by Kristin Battestella
I’m so glad wing dings has that graphic! (Which of course isn't showing up on blogger!) Any Gibber can’t help but think about the boys’ concert antics for this 1989 release. This album came at an interesting time. Andy Gibb died the year before, Hurricane Andrew devastated Florida, and The Brothers Gibb were relegated to doing concerts on The Disney Channel. The music helped the boys cope with the difficult circumstances, and One was a modest and critical success.
As usual, The US has a slightly different perception of anything Gibb, but the first single Ordinary Lives was a hit in the rest of the world. There’s a very cool refrain here and a distinct beat. Sometimes the song is listed with the title Cruel World in parenthesis, and its neat to hear Barry utter the words in the song. One was a monster hit with all the hooks one could ask for. The boys do their little One! salutes in concert, and my nieces are just obsessed with watching it over and over. One is so tropical catchy and has great lyrics with cool rifts.
Onto what may be one of the steamier Gibb songs, Bodyguard was very naughty when it was released with a soft core music video. Robin’s delivery is on form, and the words are the ones every woman wants to hear. Growl! You deserve more, let me take care and protect you. Hot damn.
Its My Neighborhood is the first departure song on One. It’s got that eighties hard edge to it that doesn’t always suit the boys. I do like the chorus and the lyrics do have the proper element of bad boy anger. Not the same kind of growl! as Bodyguard, but a growl! nonetheless.
Tears is so real. I am not a major teary eyed type of person, but Tears is just the perfect song for when you need a good cry. Three grown men admit as fact ‘there will be tears tonight’. It’s okay to cry, who knew? Barry’s delivery and lyrics of not being ashamed about it just set this kleenex keeper off.
It’s unusual in the eighties to see a Bee Gees song written by only a pair of brothers, as opposed to solo material where any combination of the brothers and their teams are expected. With Tokyo Nights, however, Robin and Maurice make a very catchy tongue in cheek song. It’s a bit of a tribute to the stalwart Japanese Gibb fans, yet I suspect something more sinister in its ambiguous lyrics. The guests in my car just don’t understand when I sing along to this one.
Flesh and Blood might be the better Robin song on this album. Bodyguard is partly shared with Barry, as is the rest of the album Baz dominated. Flesh and Blood is in this hard style the album seems to be going for, and this suits Robin. It’s similar to Walls Have Eyes, and perhaps that album would have been as stylized as Blood had it had full blown Gibb production. The nuances here and the delivery are top notch.
I recently discovered a cute little opening effect on Wish You Were Here that I hadn’t noticed until my headphones-only listen. It’s like a carousel that turns into a lofty echo. Barry, Robin, and Maurice wrote this song in tribute to Andy, and it is a tearjerker with totally real lyrics. It’s bittersweet. There are very happy, fond, ‘wish you well’ type sayings mixed in with ‘don’t go we’ll miss you’ somberness. The perfect reflection of loss in a song. (Robin updated this tune for Magnet.)
Yay we come to the Maurice moment of the album! House Of Shame is as usual per Maurice, in a slightly different style than anything else on One. Even the edgy modern stuff isn’t quite like Mo’s hooky lines here. His delivery varies on the verses, and then he drops a killer chorus on you that I often find stuck in my head even if I haven’t heard Shame in ages. Good stuff.
Sometimes this trying to be Prince stuff is just to much, and Will You Ever Let Me is almost a bland imitation. It has its moments, is it me or are all the choruses strong here? A song that I would probably write off if it were anyone else, and The Brothers delivery and hooks still bring me back.
Wing and A Prayer doesn’t sound like anything old fashioned, yet it reminds me of that old time song about ‘coming in on a wing and a prayer.’ (I am then also remind of ‘Don’t sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me!’ but that’s another story.) The Gibb tune here is a bit uneven. I really like the slower parts and Barry’s breathy speaking lines, but then the song can turn to the rough stuff and it doesn’t all seem to fit. Still One starts and ends on an upbeat note, and any new fans will be surprised to find the depth and seriousness in between.Special note #4356. Shape of Things to Come is another one of these Gibb oddities that fans are forced to hunt for. Released by Arista for their Olympic album, the song received little notice. No Gibb collection, however, is complete without it, or One for that matter. The album is a unique look at three successful men and brothers, coping, crying, moving on and making music to boot.