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Album Review

A new label, a new image, a new sound, and the absence of the name "Stephen." Once again, Duffy is able to keep his listeners on edge by not doing anything remotely expected. Sure, the smooth voice and wonderful melodies are still present, but now Duffy seems influenced by the harder edge of '90s Brit-pop artists such as Blur, Oasis, and the like. Luckily, he is able to make it work. Duffy has a harder edge to it, but it is still a treat to the ears. Duffy continues to write topical lyrics, mixing his own personal life ("London Girls") with political commentary ("Ghetto Child"), all set to toe-tapping, guitar driven pop music. Duffy is able to finally show off his electric guitar talents, and this alone is justification for the existence of this CD. He really is a very talented and creative player, mixing in interesting solos, as well wonderful acoustic playing, not too far adrift from his Lilac Time days (just listen to the incredibly, almost heartbreaking "Rachel"). This is a well-crafted album, full of great sounds, and enough surprises and variety in the pacing of the music to keep the listener hooked. He also uses instruments very well throughout. Caroline Dale deserves special note for her wonderful cello playing on the beautiful "Smitten." The production is crisp and not overdone. Duffy also arranges vocals on this album both to create atmosphere and move the song along. Listen to the vocals of "Ghetto Child," and it is clear that the song is so effective because of the layered vocals. Overall a very good album, much more pleasing than his 1993 release Music in Colors, and one that would please both the casual listener and the fan. [This edition contains bonus tracks.]


Born: 30 May 1960 in Birmingham, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Stephen Duffy could have been the Pete Best of the '80s. Just as Best was no longer a member of the Beatles when the Fab Four became household names, Duffy departed from Duran Duran before that group exploded on MTV. However, Duffy was able to carve an audience for himself, releasing numerous albums that ventured into various forms of pop music. In 1978, Duffy formed Duran Duran with John Taylor (guitar) and Nick Rhodes (keyboards) in Birmingham, England; Duffy sang and played bass. A year later,...
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Duffy, Stephen Duffy
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