Outside Looking In

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Having established themselves as contenders with their debut album, the BoDeans looked to move on to the next level in commercial and artistic terms on their second release, bringing in producer Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads and expanding beyond their roots rock style, to the extent of occasionally singing in falsetto, adding female backup vocals, and recording near-soul pop numbers like "Runaway Love." But the songwriting wasn't as impressive, and the de-emphasis on such signature sounds as Sammy Llanas' nasal voice inclined the album toward anonymity. (Sequencing didn't help either: Why bury the album's best song, the Byrds-like "What It Feels Like," as the eighth track? In fact, the album improved generally in its second half, when it sounded more like the first record.) Although they broke into the Top 100 best-sellers, they failed to break a chart or radio single, which clouded their future.

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