What a bittersweet moment. This album arrives on the heels of the sparkling LOVE FROM LONDON (which this fan feels should have been a much bigger hit!) To put it in perspective, for me LONDON is the spring/summer side of RH, more muscular than its follow up. MAN UPSTAIRS is fall/winter, the mellow daydreamer of the two. You can almost see the leaves change color in your mind. By the end of the album you are watching the snow covered ground with that blinding streak of yellow sunlight peeking through the evergreens.
Don't get me wrong, this is a GOOD thing! These are not sad songs, but they are very introspective. The mix of originals and covers blend perfectly. The only change I would have made is that the lullaby-like Don't Look Down should have closed the album. It was strange how the songs sometimes morphed for me, as Ferries wasn't a favorite until multiple listens. Comme Toujours is fun for the mix of French and English lyrics, but the strangest thing was the glints of memory jarring fragments of music from another time. Recalling The Truth closes the album and to me seems a personal moment for the Gentleman, so I do the mental equivalent of diverting my eyes and hiding under the blanket of thick, warm guitar as the fireplace burns down to embers.
I approached my review as a fan and not a critic. There is an excellent review by Harold Lepidus online that examines each song in detail. However for me, I prefer to listen over time, finding new details and nuances along the way. To delve too deep all at once would be like squeezing an orange dry. You have the wonderful juice to drink, but the shell is spent. I'd rather enjoy the thin slices for as long as I can.