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Spiro; Mark: It's A Beautiful Life

Not until the new album from renowned producer, songwriter, guitarist and singer, Mark Spiro plopped satisfyingly onto the door mat in Reid Towers did it strike me that while I've read a lot about Mr Spiro over the years, I've never actually knowingly heard his music (something that after reading his credits I realised I have in reality done countless times). With songs, or production credits on records that have racked up over 100 million sales worldwide (yes, you read that right, 100 million!), there's no denying the man's credentials and neither does a songwriting collaborations list that includes Cheap Trick, Bad English, Heart, Winger, Kansas and even Julian Lennon. So it was with more than a little surprise that when I first listened to the eight solo Mark Spiro effort, It's A Beautiful Life, I discovered the sort of music that I'd be as likely to hear my younger daughters listening to on the Disney Channel, as I would on a label proudly (and more often than not correctly) titled AOR Heaven.

Don't get me wrong, these songs are beautifully crafted, the whole album has a crisp, sharp, clear sound and the guitar work and indeed the likeable vocals from Spiro himself are immaculate. However the whole vibe is so unbelievably tame and safe, that I've no hesitation in calling this a Pop album, far more than it is either AOR or Westcoast. The synthetic drums never do anything but keep time, the bass is kept safely in check and as for the distortion pedal, well it never even made it into the studio, leaving songs that could easily have Hannah Montana singing them (and even Miley Cyrus has moved on from that sound!!!). What makes the whole effect even worse is that each and every song has the same feel, with strummed acoustics, annoyingly bouncy beats and uncontrollably positive vocals being the order of the day ten times over. Surely at least, an artist with the amount of connections that Spiro must have, could have invited a solid session drummer into the studio to bring these soulless songs some sort of life. But no, we are "treated" to obvious samples and drum machines, which just make this uneventful collection of music even more forgettable.

With everything I've read about Mark Spiro over the years being so universally positive, I can't believe that It's A Beautiful Life is indicative of his other solo work. On the strength of this insipid, lifeless album, I'm in absolutely no hurry to find out.

It's A Beautiful Life? I'm not so sure......

Track Listing
1. It's a Beautiful Life
2. I Know Who I Love
3. Come Back to Me
4. Love Struck Dumb
5. Go Another Mile
6. Dance the Lonely Spotlight
7. Might as Well Be Me
8. Brand New Beautiful Day
9. Dream Big, Pray Hard
10. Everything I Do

Added: January 27th 2012
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Mark Siro MySpace
Hits: 2142
Language: english

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