Kenny Rogers

What About Me?

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If Eyes That See in the Dark represented a high watermark for Kenny Rogers, getting everything about a pop crossover right, its 1984 sequel, What About Me?, pretty much gets everything wrong. First of all, losing the writing talents of the Brothers Gibb is a major blow, since they not only gave Kenny indelible singles with "Islands in the Stream" and "Buried Treasure," they gave him a strong, consistent set of songs. This, released just a year later, is a return to singles 'n' filler, which is not unheard of in either country-pop or in Rogers' catalog, and sometimes it can even make for an enjoyable listen, provided that the singles are strong enough and that the overall sound of the record is appealing. Neither is the case here. The singles are not memorable -- the closest is the title track, featuring not just Kim Carnes but James Ingram in a song that doesn't quite make sense as a duet, let alone a trio -- and the production, which abandons any pretense at country, is too calculatingly adult contemporary; instead of having a nice, soothing, synth-heavy feel like Eyes That See in the Dark, this sounds cold and clean, typifying the worst in mid-'80s adult contemporary. And make no mistake, this is not a country album at all -- it may have charted on the country charts, but that was due to career momentum, because this is an adult contemporary album, and a bad one at that. It's a depressing comedown after the splendid Eyes That See in the Dark.

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