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NEW ALBUM: Alan Parsons - The Secret

[Image: 220px-The_Secret_%28Alan_Parsons_album%29.jpeg]
Alan Parsons' fifth solo album and his first in 15 years. The first track is exactly how I’d expect it to sound and borrows heavily from Paul Dukas’s piece of the same name, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”, which I’m sure most listeners will recocgnise. It serves as an overture, and also dishes up Steve Hackett and Vinnie Colaiuta which is not a bad way to begin! What comes next though is far from the “Miracle” of the title, IMHO. Jason Mraz is the vocalist on what is a perfectly acceptable but uninspired pop song whose only saving grace is Ian Bairnson’s trusty axe On to track number three which is sung by Parsons himself (with some assistance, I think) - “As Lights Fall” – autobiographical and starting to sound a lot like his older material now – based on the content, one begins to wonder if he’ll be bowing out after this?? “One Note Symphony” comes next (I Robot springs to mind) – voiced in an appropriately not-quite-monotone by Todd Cooper who we hear from again a little further on. This one too sounds a bit dated but now I’m curious; is that a rocket taking off at the end – is he planning to head off to the stars? Midway through this song you hear the Arthur C Clarke quote “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” …. hmmmmm …. Next up is “Sometimes” sung by Lou Gramm whose pipes still sound remarkably unravaged, all things considered, and then "Soirée Fantastique" which is sung by Todd Cooper (mostly) and Mr P himself pops up here again. These are well constructed songs, as is to be expected and it’s increasingly evident that this is a completely guilt-free indulgence of everything Parsons holds dear, including sleight of hand, and why not? I think he’s earned the right to do exactly as he pleases.
Moving on - “Fly to Me” is positively Beatle-esque and sung by Mark Mikel – kinda dreamy and incorporates another nice guitar section - there’s something a little bit childlike and wide-eyed about all of this and I suppose that fits with the concept. Ooooh now for “Requiem” – Cooper again, who also plays the sax. He really has an APP voice (which is probably why he’s part of the live line-up, lol!) – a swinging James Bond theme type of song that feels like a stage performance. “Beyond the Years of Glory” – P J Olsson – what a lovely voice – he’s also in the live line-up and it’s easy to hear why – Parsons sure can pick ‘em. This is a ballad and I like it – sax solo again, as well as Bairnson having another moment. "The Limelight Fades Away" is the penultimate track with Jordan Huffman singing – yep – hints again at a swansong, and the album ends with the gorgeous “I Can’t Get There From Here” with vocal by Jared Mahone which was used in an as yet unreleased to the public movie, 5-25-77 (the date of the Star Wars premier – it’s a coming of age story)
Based on one or two of the teasers, I didn’t think I’d get on with this album, but as it turns out, I can do nostalgia quite well. Yes – at times it sounds dated and it’s a lot softer, more polished, less exciting than those first few APP albums, but really, despite being guilty of comparisons myself, I sometimes think they're a little unfair - that's the problem with benchmarks! I think he’s trying to recapture something of the essence of times past, and to a large degree, I believe he succeeds. It’s not modern and it's a gentle affair.

Links are all those currently available on YT. 
Just watched the video for “As Lights Fall” and the autobiographical nature of the song is definitely not veiled – references to his career everywhere. I wonder ….  

"The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us." ~ Bill Watterson
One I have never heard - where do you find the time to dig up all these albums?
'The purpose of life is a life of purpose' - Athena Orchard.
^It was released earlier this year but I don't think it made much of a splash.  
Good question!!
"The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us." ~ Bill Watterson
Good stuff ! Thanks Ruby !
 The ultimate connection is between a performer and its' audience!

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