Joe Jackson has often been acclaimed as being a very special talent, but equally often slaughtered by the music press for testing our patience with a string of musically indifferent projects. Here though, the man is at his best. Having gained success, which soon waned, with his first 3 albums during the explosion of punk in the late 70’s, in 1982 we find Jackson relocate to New York following the demise of his marriage. Whilst there, he absorbed the many different sounds of a hustling city, and wrote the finest songs of his career. To say that many artists could only dream of writing an album as good as this is no exaggeration. With only a three piece band to back him, all of which are rhythmic (percussion, drums and bass) there is a very tasty, distinctive low-key latin feel to this. With Jackson himself on piano and vocals, he has never sounded finer – sharp, cynical, smart. The opening track ‘Another World’ opens with the line “I was so low, people almost made me give up trying,” – this is Jackson fighting against anybody who never believed in him. ‘Steppin’ Out’ – worth the price of the CD alone, is classic pop, something he has never quite repeated. Crisp piano, classic Graham Maby bass line, soothing vocals… surely this is too good to be true! The second half of the album is much darker, ‘Breaking Us In Two’ is a perfect, honest love song, while Jackson’s own doubts about the world we live in are to the fore with ‘Cancer’ and ‘Real Men’. Just when you think it can’t get better the album ends with Jackson’s finest moment, and a song which I personally believe is the best song ever written, ‘A Slow Song.’ Dark, sophisticated, moving – Jackson is crying out for a moments rest from the noise around him. Gradually it builds and builds into a complete masterpiece – a mere review such as this doesn’t do it justice. This is an album of breathtaking quality, and, unlike a lot of releases, is actually an album, not just 9 very good songs put together. Very special indeed.Read more ›
Joe's fifth album and the first he recorded after relocating to New York from England. The album soaks up the latin rhythms so prominent in that part of the world and combines them with some of his best pop compositions. Includes the gorgeous Slow Song and the electric Steppin' Out. A must.
I owned the album when it first came out, but haven't heard it for years as I no longer have a turntable. This is the closest I will come to the equivalent of travelling back in time ! - I had forgotten how brilliant and innovative the album is.
To rediscover an album like this is to remember the days when being a musician meant writing and performing great songs, not winning a Saturday evening popularity contest on ITV. One of those albums that doesn't have a single weak track. Joe Jackson is one of the great songwriters of the 80s and this album showcases that brilliantly.