5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
"In Mysterious Ways" was a funny one. Was John at the end of his contract with Virgin at this point? Did he rush this through just to get out and move on? Who knows. As the other reviewer mentioned there are some great tracks on here, particularly the stunning "Stars on Fire", which is one of John's finest compositions in my view.
We shouldn't be too hard on John though, you must remember just how many singles and albums artists (John included) released back in the 80's. There's no way that every single track, album track or b-side was going to be a classic. Despite this being the "weakest" of his 80's trio, it's certainly his warmest, "Enter The Angel II" is a nice little ditty.
The second disc IS a little disappointing, it would have been nice to have had the extended versions of "Stars" and "Angel". I would disagree with the other reviewer on one thing though, these tracks are "work in progress" and although not of the top-notch quality of finished material, they're still interesting to hear and I'm pleased they've seen the light of day.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 2 October 2011
The only Foxx album to sound of its time, In Mysterious Ways hasn't aged well compared to the remainder of Foxx's excellent body of work.
It's the production; the song craft is still superb, but the overuse of drum machines, big guitars and some rather unfortunate Casio-esque keyboard sounds belie that this was a product of 1985. Whether Foxx rushed this album out to complete his contract with Virgin or was looking to expand his audience base with a more 'radio-friendly' sound, the results are disappointing. Even the photographs of Foxx - a very photogenic chap - in the sleeve notes are simple portrait shots rather than the stunning images used in his earlier albums.
As for the songs, I can give or take 'Stars on Fire', but 'Enter the Angel' is anthemic and uplifting, the title track is stunning, and 'Lose All Sense of Time' is pure Roxy Music. Only 'Spin Away' outstays its welcome; it would probably work better as an ambient piece in the mould of Cathedral Oceans.
If Foxx was looking to crack the charts, it's a shame this album almost sank without trace. Even so, it meant Foxx would never dilute his sound to the extent Bowie did, or become an object of ridicule like Gary Numan. Maybe that was a blessing in disguise.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Power ballads, 80's hear breaking paeans, each one step away from turning themselves into sugar fountains which would make anyone retch on over indulgence. First time I played it I promptly fell asleep and returned later to ascertain why. It is a stinker.
On this album he showed how someone who had innovation eventually became smoothed and blanded into becoming someone who emitted a radio friendly background muzak drone, fit for avid consumption for those who trudge on the flywheel of the machine grind.
To be avoided at all costs, it is pants.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
'In Mysterious Ways' is probably the most 'pop' record that John Foxx has ever made and, considering the quality of the songs, it must have been a real disappointment to the man that the album was not a great commercial success. Indeed, listening to the sublime and original 'Stars On Fire' it is hard to imagine why the song wasn't a hit single? The other single from the album was 'Enter The Angel' and while it's not quite as good as 'Stars..' it would not have seemed out of place in the top 40 back in 1985. Also excellent are 'Lose All Sense Of Time', the atmospheric title track and the lovely, haunting 'Morning Glory'. As for the rest of the songs, there are no duff tracks at all though 'Spin Away' is a bit overlong. So then, so far so good and plenty to get excited about on the first disc of this collection.
The real disappointment with this collection though comes with the second disc. Sadly,of the nine tracks (6 of which are unreleased) not one comes even close to anything of the quality on the original album. In fact, if anything, these tracks conclusively prove that John was very well advised about which tracks should make up the original album. To be fair, most of the songs sound only half finished and perhaps, with the skill of a great producer working on them, could have sounded better. For me though, while they give the listener an idea of the songwriter at work, John's legacy would have been better suited had they remained unreleased.
Overall I would say that this collection is still well worth a purchase if you missed out on the original record at the time. If on the other hand you are thinking of getting this for the extra disc, I would think again.
8 out of 10 for the original album and 3 out of 10 for the second disc.
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 9 March 2009
To me there seemed to be a logical progression in how John Foxx's songs on Virgin came to end up with this album, over that time his songs became more melodic and emotionally charged with each passing project. At the time he was very pleased to have broken away from "Metamatic". But nowadays he considers this album a mistake, and has no interest in making emotional songs ever again whatsoever. I think that's a shame, as this album proved that he was good at being melodic and romantic. I find his current songs very poor and very dull, and they could have been made by anyone or anything, even darleks.