Talk On Corners

The Corrs

Atlantic Records, 1998

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


I had...and still have...high hopes for the Irish pop/rock/Celt band The Corrs. When they're on, their harmonies are brilliant; Andrea, Sharon, and Caroline Corr have a preternatural ability for haunting melodies, Sharon's fiddle playing is magical, and John Corr is a fine instrumentalist. Save for Canada's The Rankins, they're the most talented Celt/pop vocal ensemble out there. So I bought Talk On Corners, their second CD, as soon as it came out -- and have played it perhaps three times since then.

Sophomore slump hits with a vengeance, and it's a damned shame. There's no getting around it; on their first album, the Corrs were an ethereal, richly harmonic band weaving pop sensibility with traditional Irish melodies and instruments. On my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Talk On Corners, they're Riverdance meets Wilson Phillips, and it's enough to make you wince.

The lyrics, always the Corrs' weakest part, have slipped into insipidity at several points -- "And I would be preening in paradise // If I were always beside him like a Siamese..." Please. This vapid, wide-eyed guy-worshipping mentality is laced throughout the CD like the trail of a saccharine snail; it's unworthy of the talent, and more appropriate for the latest Britney N'Sync CD. If this is what working with Carole Bayer Sager causes, I suggest an antidote be worked out for the sake of humanity.

Another problem is a definite manifestation of too-many-cooks syndrome. With seven producers for fourteen tracks, it's impossible to gain any sort of consistent sound from Talk On Corners. Tracks like their cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams" are the best reflection; why is it that a gorgeous cover in three part harmony was sullied by a drum machine ? And a badly programmed drum machine at that? John Corr can program a drum machine -- he did so on the Rankins' "Weddings, Wakes, and Funerals". So why did producer Oliver Leiber screw it up here? The Corrs should have stuck with a horse that runs and retained former Chicago producer David Foster for all the tracks on this CD, as they did on their first CD, Forgiven Not Forgotten.

And finally, where are the instrumentals? Forgiven Not Forgotten had four, including the brilliant "Toss The Feathers"; Talk On Corners has one, a pretentious Enigmaesque drum-machine and synth thing called "Paddy McCarthy" that even Sharon's fiddle can't save.

There are some high points on here. The aforementioned "Dreams" works despite the drum line; the opening track, "Only When I Sleep", is insistent and complex; "Queen Of Hollywood" has a high-arching, driving melody, strong and powerful; and surprisingly, the Corrs' cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing" is pleasant and dreamy. The rest of the CD, though, is mostly musical cream-of-wheat, bland, lumpy, and boring.

There's a brilliant CD in the Corrs -- they've got too much talent to do otherwise. But this CD, scattered, unfocused, and watered down, isn't it; in fact, it's a signpost towards the Wrong Direction. Let's hope the Corrs get back to their roots.

Rating: C-

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© 1999 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Atlantic Records, and is used for informational purposes only.