Changing All the Time

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On Changing All the Time, Smokie realizes the promise that was only hinted at Pass It Around. This album presents a confident and stylishly crafted blend of country-rock muscle and pop hooks that helped the group become a European phenomenon. Changing All the Time also benefits from the production and writing assistance of hitmakers Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, who provided Smokie with a bounty of hit singles: "Don't Play Your Rock 'n' Roll to Me" is a slick slice of country-pop with clever lyrics comparing a bad romantic relationship to a worn-out record, and "If You Think You Know How to Love Me" is a sweet ballad that accents the group's acoustic delivery with a sweet, heart-tugging string arrangement. The group also scored a hit with the title track, the gorgeous country-rock equivalent of a power ballad that marries the group's soaring harmonies a solid combination of acoustic guitar, smooth slide guitar riffs, and creamy strings. Despite the fact that these hits were penned by Chinn and Chapman, the rest of the album proves Smokie was more than capable of writing their own material: "Julie" is a lilting, mostly a cappella ballad that provides an emotional vocal showcase for lead singer Chris Norman, and "It's Natural" is a tightly arranged\acoustic tune that brims with captivating vocal harmonies and strong pop hooks. Some of the other tunes don't capture the attention as easily as the aforementioned songs ("Back to Bradford" and "Give It to Me" forsake the captivating melodies of the other songs in favor of a minimalist, riff-based approach), but everything on display here is energetically performed and slickly produced. All in all, Changing All the Time is one of the most consistent albums in the group's catalog and a fine introduction to Smokie.

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