The Babys

On the Edge

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On the Edge was a prophetic title for what would be the Babys' final album. By this time, the group was becoming frustrated with their inability to break through to major pop chart success, and those feelings of tension are almost palpable on this release. On the Edge found the Babys continuing with the keyboard-heavy sound that characterized Union Jacks to create an album of pop/rock tunes that is radio friendly but uneven. Rockers like "Sweet 17" and "Postcard" brim with solid riffs and appealing pop hooks, but the energy feels forced on other songs. For instance, "Rock and Roll Is Alive and Well" boasts a powerful performance from the band but never reaches the level of transcendence that would allow it to live up to its inspirational title. Also, the weariness that was beginning to affect the band around this time slips into the cracks and gives a gloomy tone to the lyrics of songs like "Turn and Walk Away" and "Too Far Gone." The standout example of this trend is "Darker Side of Town," a moody, piano-led ballad about losing one's identity that feels out of place next to the lighter songs like "She's My Girl." Despite these problems, the songs are pretty tight in general and benefit from a consistent overall sound. A more cohesive album in this vein could have brought the Babys to widespread success, but this was not meant to be: The group split in early 1981, with Jonathan Cain joining Journey and John Waite embarking upon a successful solo career. This left On the Edge behind as an epitaph for a band that scored a few hits during its time but never truly got the chance to live up to its potential.

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