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Stolen Wishes

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Album Review

After the release of the superb Shoes' Best compilation reminded pop fans of the group's great songs and deliciously idiosyncratic style (and reintroduced Shoes to the creative and financial benefits of going D.I.Y.), the band (now officially shorn of drummer Skip Meyer) headed back to their studio and recorded Stolen Wishes, their first album in five years (and first American release since Boomerang in 1982). Somewhere along the way, Jeff Murphy, Gary Klebe, and John Murphy appeared to have gotten over their collective distrust of keyboards, and the bright, punchy sound, peppy tempos, and frequent synthesizer washes of Stolen Wishes sound like a studied attempt at a more "contemporary" sound from a band who seemed perfectly content to be slightly anachronistic a decade earlier. Oddly enough, as a result, 1989's Stolen Wishes seems significantly more dated several years later than the guitar-based popcraft of the albums Shoes released between 1977 and 1982, which still sound pleasingly timeless. (And who told the guys those pseudo-Duran Duran haircuts they're sporting on the cover were a good idea?) But Shoes were a band who had never been short of great pop songs in the past, and their gifts as writers did not fail them on Stolen Wishes; the album is loaded with great hooks and hummable melodies, and their vocal harmonies are spot-on throughout. Stolen Wishes isn't quite as strong as Shoes' earlier work, but it's still a strong dose of well-crafted pop, and dozens of the bands who traveled in their wake would love to have songs as good as "Love Is Like a Bullet" or "Feel the Way I Do" to their credit.

Customer Reviews


Pretty much the best album ever by anybody!

Fantastic Pop Album

Shoes have released so many excellent albums it is indeed a compliment when I say that Stolen Wishes and Propeller are their two best. Lots of great hooks that will have you humming these songs for many years to come. In the great pop tradition of The Beatles, and I don't make that comparison lightly. Listen to Feel the way that I do, Torn in two, I don't know why and Love is like a bullet and tell me they are not Beatle type songs. The musicianship is also excellent, especially the guitar solos. They sing like angels with beautiful harmonies yet they can belt out rock and roll with the best of them. Buy Stolen Wishes and Propeller, you won't be sorry.

Wishes come true

This is a great CD. The only reason I don't give it five stars is that all the songs are so radio-ready and reminiscent of an old Beatles album, you ultimately come away with no sense of an "album cut" or two that mixes things up a bit; and some of the lyrics are pretty simplistic--you need some cleverness to offset the word of the use "baby". But each song is a gem. Stirrings of the Lemonheads, Smithereens and early 60s bands can be heard throughout. So I wouldn't listen to it again and again for days like I did with Rubber Soul, though I admit I've played the whole things four times in two days. But there's isn't a clunker on here. There should have been at least three hits off this collection. Such is the unfairness of the music business. Buy it, without a doubt.


Formed: 1975 in Zion, IL

Genre: Pop

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

It may not have been the hip thing to do at the time, but Shoes carried on the pure pop traditions of the Beatles and the Raspberries during the late '70s and early '80s with a charming innocence and execution unmatched by the more derivative bands lumped into the category "power pop." Shoes were formed in Zion, Illinois, in 1975 by Jeff Murphy, John Murphy, Gary Klebe, and Skip Meyer, with the Murphys and Klebe all sharing songwriting duties. After one self-made and extremely limited album (only...
Full Bio