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GLENN HUGHES / THE WAY IT IS
LABEL: SPV GERMANY
OVERALL: 88%
Produced by: Glenn Hughes
  1. The Way It Is
  2. You Kill Me
  3. Neverafter
  4. Rain On Me
  5. Curse
  6. Freedom
  7. The Truth Will Set Me Free
  8. Stoned In The Temple
  9. Too Far Gone
  10. Second Son
  11. Take You Down
  12. Don't Look Away
  13. Freedom (Re-Mix)
Glenn is one of my favourite singers in the whole world and indeed one of the finest singers in the world.
Putting on hold his plans to record the ultimate soul/funk project Glenn announced his intention to record another rock album. Hurrah. And here it is - but you know, this isn't entirely a rock album.
Instead this album mixes everything Glenn has been working on for the last two years, both solo and band projects and blends them into a very cohesive set of songs that could finally lead him to be more recognized in the commercial pop world.
The album is softer than I imagined and quite a mature slice of pop rock. A cocktail of Glenn's talents in one release. Listening to this album you can hear parts of his vocal style on Addiction, plenty of the funk and soul of Feel, some of the softer commercial elements of From Now On and a generous serve of blues rock in the style of his album Blues. There is also a distinct retro feel on several tracks, taking Glenn in a new direction altogether. Unlike some albums that blend style but loose rhythm, this album flows freely and superbly from style to style, track to track.
The vocals are nothing short of brilliant. Glenn sounds better with every release and his vocals run the gauntlet of the hard rock scream to some very controlled Prince style pop ballads. There is a couple of new tricks even - check out the vocal maneuvering on Freedom - and the pure pop of Ever After.
The Way It Is is the lead single and lead track. Interesting track to open an album - it is a fairly laid back modern pop song with a little style of Feel in it and a little Hughes/Thrall.
The vocals are ultra smooth and right on track.
You Kill Me has a little funk in the intro and rocks into the a la Black Dog verse with the first sign of any hard rock on the album. As it turns out this track was taken from the Stevie Salas and Matt Sorum band project. The guys play on it and it was written by Hughes and Salas. The chorus is not overly large, but it has impact with Hughes voice coming through like a diamond.
Ever After is soul, rock and funk rolled into a pop song. Very cleaver vocals and a smooth nondescript chorus. Check out Glenn's throaty rasp mid song.
Rain On Me starts as a totally Feel influenced funk rock track, then slides into another ultra smooth chorus, with acoustic guitars and backing vocals adding to the smoothness.
The Curse is a very soft pop song with a very Prince pop ballad vocal. Whispering vocals over acoustic guitars and piano. The chorus sees a more pronounced vocal. Very commercial and very smooth.
Interesting choice of Glenn to cover the Hendrix tune Freedom. His version is pure funk rock and contains some great blues guitar and some more great vocals. Glenn sings deeper and harder on this track.
Truth is a harder edge track. The album needed one about now and sure enough, it is a guitar driven track with a touch of funk, much like Big Time or Coffee And Vanilla off Feel.
Stoned In The Temple starts with a very commercial synth-dance beat. Funky again and pure pop. The vocal is harder like a rock track and the lyrics are great. The chorus rises a couple of levels and Glenn's vocals are truely sensational. It's not one of my favourites, but one that is so 90's commercial, it seems impossible it won't get radio play.
A very Edde Van Halen guitar riff kicks off Too Far Gone. The song is ballady in it's feel and Glenn's vocals are very subdued through the verse - then the chorus - the song rises several notches and the vocals are harder and more pure rock. Then it's back to the pop verse. Very cool. A good track for rock radio.
Second Son is pure hard funk. Another track written by and from the Salas/Sorum sessions, this track will be a favourite amongst the older Hughes fans and those that like to hear him rock.
Take You Down is pure pop at heart - a moody tune that sees Hughes voice go from the whispering Prince to the hard edged Deep Purple vocalist.
Don't Look Away again sounds like a Feel track. Again Glenn's vocals run the gauntlett. His is a magnificent singer. A slow paced pop ballad that builds in intensity over it's five and a half minutes.
Freedom (Re-Mix) is for a limited audience as far as this CD goes, but if released as a single to the pop or dance market could see new fans introduced to Glenn Hughes.
I will continue to skip this track, but as far as dance re-mixes go - this works pretty well.
More than any other album since Hughes/Thrall, the heart and soul of Glenn Hughes is in this album.
For the most part it is a great album that Hughes fans should embrace with ease. Personally I will rank some of his other albums above this as far as my favourite releases, and it will be up to other individual tastes to decide the level of enjoyment received from this album. Some are going to yearn for that harder edge, but we have From Now On and Addiction for that.
As far as Glenn's individual performance and the quality of the vocal and songwriting on The Way It Is, you will be hard pressed to find a better Glenn Hughes album ever.
I hope this proves to be his breakthrough album.

PRODUCTION: 92%SONGS: 87%VIBE: 86%ATTITUDE: 90%
ESSENTIAL FOR: Every Glenn Hughes fan on the planet and plenty of new ones!



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