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"

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  1. I'd hate to read a negative review from this person.

    1st: If you can't be objective you have no business reviewing.. in this case, an artist you obviously don't care for.
    2nd: From your style of writing, it's evident that you don't play an instrument and have no ear for talent.

    Bottom Line:
    Summing up a review on the merits of the potential of getting laid is 110% unprofessional.
    You should seriously consider getting into a profession where you don't have contact with anything living!

  2. Sorry to say buddy, but you missed the point of the review (which was intentionally done tongue-in-cheek). :P

    I'm actually quite a fan of Kenny Loggins, particularly in the case of his debut and 1985's Vox Humana. He's a gifted individual who also happens to be hit-and-miss as far as albums go...but then again, that's a description that could be applied to any serious long-standing musical artist still in the business today. Nobody is perfect all the time...but I did make it clear I thought Leap Of Faith was one of his best records.

    Secondly, I would never post an album on this blog which I didn't personally enjoy, which I explain pretty straightforward-like in my Disclaimer (which can be found on the left side of my blog.)

    Finally, laying on endless superlatives about an album or going on and on about technical merits generally does not convince your typical music enthusiast that a record is worth keeping in their collection. Rather, I illustrated perceived faults and then insisted on what I thought stood out in a positive sense.

    I know I'm about a month late here in reply, but I don't think you know me well enough to be lecturing on whether or not I possess the professional merit to be reviewing. Believe it or not, everything I do as a writer is done for specific reasons, and I guess in this case you just missed the mark.

    My apologies, however, if you were offended. Tough shit and all that. ;)