Saturday, 13 June 2009

Howard Jones 'What Is Love?'

Chart Peak: 2


It's not Howard Jones's fault. It's not his fault that the synthesiser-based arrangements that sounded so fresh at the time were dated by the march of history and make me think of a low-budget karaoke night. It's not his fault that popular imagination has tied him so closely to the 1980s that all his attempts to be taken seriously after that decade have been doomed to failure. It's not his fault that I sometimes get him mixed up with Nik Kershaw (the compilers here have done me a favour by putting them on different sides of the record).

With all that in mind, I feel a bit unfair saying this, but 'What Is Love?' fails to charm me. Jones and his mysterious co-writer William Bryant try to tackle the eternal question and don't shed a lot of light, although the tone seems unusually weary for the usually optimistic Jones. Musically, though, there's none of the eccentricity of 'New Song' and stretching the word "loooo-ve" over so much of the chorus sounds oddly slapdash. Still, this convinced enough people at the time to be the closest he ever came to a Number One.

Also appearing on: Now 1, 3, 5
Available on: Platinum Collection

1 comment:

  1. Grrrrr...