As we wrote last week, we’ve been spinning some sumptuous sounds with an ear toward adding them to our ever-growing playlist, now nearly 8,200 songs strong. We’ve been busy doing just that; here is a featured review of one of our favorite artist’s new album; we’ll run down reviews of other recent playlist adds early next week.
Terry Draper | Searching A work crafted with care in the time-honored melodic pop tradition, former Klaatu member Terry Draper’s Searching is the first great album of 2016, and in an age in which albums are increasingly in less favor than single tracks, it is a shining example of the art of the complete musical statement. It is a collection of songs placed in just the right sequence because that is what you do.
You could certainly cherry-pick from these 14 songs (one hidden) and play the ones that resonate most with you–you could do that any old time, but the artist, I would bet, requests your full attention while the running order plays through exactly as it is presented. For full effect, of course. Then, have at your iPhone playlists and such. Then, you’re in the driver’s seat.
These wonderful songs, so clever and so catchy and shimmering with the level of skill mastered through more than a few years–a lifetime, really–of working at the art of the melodic pop tradition in Klaatu and a brightly lit solo career, are sometimes even surprising, in that they suggest one experience and deliver that one and another on top of it.
Sometimes, this happens when you’re not even looking, like in the lovely title number, an emotional tone poem that trades balladry for an uptempo pop structure about two-thirds of the way through. Ostensibly a love song, there appears to be somewhat more to this story, as love and hope reach out beyond the stars for answers, for direction…and for the next steps on our mutual journeys.
Our journeys don’t always intersect, although the hope that that could come to pass is at the center of the wistful “Our Park Bench.” The narrator pines for a love that has moved on as memories of the couple’s time together leave him hungry for reconnection, even as those memories may be all that there is.
But there is always what there is, a feeling that lies at the heart of another gorgeous tone poem, the quite pretty “All We Can Do.” “All we can do is all we can do/It’s all me and you can ever hope to do,” Terry sings as tempos and moods shift around him. And speaking of moods, the delicious, hidden instrumental that appears mere seconds after the closing medley, a combined cover of two favorite pop hits from yesteryear–the Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Younger Girl” and the Cowsills’ “The Rain, the Park and Other Things”–fuses Indian classical music with poetic, melodic pop as it pays homage to the Moody Blues from the group’s In Search of the Lost Chord era. “Younger Girl, Flower Girl”‘s mood is joyous. It’s a celebration.
And celebration is the name of the game in two terrific pop numbers: “Jules and Me,” a most catchy flight of fancy that sets the singer off on a wondrous bonding journey with the spirit of the celebrated author of “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” and other fantastic, classic writings; and “Everything Will Be Alright,” an uptempo song that, in a perfect world, would be zooming its way up the hit charts as I write these words.
Playing the lion’s share of instruments on these songs, Terry is joined by such guest stars as Jamie and Steve’s Jamie Hoover; Ray Paul, whose first album in many years will be released soon; and famed musician Lou Pomanti, who plays some particularly tasty, jazzy piano on the nostalgic “Monogamous Me.” Ted Jones, who Klaatu fans will certainly be familiar with from his cover illustrations for the group’s albums, supplied the glorious cover art here.
All of the songs from Searching are now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio, as nature surely intended. These are the songs of your life here at the start of this hopeful new year, created for you in the time-honored melodic pop tradition.
– Alan Haber
Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio is the original 24-hour Internet radio station playing the greatest melodic pop music from the ’60s to today. From the Beatles to the Spongetones, the Nines, Kurt Baker, the Connection and the New Trocaderos, we play the hits and a whole lot more. Tune in by clicking on one of the listen links below.
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