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Articles Home » 1993 Articles » Bolton, Michael - 1993 The One Thing
Bolton, Michael - 1993 The One Thing

ARTIST: Bolton, Michael
ALBUM: The One Thing
SERIAL: CK 53567
YEAR: 1993


LINEUP: Michael Bolton - vocals * Dann Huff, Michael Landau, Michael Thompson - guitars * Walter Afanasieff - keyboards, synthesizers, synth bass, drum and rhythm programming * Gary Cirimelli - digital programming * Claude Gaudette, Simon Faranglen - synthesizer programming * Philip Nicholas, David Foster, Randy Kerber - keyboards * John Robinson - drums * Robert John 'Mutt' Lange, Philip Ingram - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Said I Loved You But I Lied * 02 I'm Not Made Of Steel * 03 The One Thing * 04 Soul Of My Soul * 05 Completely * 06 Lean On Me * 07 Ain't Got Nothing If You Ain't Got Love * 08 A Time For Letting Go * 09 Never Get Enough Of Your Love * 10 In The Arms Of Love * 11 The Voice Of My Heart (Bonus Track)


Why on earth would I spend a day revisiting the Bolton of the 90's? A period derided in melodic rock circles and I am not here to change anyone's minds, but maybe just take another glance, I mean how hard can it be and try to ignore those golden years, when his songs became heroes of AOR. Previously I gave a good grilling to Michael Bolton's 'Time Love And Tenderness', and commented that due to a somewhat poor and inconsistent display, would've' meant many may not have plucked up enough courage to go onto listen to his next effort, being this one released in 1993. Pretty lousy album title if you ask me, whether it was his homage to his favourite film (minus the 'one'), or maybe the one thing that holds Mickey's interest in making lots of money.. I don't know, but surprising this has a lot more depth in the songwriting and still displays those Bolton mannerisms that we've all enjoyed in the past. So initially not such a brave decision to review this but still I envisaged some difficulty in convincing the masses. Like many I never gave this a fair crack of whip at the time of purchase, but years later I've spent a bit more time with it and it does appeal much more than the previous release. Is this a courageous feat I will now perform or downright silly? You can decide, or maybe again just taking one for the team? Rest assured I will carry on forward, so with a stiff upper lip, here goes..

The Songs
'Said I Loved You But I Lied', is top quality, I stand firm in the belief this is a great tune, soft wimpy and pink, even more than the latest Richard Marx album, or should a say, collection. Maybe it's due to Dann Huff adding his skill to the guitar, just exceptional.

'I'm Not Made Of Steel', continues locking the soul music out of the recording studio, more rock, yes with a small 'r', nestling alongside Mike And The Mechanics and does sound they come out of the same garage.

Maybe it was the introduction of Mutt Lange as the first pair really shows signs of passion, delicious melodic charms, but alas the title track drives the car back into the swamp of soul, R 'n'B, synthesizer, digital programming and gospel vocals. Actually an out-take from 'Street Talk' by Steve Perry? Michael is still holding the rope to escape this mire, but will the listener lend a hand and pull him out?

'Soul Of My Soul', well at least it's not a ballad, semi-ballad, actually chorus is quite memorable which has been lacking over the course of these two Bolton reviews I have undertook. Good tune, shades of L.A Cowboys and Clif Magness, possibly?

So what's next? Well, just have a look at that line up, we have on drums, Mr John Robinson, once of Bridge To Far, Michael Thompson, of MTB (obviously!), on the 6 string, introducing Mr David Foster this man has keys for fingers on the piano, we can expect an avalanche of melodic bliss, well sadly not, and they don't even get through the preliminaries rounds. It is a ballad written by Diane Warren, and the crime is called 'Completely', this smells like a Friday afternoon writing session, half finished, clock watching material, please flick forward.

Here we go again, its cover time, 'Lean On Me'; I hate this tune, nothing more to add to my slashing of Bolton disastrous attempts of cover versions. I hope he doesn't release an albums worth of cover tunes.. he has? ..send me to Switzerland, where it's legal.

