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Album Review

After recording a series of albums that established him as a pop-minded interpreter of soul styles, Robert Palmer surprised fans in 1980 with the stylistic about-face of Clues. On this album, he brought his sound into the new wave era by playing up the rock edge to his music, stripping the high-production gloss from his sound, and incorporating synthesizers into the arrangements. The end result became a big hit in the U.K. and paved the way for later international successes like Riptide and Heavy Nova. Clues also produced two notable singles in "Looking for Clues," a clever slice of new wave pop that surprises the listener with an unexpected xylophone solo, and "Johnny and Mary," a moody synth-driven ballad with perceptive lyrics about a doomed romantic relationship. There is also an impressive cover of Gary Numan's "I Dream of Wires" that retains the chilly electronic grandeur of the original while successfully working in an earthier rhythm arrangement that makes the song dance-friendly. Elsewhere, Palmer shows he hasn't abandoned his penchant for soul and ethnic music: "Woke Up Laughing" filters an African-style, chant-like vocal melody through a minimalist electronic production style, and "Found You Now" effectively combines a reggae groove with a deadpan sense of cool that is very "new wave." The end result is a bit short (it clocks in at barely over a half hour), but it remains one of Robert Palmer's strongest and most consistent albums. In short, Clues is a must for Robert Palmer fans and worth a spin for anyone into new wave. ~ Donald A. Guarisco, Rovi

Customer Reviews

A TRUE ORIGINAL

this album features some of Robert Palmers best ,looking for clues,woke up laughing,not a second time,johnny and mary,but as with all his work it all works together.i had the good fortune to see him in concert many times and in different venues.he liked to do a small club as well as the bigger venue when he was in town.in NYC he would do the Ritz then Radio City Music Hall.he would always put on a great show but he would let his hair down in the smaller clubs,really get down and sweaty and rock the place.plus he could always try out new things at the clubs.i remember one night he did a gershwin song and the place went nuts that he did a standard.he was a great artist who we lost before we should have i am sure he would have remained relevant and exciting forever.as he will in his music.

Never Followed The Crowd

Robert Palmer was one of those guys you could never pigeon hole. And I always got a sense that he loved it that way! "Clues" was the first album I got of his after hearing it for the first time at a friends house. It was simply refreshing...at times quirky, but always engaging. I agree with a previous review that this was his best album, which covered a wide range of songs but all had his signature raw energy. I was glad to see him finally get his well deserved recognition with the release of the "Addicted To Love" video...even in that he projected that wry, tongue-in-cheek look of a guy who is just having a ball, while never being self-pretencious. It was sad news to hear of his untimely death in 2003...way too young, and it deprived us of a truly unique talent.

A Classic

Robert Palmer finally brings it all together on this album. To me, its better than Riptide and Pride. While it doesn't have the big hits like Riptide did, this is the purest incarnation of Post New Wave Robert Palmer and a must have for any fan of his music or the genre as a whole.

Biography

Born: January 19, 1949 in Batley, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

The career of blue-eyed soul singer Robert Palmer was a study in style versus substance. While the performer's earliest work won praise for its skillful assimilation of rock, R&B, and reggae sounds, his records typically sold poorly, and he achieved his greatest notoriety as an impeccably dressed lounge lizard. By the mid-'80s, however, Palmer became a star, although his popularity owed less to the strength of his material than to his infamous music videos: taking their cue from the singer's...
Full Bio

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