Various - Soft Rock Ballads

You certainly can't accuse the makers of Soft Rock Ballads that they've failed to provide a lot of ballad for your buck. This monster three CD set bulges with nearly 60 pieces of inoffensive pop and rock, few of which are actually ballads, most of which the kind that prop up Heart FM and local radio stations the length and breadth of the UK. With a few exceptions, this release is mostly very dull, a mixture of the bland and insipid with little in the way of surprises. Yes, you can guess the Gerry Rafferty, and the Steve Harley, and the Chicago they chose to include. It doesn't take much figuring out.

It is also a collection firmly set in the past, with very little of the songs (The Verve, Natalie Imbruglia are two of the few) written in the last couple of years. It is an album that sits astride the seventies and eighties, and therefore is indolent of long car journeys and listening to Simon Bates. The first CD is the strongest, with a reasonable collection of songs from the likes of The Kinks, Thin Lizzy and Bowie with his wonderful Life on Mars. However, there are some clangers, particularly Phil Collins stinking the place up in his own inimitable fashion.

The second CD is slightly more reflective, ranging from the great (Soul Asylum with Runaway Train in particular, and The Stranglers with their brilliant Golden Brown), the good (Crowded House) and the downright shocking (the awful Heart, and more crapness from the Collins with Genesis. And then the third CD, which is more of a mixed bag ranging from the gentle Bread to the wonderful Jellyfish, a band that could certainly teach The Feeling a thing or two about intelligent, well-written pop.

This is a compilation that is so startlingly ordinary making it hard to muster any enthusiasm for it. All these songs have been heard a hundred times before, and whilst a few shine bright this is, on the whole, a middling effort where a lot of these songs might be best forgotten.

Overall

5

out of 10

Last updated: 19/04/2018 03:48:18

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