Now that I finally broke down and traded for this one! (Living Eyes is a powerful thing, right Brian? ;0) ) Robin’s 2003 solo album still isn’t available in the United States. And after hearing it, I don’t understand why. Then again, I am also a bit mystified by this album. All my reviews up until now have been relatively positive, but Magnet begs the question: Where’s Robin?
Although his intentions were to collaborate with new, young up and coming talent, Magnet sounds more like ‘Everyone else featuring Robin Gibb’. Don’t get me wrong, the modern sounding soulful r and b surprised me, and I liked it. However, anyone expecting all out Robin Gibb should stick to Robin’s Reign.
Please was rightfully the first single released, and I liked it right off just by hearing the sample on the ecard. Robin’s vocals are the strongest here. It makes me wonder why the rest of the album sets him up as some old man who can’t sing and needs a lot of background singers. Amazingly not written by a Gibb (I probably should go and look up who really did write it, but anyway) Please also seems a bit eerie if you listen with the passing of Maurice in mind. Although made before Mo’s death, Magnet had the misfortune of being released shortly thereafter.
Wait Forever helps get you out of the teary rut Please can sometimes create. It’s quite catchy, and the part that’s catchiest for me isn’t even sung by Robin! Wish You Were Here is Robin’s spin on The Bee Gees 1989 tribute to Andy. (Please see our review on One.) Ironic enough, Robin added a verse to make the song about parted lovers. Instead you get an almost in tears Robin singing about another passed brother, or so it definitely seems now. The almost acoustic feel here also isn’t as good as the original’s arrangement.
No Doubt returns to the modern soul glow feel. Robin variates his voice here, and his style fits all the nasty modern lingo. Surprisingly again Robin didn’t write this one. Special is how I would define slow jam. You start off with Robin singing some really cool lyrics, then these other people cut in. I think to myself, ‘That sounds cool, but Hey! I was enjoying listening to Robin.’ The interlude in Special shows the most hints here of Robin’s powerhouse voice.
Inseparable is the only new song on Magnet penned by Robin, credited with Decon Smith. Honestly, it may be the song I like the least. After all his oh yeahs and slow baby babys Robin talkingreallyfastlikethis sounds, well... crappy. Again like a real old timer who either speeds up or slows down because he can no longer carry the tune. I beg to differ!
I like Don’t Rush, but again Robin unnecessarily shares the vocals with these people. This song is also tough to categorize. Is it a dance song or a slow jam? Sometimes I want Don’t Rush to rush though. I don’t like these other people enough to listen to them regularly like I do The Bee Gees.
Watching You again has its catchiest moments without Robin. This song would be a hit here I know it! You go to the club and you here the same thing. And believe me, no one could stigma this song over its Gibb attachment. You hardly hear Robin on this one.
Earth Angel is a lot like Special with less Robin. I honestly think there is more Decon Smith on this album. Entire choruses and verses on this album are sung by other people. Does that confuse anyone else? The other singers do sound good though. Robin certainly picked talented lyricists.
Lonely Night In New York is the update of Robin’s own Another Lonely Night In New York from How Old Are You (Please see our Hoay! review here ) It has some very cool sound effects added, but I can’t tell if it’s the same vocal track reused or not. The dark and edgy techno update sounds very cool, and frankly I wonder what the rest of How Old Are You would sound like if the eightes twang was replaced. As annoying as it is to have so many other people’s material on this album, Love Hurts concludes Magnet fittingly. This rendition by Robin has the Nazareth feel, yet Robin’s tone harkens back to the original Everly Brothers sound. It bookends well with Please, especially since Robin’s quaver voice comes through-you can feel his hurt.
Listening to Magnet on its own it’s a great contemporary album with several gems. Listening to it with The Gibb feel in mind? I can definately recommend better. Still, I’ve got a few hip teeny bopper friends I just had to copy this for, and they loved it! Magnet is a great ‘gateway’ to attracting new fans who wouldn’t expect a Bee Gee to be up for this kind of material. And it still hasn’t been released in the US!