Chris de Burgh

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Despite the lack of a genuine hit in almost 25 years, Chris de Burgh has been far more prolific in the 21st century than he was in the days when he could count Princess Diana as one of his biggest admirers. Recorded during a stormy June in his own Enniskerry studio, Home is his seventh studio album since the turn of the millennium, and although it's yet another case of an artist needlessly reworking his back catalog, the absence of his two signature tunes, "Lady in Red" and "Missing You," proves that this isn't the cynical cash-in you might expect. Indeed, considering that "Tender Hands," a U.K. number 43 single from 1989, is the highest-charting release to receive the acoustic treatment, it's fair to say that little will be immediately familiar to listeners outside his loyal fan base. Spanning his career from 1975 debut Far Beyond These Castle Walls ("Goodnight") up to 2002's Timing Is Everything ("Love & Time"), several of its romantic easy listening numbers are indistinguishable from the originals, particularly the piano-led "It's Such a Long Way Home" and the melancholic "Suddenly Love." However, there are at least a few subtle readjustments that just about justify the concept, from the bossa nova-tinged arrangement of the '70s piano-rock-inspired "Sailor" to the driving Roy Orbison-esque country-rock cover of "Waiting for the Hurricane," while the gloopy synth balladry of "Forevermore" and "Fatal Hesitation" are far more palatable in their new delicate stripped-back forms. There's little here that will change his inoffensively MOR public perception, but Home suggests de Burgh could do worse than stick to such intimate fare from now on.

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