At this stage my hold on the rope is loosening and the swamp is replaced by quicksand and Michael is found grimacing like Anthony Quayle when he found himself in the same predicament in 'Ice Cold In Alex' (seriously not enough quicksand in movies today, always made an appearance in those westerns!), as the awful 'Lean On Me' creeps out of the radio, hate it, hate it, oh dear, I seem to have lost my grip.

The re-introduction of Lange is a good thing! here with 'Ain't Got Nothing If You Ain't Got Love' although it is a tad too close to his ex-wife's material. At least it is a bit more up tempo, but a touch too much country, but I love that Def Leppard backing vocals, yes passable on the rock register.

'A Time For Letting For Go' and 'Never Got Enough Of Your Love' are really as powerful as a double barrel sawn-off shotgun loaded with pink icing and glitter with the latter actually tasting the better and more sweet in flavour, but you really have heard it all before and fails to register on the Richter scale in terms of moving the earth below your feet, if this does appeal to you than put those slippers on and check your barometer.

'In The Arms Of Love', another fine ballad, which makes you think is this a 'poor AOR album? or a good West-coast album, even a vague vision of Journey, catching a glimpse at the start, even in the Steve Perry pronunciation. I feel this is far better written tune than even the likes of 'How I Am Supposed To..', now if he could string another 10 tracks like this, it would be a fine AOR follow up to 'Everybodys Crazy'.

So tagged on at the end, even as a possible afterthought? We have the bonus track 'The Voice Of My Heart', this is another surprise, is redemption at hand? I wouldn't go as far as that but I could see the likes of Michele Luppi with his Los Angeles project having a good stab at this. Yep, brass, piano, but has a bit of passion. Quite a groovy number, nice AOR pre-chorus, it's the closest to AOR with have seen from him for many a year, great chorus as well, what a bonus.

In Summary
Like the scoring for diving, if you take off the lowest and the highest scores, this album still finishes with a pretty good average. Again the usual splattering of outside and co-writers (doesn't this man do anything on his own?), and overall an improvement on the tedium of 'Time Love And Tenderness', as it has lost some of the fake soul points that saturated that album. It is a better written album, although a relaxed Sunday afternoon style rather than a debauched Friday night filled with excitement. Maybe my expectations were much diminished due to 'Time Love And Tedious', which was a large step back, this was more of a side step, rather than a stride forward, but I can live with that. I am shocked to find that I found this more agreeable than 'Soul Provider', as this seems to flow, less forced, and less soul and the ballads are better. Tracks like the first and final 2, are definitely worth a second chance; just don't let history cloud your judgment. So can we gleam anything from this time, well a little but you need to approach this album without the mind-set of Judas, hatred, etc., sorry, try to view it as a new album even a new artist, trying to forget about his past, believe me it makes it easier to accept and you can spend less time spent on the psychiatrist couches, trying to come to terms of how your idol has fallen.

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#1 | gdazegod on August 19 2012 10:19:12
Good lord, his mullet on the album jacket looks awful. At least when he cut off, he then starting looking like British actor Robson Greene!
#2 | swazi on August 19 2012 14:00:43
LOL ..., mullet ...! Smile But agreed, pretty good average. Nothing more, but nothing less either.
#3 | jeffrey343 on August 22 2012 03:33:45
This album is well-executed and well-produced - and boring as hell. I do think there are nine good songs on here (I could do without 'Lean On Me', and my album does not have the bonus track). But the only song with any energy is 'If You Ain't Got Love'. The other eight could easily have been spread across three albums that contain more up-tempo stuff. I think they'd all work in that capacity, but an album that is full of such mellow tunes is not what we need here. As much as we all like the ballads from Journey and Foreigner, we wouldn't want an entire album like that from them either, would we? I can't say this is bad material, but everything Bolton had done before this album at least had some energy to it.
#4 | AOR Lee on August 22 2012 18:35:24
I remember working in music retail at the time this came out (Rhythm City in Port Elizabeth), and noticing that although we sold a fair amount, it was well off the previous two. A couple of worthy moments as Chris points out, but lukewarm overall
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