Rolling Stone - 7/8/93, p.1104 Stars
- Excellent - "...blurs the lines between pop, rock, funk and rap in a way that few artists are ambitious enough to attempt and fewer still are talented enough to achieve...D'Arby proves himself to be one of the finest, most versatile singers on the contemporary scene..."
Spin - 6/93, p.78
Highly Recommended - "...As the lost link between Sam Cooke and Basehead, [D'Arby] is a soul singer for an age that has no faith in passion...the singer's third and best album...the overdue SYMPHONY OR DAMN reconciles its roots with an uprooted present...."
Entertainment Weekly - 5/28/93, p.56
"...It hangs together as a cohesive work of art--and a collection of top-notch songs--making SYMPHONY OR DAMN a must-hear..." - Rating: A
Q - 1/94, p.85
Included in Q's list of 'The 50 Best Albums Of 1993' - "...a brazen, rollicking tour de force that shows D'Arby as a casual master of any number of musical styles..."
Q - 6/93, p.955 Stars
- Indispensable - "...Richer in harmony and texture than those found on the HARDLINE album, these are melodies that cross-fertilize soul and psychedelia, hard rock and funk as if poured from the same packet of seeds...more than just a tour de force; it has that emotional resonance shared by all truly great pop records..."
Musician - 7/93, p.86
"...an epic passion play that couldn't be more accessible. Or much better...a thrilling, state-of-the-art pop record..."
Village Voice (3/1/94, p.5) - Ranked #30
in the Village Voice's 1993 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll.
Personnel includes: Terence Trent D'Arby (vocals, various instruments); Tommy Girvin, Chester Kamen, Tim Pierce, Aaron McClain (guitar); Novi Novog (fiddle harmonics, viola); Joel Derouin, Robin Lorentz, Charlie Bisharat (violin); Suzie Katayama (cello); The Hummingbird String Company (strings); Randy Kerber (electric piano); Lee Sklar, Kevin Wyatt, Tim Archibald, Neil Stubenhausen, Will McGregor (bass); Curt Bisquera, Harvey Mason (drums).
Tower Of Power Horns: Brandon Fields, Emilio Castillo (tenor saxophone), Stephen "Doc" Kupka (baritone saxophone), Lee Thornburg, Greg Adams (trumpet).
The Atlantic Horns: John Allmark (section leader, trumpet, piccolo trumpet, flugelhorn), Bob Bowlby (alto saxophone), Dino Govoni, Donny McCaslin, Scott Gilman (tenor saxophone), Joe Giorgianni, Andy Gravisch (trumpet), John Wheller (trombone), Peter Cirelli (baritone horn).
Terence Trent D'Arby emerged in the early '90s as a post-Prince R&B artist capable of blending rock, soul, pop, and funk, endearing himself to radio listeners with the smart, subtle "Wishing Well." On his third album, he expands on the genre-bending efforts of his first two albums. Things start out with the fierce rocker "She Kissed Me," full of aggressive guitar riffs and pounding rhythms. Elsewhere, he turns to Princely pop ("Penelope Please"), and a larger-than-life blend of R&B and rock typified by percolating programmed rhythms, layers of processed guitar and emotive vocals. Though SYMPHONY OR DAMN is ultimately more rock than soul, D'Arby nevertheless displays a classic '70s-derived R&B Love Man sensibility in his lyrics, praising his lover because "she kisses me there" and declaring "my jeans are not big enough to hold me." Fortunately, his grand pop vision is bold enough to encompass such bravado, matching it step for step with carefully constructed sonic grandeur.