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More Rockers, Fewer Risks,
This review is from: Off The Ground (MP3 Download)
Paul was recording a lot in the late '80s and early '90s, with live and cover and symphonic albums, but I still have a soft spot for his three big studio albums of the time. This is the last of them and probably the weakest, but only because 'Flowers In the Dirt' especially was so strong. My favourite's the showstopping 'C'Mon People', a very Beatles piano-then-everything number with a very strong tune and an actual near-Beatles song to fade out. He moves on from 'My Brave Face's' lyrics with some heartfelt place-exchanging gender politics in the lyrics with the standout 'Mistress and Maid', another collaboration with Elvis Costello.
Lead single 'Hope of Deliverance' is bright and cheery with a lot of 'whoops' on it, while 'Looking for Changes' is an angry rocker about animal rights. While the issue isn't mine, it's refreshing to have him suddenly tear off some lyrics that really mean something to him - I'm not sure they do on 'Biker Like An Icon', which is a catchy rocker where the words sound like they're just chosen for a pleasing rhyme. Other rockers include 'Get Out of My Way', which has a great barrelling swagger, and 'Off the Ground', which is OK. So while it's not as interesting or lyrically powerful an album as its predecessor, it does have more songs with a rocking sound! 'Golden Earth Girl' and especially 'Winedark Open Sea' with its big soulful vocals are strong ballads as well, though I could do without 'Peace in the Neighbourhood'. And I nearly forgot the other song co-written with Costello: 'The Lovers That Never Were' is a big, tearing song of loss that's almost threatening. Not a giant of an album, then, but a good one.