The Ocean Blue
Sire Records, 1989
REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 10/06/2004
The Smiths were undoubtedly one of the most influential bands of the 1980s. As a matter of fact, huge and obvious traces of the Smiths' sound could be seen in a lot of young British alternative bands formed post-1985, which had the 'Morrissey'-feel to their music styles.
Released in the year 1989, the eponymous album by The Ocean Blue has the typical 'Manchester' sound, which it shares with a lot of other British bands of its period. So, The Ocean Blue is just another album by just another 'Brit' band, having the same stereotypical 'Brit' sound. The Smiths had an edgy sound. Beneath all its melodious music and Morrissey's seemingly innocuous singing were powerful words, influencing a whole generation of musicians and fans alike. The same is not true with The Smiths-influenced bands, and The Ocean Blue in particular.
As an album, The Ocean Blue has just superficial vestiges of the sound, The Ocean Blue, so desperately tries to fit itself into. The album, however, does have the sweet winsome quality to its music, but unlike The Smiths, its lyrics just don't have the spunk to make the lyrics worth anything. The fact of the matter is that the lyrics are puerile, not in the sense that they are unimaginably irreverent, but are puerile in the literal sense. They are innocent, yes, but it seems as though a lot of them were written by/for ten-year olds: At the lowliest point of the album, "Love Song," with hilariously juvenile lyrics, with "ya oh oh" for chorus, is an ardent beau ideal of this fact.
Childish, yes; innocent, very much; but the well-mannered nature of The Ocean Blue is worth appreciating, and to some extent, worth an encomium or two. This album has some of the most beautiful and melodic rock songs ever. Amongst the others, "Between Something And Nothing,""Drifting Falling,""Just Let Me Know," "Ask Me Jon" and "Myron" are worth treasuring, by any standards. The singles, "Between Something And Nothing" and "Drifting Falling" are two of the 1980s' most memorable singles. Actually, even the rest of the album is not bad at all, either. Mild, pure, and refined, The Ocean Blue is a great rock/pop album, with the five aforesaid irresistibly charming songs, as added perquisites of possessing this album.
The Ocean Blue may not be one of the 1980s' most memorable albums, but it is one of the 1980s' most overlooked ones, especially since it has a few of the best songs of the '80s. The band doesn't want to make serious statements through its music. It doesn't at all want to complicate matters, and wants to keep things as simple as possible. With this album, the clan of The Ocean Blue simply means to create genial rock/pop songs.