Monday, October 29, 2012

#100: Kenny Loggins - Leap of Faith (1991)

It's an album that's deeply rooted in my childhood - I've heard it at least a hundred times, but I haven't heard it in probably ten years. My dad is a huge Kenny Loggins fan and that's the real reason I chose to review this album. 'Leap of Faith' deals with a lot bigger and more complex issues than Loggins' previous works (ex: divorce and the Environmental movement). While the meaning behind it all was surely lost upon me as a kid, I'm curious to see how well the music holds up as well as how I interpret the lyrics today.

Leap of Faith
Throughout this album the music finds a groove and then continually changes the ideas over the top. Loggins has one of my favorite falsettos, it's fragile yet expressive. I remembered a lot of the song but the bridge was completely new to me, it's very percussive, very tribal, and very big. While Loggins may draw out parts of the song much longer than I would in my own writing, some of the best moments come from this. For instance, the end of the bridge when Loggins sings with the guitar is just perfect to bring it back to the original groove.

The Real Thing
I've always considered this to be one of the best written songs I've ever heard. While the guitar is superb and sweet, the story is incredibly heart wrenching. Lyrically the song is just so heavy it's ridiculous, "I did it for you and the boys, because love should teach you joy and not the imitation that you're momma and daddy tried to show you." I think it's his best work.

Cody's Song
How did I forget about this song? Beautiful vocals, gorgeous guitar part, and just incredibly written. When the strings enter it becomes so much warmer, but you've already got chills from the first verse. The falsetto up to the bridge absolutely does it for me every time - it's money. One thing I forgot about was just how good Loggins' embellishments and ad-libs are, they add a whole other element to the song. One reason I really enjoy this track is because it's not afraid to get a little dark, a little dissonant. However, once it comes back to the chorus, it's like the skies are opening up and the brightness bursts back in.

All in all, part of the album is ridiculously solid. The other half is divided into really good and songs that hardly impacted me (See: Now or Never). Six of these tracks can be considered Loggins' best works. Lyrically the album is very much focused on the big picture but at times can be a little detached. Then again, I'm surprised how many songs I forgot and really enjoyed.

Tomorrow's album: Otis Redding's Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul.

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