August 25, 2009

Album Review

Billy Ocean became something of an international superstar seemingly out of nowhere in the 1980s, when his hyper-catchy synth pop-R&B hit "Caribbean Queen" soared to number one in America leading to an impressive string of hit singles which lasted until the end of the decade. However, before his success as an '80s crooner, Ocean had a wholly other career in the late '70s as a throwback soul singer, even scoring a Top 40 hit in both the U.S. & U.K. in 1976 with "Love Really Hurts Without You." That track seamlessly blended a signature Motown string and brass hook with Stax/Volt fire, and pretty well sums up the early Billy Ocean formula. This two-fer compilation collects Ocean's first two albums, recorded for the British GTO label. While there's merit to both eras of Ocean (although somewhat sterile and often sappy, his '80s hits are hard to shake), the early model is much more fun, much less button-down. While he drew from the past, confectionery singles like "L.O.D. (Love on Delivery)" show a passion beyond mere mimicry, and his voice was made to stir the soul. This compilation, while it may jolt Ocean's '80s fans, and though it's not without filler, features a deft R&B singer pouring his heart into some solid songs.
Jason Thurston, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Tell Him to Move Over
  2. Stop Me (If You've Heard It All Before)
  3. Let's Put Our Emotions in Motion
  4. Let's Do It All Again
  5. Love Really Hurts Without You
  6. Whose Little Girl Are You?
  7. Soul Rock
  8. One Kiss Away
  9. Hungry for Love
  10. Eye of a Storm
  11. L.O.D. (Love on Delivery)
  12. Cream on the Top [*]
  13. You're Running out of Fools [*]
  14. Mr. Business Man [*]
  15. Red Light Spells Danger [*]
  16. Sweet Memories [*]
  17. Stay the Night
  18. What You Doing to Me
  19. Who's Gonna Rock You
  20. Maybe Tonight
  21. City Limit
  22. Are You Ready
  23. Whatever Turns You On
  24. Taking Chances
  25. American Hearts
  26. Everything's Changed [*]
  27. My Love [*]