Leather Jackets failed to set the world on fire from both sales and critical review perspectives, but was Leather Jackets just a quick-to-market money-spinning effort, with leftover songs from the Ice On Fire recording sessions, or are there a few hidden gems to be heard? Let's find out!
Leather Jackets is your classic bad 80s pop song, but it's so bad that it's good!
Hoop Of Fire changes the tempo of the album significantly, but it’s a beautiful song.
Don't Trust That Woman has a toe-tapping tempo and a rather compelling chorus, but the Caribbean styling is a little too subdued and I feel the song could have been stronger if it had focused more on that sonic signature.
Go It Alone is another song, that I thoroughly enjoy, with a stellar rhythm. Yes, it is lacking a little spit and polish, but that is strangely appealing for this song.
Gypsy Heart is, as many of the songs are on Leather Jackets, a B-side. However, it’s a lovely song that is worthy of inclusion in John's back catalogue.
Slow Rivers could have been exceptional, especially with the combined talents of John, Bernie Taupin, and Cliff Richard. Sadly, it’s a missed opportunity and a lacklustre song.
Heartache All Over The World is average at best, and that is being generous. It's just bad and when Johns sings Girls, Girls, Girls, all I think of is Mötley Crüe's Girls, Girls, Girls; an infinitely better song.
Angeline has a terrible opening and the song sadly doesn't get any better as it progresses.
Memory Of Love isn't bad if it was a demo. There is a beautiful song hidden here, it's just a shame John wasn’t in the right headspace when recording this album.
Paris is musically and lyrically boring. One of the worst songs on the album and one of John's most disappointing recordings. It’s unstructured and from a composition standpoint is a convoluted nightmare.
I Fall Apart is adequate to close the album with, but it doesn't compel me to listen to Leather Jackets again or stay within John's catalogue. That said, there are some exceptional songs, as referenced throughout this review, to be heard on this album.
Without a doubt, Leather Jackets is the perfect album for the streaming era as one can add songs of interest to a playlist. While I remain a fan of the album format, I can't help but be envious of the younger generations and their digital playlists, for us old-timers would have had to buy an entire album to get maybe one or two worthwhile tracks. I'd like to say that didn't happen very often, but I have many albums with only one killer song. Perhaps that is why I have become increasingly interested in compilation releases as well as favouring streaming.
For this review, I listened to the TIDAL Hi-Fi (CD-quality FLAC) edition and the Apple Music stream. The difference was negligible as the mastering is a little concealed and arguably muffled on both platforms. Hence, any improvement the lossless TIDAL stream may have had over Apple Music becomes irrelevant. Leather Jackets really needs to be remastered, but that would do little to make this album more compelling. While it's a shame that Leather Jackets isn’t a stronger album, there is enough enjoyable music here to listen to the album from time to time.
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