Label: Her Majesty's Music Room 2011
Review by Kimmo Toivonen
Looking back at Robin Beck's career since her breakthrough hit "First Time" back in the late eighties, she hasn't released anything truly dodgy, only quality release after another. Okay, some of them were merely decent enough ("Wonderland" being my least favourite one), but especially her latest albums have been of high quality. I'm glad to say that "The Great Escape" continues on that same path, it might even be her strongest album since the classic "Trouble Or Nothin'" (1989).
Just like on the 20th Anniversary Edition remake of the aforementioned "Trouble..." album, Robin and his producer (and husband) James Christian have teamed up with Swedish AOR maestro Tommy Denander. The trio has penned most of the album, with only "Baby I'm Not A Bitch" provided by The Elements Pop Production Team and "Till The End Of Time" being a song co-written by Tommy Denander, Bjorn Lindblom and Jim Jidhed, the vocalist of Alien. Christian and Denander have shared the production duties, and the result is highly impressive.
Now that we've gotten the credits out of the way, let's take a closer look at the songs (which means "listening" in this case, because you can't really look at songs, can you?). First track of the album is called "The One", and it indeed is the One, a suberb slice of melodic rock with a massive chorus that stole my heart instantly. the next track "Got Me Feeling Sexy" features some groovy licks courtesy of Tommy D., but otherwise it doesn't win me over. That doesn't matter too much since the next three songs are all rather brilliant: "Inside Me" is a bit moodier, darker AOR song, while "That All Depends (On What You Do Tonight)" features Joe Lynn Turner dueting with Robin and another massive chorus. "Baby I'm Not A Bitch" may be written by outside writers but it works very nicely alongside the other material. The Elements might be a "Pop Production Team" but this song rocks.
The second half of the album isn't quite as strong as the first, but there are some fine songs on it as well. "Everything Is Alright", "Cross My Heart", the ballad "Don't Think He's Ever Comin' Home" and "Till The End Of Time" (feat. James Christian on vocals) are all very good. The remaining two tracks (the title track and "All The Rivers") have their moments, but they both suffer of weaker choruses.
My last year's favourite album was Seventh Wonder's "The Great Escape". Now in mid-February my favourite album of 2011 is again "The Great Escape" but by a different artist... we'll see if it can hold the top position all the way to the end of the year, but it's weird enough as it is!