Saturday, July 8, 2017

Brian Kennedy-A Better Man (1996)


Ah, a fresh new face to grace the "The Music Spectrum", yet to some, he's surely a golden oldie. The Irish singer/songwriter named Brian Kennedy is completely new to me as well, and his "Better Man" allowed me to get back on course with the 90's music-listening that I've been indulging in a lot lately With Brian, I was reminded how easily I'm charmed by these male singers with the mellow, breathy voices which, at times, seems they are barely above a whisper, yet do so much for my receptive ears. In fact, I had the notion to compare him to Chris de Burgh (the man behind the timeless soft rock radio staple, "The Lady In Red"), which came to me when I noticed his accent on delivering the word ;man' on the opening title track (and a lovely track it is, with the breezy, ambient flow and the distinctively Irish air about the stringed accompaniment). "For One Kiss" packs some powerful punch with its terrific production and backing vocals, as does "Put The Message In A Box", whose lively, dancey pop/rock rhythm and even better backing vocals are just a couple of the ingredients that perked my pop music appetite. The sucker for the sad love song in me found instant charm with both "No Other Words" and especially "And So I Will Wait For You" (this one's got a very starry and chilled ambiance about it in the very beginning that immediately draws me into the song), which is one of those numbers where the songwriter vows to be there for the significant other, no matter how long it takes. It's always a delight to hear a singer performing a song with barely any backing production and just the minimal sound of the instrument that serves as the primary companion. That's why I have all the appreciation in the world for "The Oldest Dream In The World" and "Ghost Music", two gems that both have that campy, sitting-under-the-stars-at-night-around-the-campfire-on-the-mountaintop intimacy about them. Cuddly love songs always make for a pleasurable listen; I got that with "Won't You Take Me Home?". Yet the biggest moment for me on this album has gotta be the feelgood downtempo dance cut, "Life, Love And Happiness", which is another where Brian gets wonderful support by the backing vocalists. The enjoyment I had during this first Brian Kennedy joyride leads me to end with this: should you decide to start adding some of his albums into your own pop music collection, "A Better Man" had better be among the titles:

1. A Better Man
2. For One Kiss
3. Won't You Take Me Home?
4. No Other Words
5. And So I Will Wait For You
6. Life, Love And Happiness
7. The Oldest Dream In The World
8. Put The Message In The Box
9. By The Mountain Road
10. Ghost Music
11. Wish Me Well

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