Saturday, 28 August 2010

Off the Ground Album Review

Release date: February 1993 

Artwork: There is nothing much wrong with this cover. The feet of Paul, Linda and the band dangling is quite funny and it has a strong photograph to accompany.

General Comments: A mixed affair really, it has a handful of very very good tracks and then a handful of tracks that are amongst the dullest and most uninspiring of his career. Again some of the b-sides were very good and would have made it a much better album. It generally has a warmer production feeling about it compared to 'Flowers in the Dirt' although it is of nowhere near of the same quality. This album was again promoted with another tour - the 'New World Tour'.

Track by Track:
1. Off the Ground
Pretty and catchy enough really, but weak and lightweight. I do not really have much time for this track. 5/10
2. Looking for Changes
Another weak track. It is a rocker with a political message but should have been swapped with one of the better b-sides. Not a good opening couple of tracks really, the album has not got hold of the listener.  5/10
3. Hope of Deliverance
Finally the album starts...with a  great catchy single showing Paul at his melodic best. It is a high quality song that makes you think you have heard it already. I love the simple acoustic foundation of this track. This, in another time and another place, could have been a big hit. In fact, in Germany it was! 8/10
4. Mistress and Maid
A very solid track written with Costello. Reminds me very much of 'In Liverpool'. Good quality but I can't help thinking with a bit more effort it could have been even better. 7/10
5. I Owe It All to You
I really love this song, it is one of the best on the album. The verses are particularly strong. It has an uncomplicated sincerity about it with a understated but really good vocal. Certainly one to discover if you have not yet had the pleasure. 8/10
6. Biker Like An Icon
A much criticised track and I can see why, but having said that I do think that there is a basis of a good song and idea here, but it ultimately fails.  Just passable though. 5/10
7. Peace In The Neighbourhood
A lightweight and poor song with a wooden performance that has no feeling. Should have never even made a b-side. 3.5/10
8. Golden Earth Girl
A lovely song that is a sister to 'Warm and Beautiful'. This is a moving heartfelt piano based ballad and is one I enjoy very much. 7/10
9. The Lovers That Never Were
This is a top notch song written again with Elvis Costello. A nice little introduction and is strong throughout. One of their best co-writes and a very welcome addition to Paul's catalogue. Check it out and let it into your soul. 8/10
10. Get Out Of My Way
A track that all seem to have fun on! Paul does a modern take on rock'n roll. Good stuff but would still have preferred this to have been an extra track or b-side.  5.5/10
11. Windedark Open Sea
An interesting lovely little song that really does grow on you. Paul's vocals are quite heartfelt on this and although not a masterpiece it is a really good album track. 6/10
12. C'mon People / Cosmically Conscious
I cannot deny that I do not enjoy this track even though somehow I think Paul is trying too hard to write a classic. It is quite an epic and does remind you a little of that band from the 60's!  All and all this was a strong and good single which again should have been a decent size hit. Transcends into 'Cosmically Conscious' which was written in the 60's, it works well and is a nice surprising way to bring the album to a close. 7.5/10

Overall score: 73.5/120
Overall score indexed: 61%

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