George Harrison (1979)


 
1. Love Comes to Everyone 2. Not Guilty 3. Here Comes the Moon 4. Soft-Hearted Hana 5. Blow Away 6. Faster 7. Dark Sweet Lady 8. Your Love is Forever 9. Soft Touch 10.If You Believe

 

Generally known as George's "laid back California album". To a large extent, although the music and (mostly) the songs are pleasant enough, we dont' seem to hear on this album a lot of what George Harrison should sound like. He did deliver those goods quite well on his last album, Thirty Three and a Third, where the music had a very distinctive feel despite the fact that the songs did sound a bit too crowded. So what this all means is that he seems to have taken a bit of a step backwards on this album.

Yes, Harrison still sounds like Harrison when he's singing, but even his guitar playing sounds a bit generic. Fortunately, it's still all over the place, but I can't honestly say whether or not I could tell if it was him playing on the songs had I not known ahead of time. With a very slicked back feel and electric pianos all over the place, it sounds a bit disingenuous. That's not to say the music is bad - at least a good chunk of it is memorable in a positive way.

The one song that charted, Blow Away kind of sums up the whole feel of the album, a good song with decent melodies that doesn't really resonate too far beyond the skin. True, it's not the best song here - it actually doesn't come close. That award would probably go to Not Guilty, which was actually more than a decade old by the time it was released here (it was written originally for The Beatles' White Album). Ironically, another song that resonates well with me is Here Comes the Moon. I was skeptical upon hearing the title - you know, a blatant rip off of that other famous Harrison song. Similarities, fortunately, are minimal and I think the tune holds up quite well - despite the above mentioned slickness.

I wish I could enjoy Dark Sweet Lady a bit more than I do. Written for new wife Olivia, it's sweet enough, but never quite takes hold as a great love song should. Again, this seems to be true about many of the songs here. It just sounds, well, too 1978. In many ways, George seems to be cruising a bit on auto pilot throughout much of the album, and by the time we get to the latter few songs of the album, we almost "give up", or simply not listen as attentively as we should. All of the songs near the end seem to need a little push, to help them go from simply good to perhaps even great.

There are a few stinkers on the album. Faster is a bit of a homage to his new love for auto racing. It says more lyrically than musically. The title of this song shouldn't fool you, the title says "faster" but the song and production is just as even keeled as everything else. Soft Hearted Hana is (I think) another one of his Eastern religious songs. I'm really not sure what its about, to be honest. The music doesn't reflect the feeling one should expect from such a tune, but the lyrics are enough to make you think otherwise. Actually, the music on this song is what makes it so bad - too hoaky and cute to be effective.

I imagine this album probably sounded much better when it released, and taken it that particular context, it will please the listener as long as expectations aren't too high.

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