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CD REVIEW: John Brighton, "Dreamin'"
By David Lockeretz - 03/07/2003 - 04:30 PM EST

Artist: John Brighton
Album: "Dreamin'"
CD Review: There's nothing wrong with subtlety, until it crosses the line into blandness. While John Brighton aims to create music to "fall in love to and stay in love with", the problem is that, as Simon Cowell might put it, he has made music to fall asleep to and stay asleep with.

Does music have to be loud all the time? No, in fact it's often better when it's not. Does every track have to contain profanity? Does each and every guitar track have to be distorted? Do all drum parts (assuming there are live drums and not just samples) have to feature double-kick? Of course not. But there is a happy medium between understatement and flatness.

None of the song have any dynamics and none of the lyrics are all that innovative. Where the CD does start to show a pulse is in the instrumental flavorings, such as the Flamenco-style guitar featured on "Andalusia" and the jazz lilt of the trumpet on "In the Rain." Both intertwine nicely with the backing vocals on "En la Noche."

For Brighton to establish himself in the adult-contemporary vein, he needs to have a little more verve to his music. His audience grew up with the Beatles and Elvis, not with Nat King Cole or Al Jolson. Brighton can also take cues from artists such as Enya and songwriter Jim Steinman, who infuse their work with a sense of drama and theater. Similarly, instrumental new age band Cusco, while never winning any prizes for hipness, still manage to create catchy, melodic rock grooves. Brighton doesn't need to "turn it up to eleven" but he should at least be above two if he wants to establish a name for himself.

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