Album review

Various : The Quiet Storm
Universal Music TV

Various : The Quiet StormThe Quiet Storm's tag-line - The Best In Electric & Acoustic Rock Ballads - promises a lot, if only for the fact that this 36 tracker is not limited to any particular decade or style of rock.
    In some ways this freedom is a great strength: how else are you going to get Nickelback and Styx on the same CD? If that sentence sent a chill down your spine then it's time to stop reading . . .
    In other ways it's an obvious weakness: Things are going great while we've got Mr. Mister's wonderful Broken Wings followed by the over-the-top pomp of REO Speedwagon's Keeping On Loving You, but the flow is soon arrested by Parisienne Walkways, The Who's See Me, Feel Me and Free's My Brother Jake. It's not that the latter three are bad songs - although in more confrontational moments I might be prepared to argue the toss on that one - but that they are in no way, shape or form rock ballads, and really kill the mood. Boston's More Than A Feeling puts things back on track, closely followed by Foreigner and Styx, but by the time Free Bird closes the first disc it's all got a bit out of shape again.

Does the second CD - the supposed acoustic one - get things right? Well there's the appropriate - Suzanne Vega, Lisa Loeb, Del Amitri, Extreme . . . Yeah I know. I was trying to explain to a friend how The Quiet Storm contained some quality tunes. He looked at the track listing and said disbelievingly, "But it's got Extreme on it . . ." How do you counter a comment like that? However, More Than Words fits the bill as an acoustic rock ballad, so it earns it's slot.
    The inappropriate has got to include Eric Clapton, Cast and of course Paul Weller. As far as I'm concerned Weller is inappropriate anywhere other than a on a Jam record, but I appreciate that this may be a minority viewpoint.

The Quiet Storm contains very few weak tracks, and some which are quite fabulous. The only trouble is that the compilers have cast their nets too wide, and failed the make the resulting catch work as a whole. I'd be willing to put money on you leaning heavily on your track skip button after a couple of plays, and that's a shame. If the conpilers had swapped Eric Clapton and Chris Rea for Journey and Bon Jovi then we might have been going in the right direction. As it is, The Quiet Storm is a disappointment.

:: Rowan Shaeffer

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