Review : Howard Jones - Ordinary Heroes
PopmattersI don’t remember much about Howard Jones in the ‘80s, except that my older sister really liked him. My older sister doesn’t really have the best taste in music. Upon reflection on Howard’s quite impressive musical career, consisting of genre-forming synth-pop, solo-piano and experimental albums, it seems he is someone to take seriously, even if he is predominantly unnoticed by contemporary mainstream audiences.
Along comes Ordinary Heroes, the most recent Howard Jones release in a long line of releases that have come from this incredibly prolific musician. The first time I put on my headphones and pressed “play” I wanted to throw my iPod out the window, run outside, find it and smash it against a wall, if only to secure never ever having to listen to this atrocious easy-listening adult contemporary “music” again. On the second (forced) listen, I managed to resist the urge, mainly because I didn’t want to lose all the rest of the music I have. The second time around was not any better, only slightly more tolerable. I began to wonder if my feelings about the album were simply reactionary. I am not a huge fan of ‘look-on-the-bright-side’ adult contemporary easy-listening, so perhaps my bias was having the better of me? Upon further reflection, it is very apparent that there are abundant missteps with this tired effort that goes beyond my personal preferences. Howard Jones abandoned the synthesizer years ago, and there can be no blaming an artist for wanting to expand or change direction of their signature style, especially if they consider themselves pigeon-holed. However, it seems he has traded in the synthesizer to make music that is so completely and utterly banal that it would go completely unnoticed as background music in an-old age home. Besides the obvious impersonations of Elvis Costello doing his best Michael McDonald, Jones’ uninspired and tepid Buddhist-infused lyricism delivers clichéd insight with a boring mid-tempo MOR songwriting approach. None of it is appealing, and none of it is very good....full text
BandweblogsIn the six years since Howard Jones' last album, Ordinary Heroes shows Jones to be in a different place musically, moving away from his early synth pop sound (which put him on the map in the early 1980's with hits such as "No One is to Blame" and "What is Love").
Howard Jones is in a more reflective mood with Ordinary Heroes, looking both inward and beyond the personal with a soulful pop album where storytelling is unobstructed by graceful, memorable melodies and supported by simple, elegant instrumentation.
The aptly entitled album is filled with songs about the hero in all of us.
With the title track "Ordinary Heroes" and the opening song "Straight Ahead", Jones takes us into the lives of regular folks, often unrecognized and unacknowledged, but heroic in their own way....full text
SeattlepiHoward Jones has been a part of the soundtrack in my head since the 1980s. With such an amazing career with tracks such as "Things Can Only Get Better," "What Is Love?", "No One Is to Blame," and "Everlasting Love," his synthesizer pop sound seemed to do no wrong as New Wave album after awesome album appeared on the pop charts. Even today, it's impossible for me to hear "No One Is to Blame" and not sing along in the car.
Even in his mid-50s, Jones is still touring and playing music for his worldwide fans. His songs have appeared in several movies and video games over the last 30 years and there's just some endearing quality about his talent and personality that keeps him and his music in the limelight.
1984 seems forever ago, but "Like to Get to Know You Well" was a worldwide hit on The 12" Album. He followed it up with "No One Is to Blame" in 1985 on Dream into Action, the Action Replay EP in 1986, and my favorite album - Cross That Line in 1989 with "The Prisoner" and "Everlasting Love." Back then, MTV was actually a place to watch amazing music videos such as Jones' video for "Everlasting Love" featuring a pair of mummies seeking the perfect relationship.
Now he's releasing a new album - Ordinary Heroes - which provides the same Howard Jones we know and love but with a bit older, wiser, and more introspective flair. He still loves to write about love ("Even if I Don't Say", "Love Never Wasted", and "Someone You Need"), but now he is mixing in songs about children growing up and going out on their own ("Soon You'll go"), the unrecognized heroes all around us ("Ordinary Heroes"), and the lives of ordinary people ("Straight Ahead"). All ten tracks on the album are wonderful, providing glimpses of an aging Jones who seemingly hasn't lost a single step since I heard him in high school....full text
HOWARD JONES Album Reviews
Sweetslyrics Top 20 Artists
HOWARD JONES Lyrics
Would you have