Third World's self-produced Sense of Purpose fused the group's forward-thinking reggae sound with some of the stylistic changes that were occurring during the mid-'80s. The band, which was coming off a number 23 R&B hit, "Try Jah Love" (written and produced by Stevie Wonder), incorporated hip-hop/dance influences into the title track single, "Sense of Purpose." As remixed by Shep Pettibone, the track is built on a "Planet Rock"-type beat, interesting lyrics, and some of Third World's most shimmering harmonies. It received massive radio play in substantial markets during the spring of 1985. The soft-chugging album track "World of Uncertainty" earned lots of radio play, with its lyrics taking on a special poignancy during later times. Other standouts are the thrusting, peace-themed "Children of the World," the wistfully innocent "Can't Get You (Outta My Mind)," the simmering second single "One to One," and the delicate "Girl From Hiroshima," which no doubt stirred sales for Sense of Purpose as a popular radio-aired album track. The poor chart showings of Sense of Purpose and its singles probably led to Third World departing Columbia for Mercury, where the band's debut single for the label, Forbidden Love with rapper Daddy O, was a number 17 R&B hit in the spring of 1989. Some of the album's tracks, including "Sense of Purpose," are on Hip-O's Ultimate Collection, the Sony Legacy CD Super Hits, and Reggae Ambassadors: 20th Anniversary Collection.
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AllMusic Review by Ed Hogan