Paul Williams

Ordinary Fool

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"Blackberry blue/Strawberry sad" declares Williams on "Flash," one of Ordinary Fool's sinfully poor songs. Lyrical slackness of this variety is what makes Williams hard to believe in. Rather than push himself, and deliver the fine songs he's more than capable of (remember his excellent Bugsy Malone score?), he's often happier running on autopilot and letting childish gibberish spew out unchecked. Two of Ordinary Fool's songs later appeared on soundtracks -- the title track (from Bugsy Malone) and "Old Souls" (from the cult favorite Phantom of the Paradise) -- and they're the best moments of an insipid set. The Muzak stylings Williams increasingly favored managed to sour most of the other cuts. The biggest shame is Williams use of lazy metaphors and similes -- "On your roller-coaster ride," "You're love's a lifeboat," "My disappointment fades like an out-bound sail." He never once goes so far as to actually express emotions or concepts in braver, more direct terms, and this kind of juvenile poetry is the album's undoing.

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