After a spell specializing in Christian music -- he'd never fully leave inspirational music behind -- B.J. Thomas returned to secular pop in 1983, signing with Columbia and releasing the New Looks album. Supported by a pair of number one country singles -- "Whatever Happened to Old-Fashioned Love" and "Now Looks from an Old Lover" -- the record was a hit straight out of the gate, and for the next few years he hovered in the Country Top 20 before scoring a pop Top 10 in 1988 with "As Long as We Got Each Other," a duet with Dusty Springfield that served as the theme to the sitcom Growing Pains. Real Gone's 2017 compilation New Looks from an Old Lover: The Complete Columbia Singles chronicles this modest comeback, adding his other hits -- "Two Car Garage," which went to number three in 1983, 1984's "The Whole World's in Love When You're Lonely," and "The Girl Most Likely To," plus the singles "The Part of Me That Needs You Most," "America Is," and "Night Life," which all barely scraped the charts in 1985 and 1986 -- along with other singles and deep cuts. Thomas aged nicely into his voice -- he sounds deeper but not gruff -- but the synthesized gloss grows increasingly brittle just as the songs get decidedly corny. As such, New Looks from an Old Lover serves as a good document of Thomas' '80s output, but it also shows just how bumpy that decade was.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine