Promise," and then vanished into obscurity as fast as they came. Chances are that if you're looking at this CD, you've heard "The Promise" and you want to know if the rest of the album is worth buying. It might be - if you are an 80s alterno-euro-power-pop fan or a fan of power-piano-pop. Don't be looking for angst ridden, poignant tunes on the rest of this release that were typical of this era (like the classic "Don't You Forget About Me"). While their voices maintain that angst-ridden quality throughout that merges so well with the tune of "The Promise," the orchestration through most of the rest of the release is upbeat and happy, clashing with the angst. I will admit that I do like their voices, and I really enjoy what they do with the harmonies, which are often ignored in pop music. However, the reason I enjoy and appreciate this release (and you should too if you are to enjoy it somewhat) is for its over-produced 80s power pop style. After "The Promise," "Heaven Knows" continues the driving euro-power-pop theme, however its tone is a bit more upbeat. While not so much on the over-produced side, "I Can't Stop," with its horns, driving beat, and female backing vocals makes you get up and dance happily around the room singing along. "Sight of Your Tears," despite its sad title, is orchestrally upbeat, powerful, driving and happy. "Wide, Wide Sea" is actually my favorite song on this release and what made me buy it after hearing a friend's tape. Something about the tune and lyrics really grabbed me; it's very upbeat, hopeful, and it makes me want to dance around. Then there are the other songs, which deviate from the over-produced power-pop theme. For the most part, the remainder of the songs are much shallower and rely on simple orchestration that focuses on piano and drums. "Something Going On" is the most produced of this category, but after hearing the first two songs, this one is a real shock. Not to mention the tune is rather syrupy. "If Only" is a standard shallow piano and drum pop ballad, and it tries a bit too hard to be sentimental. "Child's Play" and "Total Devotion" are both driving power piano tunes. They can be fun, but again they are more shallow and raw and sound kind of like bar performances with a live band. "Everything" concludes the album on a slower note with this power-piano ballad tune. So, amid this muddled mess, what is my recommendation? If you liked "The Promise" THAT much to be looking up the release, I would at least put it on your potential gift list. And if you're an 80s music freak to boot, you might want to put it toward the top of that list. I don't think you will be disappointed with the release, but at the same time I don't think it will become your favorite of all time. It is a fairly solid 80s classic that is worth pulling off the shelf every now and again for a listen. Since I find half of the songs fun and enjoyable, and the other half somewhat remotely enjoyable, I give this release a strong 3 star rating."
A big disappointment
Fortis | St. Petersburg, Fla | 04/21/2000
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The Promise has been a song that most people know and love for a long time. It has always been one of my favorite songs, period. The album on the otherhand, is sadly awful. The lyrics are uninventive and childish. After the Promise one begins to wonder what other band stepped in and made the rest of the cd! It sounds nothing like the song we carry with us and love. It is quite clear why this was a one shot deal."
Dreamer2008 | 02/11/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have to say that "The Promise" is my absolute favorite 80's song! I love lots of 80's songs, but nothing compares to this one. Whenever I listen to it, it brings back good memories of my high school days. I can still remember the first time that my best friend and I heard it, and how we went crazy trying to find out who sang the song and what the title of the song was!
I am SO glad that I found this CD! The other songs are good, but "The Promise" is what really makes this CD worth buying. I've wanted this song forever, and it's a song that I never get tired of hearing, so it was worth it to spend a couple of bucks to get such an awesome song!"