Taylor's Bull's-eye

CCM Magazine
July 1985 Volume 8 Number 1
© 1985 CCM Publications, Inc.
Page 35

On the Fritz, Steve Taylor. Produced by Steve Taylor and Ian McDonald. SPARROW RECORDS SPR 1105.

A new Steve Taylor album is a genuine cause for celebration, and On the Fritz immediately jumps into the running for best album of the year. If I owned a radio station, I'd play the grooves off this baby. He's always been one of Christian music's foremost lyricists and satirists. With On the Fritz, Taylor's found an album-full of melodies to match.

Two songs alone guarantee the success of this release: "To Forgive" and "I Manipulate." "To Forgive" boasts a true epic rock melody, something Pete Townshend of The Who would be proud of. And while some may read the lyrics as promoting pacifism, the thrust is to be Christlike in all we do. Listen for John McCurry's guitar solos and Taylor's U2-like passion.

"I Manipulate" continues the lyric themes that bind the entire album, as Taylor probes the loss of innocence and the abuse of power. In this cut, over a faintly Amer-Indian motif, he rails against religious leaders who lead for personal, rather than religious, reasons.

Taylor has his targets: in "On the Fritz" and "You Don't Owe Me Nothing," they're tv evangelists; in "You've Been Bought," it's a posturing rock star; and in "It's a Personal Thing," it's a politician with more ambition than morality.

One more note. That trademark Taylor humor is here, as well. "Drive, He Said" is a mixture of "Uneasy Rider" and "The Devil and Daniel Webster," and "Lifeboat" is a perfectly awful/wonderful shot at Reaganomics. I think.

We always knew he could write unbeatable lyrics. Now using David Bowie alumnus Carmine Rojas on bass and a host of talented musicians like Ian McDonald, Hugh McCracken, and George Small, Taylor has crafted an absolutely contemporary album that's fully as good musically as the best "the world" has to offer.

BOB DARDEN, a journalist for the Waco Tribune Herald in Texas, also reports on gospel music for Billboard Magazine.