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Adrian Belew - Young Lions CD (album) cover

YOUNG LIONS

Adrian Belew

 

Eclectic Prog

2.26 | 38 ratings

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TCat
2 stars This was one of Adrian Belew's attempts at a more accessible pop which was released during one of the times that King Crimson was on sabbatical. It was released between "Three of a Perfect Pair" and "Thrak". He was also head guitarist for David Bowie's concerts during this time. He also released a few albums during this down period for King Crimson, some of them good and some of them questionable. "Young Lions" is one of those albums that is questionable at best and definitely not as progressive than some of the others if at all.

The album starts out well enough for a pop album with 3 decent songs; "Young Lions" which makes for a great upbeat opener, "Pretty Pink Rose" which is written by David Bowie and features him singing lead which is a great surprise, and "Heartbeat", a King Crimson song done to a pop beat, which actually sounds good considering the way it's been made radio friendly. So, you might have at least a 3 star album by this point and there is plenty of room to grow here. Unfortunately, things take a turn for the worst.

The next song is "Looking for a U.F.O. which is just a complete embarrassment. Pop rhythms with annoying lyrics and no feeling whatsoever. The downward spiral continues with "I Am What I Am" which is the spoken word of Prophet Omega talking over what might have been an okay guitar solo if not for his distracting ramblings. Then he does a cover of The Traveling Wilburys' "Not Alone Anymore". So this is a great song when done by the Wilburys and Belew does a decent job of the cover, but adds nothing and takes nothing away, so there really is no point.

"Men in Helicopters" has a good message, and is also a slight turn for the better here because it doesn't sound so forced as the previous tracks. There is some nice guitar work during the instrumental break with other sounds going on. "Small World" is just bland and uninspired. There is a some harmonization over a lot of drums that sounds like some bad Jeff Lynne impression. I'd almost rather hear Disney's version of "It's a Small World After All", but not really. I think he's trying to be Peter Gabriel here too, but failing miserably. "Phone Call from the Moon" has some nice jazzy Robin Trower style guitar work, but the spoken part of the lyrics is pathetic: "Time moves slowly like the curve of the Earth" and so on. Okay whatever. Bowie returns thank goodness, for the last track "Gunman". Just to prove that Adrian is actually a great talent, the guitar is excellent, what you would expect on a KC album or one of Belew's better albums.

Not sure what happened here, but it started off pretty good and ended good with one decent song in the middle, but more than half of this is just plain worse than mediocre. Not really worth looking into this one, but try some of his better solo albums, or get a King Crimson album released during his time with that band if you want to hear Belew at his best.

TCat | 2/5 |

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