6 of 33 people found the following review helpful
The usual Rea-mush,
This review is from: Auberge (Audio CD)
I was a great fan of Chris Rea's music and highly rate albums like "Wired to the Moon" and "Shamrock Diaries"; the slightly earlier ones.
I stopped buying his albums because his work became derivitive: basically he'd just ran out ideas. The track "Road to Hell" is an excellent example... unmistakably Rea, but ultimately undistinguishable in style from earlier pieces, and what's worst, lyrically puffed-up with little content. The unnecessary compilations and remixes he produced in the late 80s are also an indication of a lack of original output. How glossy and dull was "New Light Through Old Windows"? Whereas Pat Metheny and Bruce Springsteen can sit at home and lay very simple but powerful tracks onto a home studio to great effect, it seems Rea can no longer produce anything with substance, even in a professional studio.
On reading other reviews on this page I wondered whether Aurberge really was an album of note that I'd missed (I really wanted to like Rea's work again), but unfortunately it's not.
The orchestral arrangements suck (cf. Joni Mitchell's "Travalogue"), the lyrics are "tabloid" and, well, stupid. Take "Gone fishing". He sings: "So I'm goin' fishing; It sounds crazy I know; I know nothing about fishing; but just watch me go". For a start why would going fishing sound crazy? It's no more crazy than going for a walk, a drive, a film, or a drink at the local pub when you have things to get of your mind. Lyrics like this diffuse the main idea in the song and do little more than fill up time. "You're not a number" tackles a theme that has already been handled well in other places and Rea does nothing to add to it... he is simply "borrowing" the concept to wrap around his usual guitar whinings.
So... if, like me, you think this might be a way back to Rea: it's not, in my opinion. It's just like listening to another one of his albums, which you might as well do and save your money.