Michael Been - On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown

Saturday 1st October 1994
Michael Been - On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown

RATING 7 7 7 7 7 7 7
LABEL: Qwest

Reviewed by James Lewis

This is the first 'proper' solo album from the ex-The Call man and marks a large change in direction from the former band's stadium-friendly rock. The album kicks off with "Us" and "When You're With Me" with a much heavier feel - only those having heard "World On Fire" from the 'Light Sleeper' soundtrack will not be surprised. Heavy guitar, dare I evoke comparisons with early Black Sabbath, kicks in marking a pace with very little let up until a good few tracks later. In fact the album contains a blend of influences - psychedelia, the "g" word (grunge) and a little bit of blues. A lot more alternative in sound than The Call -there are hardly any similarities between their material and this -even though Tom Ferrier and Scott Musick feature in the band. The only real resemblance is in the mix of hope, pain, despair and faith that were the hallmark of their songs. Having said that "Worried", a slow number, seems to be close to self pity, "If you ever worried about me girl/You better worry about me now/And if you ever cared anything about me/You better care about me now" and warns that he feels ready to fall apart. Even here though is a measure of hope and a willingness to try again. The two lead-in numbers, on the other hand, could easily be prayers, particularly given Michael's habit of addressing God directly in past work. "Us" gives a list of things he doesn't care too much for while the chorus affirms, "But I care about love/And I care about truth/And I care about trust/I care about you/And I care about us". "She" later on talks of faith and deception, though who exactly is deceived is unclear in the song. Harder listening than The Call but still worth investigating.

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