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Adrian Belew - Inner Revolution CD (album) cover


Adrian Belew


Eclectic Prog

2.83 | 40 ratings

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3 stars "Inner Revolution" is Belew's sixth solo album and was recorded during Belew's divorce from his first wife. The music on this one centers around poppy, accessible songs with some crazy guitar antics thrown in at various places. Belew is not a bad songwriter, but I have always found that his vocals don't fit in to well with a pop-like setting. If he is dabbling in art pop, then they tend to work better, but this album takes most of the "art" aspect out and delves into straight forward pop.

There isn't much in this album that will remind you of his days with Zappa, Talking Heads or King Crimson. There is one track, "This Is What I Believe In", that borrows from his KC years by using a Crimson-like riff and building a pop song out of it, and, granted, it is probably the most interesting track here. It is part of the first three tracks, which, while they are obvious attempts at accessible music, they are the best part of the album as Belew uses a lot of his guitar stylings making them at least somewhat interesting. However, after those first three songs, thing seem to spiral down hill as he tries to make not only his music, but his vocals fit in to the pop world.

Belew has always been fond of The Beatles and has been able to effectively incorporate that into his music at different times in his career. He does the same thing in this album. Unfortunately, he ends up sounding more like Jeff Lynne's Electric Light Orchestra trying to sound like The Beatles, especially in "Big Blue Sun" which sounds like a rip-off of ELO's "Mr. Blue Sky". Many times through the rest of the album, he takes on the ELO approach, another track that is an example of this is "Birds". But he doesn't stop there. He also takes a few stabs at copying the band Squeeze and their unique way of turning songs about domestic problems into happy pop songs as in "The War in the Gulf Between Us" and "Heaven's Bed". Of course, he uses his own domestic issues at that time as lyrical inspiration, but it's obvious that he is using Squeeze's formula, and it unfortunately doesn't work for him.

The 8 songs that make up the middle and main part of the album are quite uninteresting and even the occasional use of his guitar antics can't save these songs. They just don't have any hooks or any pop-like traits that reel you in. Only the last track is any good as he turns to a more rock-n-roll style track with "Member of the Tribe", but even if it's good, it just isn't worth wading through the last several tracks to get to it. Really, the only saving grace on this album is when he does what he does best; utilizing his guitar to create some amazing sounds. But this usually doesn't work to well with straightforward pop songs unless they swing more towards an art-pop style, which, other than the first three tracks, he doesn't even attempt.

Belew has made some great art-pop and even progressive solo albums, but this is not one of them. There just isn't that much to get excited about here. The only reason it gets a three star rating from me is his unique guitar work on a few of the songs. The rest of it is quite uninteresting and often steals directly from other bands. The best thing to do is stay away from this one and find one of his better, more experimental albums, especially if you are looking for progressive music.

TCat | 3/5 |


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