"One", by Neal Morse

When I heard that Neal was coming out with a new album called "One", I was really looking forward to it. After listening to it a couple of times, I have to be honest and say it's not one of Neal's best effort. "V" and "Snow" (Neal's last two albums with Spock's Beard), both albums with Transatlantic, and "Testimony" were all very solid efforts, and I was hoping the trend to continue with "One". While it's a good album, it just didn't hit me as hard as Neal's other efforts. I think I've come up with a couple of reasons:

  • Phil Keaggy is a great guitarist, but his singing is pretty weak. Neal should've let Phil let his guitar do the talking.
  • The horns in the last song, "Reunion", just don't work for me. Experimentation is always rewarded in my book, but Neal needed something with more power to end the album (maybe he needed more cowbell :) ).
  • Neal needs to let others do the guitar work. He's a great singer and he's an awesome keyboardist, but guitar is not his forte. Unfortunately, it shows on this album. The guitar sounds don't add punch when they need to, and the solos feel hesitant.
  • While I don't agree with Neal's religious views, I liked the honesty of "Testimony". I understand the message of "One", but I couldn't relate to it.

I hate to give what sounds like a bad review of Neal's work. I really like his stuff, and I do like "One". But it doesn't build from his other works. I give him credit for trying different things, and there's no doubt "One" has good songs with expert work from musicians who know their shit. It just don't deliver all the goods.

* Posted at 11.22.2004 08:01:19 PM CST | Link *

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