The Four Seasons

Hope + Glory

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Hope + Glory, the Four Seasons' 1992 album, came 30 years after the group's first hit. But anyone who expected the disc to sound something like "Sherry" was in for a surprise. Singer/songwriter/keyboardist/producer Bob Gaudio and lead singer Frankie Valli, who had long retained ownership of the Four Seasons name, had spent those 30 years in a singular pursuit: looking for a hit. The hits they found in the 1960s and '70s were performed in the styles of music popular in those decades, usually with the added ingredient of Valli's distinctive tenor voice. As the years rolled on, they made records less frequently, but when they did, they followed their usual practice; they listened to what was in the hit parade at the time and wrote their musical arrangements accordingly. In the early '90s, popular vocal groups such as Color Me Badd and Boyz II Men hewed to the sounds of hip-hop and new jack swing, and Gaudio and Valli listened carefully. They also wanted to create music that could sit comfortably on the radio among the songs of adult contemporary stars like Richard Marx, Amy Grant, and Michael Bolton. That meant that Hope + Glory was an album of melodic but highly synthesized pop with the kind of musical touches that would give it a contemporary twist, even down to the brief rap (not by Valli) that appeared on "Just the Way You Make Love." Gaudio and Valli succeeded in creating music that plausibly might have resulted in yet another in their long line of Four Seasons hits, but as with their previous effort, 1985's Streetfighter, it turned out not to be enough just to sound like the hits of the day, and Hope + Glory was not a success.

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