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Articles Home » 1983 Articles » Iris, Donnie - 1983 Fortune 410
Iris, Donnie - 1983 Fortune 410

ARTIST: Iris, Donnie
ALBUM: Fortune 410
YEAR: 1983


LINEUP: Donnie Iris - vocals * Mark Avsec - keyboards * Marty Lee - guitars * Albritton Mc Lain - bass * Kevin Valentine - drums * Rick Bell - sax * Dan McCarthy - trumpet

TRACK LISTING: 01 Human Evolution * 02 Stagedoor Johnny * 03 Cry If You Want To * 04 Tell Me What You Want * 05 I Belong * 06 She's So Suburban * 07 I'm A User * 08 Never Did I * 09 Somebody * 10 Do You Compute?


According to our trusty editor this is a highly sought album for AOR fanatics because it has never seen the light of day on CD. I have owned it for several years and on first impression struck me as more of a new wave recording. Years later further listens reveal this not to be the case but there are definite fiddlings with the style. Iris was at the crossroads of his career here and it was his final album for MCA. Perhaps the years of critical acclaim, and bare sales of subsequent albums following the 1980 hit 'Ah Leah' had finally caused an impasse with Iris and co.

The Songs
The accusations of new wave are to do with the synthesizers. They are similar to all those English bands like Simple Minds or Haircut 100. There are also smatterings of drum machines creating an artificial pop feel at various moments. A minor detail as the melodies are so well realised that it banishes the negative aspects. 'Stagedoor Johnny' has an unforgettable chorus that infiltrates the mind at will! 'Human Evolution' is a modern-synth rocker that borders on Tubes avant-garde AOR. Strange subject matter and outlandish passages are the norm here. 'Tell Me What You Want' is big on horn and keyboard interaction, in the same vein as the bonus cuts of the Steeplechase CD reissue a few years back e.g. 'Hard To Believe'. 'Never Did I' is nearly AOR. Nearly because the verses promise much, with good harmonies, but the chorus lapses into the new wavish rut, too bouncy and crass synth overkill. Frustrating. 'Somebody' is a balladish escapade but the guitars are almost absent. It's hard to admit but the keyboards are too dominant. The saving grace is 'Do I Compute'. Finally a real slice of pure AOR, saved until very last. Melodic riffs a plenty and a churning solo set the record straight. A shame this direction was not explored further.

In Summary
I don't dislike 'Fortune 410', not at all. It's hard to argue with the strength of the melodies. Somehow it does not sound like a good AOR album should. Some may disagree but if you put it next to Journey's 'Frontiers' from 83, the differences are impossible to ignore, minus 'Do I Compute'. If this qualifies as an AOR classic then it's for that song alone. Otherwise it should be collected as a piece of fine music that almost defies categorisation.

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#1 | rostoned on May 28 2008 23:23:15
maybe it's just me but the harmony/background vocals, power chords and overall vibe of the chorus and pre-chorus part of the classic single 'Do You Compute?' remind me a lot of Boston (the band)! These 3' and 40' of intelligent pop were the only charted song from this charming platter, but this was hardly a hit (#64 on the Billboard HOT 100)
#2 | richardb on June 13 2008 12:31:19
My favourite Donnie Iris album, quirky and undeniably melodic, with some memorable hooklines on songs such as 'Human evolution' and 'Tell me what you want'.

Richard B
#3 | sabace on August 03 2008 18:35:03
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