Friday, May 9, 2014

Chris de Burgh - Man on the Line

This week (May 9th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of Man on the Line, the seventh studio album from Chris de Burgh. Following his 1982 release The Getaway (click here for that review), this 1984 release spent nineteen weeks on the US Billboard Album chart, peaking at number 69. It also went to number 11 in the UK, and number 1 in both Germany and Switzerland.

Side one opens with "The Ecstasy of Flight (I Love the Night)". Released as the second single, it went to number 80 in the UK, number 49 in Germany, number 29 in Switzerland, and number 20 in Ireland. It has a soaring, high energy and a very danceable beat.

"Sight and Touch" is a mid-tempo song about memories of a former life and love. The music reminds me of medieval Renaissance pieces.

The determined and optimistic "Taking It to the Top" is next.

The lovely ballad "The Head and the Heart" features guest Howard Jones on the piano. Here, a man wrestles with what he knows is right and what his feelings are telling him.

"The Sound of a Gun", a song about living amid violence and turmoil, features guest vocals from Tina Turner.

Side two begins with the intense "High on Emotion". As the first single, it went to number 44 in both the UK and on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 12 in Germany, number 11 in Canada, and number 5 in Ireland and Switzerland. With a rock edge to it, I remember this one playing quite a bit on both the Top 40 and the album-oriented rock radio stations back in 1984.

"Much More Than This" is a gentle song about an open relationship. I wonder how autobiographical this one is for de Burgh.

"Man on the Line" tells of another guy blatantly calling to speak to a woman already involved. The attitude on this one differs greatly from the previous track; here an additional party in the relationship is clearly unwelcome.

On "Moonlight and Vodka", de Burgh finds himself on a lonely night in a Russian bar.

The album closes appropriately with "Transmission Ends".

Except for the singles, most of Man on the Line was totally new to me with this review. Thanks again to the YouTube community for having tracks up for me to sample it. I liked this release from Chris de Burgh as much as I did his previous release. I plan to keep my eyes on the lookout for this one if it were ever to show up on the digital download marketplaces.

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