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"Stranger In This Town" Review 22 September 2001
Beautiful Stranger...

Turn Down the Lights, Light a Candle...Welcome...That says it all...

A review by SaraCat /

Wow....I think that word is the only way to begin this review. I am listening to it right now as I write this and hoping that I can do the songs justice when reviewing them. I had no idea that as an individual he was this talented. I knew he was a God on the guitar, and that he had a nice voice for backup vocals, but never did I imagine that his voice was THAT amazing and multi-faceted or that his song writing was so deep and introspective!

So I followed the instructions on the inside of the CD and I have to say it was a musical journey like no other. He captured almost every mood known to man and brought the listener into it. Each song is beautiful in it's own right, and there isn't one that I do not like which is very rare for me when it comes to music. I don't know if I am able to describe everything each song makes me feel, but I'm sure as hell gonna try...

1. Rest In Peace: I don't really consider this one a song, I consider it an intro....preparation or meditation if you will. It's a very cultish sounding song and a big shock for anybody (myself included) who was expecting something a little more 'Dead or Alive'-ish. Good intro.

2. Church of Desire: It's the lyrics that captured me in this one. It has a beautiful blusey feeling to it and the undertone is that of young love. He is a master of metaphores, and this song showcases it. It's absolutely beautiful and a wonderful reassurance to anyone who was 'weirded out' by the first track that this CD will not dissapoint.

3. Stranger In This Town: His signiture title track and rightfully so. I recently saw this song performed live and may I say WOW??? The depth and emotion in this song is beyond compare and it's certainly something anyone can relate to. The feeling of isolation or annonymity is something everyone goes through at one point. It's almost as if this song were a cry for help, saying 'I'm lost, please help me find my way'.

4. Ballad of Youth: One of my favourites. I think anyone young can relate. It starts out slow and explodes out of the gate! I really liked his line 'everybody rides on the karma train'. I believe that is so true! I am only nineteen myself, so when I hear this, it stirs inside me. It makes me appreciate my youth, rather than begrudge it and I feel good to be alive. That's what music is really for.

5. One Light Burning: This is where the candle really comes into place. It's the only way to truly listen to this song. Slow, gentle, graceful and magical you can't help but be carried away by the soft tones and melodic vocals. He can have the voice of an angel or a devil I believe and that's a rare talent in any vocalist. This song is uplifting to anyone who's ever felt despair. It says to us, don't give up, keep holding on, you'll make it. I believe that if you believe in this song, you too will have One Light Burning....

6. Mr. Bluesman: The only song I have a little trouble relating to on a personal level, mainly because I know it was written for and about Eric Clapton. I have never really been partial to Clapton although I recognize his talent as being exceptional. Still, this song doesn't really touch me as deeply as the others. It has a great blues/rock feel to it though, and Richie's voice is amazing. Even though I can't personally allow myself to be carried away by it, I recognize the mastery of the song and I truly enjoy it.

7. Rosie: A down and out rock song with a beautiful message! I heard somewhere that this was originally written for a Bon Jovi album and Richie merely tweeked it for his own purposes. This is evident, as it is closest to the groups style, yet still completely his own. I think the song has a beautiful storyline to it about a man wanting to rescue his highschool sweetheart from a not-so-ideal life. Plus, I love the way he sings the word Rosie! That man can do amazing things with a note! Rock'n song, with an inspiring story to it!

8. River of Love: This song is pure seduction and who wouldn't want to be seduced by a master such as Richie? The whole thing is a metaphore for one amazing sexual voice becomes very sexy and gutteral here, and the subject matter is breath-taking...pure sex here people!

9. Father Time: I think this is my favourite song on the album. This one is absoloutely EPIC. It starts out haunting with the strings and quickly becomes an amazingly soulful piece about lost love and lost oppertunities. I am always floored at the emotion in this song that flows through the speakers. It's absolutely beautiful. I love the line "Now she's gone, she didn't even say goodbye. I guess she didn't have the heart to try. She didn't even have the guts to lie." WOW. I never thought about time as a healing agent and the idea of singing to time as if it were a person was pure genius. Time becomes almost like a living entity when you hear this and it blows you away! Like I said, an epic piece.

10. The Answer: I read somewhere that he wrote this when he was my age. I can't believe it! This is one of the most insightful and deep songs I have ever heard. The thoughts expressed in this are incredibly intelligent and mature. Again, I can really relate to wanting to know the answers to life, yet being afraid at the same time.

I can't say enough about this album and already I think I've said too much. It's a completely different feel from the group's efforts, but that's a good thing because I think it shows that behind the showy frontman (don't get me wrong, I love Jon, but still...) there's a real guy like us who can write songs that will touch us deeper than we'll ever know. Don't forget to light your candles....the light of this album will burn forever.


Rating: 10/10

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