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Rick Wakeman - Retro CD (album) cover


Rick Wakeman


Symphonic Prog

3.07 | 59 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars I was quite disappointed with this album - even when my expectations weren't very high in the first place. I have learned that Rick is not a great song-writer (or a composer at all) but that he can turn out his keyboard wizardry into a fairly enjoyable music. And usually he also sees the effort to avoid sounding always the same and having always the same atmosphere throughout his albums. Yes, he does so in this album too (the tracks vary from each other quite well). But the problem is, none of the tracks is a guaranteed winner, and the most of them are more or less stupid. What a wishful title Retro was... No, the music is not very 70's style, Yes-like symphonic or whatever you'd expect; the title refers to the used instruments. It came as a (bad) surprise that about half of the album features vocals. As I said, Rick is not a good song-writer.

Furthermore, I don't like either of the singers, Ashley Holt and Jemma Wakeman (his daughter). Ashley's manly vocals are a bit musical-like with too much vibrato and power; in this case "strong" is not a virtue. Some of the more proggy, longish tracks here would have been better without his vocals, for example the opener 'Just Another Day'. And Jemma is just an average young singer (I have a feeling that Country genre has lots of vocals in her style), who delivers mostly backing vocals, and lead vocals only on 'Leave The Blindfold', which is sadly one of the most useless tracks. Silly little staccato number with a melody part similar to the Beatles' 'Blackbird' line "you were only waiting for this moment to arise". The harmless song is only three minutes but once you've heard it there's no reason to listen to it ever again. But that's even a better case than with some of the other tracks that I got bored with within seconds. (A little remark on my listening habits in general: I don't waste my time with music I clearly dislike within its very beginning. Very rarely the music after its nasty beginning turns out to be something I like. Not even in Prog!) In Rick's case it's usually just silly sounds and the lack of "something to say" feeling. That is, the music just leaves me cold. Sometimes he can get away with it (the lack of emotional substance) by showing his virtuosity, but even in that department this album is not very strong.

I can't say that the whole album is crap. Of course 69 minutes of it include some nice moments too, but there's way too much below-average stuff going on.

Matti | 2/5 |


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