Simply Red

Blue Eyed Soul

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AllMusic Review by

Like Big Love before it, Blue Eyed Soul bears a title that gives Mick Hucknall's game away. This 2019 album is straight-up, straight down the middle blue-eyed soul, a collection of songs indebted to the classic sounds of Motown and Philadelphia International that uses Stax as an accent. The fact that Blue Eyed Soul isn't especially gritty shouldn't be much of a surprise. Hucknall has specialized in smoothness since 1989 and as produced by Andy Wright, this record is no exception: everything is tight and clean, the rhythms land in the pocket, and the surfaces are so polished they gleam. The album may sound slick, but it's not comprised entirely of ballads. There are a number of lively, crisply funky workouts, a nice change of pace that also gives Hucknall an opportunity to rhyme "booty" with "rooty tooty" and sing the immortal couplet " “Play the ding-dong hard/Play your ding-dong smart." Such silly flourishes may be cringe-inducing for a certain segment of listeners, but they're also clear signs that Hucknall is loosening up on Blue Eyed Soul, creating a party record for fans who adore the immaculate grooves of Simply Red.

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