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Blue Tears - 2006 The Innocent Ones

ARTIST: Blue Tears
ALBUM: The Innocent Ones
YEAR: 2006


LINEUP: Gregg Fulkerson - vocals, guitars * Bryan Wolski - bass * Robert Streets - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Drive * 02 Let It Rain * 03 Run For Your Life * 04 The Innocent Ones * 05 Save Yourself * 06 Fast Times * 07 In Your Dreams * 08 All The Way Home * 09 She Wants To Be A Star * 10 Gloryland * 11 Break My Heart * 12 Silent Scream * 13 Money To Burn * 14 Unrequited Love



The bio says this is the first 'new' Blue Tears album since 1990's debut. But you really have to ask. Is it? The only commonality is main-main Gregg Fulkerson, apart from that, this could be something completely different. Despite some production issues on the 1990 Blue Tears debut, I quite liked that album regardless, probably due to its bombastic sound. Fulkerson's modern rock project from 2003 Attraction 65 (Atenzia Records) was quite good too, and got a very favorable review from yours truly. With obvious interest from the public, it was enough to resurrect Blue Tears and no doubt you've seen a flurry of releases from Fulkerson within the last twelve months through the Australian based Sun City Records label, with two releases 'Mad Bad And Dangerous' and 'Dancin' On The Backstreets', both of which are bloody good, despite (again) obvious production issues. I can understand how the local Tennessee environment might be the reason why 'The Innocent Ones' sounds like it does, and perhaps where Fulkerson is getting his influences. It is quite clear that he has now centered his attention right in the middle of heartland rock, made popular by the likes of John Mellancamp and Bruce Springsteen. The various lyrical references you hear peppered through the album reflect the life and times of middle America, blue-collar workers, hard-times, boy-meets-girl.. etc etc. It is still apparent that Gregg has a case of the Bon Jovi-isms from time to time, but not as blatantly obvious as those aforementioned albums. As a result, it's hard to tell whether we are in Nashville or New Jersey! Now armed with a deal through AOR Heaven, 'The Innocent Ones' becomes a mainstream release in 2006. So how does it measure up?

The Songs
Firstly I am gonna focus on the songs that stick in my head. 'Save Yourself' is the first of these - a power ballad with big choruses and a nice acoustic/electric mix that works and is reminiscent of primetime Blue Tears. Yesteryear heroics in the vein of Bon Jovi are resurrected with the terrific 'Run For Your Life', while the heartland acoustic balladry of 'The Innocent Ones' stands out due to the big sing-a-long choruses and Springsteen-esque delivery talking of 'home-coming queens and hot-rod hearts'. The drifting ballad 'All The Way Home' is beautiful and heartfelt, the sort of stuff Fulkerson can write with ease. Could 'She Wants To Be A Star' be the 2006 version of 'Innocent Kiss'? Certainly that chorus knocks on the door in a similar fashion. Of the other songs, they are not unduly bad. It's just that they didn't stand out for me as much as the ones before. The uptempo beats of 'Drive' and 'Gloryland' keep the metronome ticking away, but there was something annoying about both of them too. Can't quite put my finger on it. 'Break My Heart' is a bluesy track with sparse verses, quiet passages and some earthy organ in the mix. 'Silent Scream' is a very good retread of classic Blue Tears material, while the last two tracks 'Money To Burn' is a play-by-numbers rocker, the closer 'Unrequited Love' is a piano based ballad that is both atmospheric and tender, meandering through to the end.

In Summary
'The Innocent Ones' should be reviewed and kept in the context of its contemporaries, not on their past deeds, because 'The Innocent Ones' is not the 1990 debut album nor 'Mad Bad And Dangerous' revisited. So with that statement clearly being made, comparisons to the aforementioned Mellancamp and Springsteen is a much better fit than to eighties era Def Leppard or Bon Jovi. Whether this change in sound should have been carried under the Blue Tears banner is unsure. For me, the drum mix is still a problem here, as is the production overall, which is largely underdone. There is a lot of Blue Tears material out in the market now, however I think most of us are looking for that extra bit of quality, rather than quantity, but hey, isn't it great giving the punters fourteen songs? In the main, 'The Innocent Ones' is an Ok listen with a handful of excellent songs, but perhaps offset by the ordinary aspect of the others. Consider yourselves forewarned before buying this.

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#1 | Eric on April 09 2006 13:51:50
I never understood why Blue Tears and their debut received so much attention? The music was basic AOR of the day and I was tripping over copies of their first disc in 'used' CD stores in the 90's.

Eric A.
#2 | jeffduran on June 13 2008 02:25:33
Absolute rubbish! Even if the debut was a paint by numbers affair it included some tasty keys and early Bon Jovi style aor . Anybody expecting that here will be very disapointed. thumbs down
#3 | Danielovich on July 23 2010 14:20:43
I agree, Blue Tears and Atlantic are IMHO the two most overrated acts in melodic rock. I never knew what was all the fuss about....argh
#4 | swazi on November 06 2011 15:06:59
Hmmm .., pretty harsh comments! I actually like the debut quite a lot, even if I agree to the "early Bon Jovi style". But weren't those the best BJ releases ?? I also wouldn't call this one rubbish, but all in all it is a different style to the first 2 releases and doesn't come close to them. Good review, though!

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