Blue Rock

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With Blue Rock, the Cross expanded their sound from the retro '70s rock of Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know with a greater emphasis on production and synthesizers. That is not to say there are no rockers on the album. In fact, "Dirty Mind" and "Millionaire" are among their best. But songs like "New Dark Ages," "The Also Rans," and the haunting "Hand of Fools" are dominated by heavy keyboards and shimmering production. The album is also far darker than anything the band had done before, at turns reveling in sleaziness such as on the remarkable opener, "Bad Attitude," or commenting drearily on modern life in "New Dark Ages" and "Hand of Fools." The brighter side of the album is less remarkable. Songs like "Ain't Put Nothin' Down" and "Baby It's Alright" come across as more formulaic while "Put It All Down to Love" succumbs to poor lyrics. However, the album's closer, "Life Changes," is a truly life-affirming number that ranks up there with the band's better work. However, without a U.K. record deal, the best Cross album would also be their last.

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