Robert Palmer


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Secrets was recorded entirely in New Providence, Bahamas, and an island influence is apparent on a number of its songs. But for the most part, the album features some of Robert Palmer's funkier stabs at R&B and soul ballads. The addictive "What's It Take" gives the clearest sense of a tropical recording setting, and its juju mix of a pop beat and Caribbean rhythms brings a smile with each new listen; Palmer was apt to call it the most fun song he'd penned. The song's theme of marital/relationship troubles crops up in almost every track on Secrets, but such repetition never becomes grating thanks to Palmer's eclectic musical heart. One can hardly imagine the aforementioned tropical "What's It Take" sitting easily with an earnest cover of Todd Rundgren's "Can We Still Be Friends?" and a passionate, scuzzy take on "Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor)," but of course Palmer manages to mix genres and tempos with his trademark flair. These three songs are among the highlights of the album, but Palmer treads similar ground through the remaining songs, and expert sequencing along with Palmer's subtle and clean production make for a cohesive whole. "Mean Old World" is a beautiful sleeper of a song, where Palmer nearly defines the blue-eyed soul genre. The song's uplifting tones and Palmer's gentle voice together make for a track reminiscent of Nina Simone's version of "O-o-h Child." "Jealous" sees Palmer rocking out with endearingly edgy punk-inspired guitars. Palmer is as suave singing about paranoia and jealousy as he is about love, which makes the album a breezy delight from start to finish. Secrets might not be essential like its successor, Clues, but its accessible nature, fine execution, and honesty mark it as another fine moment in Robert Palmer's recording career.

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