Mike + the Mechanics

Word of Mouth

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Atlantic Records had reason to think they had a sure thing on their hands in the 1991 release of Mike + the Mechanics' third album, Word of Mouth. Here was a band with solid Top 40 pedigree, led by a guitarist/bassist with Genesis credentials (Mike Rutherford) and featuring not one but two vocalists with dozens of successful songs under their belts (Paul Carrack and Paul Young). The band had already recorded two hit albums and even scored a number one hit in "The Living Years." The new record led off with two killer pop songs -- the opening "Get Up," with its adrenaline-inducing piano runs and catchy chorus, and the rousing singalong title track. But within a few months of its release, Word of Mouth had already been banished to the discount racks and budget bins of nearly every record store in the English-speaking world. So what happened? It may be that music consumers had caught wind of the mediocre keyboard-based pop ballads that filled out the rest of the album. Songs like "A Time and Place," "Everybody Gets a Second Chance," and "Let's Pretend It Didn't Happen" are anemic lite-rock anthems that even Phil Collins would have passed on. Chances are, fans stayed away from this one because the word of mouth just wasn't good.

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