Who doesn't like a good ballad? Yes, you in the corner, I see you rolling your eyes, not willing to admit you're a ballad junkie. That's okay, it can be difficult for some of us to acknowledge our emotions, but Air Supply's ballads are just so addictive and easy to sing-along to that even the most emotionally guarded individual will feel compelled to join in, especially when no-one else is watching. It's a great feeling, isn't it? Don't worry, dear reader, this will be just between us, for the magic would be lost if anyone knew our little secret.
Few artists do ballads as well as British–Australian soft rock group Air Supply, but it would be naive to pigeonhole them into that category for their orchestral soft rock styling is so expansive that their peers are a who's who of soft rock culture from the last four decades. While their prime is arguably behind them, their songs, including those written by others, remain timeless and recognisable. Perhaps that is why I'm drawn to The Ultimate Collection because, as the title suggests, it really is the epitome of their creativity.
Love And Other Bruises is an interesting song to commence this career perspective release on as it isn't necessarily one of their best or most popular tunes. Nevertheless, the musicality is there, resulting in an enjoyable beginning to an exceptional collection of songs.
Bring Out The Magic is the reason I suggested it naive to class Air Supply as a ballads-only band. This is soft rock at its finest.
Lost In Love is beautiful!
All Out Of Love is a stunning composition and one of the greatest ballads ever written and recorded.
Every Woman In The World is another stunner. Absolutely sensational!
Just Another Woman offers an interesting shift into the disco-era and immediately reminds me of Elton John's Victim Of Love as the two were somewhat unexpected but thoroughly enjoyable. Just Another Woman is fantastic and despite the shifting style, the song is absolutely worthy of inclusion.
Chances returns the compilation to its ballad-based roots and is thoroughly enjoyable with a vocal presentation that is off-the-charts. The slow build works exceptionally well, and Chances is simply amazing to listen to.
The One That You Love is sonic gold! It may sound like a cliché, but they don't write songs like this anymore. Plus, that drum track is amongst my favourites of all time, only bested by Phil Collins' In The Air Tonight and Dire Straits’ Money For Nothing.
Here I Am is badly placed as the lyrics of The One That You Love also includes the phrase, here I am, throughout. Nevertheless, Here I Am is a lovely ballad that I never tire of. The soundstage and sonic depth of Here I Am is exceptional with a drum track that I adore.
Sweet Dreams is epic! My recommendation is you turn the volume up when this song comes on, you'll thank me later. Sweet Dreams is one of the best songs ever recorded and that guitar solo and vocal interlude is absolutely incredible.
I’ll Never Get Enough Of You is exceptional!
This Heart Belongs To Me has a great dual tempo that allows the listener to experience this song in a non-traditional manner, thereby making it truly subjective. This is yet another Air Supply song where the drum tracking is superb. I love it!
Keeping The Love Alive is, as this entire compilation is, exceptional!
Even The Nights Are Better is a song that reminds me of the Carpenters, especially with the vocal styling. That's, of course, a positive reflection as I adore Karen Carpenter's vocal.
Now And Forever is musical perfection. This truly is the ultimate Air Supply collection.
Two Less Lonely People In The World is remarkably good and sounds as fresh today as it did when first released on Air Supply's 1982 release, Now And Forever.
Making Love (Out Of Nothing At All) is a Jim Steinman classic power ballad and is an incredible Air Supply song. I find that I’m torn between this original recording and Bonnie Tyler’s rendition as both are exceptional.
Young Love is a lovely song and that dual vocal presentation is simply amazing, as is the entire musicality of the song.
Come What May is a great tune with an incredible soundstage and presence that fills the room. If all music was recorded and mixed this well, we'd never stop listening. As the closing track on The Ultimate Collection, it certainly compels me to listen to the compilation again and stay within Air Supply's back catalogue.
There is little doubt regarding my love of Air Supply and The Ultimate Collection release. It is so good that everyone should have a copy in their collection. Unfortunately, it has yet to receive a vinyl release and while I'm not opposed to picking it up on CD, the TIDAL Hi-Fi CD-quality stream is more than adequate.