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Billy Sherwood - Citizen - In The Next Life CD (album) cover


Billy Sherwood


Crossover Prog

2.70 | 18 ratings

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2 stars Billy Sherwood from Las Vegas Nevada is at it again. Sherwood is a Crossover Prog artist as a soloist, but has been involved in quite a few different bands over the years including several years with "Yes" and "Asia". Besides touring with Yes as a side musician during their "Talk" tour, he was involved with them during the "Open Your Eyes" and "The Ladder" albums and has replaced Chris Squire as the regular bassist after Squire's death. Squire asked him to keep Yes going before he passed. He also joined Asia after the death of John Wetton. Besides this, he has been involved in several other projects and also recording solo albums of which he has released twelve.

In July of 2019, Sherwood released his 12th album "Citizen ? In The Next Life". This album is the 2nd part of the album "Citizen" released in 2015. The main protagonist in Sherwood's Citizen concept is a time traveler who gives us his experiences through his eyes as he meets several important people through the history of the Earth, both real and fictional. This album is made up of 10 tracks and a bonus track with a total run-time of over 54 minutes.

Sherwood has always been kind of a hit or miss when it comes to albums. I have always considered "Open Your Eyes" as being one of Yes' worst albums, though I do love "The Ladder". He has had some pretty decent albums with some of his other projects, while others just seem to fall flat. He is considered a great instrumentalist and since he was picked by both Wetton and Squire to be their replacements, there is not doubt that he is talented. Unfortunately, that doesn't always translate to his albums.

The album begins with the track "The Partisan" which is about the rise and fall of Hitler. The song comes across quite straightforward and upbeat with a good mix of guitar and synth. "Sophia" is about the A.I. that was declared a citizen of Saudi Arabia. The track is more moderate but picks up speed on the choruses. The song has a mostly uninteresting melody and Sherwood's vocals are not always the best, sounding almost like they are processed, they have a tinny sound to them which can be a bit hard to take in big doses. "Monet" puts the citizen in the famous painter's shoes with the song talking about the beauty of the paintings he created. "We Shall Ride Again" is a lackluster song where the citizen takes on the personage of Wyatt Earp. At this point, the music is sounding too much the same as the music can't seem to match the concept, or at least the characters that he is trying to evoke. The album continues in this vein with a bunch of mostly uninteresting tracks that just seem flat.

The music is quite accessible with an overall soft rock sound to all of the tracks. There is definitely a pop sensibility to the album, and Sherwood's vocals sound like Peter Cetera's, but with a somewhat annoying edge to the bad harmonies that give everything a hollow and tinny sound. The music is pretty light weight with very little progressive traits. There is not a lot of passion in any of the songs and they get to where they sound too much the same. Sherwood has a knack for instrumentation and is definitely a decent bassist and guitarist, but this album proves that he should not be left alone to create an entire production on his own. The songs on the album just don't hold my interest and are pretty mediocre. The singing doesn't save anything either. Something with this type of concept brings about some high expectations, but all we end up with here is just several tracks that sound too much alike and are devoid of heart, sounding too processed and forced.

TCat | 2/5 |


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