Pros:Some outstanding songs like Save Tonight, Indecision, When Mermaids Cry, and Comatose
Cons:Not perfect and the fact that Save Tonight is "one hit"...
The Bottom Line: Eagle-Eye Cherry is best known for a hit single and as a one-hit-wonder. My suggestion? Don't count your chickens just yet.
For some people, music runs as thickly as blood through the veins. Born to prolific jazz trumpeter Don Cherry in 1969, Eagle-Eye first studied acting in New York before turning to music as a teenager. Despite his early creative musical bursts, young Cherry only actively pursued acting for much of his young life. This was, of course, despite his lineage that also included older sister Neneh who was one of the first female rappers.
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Immediately prior to his fathers 1995 death, Eagle-Eye turned back to music as creative expression. His fathers death was the impetus that the young singer-songwriter needed to concentrate on his craft. In his native Sweden, he recorded his debut Desireless. It was this 1998 album that yielded the hit Save Tonight and was certified platinum (four times at last count). Based only on the happy go-lucky pop sensibility of that one hit, most people would categorize Eagle-Eye as a one-hit-wonder. I suppose that much is true, but what also is a truth is that the album Desireless is much better than you would imagine.
It is true that hes never had another platinum (or even gold) selling album and that the one song may define him for the rest of his life, but Eagle-Eye continues to make music that is most easily defined as mature alternative pop. Regardless of labels and prior successes, if one thing Desireless proves it is that the singer-songwriter is talented. I almost want to completely ignore the fact that Cherry had that one hit. However, Save Tonight is impossible to forgetor for that matter to separate from your brain cells. A keen combination of acoustic guitars, light percussion, Cherrys slightly gravelly vocals, great songwriting, and a slightly folk edge the song was an easy choice for a single. You know you remember it. You know you couldnt get it out of your head. Let me refresh your memory:
Tomorrow comes to take me away
I wish that I, that I could stay
Girl you know I've got to go, oh
Lord I wish it wasn't so
and fight the break of dawn
tomorrow I'll be gone
While there are no other songs quite as immediately lovely as Save Tonight, there are plenty of other good moments. Indecision is a lovely little song and Comatose (In the Arms of Slumber) may begin somewhat slowly but toward the middle and end, Cherrys voice takes on new deepness (both literally and figuratively). The song is perfectonly further bolstered by the use of organs (think Wallflowers). Im overall pleased with the effort and only occasionally even vaguely bored as with Worried Eyes and Rainbow Wings. While both are still gorgeous, they get somewhat tired after a few minutes. Even at his worst, I still cant help but recognized Eagle-Eyes oft ignored talent.
Falling in Love Again marks a return to the upbeat pace that helped to make Save Tonight so special. The addition of the blues guitar is really interesting, though it still doesnt really strike me as extraordinary in the end. Conversation falls into that same nice, but not quite category. When Mermaids Cry is something else entirely. Snare drum, piano, guitars and an undeniable stunning voice make for a perfect (did I just say that?) song. The lyrics are gorgeous and memorable and the arrangement is gorgeous. In fact, it ranks right up there with Save Tonight in every way. I suppose some people may think its slightly hokey, but I truly enjoy every moment.
Shooting Up in Vain is a slow, chunky, acoustic, strangely trip-hop textured offering. My only complaint is that the intentionally processed vocals dont fit well with the rich and round instruments. Even the backing vocals are more fitting than Eagle-Eyes. Similar in tempo, but not nearly as attractive Permanent Tears is one of the less enjoyable offerings. Fortunately the last two songs stick with me. Death Defied By Will with the insistent chorus and bluesy arrangement it is one of the better tracks of Desireless. Speaking of Desireless, the title track rests in the twelfth and final position and is a reworked Don Cherry composition. It seems clear to me that Eagle-Eye pays homage to his father with his debut album. A muted trumpet, classic piano, occasional percussion, lightly and acoustic guitar mark the jazz-influenced track. Its not the most popularly appealing song, but at the same time it is perfectly arranged.
The final song makes Desireless as an album well worth hearing from start to end. As a whole the disc has one clear musical direction which is more than I can say for most artists. Dont get hung up on Eagle-Eye Cherrys genetics or his one-hit-wonder status. This is a good album that makes me curious about what he may do in the future. His follow-up album, Living in the Present Future (repackaged later as simple Present/Future) wasnt as well-received as the debut nor did it sell well. However it does seem certain that the son of the jazz man may have something more up his sleeve. I for one am willing to wait and see.
Rating: 4/5 stars
01. Save Tonight
03. Comatose (In the Arms of Slumber)
04. Worried Eyes
05. Rainbow Wings
06. Falling in Love Again
08. When Mermaids Cry
09. Shooting up in Vain
10. Permanent Tears
11. Death Defied by Will
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