Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Kenny Loggins - Leap Of Faith (1991)
Musicians come in vintages aplenty: some are great from the moment of fermentation, while others are more like wine: they may take years or even decades to reach acceptable fruition.
One such maligned popular music figure named Kenny Loggins is most certainly a wine long-in-coming. Primarily known for his extremely cringeworthy output in the 70's as part of oldies-station favorite Loggins and Messina and subsequently in the early 80's as a singer-songwriter paragon of all which was ghastly about middle-of-the-road pop of the era. Remember any of the cheesepot music from Footloose and Top Gun? Yeah, that fucker.
How strange, then, that from his soulful synth-pop 1985 release Vox Humana and onwards, Loggins actually started writing some fairly listenable music. Less cheese, better hooks, more atmosphere, stronger arrangements, the whole shebang, and it was such a surprisingly trend of maturation that eventually culminated in a beautiful, moody and even experimental little record in 1991 called Leap Of Faith.
In all honesty, I would have never initially thought material this strong would come from a musician with Loggins's history. The overall vibe is as if Talk Talk circa Spirit of Eden decided to go all Top of the Pops, had Sting write all the songs, and then at the end of the day got Kenny behind the mike to throw the audience a fishing line so that they don't go tumbling into the abyss. Some fine musical wallpaper indeed!
Anyway, make no mistake dear readers: if you hate pop music, you WILL hate the majority of the songs present here, and some of Loggins' cheesiness does rear up in selective moments, such as the syrupy 'Conviction Of The Heart', whose hook wouldn't be out of place on Michael Jackson's cutting room floor back in 1987. The real merit, however, becomes apparent when you realize that Loggins's voice is quite pleasing when it gets behind a solid groove. Like George Michael except 100x more ballsy and sexy. Hell, I'll go as far to say that his voice alone gives many of the album's songs a sultry edge that might not exist at all under a weaker singer's lead. It's also rather interesting to note that many of these songs are over 6 minutes despite the adult-contemporary feel of the hooks and structures. Makes you wonder what kind of audience he was really aiming for!
So overall, Leap Of Faith isn't the sort of schmaltz that you lot would dig under normal circumstances, but perhaps Loggins and his languid pipes will grow on some of you like moss. Nothin' wrong with a bit-o guilty pleasure rite?
Bottom Line: This shit will get you laid, 110% guaranteed.
Listen Here - "Leap Of Faith"