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 Beautiful Mess Review

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Number of posts : 758
Age : 48
Location : Paris, France
Registration date : 2007-01-02

PostSubject: Beautiful Mess Review   Sun Sep 28, 2008 10:24 pm

Review from by Chris Akin

Jeff Scott Soto - BEAUTIFUL MESS (Self-Produced)
Click here for site.

The single best talent in the world that most people haven’t heard of is back once again. That’s right! Fresh off being dumped unceremoniously by Journey after breathing life into that band for the first time in years, Soto was faced with an interesting scenario at this point in his career. He could have gone the safe route and recorded a collection of almost Journey-like songs to capitalize on the attention he received for fronting that band. Or…he could have done exactly what he did. What exactly did Soto do? Well, he released a stunning album that basically moves closer to R&B than it does to AOR rock, classic rock, or really anything else in the singer’s career. Simply put, it works.

To classify BEAUTIFUL MESS is really not a very easy thing. Soto is a brilliant singer, but he’s seemingly pushed everything in his past to the side to create some very fresh music that could play across a wide spectrum of commercial radio styles. Songs like “Bring It Home” are perfect examples of this. The vocalist who once fronted Yngwie J. Malmsteen’s Rising Force has created songs that would stand up nicely at a New Edition reunion concert or an R&B tour featuring Blackstreet. This, interestingly, is only one of the varied approaches Soto takes on this musical venture. There are some rockers here. “21st Century” is a more traditional rocker that Soto’s core audience will find to be in the pocket. It’s just that Soto doesn’t really focus, or even try to stay, within any confines of a musical genre on BEAUTIFUL MESS. For example, a song like “Broken Man” is closer to an Edwin McCain story than anything that LOST IN TRANSLATION (Soto’s last album) presented. At other times, Soto reaches into the book of electric funk as well. “Mountain” has a really funky groove to it as Soto does an almost Living Colour like presentation. To say the least, this album is exactly as advertised. It is a beautiful mess.

Ultimately though, BEAUTIFUL MESS is all about the brilliant voice and songsmanship that Jeff Scott Soto is known for. While the musicality is purposely diverse, it’s clear that Soto is still miles above the bulk of the songwriters and performers out there today. His big voice dominates tracks like “Mountain”, while he brings it down a bit to a soothing croon on songs like “Cry Me A River”. Not only does Soto sound great, but the writing here is arguably the best he’s ever done professionally. Sure, it’s a bit unfocused because of the lack of cohesive direction, but there’s no denying that at least eight of these songs would make up Soto’s top 10 songwriting credits of his career.

PITRIFF RATING – 9/10 - Without question, this is not everyone’s cup of tea. In fact, if you have big walls of “rock n’ roll” that confine what you listen to day in and day out, you would probably hate this album. But if you listen to a lot of musical styles and genres and can appreciate experimentation mixed in with lyrical brilliance and powerful vocals, then you really can’t find a flaw on BEAUTIFUL MESS. This may be the single strongest writing and performance from any artist to cross this desk in 2008.

Sunday, September 28, 2008
Reviewer: Chris Akin


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