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Bob Welch : The Other One
(Capitol - 1979)
Category : underrated
4,66 stars

When Welch left Fleetwood Mac he formed a Hard Rock band called Paris (with an ex-Jethro Tull guitarist called Glenn Cornick). The band released two albums, that in my opinion aren't as bad as the critics generally say.

As both albums sold poorly, maybe it was out of sheer frustration that Welch's following carreer as a solo artist was built on ballads and FM-friendly Soft Rock songs. Thanks to his blatantly commercial approach, and his big skills as a song writer of course, he did well at the beginning, scoring a few hits and netting a platinum and a gold album. But when Welch was recording his third solo album he must have thought there was more to life than the charts. Maybe he wanted to be respected as an artist or something, but whatever his motives might have been, the feel of 'The Other One' is different than that of its two predecessors. It's still the kind of mellow Soft Rock, sung in that soft tone of voice of his, but the syrupy coating is thinner and the production isn't as extremely slick.

'The Other One' is still a very accessible Rock & Pop album, filled with effective hooks and melodies, but the main difference is that this time Welch isn't aiming for the listener's instant gratification. What he tries to do here is to simply deliver quality. As a result the album sounds solid and mature. He also got the atmosphere just right. There's a melancholic undertone present and an honest human warmth that's missing from his previous albums. This all makes 'The Other One' an extremely pleasant listen and a near perfect collection of songs.

But the public, as well as many critics, apparently preferred to be treated as brainless consumers. 'The Other One' was labeled a bland record, while it is in fact his most complete sounding solo album. But I guess it's hard for music consumers to suddenly have to stomach an "apple", no matter how good and healthy it is for them, if they were used to only having "candy bars" shoved down their throats before.


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