Picks and Pans Review: Back to Avalon
Loggins has become the sultan of sound tracks. Albums seem to be just an afterthought, not much more than a sideline to his main stock-in-trade. All his successes in recent years have come with songs recorded for movie projects. A partial list includes the title track from Footloose, I'm Alright from the film Caddyshack, Danger Zone from Top Gun and Meet Me Half Way from Over the Top. Apparently having studio time booked to record Nobody's Fool (the theme for Caddyshack II, which is included here), Loggins decided to go ahead and knock off an album. Since Back to Avalon is just a lot of soggy radio fodder, he might as well not have. It certainly is impressive sounding pap, thanks to production help by such slick cosmeticians as Peter Wolf, Dennis Lambert, Patrick Leonard, Richie Zito and others. Of course, Loggins still wields an enormously limber and rangy voice, but it comes across as even more cutie-pie and plastic than usual on these songs. Even She's Dangerous, a collaboration with Michael McDonald (in the past Loggins and McDonald co-wrote the pop classic What a Fool Believes) sounds all too much like hack work. In a generally bad lot, the best melody is True Confessions by Martin Briley and Richard Feldman; the best arrangement is the one for Isabella's Eyes, which will string an energetic samba line between your ears. Overall, the best track is a cool, jumpy reworking of Tell Him, the 1962 Exciters hit—Loggins transposes it to Tell Her. Despite those welcome deviations, Back to Avalon is quite easy to resist. If anyone asks if you have heard the album, tell them you're going to save the money and go see the movie instead. (Columbia)
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