STEVE WINWOOD — Arc of a Diver (review)

STEVE WINWOOD — Arc of a Diver album cover Album · 1980 · Pop/Art Song/Folk Buy this album from MMA partners
1/5 ·
Sean Trane
Well, did anybody still expêct Stevie Winwopod to count still on the rock-pop scene by the turn of that new dacade?? Indeed his worthy debut album had gone completely unnoticed a few years bafore and prior to that Traffic had died a slow inevitable death after completely running out of steam with that "Landed" Eagle album. Most likely his Island label didn't either, since Winwood was allowed to play every single instrument on the album's recording session, which probably says quite long about their faith into his rebounding. Of Course Stevie is a talented multi-instrumentalist, but leaving him to play the drums? I mean why not calling on buddy capaldi for a few private sessions. So as you'll probably guess, one shouldn't expect much instrumental quality (despite the man's ability on guitars and keys) on an album that coul've been done in one's basement if it wasn't for Winwood's status.

Somehow, some of these tracks really hit the average joe's imagination, especially the While You See A Chance (you take it) probablty was in phase with the times and the republican's fture accession to the US presidency or even Tatcher's accession the previous year. But that's probably not enough to justify that song's accession to the top of the charts, but it certainly cannot be the chosen bad synth sounds (well we're in those awful 80's), something that the title track (also receiving much airplay) or the uninspired Spanish Dancer. Even the longer tracks like like the 8-mins Nightrain and Dust are very much unsurprisingly uninteresting when it comes to musical interplay, because Stevie only plays with himself, and you hjust know how un-fun masturbation can be when it's not shared with fellow musicians.

This album had everything to be a stinker and sink in anonimity, but somehow an underdog does manage to defy the odds and strangely tops and buries an immensely superior debut solo album. So, just how did this album ever end up topping the charts and ruin my life soundtrack for the next few years, it's difficult to assess, but it's clear that the up-coming New Wave movement that allowed for instrumentally untalented bands and artistes played an obvious and unarguable role. Of course Winwood didn't appeal to New Wave kids, but more to the AOR markets, which was dominated by the no-less awful Journey and REO bands, so everything was possible back then, in the worst decade of the pop-rock realm. Best avoided if you love real music, but if you're just into mindless pop, and into early-80's nostalgia, go for it.
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