Gordon Lightfoot

East of Midnight

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Not quite the sellout that the white-suited Lightfoot-as-Julio Iglesias cover photo would lead you to believe, but an anemic effort nonetheless. After spending four years away from the studio, Canada's Troupadour King returned in 1986 and recruited keyboardist\producer David Foster to help him manufacture a comeback single. Unfortunately, the result, "Anything for Love," sounds more like standard MOR cheese than the second coming of the Gord. Ditto for the inert gloss of "Stay Loose." All of which provided more fuel for critics who, as early as the mid-'70s, had written him off as a spent force, sinking artistically faster than the Edmund Fitzgerald in a November gale. This is not to say that East of Midnight is completely without merit. Lightfoot's best work has always emerged when he dispenses with elaborate orchestration in favor of simply allowing his peerless, world-weary baritone to wrap itself around sparser acoustic arrangements, which he does to more encouraging effect on "Morning Glory" and "I'll Tag Along." Considering that this is the man who gave us "Early Morning Rain" and "For Lovin' Me," however, the rest of the album comes across as slick and sterile as a white dinner jacket.

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