Also available with HOME FREE on 1 cassette, and with SOUVENIRS and NETHER LANDS in a CD 3-pack.
Dan Fogelberg is a singer-songwriter in the confessional vein of Joni Mitchell; his work at this time was also heavily influenced by America, the Eagles, and Crosby, Stills, and Nash. His most successful work dates from the 1970s and early 1980s. Fogelberg's best songs are generally those that have a little muscle to them ("Phoenix") or manage to transcend his penchant for cliched, sentimental lyrics and maudlin arrangements to be genuinely affecting ("There's a Place in the World for a Gambler"). This album is one of the weakest in his canon. Selections like "Next Time" and the title track are bland and bloodless, marred further by pedestrian performances and easy-way-out arrangements and production. Other numbers like "Below the Surface" and "These Days" are better in this regard, but suffer from didactic lyrics. The album's weakest track, "Aspen," is an unengagingly syrupy, string-based instrumental with odd and ineffective chord changes. A few songs are worth hearing, though. "Comes and Goes" is a short, understated selection proving the adage "less is more." "Crow" is a decent, brooding song made very listenable by an appealingly intricate arrangement. And "The Last Nail" is one of his songs that manages to grab the emotions and be deeply affecting almost in spite of itself. Demerits also go for Fogelberg's inexpert cover painting of an unintentionally androgynous angel. Dedicated fans may enjoy this album, but others may not find it attractive. ~ David Cleary
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