Billy Ocean

City Limit

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Though his first LP, Billy Ocean, produced a string of three Top 20 hits in the U.K., nearly four years would pass before GTO finally released the soulful crooner's sophomore album. The resulting output was a package much earthier and funkier than its predecessor, evidenced by the gritty horns, snazzy bassline, and urging vocals of "What You Doing to Me" and the Latin-tinged, almost-fusion title track. Still, there are plenty of pretty moments with remnants of Ocean's earlier sweet soul sound. The subtly orchestrated, lightly swaying rhythms of "Who's Gonna Rock You" and the warm harmonies and from-the-heart lyrics of "Maybe Tonight" are both innocent soul numbers, but with a little more experience than comparable tunes on the first album. Unfortunately, the latter half of the album suffers from a couple of overarranged tunes, in the form of "Whatever Turns You On" and "Taking Chances." Both of these tunes (as well as three others on City Limit) would turn up in new form on 1981's Nights. "Whatever" and "Taking" are both solid songs, but the horns play too integral a role, and swamp the tunes so much that it all sounds a bit Muzak. But on the whole, City Limit is a bright album with a considerable number of memorable moments.

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