Sunday, September 21, 2014

America - Perspective

Today (September 21st) is the thirtieth anniversary of Perspective, the twelfth studio album from America. The record peaked at number 185 on the US Billboard Album chart, with a three week total time on the chart.

Joining Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell on the record were Arthur Barrow (bass and keyboards), Michael Boddicker (synthesizer), Richard James Burgess (drums and percussion) and a number of other studio musicians.

Side one begins with “We Got All Night”, a mid-tempo tune about a couple getting lost in an evening of love.

“See How the Love Goes” sticks to the mid-tempo swing for this seductive proposition of new acquaintances.

The second single was “(Can’t Fall Asleep to a) Lullaby”; the gentle ballad reached number 26 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. The saxophone solo was delivered by Phil Kenzie, while Steve Perry provided background vocals.

“Special Girl”, the first single, went to number 106 on the US Billboard Hot 200 and number 15 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart.

The light percussion and guitar on “5th Avenue” compliments the lyrics about the sometimes confusing nature of being in love.

Side two begins with “(It’s Like You) Never Left At All”, a tale of a man who cannot let go of the past despite all of his efforts.

The gentle and sleepy “Stereo” is next.

“Lady with a Bluebird” brings in a refreshing Caribbean rhythm that was very welcome by me at this point in the record.

Timothy B. Schmitt provided background vocals on the ballad “Cinderella”, which likens a real-life love to a fairytale.

“Unconditional Love” was the B-side to the first single. I actually prefer it to the single’s A-side.

“Fallin’ Off the World”, the closing track, was also the B-side to the second single. The guitar solo here was done by Michael Landau.

I suspect the short chart-life and the lack of high-charting singles was the reason I completely missed Perspective back in 1984. America clearly made an effort to update their sound for the changing soft rock market, but it just did not resonate with the record buying market at the time. This would have been right at home in the early days of VH-1, which started in January of 1985, as that market skewered to an older demographic than its sister station MTV.

Overall, while well-done in melody and production, the record is just a bit too mellow for me. This would be something I might want to listen to as I winding down at the end of the day. I suspect I would be asleep by the time the second half was underway.

For more reviews of the albums by America, click here.

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