Friday, November 4, 2016

Rick Astley-Keep It Turned On (2001)


Returning to the project I'd started of getting my music organized alphabetically meant resuming my cataloging of all of the 'R' entries in my music library. And that in turn meant that I would eventually lay eyes once again on the soulful British singer, Rick Astley, the same guy who sparked the charts with the such memorable hits as "Together Forever", "Never Gonna Give You Up" and "Whenever You Need Somebody". After years of blogging and presenting feature presentations on just about every face from the PWL pop family, I at last reveal who my # 1 all-time favorite PWL pop artist has always been! Though ironically, perhaps, tonight's feature is about an album from Rick's post-PWL years: 2001's "Keep It Turned On", which is actually one in quite a few of his releases that I've virtually missed out on altogether. Only this album's title track had remained recorded in my mental jukebox overtime, and it's still a very good one, even if I'd initially found the new, post-New Millennium dance production to be quite different than the recognizable PWL beats and rhythms. Refreshing—that's the word I'd have to use to describe Rick's changed-up sound for this beautiful song of encouragement (staying positive and not hanging a single thing, persevering through whatever life throws her way) as well as the for the remaining selections here. A distinctively mainstream, adult contemporary soft rock feel, in particular, is Rick's approach on such slowed-tempo numbers as "One Night Stand", the sweet and romantic story and overall pleasant listen that is "Romeo Loves Juliet", "Full Of You" (definitely one of his strongest vocal performances; I love hearing the hushed vocals of the backup ensemble echoing his words in the chorus) and the intimately gentle "Miracle", where his simple message of 'we all need a miracle' preaches a similar truthful sermon preached by yesterday's honorary guest, Heather Small, on her "Close To A Miracle" album. I found much delight in this more mellower side to the British singer on the mid-tempo piece called "Breathe". I consider it to be a very well-written and well-presented song, his words about having difficulty living with the scent of the woman and everything else all around him reminding him of her. And something in the way his voice soars up on the delivery of just the word 'breathe' in the chorus has a lovely yet haunting air about it. Then there's the one here where those soulful vocals of his really shine: "Don't Ask". Instantly loved it as soon as the opening instrumental overture got under way, as seemingly every song with a sad tonality has a way of capturing my attention and playing with my emotions. Though there's a twist this time in that the song is purely positive—not having to inquire about a person's love and just trusting that it's all there. And I can't neglect to mention the other fun dance tunes besides the album's title track itself. "Sleeping", the album's glitzy, Eurodancey opener about a man who can't rest with an empty feeling in his heart; "Wanna Believe You", the Eurodisco-groovy "What You See Is What You Don't Get" (I like the stylistic play on the title with the words opposite of the familiar adage 'what you see is what you get', describing a woman's missed chances with being with him) and "Let's Go Out Tonight" are something else that you just gotta keep turned on:

1. Sleeping
2. Wanna Believe You
3. What You See Is What You Don't Get
4. Breathe
5. One Night Stand
6. Don't Ask
7. Keep It Turned On
8. Romeo Loves Juliet
9. Let's Go Out Tonight
10. Full Of You
11. Miracle

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