Monday, September 22, 2014

Jimmy Buffett - Riddles In the Sand

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Riddles in the Sand, the thirteenth studio album from Jimmy Buffett. It spent fourteen weeks on the US Billboard Album chart, peaking at number 87. It also went to number 18 on the US Billboard Country chart.

Side one starts with the question “Who’s the Blonde Stranger?” As the third single, it went to number 39 on the Canadian Country chart and number 37 on the US Billboard Country chart. The lyrics of this jaunty tune tells of a vacationing married couple where both the husband and wife end up having Island affairs.

“When the Wildlife Betrays Me”, the first single, went to number 42 on the US Billboard Country chart and number 34 on the Canadian Country chart. It has a gentle, country-western sway to it that is soothing and relaxing.

The B-side to the first single was the bouncy, carefree “Ragtop Day”. It summons up thoughts of a sunny day, driving with the top down and the music up.

“She’s Going Out of My Mind”, the third single’s B-side, brings the mood down with a slow-waltzing ballad.

The second single “Bigger Than the Both of Us” went to number 58 on the US Billboard Country chart. The song celebrates the strength of a love between a man and woman, with Buffett’s backup singer Wendy Waldman sharing the harmonies.

Side two begins on the “Knees of My Heart”, a bouncy Caribbean-flavored love song. I really enjoy Robert Greenidge’s steel drums on this track.

“Come to the Moon” was the B-side to the second single. This song has a good crossover pop sound to it which I think might have done well as a single itself.

“Love In Decline” has a catchy hook to it that gets my toes tapping.

“Burn That Bridge” is a song that damns the torpedoes and goes for a love at all costs.

The album closer is “La Vie Dansante”, an anthem for a carefree lifestyle. Aaron Neville covered the song on his 1991 album Warm Your Heart.

My first exposure to a few of the tracks from Riddles In the Sand came from a Buffett CD box set my wife bought for us in the 90’s. This review was my first spin through the rest of the tracks from this thirty year old release, and I enjoyed it.

For more reviews of music by Jimmy Buffett, click here.

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