Saturday, December 5, 2015

SIMPLY RED-Love And The Russian Winter (1999)


ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: December 5, 2015

Something else I've been recycling over and over again.....and for the better part of almost a month! I had casually decided it was time for me to check out a different or two by the hugely-popular English band SIMPLY RED, considering they too are among that exhaustive list of artists who I've known about since childhood but whose music is still relatively new to me—well, aside from a handful of popular favorites I keep hearing on the radio: "Holding Back The Years", "Sunrise", and their wonderful cover of "If You Don't Know Me By Now". And yes, it's definitely that distinctively soulful voice of iconic long-time frontman distinctive voice of Mick Hucknall that gives those timeless hits the golden touch. Just like with most albums I listen to that were originally intended to be just a casual listen, SIMPLY RED's "Love And The Russian Winter" has suddenly become another music addiction that won't leave my system! I could attribute that addiction, in part, to a technical glitch on my copy of this band's seventh studio album, as the tracks were improperly arranged (according to the back cover artwork, anyways). Because of that, the very first song I'd hear was the dance jam, "Ain't That A Lot Of Love?", which stuck like glue to me the instant the house-inspired rhythm and the slight jazzy accompaniment graced my ears! Was a bit surprised, I suppose, with the dance production—but in a delightful way—having presumed SIMPLY RED's music was always more so of the easy-listening contemporary soft rock variety. Had the exact same sentiments about the album's proper opener, "The Spirit Of Life", and "Back To The Universe", which actually took me a moment to get used to with the familiar voice of Mick Hucknall leading the way. But no complaints from me with those either—each is a total dance jam, too, with me getting especially attached to the ultra-groovy rhythms during the latter stages of the respective songs. Still, there are many selections here that I felt were a lot closer to what I'd expected from SIMPLY RED, thinking back on the few times I'd heard them on the radio airwaves. So thankful to have heard Track #7's "Thank You"; it's now become one of the most beautiful SIMPLY RED songs I've heard since their cover of "If You Don't Know Me By Now". And I have to give even more thanks for a couple that have truly grown on me: "Wave The Old World Goodbye" and "Man Made The Gun". With the former, listening to the graceful melody and the chilled, soothing vocals is like an endless dream that I want to stay lost inside of for an eternity every time I tune in. As for the latter, it's that awesomely jazzed-up part where Mick's voice is soaring while he's singing the title lyrics that is the main chorus that I'm hooked to! Speaking of dreams, I'm gradually finding myself becoming hooked on Track #10's "More Than A Dream", as the lively reggae-inspired kick to the beat and the way mick sings that 'ring-a-ling, ting-a-ling lover' won't leave out of my system either. I've deemed "Thank You" as the most beautiful SIMPLY RED song I've heard now, but just as beautiful—at least from the lyrics and the earnest delivery of them—is "Your Eyes". 'I wanna look into the window of your soul'—that's the line that I found the most poetically touching. Simply put, I have fallen in love with SIMPLY RED's "Love And The Russian Winter", and all it takes is one simple listen of it for you to fall in love with it just the same:

1. The Spirit Of Life
2. Ain't That A Lot Of Love?
3. Your Eyes
4. The Sky Is A Gypsy
5. Back Into The Universe
6. Words For Girlfriends
7. Thank You
8. Man Made The Gun
9. Close To You
10. More Than A Dream
11. Wave The Old World Goodbye

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