The Secret

Alan Parsons

Frontiers Records, 2019

http://alanparsonsmusic.com

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/13/2020

Look, I didn’t want to write this review. I wanted to keep my head in the sand and pretend. I wanted to just be an Alan Parsons fan and ignore the realities of the situation. But I do have something that resembles journalistic integrity, and when I see a lump of fake poo I have to call it a lump of fake poo.

The new solo disc by Alan Parsons isn’t quite a lump of fake poo. But there are some definite hints of fabricated feces about it. With a couple of exceptions, it just doesn’t work; there is very little about this CD reminiscent of the complex, intricate, and lush sounds of either the best of the Alan Parsons Project or Alan’s best solo disc, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Try Anything Once. Sadly, The Secret is that it just isn’t very good.

The Muses know that there are enough guest appearances on The Secret to choke a liner writer. Steve Hackett of Genesis. Lou Gramm of Foriegner. Jason Mraz, for the gods’ sake. But the sum is not greater than – or even equal to – its parts. And the worst part is, I’m not even sure why. The songwriting is weak, true. The lyrics to “As Lights Fall,” Alan’s musical summary of his career, limp badly in several places. What musical grandeur there is seems misplaced. Of all the possibilities for them to record together, why did Parsons and Hackett choose to do a version of Paul Dukas’ “Sorcerer’s Apprentice”? Unless Mickey Mouse is involved, “Sorcerer” is a second rate classical piece at best. The collaboration with Lou Gramm, “Sometimes” sounds like a rejected theme to the Olympics, which is sad, because the orchestral backing is lovely.

It seems to me that Parsons needed his musical partners in crime – the late Eric Woolfson, guitarist Ian Bairnson, drummer Stuart Elliot – to really shine as a songwriter. The production remains impeccable, of course. But the songs are what fail in the end, with a couple of notable exceptions.

And the best of them – would you believe it? – is a breakup song. “I Can’t Get There From Here” brought tears to my eyes the first time I heard it; indie rocker Jared Mahone’s vocals are amazing, and the video (from the upcoming movie 5-25-77, which the song appears in) is a heartbreaker as well. (Yes, I was going through a breakup at the time.) The duet with Jason Mraz, “Miracle,” “The Limelight Fades Away,” and “One Note Symphony” are all fine as well, but they’re highlights of what is mostly dross.

I wanted to like The Secret. It’s Parsons’ first release in 15 years, I’m a fan, it seemed perfect, but in the end, it wasn’t. No magic spell can fix this, sadly.

Rating: C-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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