Bob James

Obsession

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Obsession is James' first solo album for Warner Brothers after roughly ten years at CBS. James' first successful Warner Brothers endeavor had him teaming up with David Sanborn for the ubiquitous and well-executed Double Vision. By 12, James, like many other keyboardists, had begun to experiment with every gadget that came down the pike with mixed results. "Obsession" displays the often chilly sounds of the period synthesizers. The only vocal track, "Gone Hollywood," co-written by Lenny White, has good keyboard textures and plaintive vocals from Lisa Fischer and blistering guitar solos from Steve Khan. Unlike Double Vision, Obsession seems to be more unassuming. While many might be put off by the pure-'80s production values of "3AM" and "Rousseau," luckily they have compelling arrangements to ward off boredom. The album's best song, "Rain," is a methodical and pretty track that is an essential for devotees of the often-maligned late-'80s jazz-pop era. Obsession certainly works better than 12 and is a suitable continuation of the style of early-'80s albums The Genie and Sign of the Times.

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