November 17, 2020

Paul Young - Between Two Fires (1986) - €10,00

Between Two Fires is the third solo album by the English singer Paul Young. Released in October 1986.
Three singles were taken from the album; "Wonderland", "Some People", and "Why Does a Man Have to Be Strong", though none of these made the UK Top 20 unlike Young's previous singles. "Wonderland", written by Betsy Cook who also provided backing vocals on the album. 
"Some People" reached #56 in the UK and #65 in the U.S., while "Why Does a Man have to be Strong" reached #63 in the UK. After the numerous covers contained in the previous two works, Between Two Fires contained many more self-penned compositions, and Young actually co-produced, co-wrote and co-arranged most of the tracks. 

Despite popular belief to the contrary the 1980's were much like the 60's in terms of musical developement. That is in the sense that months,not merely years made an enormous different. Take Paul Young for example. What it felt like for him after he made  Secret of Association  bore precious little to how it felt when he recorded this follow up album. Any semblance of big instrumentation with lots of gating,electronic effects and heavy synthesizers had suddenly gone very much out of the pop mainstream. Especially if your music was of the soulful bent. Interestingly enough the way Paul Young was going during this time was a similar direction to that of Prince during that time,toward a live band oriented sound that embraced elements of psychedelic soul.

The album starts out with "Some People",which along wih "Wonderland" have this thick,uptempo rocking soul to it. There's little gloss except for accents here and there. Paul helps this out by writing/co-writing every song here with a strong sense of reflection and thoughtfulness reflecting more adult matters and relationships. "War Games" is an excellent song. Could be about romance or politics actually much like "Respect" has has this thick psychedelic funk groove to it and an unusual melody. "In The Long Run" and "A Certain Passion" ride less on rhythm and more on these low bubbling bass lines and a softly percussive effect. The ballads "Wasting My Time" and the title song are straight of the Sam Cooke era gospel drenched soul ballad attitude which Paul brings to life even more so. The final song is the intense,upbeat horn funk of "Wedding Day",my personal favorite on the album.

One thing about this album is that it really helps you realize there's a big difference between melodic music and melodic pop music. In pop you tend to have melodies that tend to be crafted to sound as close to perfect as humanely possible together. That's where hit songs tend to come out of. These songs all have melodies. But they aren't as heavily crafted. Some of the melodic ideas on this album seem to spring out into similar ones. They are definitely designed not just to show how far Paul Young could extend his voice,but how his band could handle themselves musically. This is one of those few very commercial sounding albums that isn't a big hit parade. Paul Young had always had a strong artistic vision behind what he did. And was lucky enough to extend it into big pop success. Here he just sings and writes from his mind and heart. And it really does work.

Side A
A1.  Some People - 4:43
A2.  Wonderland - 4:58
A3.  War Games - 4:18
A4.  In the Long Run - 4:19
A5.  Wasting My Time - 5:18

Side B
B1.  Prisoner of Conscience - 4:22
B2.  Why Does a Man Have to Be Strong? - 4:21B
B3.  A Certain Passion - 4:12
B4.  Between Two Fires - 3:48
B5.  Wedding Day - 4:56

Release:  1986
Format:  LP
Genre: Pop
Label:  CBS Records
Catalog#  450150-1

Vinyl:  VG
Cover:  VG

Prijs: €10,00

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