In a way, Silent Letter was a new beginning for America. Although they were still produced and arranged by George Martin, they had signed with a new label, Capitol Records, and had decided to delve deeply into lush adult contemporary, which was a different beast than the folky Californian soft rock that made their reputation. The change in sound didn't result in new hits (ironically, the same year they released Silent Letter they scraped the charts with a cover of "California Dreamin'" that was not included on the record), but it did revitalize them, ever so slightly. There is a fair amount of filler scattered throughout Silent Letter, along with a couple of interestingly awkward and ambitious songs like the segmented closer "High in the City," but there are also several very fine soft rock numbers. As a matter of fact, the opening one-two punch of "Only Game in Town" and "All Around" (which has a killer chorus) makes the record sound like it will be excellent. It begins to drift a little bit after that, but it never strays too far; every time that the album seems to lose momentum, it regains it. The end result may be flawed, but in an enjoyable way. And compared to the records that preceded it and some of albums that followed it, Silent Letter certainly seems like a latter-day highlight for America.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine