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Bad English - 1991 Backlash



ARTIST: Bad English
ALBUM: Backlash
LABEL: Epic
SERIAL: EK 46935
YEAR: 1991
CD REISSUE: 2009, Steamhammer SPV, SPV 306102 CD

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: John Waite - vocals * Neal Schon - guitars * Ricky Phillips - bass * Jonathan Cain - keyboards * Deen Castronovo - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 So This Eden * 02 Straight To Your Heart * 03 Time Stood Still * 04 The Time Alone With You * 05 Dancin' Off The Edge Of The World * 06 Rebel Say A Prayer * 07 Savage Blue * 08 Pray For Rain * 09 Make Love Last * 10 Life At The Top


Background
Quite an aptly named album, considering the history of the band, and events leading up to this second release by supergroup Bad English. Formed in 1988 on the back of a solo deal with Epic Records through singer John Waite, who put the band together, based on his association with ex Babys personnel Cain and Phillips. To complete the picture was Cain's Journey bandmate Neal Schon, while session drummer Castronovo came along for the ride. The debut Bad English was released in June 1989, and spawned two hit singles 'When I See You Smile' and 'The Price Of Love'. The album itself went platinum.. not surprisingly. The combination of the smooth radio/pop style of Waite, and the guitar aggression of Schon and heavy-handed backbeat from Castronovo proved to be a winner. Could they maintain it for album number 2? History will say no, however, the end result was pretty stunning nonetheless.


The Songs
The album opens up with the excellent 'So This Is Eden', a great way to introduce Bad English Part 2. The pairing of 'Straight To Your Heart' and 'Pray For Rain' are my personal favourites on 'Backlash', and you can tell immediately that the indelible hand of Mark Spiro is involved here. Both have his trademark riffs and are quite simply taken to the higher realms with musicians of this quality playing them. The introspective ballad 'Time Stood Still' is an emotive classic.. bar none. It's followed immediately by another ballad, the Diane Warren penned 'The Time Alone With You'. Slamming the ball for a home run is the Survivor/Journey like 'Rebel Say A Prayer' (co-penned by gasp.. Russ Ballard) , Cain's stabbing piano lines are prominent here. Soaring in from left field comes the melodrama of 'Savage Blue', the song not as brutal as the title suggests. The funky 'Life At The Top' is another Mark Spiro co-write (the wacko lyrics are a giveaway), though the track has more in common with Don Henley's solo material.


In Summary
For those that know their melodic rock trivia, reports of ego clashes between Waite and Schon in particular, were deemed to be the reason behind the collapse of the band during 1991. Because the band folded not long after the release of 'Backlash', the album flopped. Not because it was bad (sic) or anything, it's just that the band could not follow up on promotional opportunities. Schon and Castronovo formed Hardline with the Gioeli brothers, while Cain and Waite went solo. Was a pity they couldn't keep the momentum, as this band had everything going for them.. Oh well.. As this album is practically forgetten about, search it out at all costs and tack it onto the collection.


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Comments
#1 | jeffrey343 on January 01 1970 01:00:00
After the success of the debut, I was surprised that this one never took off. I never heard any of the songs on radio, although my sister-in-law said that 'Straight To The Heart' was being played on the hometown east Tennessee radio station. I got it from the CD club I was in, since it was a major label release that got promoted in the monthly order form they sent out.

As great as the debut was, I actually prefer this album. Like Jez & Nick said, it is more consistent overall. I think 'Time Stood Still' and 'The Time Alone With You' are great; 'Pray For Rain' is a great AOR rocker, and 'Life At The Top' could be a classic Eagles tune. And everything else is also great - I never skip anything on here. 'The Time Alone With You' could have been a smash on par with 'When I See You Smile' from the debut. Too bad this one never made much of a mark.
#2 | Jez on June 13 2008 22:50:51
This still gets the nod over the debut for me - less ballads & a generally more consistent, shorter,tighter set of songs and no filler this time. I genuinely like every single track on this, so won't highlight certain faves. Brilliant in one word.
#3 | Nick C on August 31 2008 16:09:58
Depending on what mood I'm in dictates which is my favourite of the Bad English albums. I guess Jez is right about the quality on this release over the debut, and every track is indeed a winner. But sometimes I hanker for album number 1.
#4 | george_the_jack on December 14 2011 15:23:03
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