Vertigo - 2003 Vertigo

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ARTIST: Vertigo
ALBUM: Vertigo
LABEL: Frontiers
SERIAL: FRCD 167
YEAR: 2003

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image image
LINEUP: Joseph Williams - vocals * Alex De Rosso - lead guitar * Fabrizio V Zee Grossi - bass, rhythm guitar, keyboards, samples & programming * Biggs Brice - drums, roland drums * JM Scattolin - additional guitars * Francis Benitez - backing vocals

01 Not Enough Hours In The Night * 02 Straight To Your Heart * 03 More Than Enough * 04 Never Let You Go * 05 I Don't Want To Go * 06 I Want To Be Wanted * 07 China Sky * 08 Love Is Blind * 09 When It Doesn't Matter * 10 Sarah * 11 Vertigo * 12 More Than Enough (Acoustic)

Background

I'm not going to pretend here. Joseph Williams is one of my favourite singers. If push came to shove, I'd say Toto's 'Fahrenheit' is probably their best album, despite most people's idea of classic Toto being something with Bobby Kimball on board. All three of Joe's solo albums have some great moments too.

And so, it was with much keenness I awaited the arrival of Vertigo. If I'm being completely honest (and I am), after a couple of plays, I'd decided it wasn't quite as great as I'd hoped. Don't be too disheartened though my fellow Toto-folk, this is one of those albums which takes a few plays to warm up.

The Songs

The opening number 'Not Enough Hours In The Night', is solid enough without setting the world on fire. Written by the legendary Jim Peterik, it definitely sets the tone for Vertigo, however, I definitely feel there's better songs on offer. As you might expect, even Peterik's 'off days' match most people's best days.

'Straight To Your Heart', is again, straight down the line AOR with no surprises, but Williams is in better voice, especially during the chorus with its layered vocals.

The first real shining light has to be 'Never Let You Go' which utilises a great chorus with backing vocals to die for. It's another one of those numbers which we all loved back in the 80's. Even though all concerned hit the mark here, a special mention must go to Alex De Rosso for a great guitar solo and some great guitar runs (complete with lots of whammy-bar) during the last chorus (which, as you can probably guess, includes the obligatory key change).

The huge ballad 'I Don't Wanna Go' is a JW fans' dream. It may have been a few years, but here Joe proves he still has the chops and his voice works well with De Rosso's guitar style. It may not be Toto, but it's more than good enough.

The lightweight AOR-pop of 'China Sky' is another standout. The chorus is either great or annoying and at the time of writing I'm veering towards the former, although its infectious feel may see it becoming annoying later (you've been warned).

Following a similar path, though slightly less sugary, 'When It Doesn't Matter' could potentially become another favourite. Strangely, it's credited as being co-written by part-time pop star Angela Ammons, whose debut album I recall quite liking when a friend played it to me.

Speaking of songwriting credits, alongside Angela Ammons and Jim Peterik Superstar, Kane Roberts pops up and the title track (that's 'Vertigo' for those of you not paying attention) is a cover of a Billie Myers song, which just happens to be the title cut of her second (largely ignored) album.

It works well here with Joe's strong presence and the band as a whole pulling together. I wonder if this will help bring Ms Myers to a larger audience? Apart from her hit 'Kiss The Rain' from her Desmond Child-produced 'Growing, Pains' debut, she's never been given enough credit.

In Summary

Strong stuff indeed, despite my initial indifference. It's always good to have Joseph Williams back (Toto or not) and Vertigo has enough good material to ensure it passes muster. Stick with it.


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