Friday, January 10, 2014

Dwight Twilley - Jungle

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of the release of Jungle, the third solo release from Oklahoma born Dwight Twilley. It spent twenty-one weeks on the US Billboard Album chart in 1984, peaking at number 39.

Side one begins with “Little Bit of Love”. It moves from a simple piano melody into a full synth infused pop-rocker. As the second single, it reached number 77 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

“Girls”, the first single, spent sixteen weeks on the US Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at number 16. Twilley’s longtime friend Tom Petty added his talents to this hit. I remember this one quite well from radio-airplay, the video run on MTV, and parties on campus. I always liked how this one wound itself up on the guitar riffs.

The mid-tempo ballad “Why You Wanna Break My Heart” was released as the third single from the album.

Next up is “You Can Change It”.

“Cry Baby” closes out the side. The way he sings “cry” on this one’s chorus, extending the single syllable word out across many, is one of the signatures of his vocal style at the time.

Side two starts with “Don’t You Love Her”. The opening is different and interesting; I like how it then morphs into a quick-step tempo. This one almost has an early Beatles’ vibe to it in parts.

“Long Lonely Nights” looks at a guy who misses his former love. For some reason, the underlying rhythm reminded me a tad of the Rolling Stone’s “Let’s Spend the Night Together”. Not sure if that was intended or just a happy coincidence.

The title track “Jungle” is next. Here, Twilley shifts to a synth driven sound that is very 80’s; it was kind of an unexpected surprise after what has come on the seven tracks before it.

The B-side to the first single was “To Get To You”. I like the rain sound effects on this one; they really add to the whole desperation of the lyrics.

“Max Dog”, the album closer, was also the B-side to the second single. This quirky under-two-minute track was co-written by Twilley and Rocky Burnette.

Jungle is a good pop-rock album. I would have liked a little more music variety, but Dwight Twilley knew where his sweet-spot was and worked it hard most of the time. I already have “Girls” in my digital library, and there are a few tracks here that I will pick up in the future as well.