One - Bee Gees

Original Release Date: 1989
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Where to Buy

Buy CD (released 1989)

Nicholas James

When the Bee Gees returned in 1989, two years after the release of their triumphant album ESP, they were a changed group. They had lost their younger brother Andy a year earlier at the age of 30, and the three Bee Gees brothers (two of whom were still in their thirties themselves) emerged seemingly with a new outlook on life and music. This album may surprise those more familiar with the Bee Gees earlier works as it is very serious and quite dark in places. It is also remarkably well written, and showcases their song writing talents incredibly well.

Again, they supply a varied collection of songs, several breaking new ground for the group. The album deservedly received a lot of critical acclaim, and the single 'One' (which took a simple, 'Jive Talkin'-style melody and laid it onto a neat contemporary groove) broke into the US Top Ten.

'Ordinary Lives', the first single in the UK, appeared to be an attempt to recreate the stomp sound of ESP's 'You Win Again', but this time in more subtle way, with less synthesiser and touching lyrics. It is not entirely successful. The 'How Deep Is Your Love'-style ballad is 'Wish You Were Here', a classic piece of Bee Gees music, written in memory of their brother, Andy. 'Bodyguard', a warm, soulful track, with an excellent Robin lead, stands out, as does the more traditional 'Tears'. The Bee Gees rock out, with mixed results, in 'It's My Neighbourhood' and Robin and Maurice do Bryan Adams in 'Tokyo Nights'. Maurice's 'token' track is the big production number, 'House of Shame', which was a good live track in their 1989 One For All Tour, and the Bee Gees even take on Stock, Aitken and Waterman (popular hit-makers of the time) in 'Will You Ever Let Me', an entirely disposable track that almost instantly dated.

Several of the other tracks on the album are admittedly less distinctive, but all have redeeming features. This album as a whole impresses, and is yet another side to the ever changing career of the Bee Gees, a group that could still surprise 25 years into their career.

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Where to Buy
Buy CD (released 1989)