Monday, June 3, 2013

America - Your Move

Today (June 3rd) marks the thirtieth anniversary of Your Move, the eleventh studio album from America. Once more, Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell turned to Russ Ballard for both his songwriting and producing skills. This 1983 album followed View From the Ground (click here for that review) and peaked at number 81 on the US Billboard Hot 200.

Side one starts with “My Kinda Woman”, a song about falling in love at first sight.

“She’s a Runaway” is the flip side of the coin as a lover departs mysteriously in the night, leaving a note behind.

“Cast the Spirit” was the third single; it first appeared on Ballard’s 1978 album At the Third Stroke. I like how the opening percussion, which sounds like someone tapping on glass bottles or something, bounces from speaker to speaker. The lyrics are about wrestling with conflicting emotions and overcoming them.

The B-side to the second single was “Love’s Worn Out Again”; the piano-based ballad is the first of two tracks co-written with former-child-actor-turned-musician Bill Mumy.

“The Border” was the first single from the album; it went to number 33 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 22 in the Netherlands, and number 4 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. It speaks to running away from something and to someone as a form of escape. I definitely remember this one from listening to Top 40 radio back during my senior year of high school; I like the rich string backing from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the saxophone solo by Raphael Ravenscroft.

Side two begins with “Your Move”, the second single from the album. With a bouncy rhythm, the singer puts the ball in the girl’s court to decide where they go from here. It is definitely my favorite of the non-single tracks.

Things slow down a bit with “Honey”, a plea for a love to return home once. It seems like the perfect follow up thematically to the second track on the first side.

“My Dear” was the B-side to the third single. Penned by Bunnell, it has a bit of a dark, exotic mood to it, which is a definite change of pace by this point on the record.

“Tonight Is for Dreamers” opens with waves on the beach, setting the scene for a romantic night under the moonlight. If you close your eyes while listening to this mid-tempo tune, you can almost smell the salt in the gentle ocean breeze.

“Don’t Let Me Be Lonely” sticks with the slower pace.

The closing track “Someday Woman” was also co-written with Mumy. It features an acoustic guitar instrumental foundation.

Your Move has more of what I like in music from America, the vocal harmonies of Beckley and Bunnell. They had a knack for crafting perfectly pleasant pop songs.

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