The thick, layered sound of Beautiful Obsession matches the dark intensity of its themes. Expansive steel and guitar work along with a B-3 organ stir these proceedings into a rich country stew, while Jamie O'Hara's soulful vocals add the final ingredient. "Come Swim the Rivers With Me" invites both a lover and the listener to come along on a spiritual journey immersed in darkness. The title cut confesses overwhelming desire set against a relaxed rhythm, seductively pulling in the object of the singer's obsession. The journey continues through surrender and fear, examining the need for total emersion followed by a feeling of entrapment. Several of the songs at the heart of the album -- "That ain't the Way I Heard It," "Lovin' You Against My Will," and "See if I Care" -- were written several years before the album was recorded, suggesting that O'Hara has lived with these themes for some time. Kenny Greenburg's guitar work adds tasteful flourishes on a number of cuts, while Vicki Hampton's background vocals add a little something extra to the choruses. O'Hara cut several classic albums as a member of the O'Kanes in the mid-'80s, and some time elapsed between this and his last solo album. He's still got the touch, though. Beautiful Obsession represents a rare album where sound, vision, and execution weld the material into a thematic whole. In other words, this is good stuff that will resonate deeper with each listen.
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AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.