4 February 2014

Barry Manilow - Here Comes The Night



No, this is not a test; you really are reading a Barry Manilow review on this blog.  Before you tear your eyes out and hand in your Generation X badges, hear me out.   As recently announced we are going to be looking into the recordings of the legendary Sound City recording studios; as such any record we can review will be reviewed.  As this record was made in that hollowed building, it is with a heavy heart that I am picking this one up.  To be honest, all I know of Mr Manilow is the Vegas version which is pushed to the front; you know what I mean - "Mandy", "Copacabana" and "Can't Smile Without You" - and the hair cut with that ever young look (not saying what I think on that one, but all I can say is sense the tone..).   This album was his 12th release and in the UK went under the title "I Wanna Do It With You".  To be honest, I think the original title is the better of the two; the other one is a little too sleazy even for me.  The version on Spotify is the original 10 track version without the two bonus track which was added to the cassette release. 

Starting off with "I Wanna Do It With You" you have one of the most awful songs about making love with your partner of choice. Just look at the title, that is one of the better lyrics of the song; it is the lowest form of love song and even Patrick Bateman in his American Psycho glory would be hard pressed to find a redeeming feature about it.  Musically it is very average, but the lyrics are truly awful.  The title track is next, compared to the first song it is a towering song that would level mountains.  In reality, it is just a very pleasant ballad from the early 80's which is well played and well sung.  Also, it is not "I Wanna Do It With You".  Next is a cover of the song "Memory" which was original from the musical "Cats".  This version is still the highest charting version in America, very well played and it is suited to Manilow's strengths; also it is not "I Wanna Do It With You".  After this we have "Let's Get On With It"; now this is not a song about sex which I thought it would have took (most of his songs can be said to be about it), but a song about trying to get on with our lives in the world.  Now this is a little on the dull side, but as I have said before at least it is not "I Wanna Do It With You".  So far, whilst I am not really enjoying the album I can see why this music has its audience.

"Some Girls" is the fifth track of the album and it tries to be a more upbeat number to improve the mood of the album.  It is a another story about love from Mr Manilow, almost in a country and western style with some cringe worthy lyrics; but again it is still better than "I Wanna Do It With You".  However this does not stop the song from being dross.  After this we are served the offering which is "Some Kind Of Friend"; a story of a bad friendship/relationship which would not have been out of place on a Roxette album if the truth be told.  It is never gonna change the world, but on this album it is one of the better tracks; but this is like being the best diseased man in a Victorian hospital. Again, you know what song it is better than as well.  Now the next song is called "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down & Write Myself A Letter" which is a country and western song of a man who is writing himself notes which he is fantasying have came from his true love.  This is on a par with "I Wanna Do It With You"; Shania Twain would reject this song.

"Getting Over Losing You" is a story of a broken heart, you can imagine the Manilow fans swooning at this song, musically it is well played and whilst I cannot fault his voice I can truly say that this is not a very good song.  It is too obvious and too polished, but it is not the worst on the album; you should know what I am referring to at the point.  But you can add "Heart Of Steel" to that list of bland beige thunder, when was this type of music fashionable and who do I have to complain to so I can get the three minutes of my life back that I had to listen to this song.  I really feel that there is someone out for me on this song, and I might let them hurt me if it means I do not have to listen to it again.  Finishing the album is "Stay" which is the big band ending slow ballad where Mr Manilow asking his love to stay after he has do something wrong.  It is recorded for an era long lost, it is not the best; but it is far from the worst song I have ever heard on the album.

To poke fun at Barry Manilow is like shooting fish in a barrel, it is far too easy if this is not your sort of music; it is also safe to say that I really am not a big fan of the man (he might be a nice person in real life, who knows).  However, I would also like to point out that the man can sing really well, the musicians that support him are top draw and you can sort of see the appeal to a certain person.  However, I am not that type of person so putting aside what I personally feel I can only say that this is well played wallpaper paste.  There are some true crimes against music on this album, but it was a different era then; if it had not been made at Sound City, this review would not be happening.  It is also a telling sign that it is not even picked up on his website or Wikipedia.  So not everything recorded at Sound City was amazing....

1 out of ten - You really are touching the bottom of the barrel

Best song - Memory

It is obviously out of print if you look at some of the prices it is selling for on Amazon.....

Here is a link to his UK website here

You can listen to the album on Spotify here

Alternatively you can listen to the album on Deezer here

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