Saturday, February 8, 2014

Missing Persons - Rhyme & Reason

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Rhyme & Reason, the second studio album from Missing Persons. This 1984 release spent sixteen weeks total on the US Billboard Album chart, peaking at number 43.

Side one is ushered in by the pounding beats of “The Closer That You Get”, a song about working towards a goal even when it seems like you might fail.

“Give”, the first single, stalled at number 67 on the US Billboard Hot 100. I like guitar and bass on this one as they lay down a funky groove.

“Now Is the Time (For Love)”, with strong synths and percussion, has a good mid-tempo dance beat to it. I like the repeated cascading keyboard hook.

“Surrender Your Heart” was released as the third single; its video found itself in heavy rotation on MTV. Dale Bozzio’s vocals on this one are easily the better of those on side one so far; I like how the echoing effect is used to add to the longing feelings.

“Clandestine People” a frenzied ode to people who keep secrets, was the B-side to the first single.

Side two starts with “Right Now”, the album‘s second single. The chorus has a catchy hook to it.

"All Fall Down" bobs along on a mid-tempo wave of music, giving the sense of motion yet really going hardly anywhere.

"Racing Against Time", the B-side to the second single, is a mix for me. The time aspect is represented well by the musical queues that remind me of ancient Egypt and the far-flung future. But, for me, it falls slightly short on the urgency that the racing part implies.

From the opening percussion, I expected "Waiting For a Million Years" to go a different direction than it did. The ending arrangement is lovely but the whole thing just kind of leaves me a little cold and uncaring. From Dale's vocals, it seems as if she has gotten tired after "waiting" for so long.

"If Only For the Moment" closes out the record with a song that soars on cosmic waves musically. There are a lot of layers of keyboards going on here.

From 1984, I was only familiar with the singles from Rhyme & Reason; this review was the first time I had heard the entire album. And I can see why this one failed to attract as big of an audience as their earlier efforts. There is a very distinct change in direction going on here; some work for me and some do not. I get that Missing Persons wanted to branch out and not repeat their earlier successes. However, I think it was too far a leap and thus lost a lot of the audience they had built.

For their self-titled debut EP from 1982, click here.

For 1982’s Spring Session M, click here.

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