John Waite

No Brakes

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Two years later after his solo debut, Ignition, John Waite returned with No Brakes, an album that had success in its sights. Cleverly, the record not only had an explicit commercial pop bent, featuring mid-tempo pop tunes and ballads, but it also rocked like a bastard, particularly on the opening cut, "Saturday Night." Most importantly, it had a hit single in the song "Missing You." And this wasn't just a hit, either -- it was one of those thrilling pop moments where perfection appeared in the last place you expected to hear it. Waite's voice had always been perfect for FM radio, and it fit the Babys perfectly, but it never had a vehicle as ideal as "Missing You." Perched perfectly between anthemic mainstream rock and sleek post-new wave pop, it was a minor miracle -- a flawlessly written, classicist pop song, delivered with a stylish, MTV-ready flair. It deservedly became not just a number one hit, but one of those records that everybody knows, capturing a time yet transcending it to become part of the very fabric of pop culture. "Missing You" was surely the reason No Brakes scaled the top of the charts, but the album wasn't just a single surrounded with filler. The rest of the record was as expertly crafted, constructed, and performed as the best of Ignition. In retrospect, it might sound a little bit too much like 1984, thanks to the big drums and clean production, but that's its charm: It's a prime example of fine mainstream rock circa the mid-'80s.

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