March 27, 2004

Review: George Michael's new CD "Patience"

I am afraid to say that Patience requires some.

George Michael's new album is in sore need of editing. Like most CDs today, it's too long - there are 14 or 15 songs and most are about 6 minutes long. This record sounds like the studio creation of a man who has not set foot outside his house in the past 5 or 6 years (apparently too busy rolling doobies). It has a very airless, studio-sealed quality; the arrangements don't
breathe the way they did on Listen Without Prejudice. They are grooves more than songs. Having said that, George adds several brilliant tunes to his "canon" (!).

Amazing is not, but it's better than Madonna's song of the same name. It's a sweet, midtempo pop love song that would sound great on radio, if they'd ever play it. Precious Box is one of the best songs GM has ever written - a bit of social commentary about pop culture / media in the new century. It would have sounded truly contemporary in 2001, but it's still propulsive and hooky. Great for night driving.

My Mother Had A Brother
, about George's gay uncle killing himself the day George was born, is deeply personal - a message to his dead mother and uncle. It's also one of his finest ballads. The whole album seems quite initmate: there are happy memories of his Wham! days (Round Here) and learn-from-me warnings to a younger generation about self-respect (the excellent Cars And Trains).

Despite the presence of the previously released Freek 04 (which sounds just like the crappy Freeek, but should have been called "Freeek93" it's so clunky and dated), the worst song is American Angel - the cheesiest gay love song ever recorded. It's for George's Texan boyfriend and it features gushingly bad lines like this:

Through all of those battles then you came
Stepped out of the fading light
Said, “Baby I'm American, dry your eyes again,
Because I'm here to save your life”

Thank you, Lord God King Bufu. I wish I could say I loved this CD. GM's voice sounds terrific, but most of the songs are just a little bit dated, without being classic. In fact they're bloated,a little like GM's tummy.

You can hear Amazing on GM's Sony site and 30-sec samples of other tracks.

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