23/11/2017

Published Thursday, November 23, 2017 by with 0 comment

Howard Jones - One To One (1986)
















Release:  Howard Jones
Genre:  One To One
Format:  LP
Label:  WEA Records
Catalog#  242009-1
Prijs:  €10,00

One to One is the third album by British pop musician Howard Jones, released in October 1986.
It's fair to say that the 1980s in pop music was all about synthesizers & computers. A song wasn't considered complete unless it had the requisite bloops & bleeps that made it sound like the equivalent of a Pac-Man game. So often, those songs became dated just as soon as their 4 minutes were up & are hard to listen to today with an open mind. But not all synthesized songs were that way. Or the players for that matter. Howard Jones first came to attention with his 1984 album HUMAN'S LIB which had hits in "What Is Love" & "New Song", both of which were actually quite memorable, synthesizers aside. 1985's DREAM INTO ACTION further pushed the electronic envelope with more hits like "Things Can Only Get Better" & "Life In One Day". But by the middle of the decade, artists were realizing the limitations of pursuing a strictly-synthesized sound & Jones was one of them. So for his 1986 album ONE TO ONE, he sought to slowly phase out his synthesizers (which he played wonderfully, by the way) in favor of a more acoustic keyboard sound.
The reason why this album didn't become a huge success like DREAM INTO ACTION was that none of the songs on here became top 10 hits...at first. The wonderful "No One Is To Blame" originally appeared on DREAM INTO ACTION in an acoustic, Elton John-derived ballad that is widely thought to be the superior version. But whether it was Jones' idea or his record label's, the then-hot Phil Collins was brought in to remix the song so that it could be re-released. The song became a top 5 hit in 1986 & originally appeared only on an EP called ACTION REPLAY. Later editions of ONE TO ONE had the remix of "No One Is To Blame" added on, but whether or not that was to help boost the sales of the album is hard to tell. In the end, it didn't really help. The only major hit off here was the opening "You Know I Love You...Don't You?", which isn't exactly a carbon copy of "Things Can Only Get Better", but is just as bright & synthesized-poppy as that song. It's probably understandable why it never reached higher than the top 20.
Most of ONE TO ONE follows the same beat of that song: "Don't Want To Fight Anymore", "Step Into These Shoes" (although the sound effects kind of drag it down), "All I Want" & "Good Luck, Bad Luck" are rather good, just not all-out stunners. It's on slower songs that Howard does a better job on like "Will You Still Be There?" & the reggae-inspired "Give Me Strength". The acoustic "Little Bit Of Snow" is basically just Howard singing with piano & it's a good foreshadowing of the completely non-synthesized territory he has travelled with his music currently. The remix of "No One Is To Blame" may have been the hit, but the original truly is the definitive version, even though the lyrics are still truly a wonder to behold. His lyrics really proved that Elton John was Howard's biggest inspiration. In retrospect, ONE TO ONE wasn't all that different from his much-superior two previous albums.


Side one
1. You Know I Love You… Don’t You?  (4:05)
2. The Balance of Love (Give and Take) (4:29)
3. All I Want (4:37)
4. Where Are We Going? (5:01)
5. Don’t Want to Fight Anymore (4:37)

Side two
1. Step Into These Shoes (4:19)
2. Will You Still Be There? (4:45)
3. Good Luck, Bad Luck (4:14)
4. Give Me Strength (5:01)
5. Little Bit of Snow (4:30)

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