Jonathan King

Try Something Different

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Jonathan King's second solo album was released a full five years after his debut and, like that set, essentially serves as a round-up of his activities on the singles scene over the past few years. "Cherry Cherry," "Lazybones," "Flirt," "Let It All Hang Out," and the immortal "Hooked on a Feeling" were all hits on one side of the English Channel or another, and catch the master as he began his shift away from simple (if clever) pop tunes, and into more iconoclastic mode. There is a warped sincerity to his love songs, and an almost spiteful arrogance to his covers, an acknowledgement that he may not have enacted the best version of such-and-such a song, but he'd certainly delivered one of the most distinctive.

Of course that particular talent would subsequently blossom on the bubble rock concept, but in the meantime, such defenseless puppies as "I Say a Little Prayer" and "Stop in the Name of Love" make deliciously unsuitable playmates for the self-composed "The Sickly Sweet Odour of Old Rotting Teeth," detailing a young man's first encounter with a prostitute, and the maniacal "ooga-chukka" refrain of "Hooked on a Feeling." Indeed, "Hooked on a Feeling" itself makes an unsuitable playmate for that refrain, but the incongruity worked so well that it's impossible to even imagine the song rumbling along without it. And that might well be Jonathan King's greatest secret. He knows the musical tricks that no one else could ever conceive of. Try Something Different indeed!