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Adrian Belew - Young Lions CD (album) cover


Adrian Belew


Eclectic Prog

2.23 | 35 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Adrian Belew's first album of the 90s would ultimately be his weakest in my opinion. While there a few really good songs, there are some others that just feel like they shouldn't have made the cut and others that feel plain and are somewhat boring. Despite that, you'll also find two collaborations with David Bowie on the album (two of the best songs on the album are the Bowie ones) and a reworking of the classic King Crimson song Heartbeat, that while not as great as the original, suffices enough and is probably of the same quality. Having said that, the inclusion of this song could also give a hint that Belew wasn't at his creative best at this point so he needed something to fill the void. Whatever it is, Young Lions is the blemish of Adrian Belew's career (in my opinion of course).

There are some good songs here, though. Pretty Pink Rose was the single release from this album, and the collaboration between Belew and Bowie is great and Bowie sounds fantastic on this song. With Heartbeat, you can expect a more stripped down version of the piece (since Belew doesn't have the abilities on drums or bass of Bill Bruford or Tony Levin), and a version that makes you ask why he re-recorded the song in the first place. There's nothing different about it structurally or musically. Men In Helicopters (which would get a face-lift on Side Three as Men in Helicopters v4.0) is another great piece that has a nice chord progression and some thoughtful, poignant lyrics from Belew. Gunman is the finale to the album and the second David Bowie collaboration. Again, Bowie sounds great on this track and Belew was able to write some really interesting backing music for the piece.

In the end, Young Lions is probably the album you'll want to get last in the Belew catalog. It has some decent pieces, and some great pieces, but there's an odd feeling I get when I listen to this album. I can't recommend it to anyone. I can recommend it to fans of Belew's solo material, as you'll probably find some nice things here and there. But for the general public, don't by any means use this album as an entry point into the solo career of Adrian Belew.

Cygnus X-2 | 2/5 |


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