Bruce Foxton

Touch Sensitive

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For Foxton, following up the Jam's incredible success must have been a nerve-wracking situation, especially since he was not the main songwriter in the band (only a handful of Foxton tracks exist in the Jam's catalog). If the pressure was on, why on earth did he release the awful funk-rock "Freak" as his first single? Strangely enough, this slab of unmelodic garbage actually did pretty well in the U.K. charts, a promising sign for all involved (except the listener). When the album finally appeared, there were, thankfully, no "Freak" soundalikes in the bunch. Instead, Foxton served up an album of top-notch pop songs with hooks galore...although you do need to get past the album's opener ("Freak") to enjoy the fruits of his labor. With former Hitmen Pete Glennister (guitar) and Stan Shaw (keyboards) along for the ride, there are plenty of pure pop gems to satisfy any fan of '80s pop music: "It Makes Me Wonder," "My Imagination (S.O.S.)" (remixed and released as a single under the title "S.O.S. (My Imagination)"), "Whatever the Reason," and more. One of the album's standouts is Stan Shaw's remix of "Writing's on the Wall" (originally the B-side of "Freak"), a touching ballad aimed at Jam leader Paul Weller's decision to break up the band. Unfortunately, because of his membership in one of the U.K.'s biggest new wave/mod bands, the general public (especially Jam fans) were not willing to look at Foxton as a "pop" artist. Touch Sensitive didn't fare too well in the charts, and as of the year 2000, this is Foxton's only attempt at a solo album. Surely, if Foxton had come from nowhere and recorded this (a la Howard Jones, Nik Kershaw, etc.), he'd most likely still be remembered for a fine album. As it is, being remembered as "the guy from the Jam who's in Stiff Little Fingers now" is better than nothing.

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