Thursday, August 7, 2014


PLAYER-Spies Of Life (1982)


ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: August 7, 2014

Some major players have decided to pay a visit to "The Music Spectrum" tonight to entertain the easy-listening audience. It's highly likely that the majority of those who first became acquainted with the classic Los Angeles, California-based rock band that calls itself PLAYER was as a result of being exposed to the 1977 hit that's been—and will forever be—a soft rock radio staple and a permanent mainstay in popular music culture: "Baby Come Back". And it's even more likely that a good portion of that same majority had mistakenly presumed that the hit was performed by the famed rock duo HALL & OATES—me being one in that vast majority. An easy thing for anybody to do, given the remarkable similarities in both sound and vocals between both groups. So then, considering how much I adore HALL & OATES, as well as my overwhelming curiosity about any other hits that these 'new players' have brought to the table over the years, I felt it was finally time for me to get my first true listen to PLAYER by playing a selection or two from early on in their career—starting with something from my favorite decade, of course. 1982's "Spies Of Life" is the perfect kind of album for the easy-listening/soft rock music lover; that, I had gathered right off the bat with the opener, "If Looks Could Kill". A funny coincidence I should get to hear another song with the exact same title not very long after me having just heard HEART's "If Looks Could Kill" from Ann Wilson and company's self-titled album. Not quite having HEART's hard-edged killer rock instinct, but a pleasant tune nonetheless that's so easy to get into. A coincidence again with the follow up track, "Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid", as it just so happens to be the title to a HALL & OATES song (and one I really like) from their "Big Bam Boom" album but with completely different lyrics and musical arrangements. Perhaps this song that was the culprit in causing people to confuse "Baby Come Back" as being a HALL & OATES song? One of this album's nicest tunes also happens to be one I met with curious contradiction: "It Only Hurts When I Breathe". The songwriter says that he's alright, but if one has to breathe constantly in order to live, then he can't truly be alright because he's constantly hurting. Perhaps the songwriter meant the breathing is just those moments when love is actually on his mind, and then those painful memories come rushing back. Though he clearly knows what girl he wants to be with on "My Mind's Made Up"; I really like the energy that's infused into that one. But these players really came to play when they throw down some serious rockin' on "Take Me Back", "Born To Be With You" (the strongest hook on the entire album lies right here on this song!) and the fun, perky little number, "In Like Flynn", where the songwriter wishes he could make like a dashing pirate—as in Errol Flynn—and be 'that kinda spy' (ah-ha, so that's where the inspiration behind the title "Spies Of Life" comes from):

1. If Looks Could Kill
2. Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid
3. Thank You For The Use Of Your Love
4. It Only Hurts When I Breathe
5. My Mind's Made Up
6. I'd Rather Be Gone
7. Take Me Back
8. My Survival
9. Born To Be With You
10. In Like Flynn

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