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Jon Anderson - The More You Know CD (album) cover


Jon Anderson


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2.95 | 72 ratings

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4 stars Change he must, and yet the more things change, the more this album of contemporary pop/worldbeat stays within the unpredictable expectations of a Jon ANDERSON album. I didn't blink an eye when the sounds of drums n' bass took their place alongside that familiar voice as if they naturally belonged there. Approaching a Jon ANDERSON album is a dangerous business, so you need to be ready for anything. What I wasn't ready for were two songs that would get under my skin so quickly: "Heaven's Love" and "Take, Take, Take". The former reminds me of "Hearts," the latter could be seen as a cross between "We Have Heaven" and Peter GABRIEL's "Kiss That Frog". For these two tracks alone, ANDERSON's fans should considering picking up this disc.

What remains is not filler; pleasant melodies from Jon are fleshed out by Francis and Bobby Jocky, a little guitar from Jeff Kellner, and the backing vocals of wife Jane Luttenberger Anderson. Despite the lean production (penny pinching purple pyramids prevail), the core quartet do a tremendous job of filling in the arrangements and giving them a suitably grand sound. Listen to "Magic Love", "Faithfully", "Youth" or "The More You Know" and tell me how many musicians you hear (you'll guess more than four). The only knock I have on "The More You Know" is that less might have been more. This infernal CD medium still has everyone struggling to come up with sixty minutes of music, which is just too hard when you're writing four-minute pop songs. Past the midway point, the engaging becomes merely interesting, or (in the efficacious invention of a new word) IntraYesSting, which is to say somewhere between Jon ANDERSON and STING. I don't mean that as an insult (I understand that some folks are highly allergic to STING's music), merely an indication that both artists lack strong self-editing skills.

In Jon's case, he serves as a channel for his muse, so editing is antithetical to his role as a conduit. But where to edit? Maybe "Some TV" and "Ever" could have stayed at home, but cutting anything else might slight a song that resonates with someone. If you enjoyed the anglo/afropop of Paul SIMON and Peter GABRIEL, "The More You Know" could be heard as a modest and more beat-oriented sibling. The goal here isn't authenticity but inspiration (and economy), and this disc scores often on those points. As one of Jon ANDERSON's more straightforward pop albums, this would fall slightly below "Song of Seven" and rise above "In The City of Angels".

daveconn | 4/5 |


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