Englishman Paul Carrack has possessed one of the most familiar voices in pop music since the 1970s. His soulful performances can be heard on hits by Ace ("How Long"), Mike + the Mechanics ("The Living Years," "Silent Running"), and Squeeze (the '80s classic "Tempted"). Carrack has also scored as a solo artist with the hits "Don't Shed a Tear" and "I Live By the Groove." With Satisfy My Soul (2000), Carrack has crafted another collection of melodic pop songs. Though some of the material is weak, his distinctive vocal gifts make even the most mediocre song worth hearing.
There is certainly no shortage of catchy tunes on Satisfy My Soul. Both "My Kind" and the funky "Better Than Nothing" rank as some of Paul Carrack's best material, and "Inspire Me" is a dead ringer for '80s-era Hall & Oates. Satisfy My Soul also includes collaborations with Carrack's former bandmates Chris Difford (Squeeze) and Mike Rutherford (Genesis, Mike + the Mechanics). The title track (written with Difford) is a tuneful, upbeat ballad that sounds similar to Sam Cooke, and "Running Out of Time" (with Rutherford) is an edgy, soulful rocker.
Carrack, who also produced, should be commended for his straightforward approach on Satisfy My Soul. Instead of resorting to pretentious production techniques and overblown arrangements in an attempt to sound contemporary, Carrack keeps things simple, wisely allowing his vocals to take center stage. While the melodies remain strong for the most part, some of the material suffers from trite lyrics ("She's my girl/Any fool can see," from "My Kind"). However, Carrack more than compensates for the clichés with his superb vocal performances; he sounds just as good here as he did on "Tempted" almost 20 years earlier.
Satisfy My Soul was released in an era when disposable, over-produced pop ruled the airwaves. The album certainly won't sell as many copies as Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears albums did at the turn of the millennium, but Carrack has proven for decades he is a true pop craftsman. Satisfy My Soul is further evidence of Paul Carrack's ability to remain an engaging, solid performer, even when the music business is dominated by fads and marketing gimmicks.