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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Record Reviews > Billy Ocean

MUSIC REVIEWS

 Everyday Beautiful

Billy Ocean-Ultimate Collection (BMG Heritage)

While Trinidad-born soul singer Billy Ocean was one of the biggest R&B singles artists of the 80s, it was always tough to place him in the scene.  He was not quite as popular as Lionel Richie.  He was not quite as good a songwriter, producer and interpreter as Luther Vandross.  He didn't have quite as strong a voice as Peabo Bryson or James Ingram.  He wasn't quite as funky as Frankie Beverly or George Clinton.  His slow jams weren't quite as memorable as those of Anita Baker or Freddie Jackson.

However, in a career that lasted almost two decades (and was white hot for five years), Billy Ocean dropped a truckload (okay, at least a compilation-load) of hot singles.  Listening to this new overview of his career, you can't help but remember that while the guy was in the zone, he was a singles machine.    

At this point, he is best remembered for his smooth, funky and extremely long-titled dance tracks ("Caribbean Queen [No More Love On the Run]," "When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going" and "Get Outta My Dreams Get Into My Car").  While he was perfectly good at that, I find the songs that stand out the best were his more quiet ones.  He had a way with a ballad.  Songs like "Suddenly," "Love Is Forever" and particularly "The Colour of Love" are still strikingly lovely. 

Interestingly, his best up-tempo single, to my way of thinking, actually came out eight years before he took up permanent residence on the pop charts.  "Love Really Hurts Without You" was a giddy Motown pastiche that introduced Ocean to the Top 40 in the mid-seventies. 

There are a few misfires here (an uninspired cover of the Beatles' "The Long & Winding Road" comes immediately to mind) and a few songs sound a little dated ("Loverboy" and "License To Chill" are tres 80s).  Overall, though, Billy Ocean's body of work still holds up damned well.  (7/04)

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2004 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: July 25, 2004.

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Copyright © 2004 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
Posted: July 25, 2004.