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Heaven In Mind

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Album Review

There is something to be said for directness in songwriting. As much as obscure metaphors and abstract imagery can be intriguing, it can be nice to have a clear statement, easily understood, to give concrete direction and purpose to the listener. However, it can also go too far. On Heaven in Mind, British singer/songwriter Mike Silver, who's been in the business since the '70s, is oftentimes so focused on conveying his actual message that he forgets that there needs to be something interesting for his audience to grab onto. It doesn't help that in the liner notes to the album, Silver adds brief explanations about where each piece came from and what it means, as if the lyrics and titles weren't enough ("Doesn't mean that he's not wishing/That he could say in terms she'll comprehend/The fundamental differences/That exist between some women and some men," he explains in "Who Wants to Be the One"?). And Silver's neither country nor folky enough that his storytelling or openness can come across as simply a characteristic of the genre; it just sounds campy, and it gets annoying rather quickly. However, the songs in which Silver explores bluesier territory, like "Midnight Train," "Main Man's Ear," or even his cover of "Love Potion No. 9" (which is pretty good, like something that could've been found on a Clapton Unplugged album), his straightforward style works a lot better, and it doesn't come across as excessive. It also helps that while these songs, like everything else on Heaven in Mind, are quite cleanly produced, they're also lacking the strings and layered acoustic guitars found on much of the rest of the record that's so adult contemporary and nearly lifeless. Silver has a nice voice, and he knows how to make a well-composed song with familiar melodies, and the guitar playing, especially the interplay between him and Chris Jones, is great, but his attempts to write lyrics that everyone can understand get in the way of his music and end up hurting the overall effect of the album.


Born: September, 1945 in Uffington, Berkshire, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Born in 1945, singer/songwriter Mike Silver was influenced by a variety of musicians as a child, from the '50s pop of Lonnie Donegan, Buddy Holly, and Phil Harris that his older brothers liked to blues players like Blind Lemon Jefferson and Muddy Waters to the British garage band the Preachers to fingerpickers like Gerry Lockran. He first tried playing the guitar at age nine, but it wasn't until age 14 that he got one of his own, and from that moment on Silver was constantly involved in music with...
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Heaven In Mind, Mike Silver
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