Christopher Cross

Christopher Cross

Warner Brothers Records, 1980

http://www.christophercross.com

REVIEW BY: Michael R. Smith

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/25/2014

Why do I even have this in my collection? Oh yeah, I forgot. It won Album Of The Year at the Grammys in 1980, that’s why. As bookends for my favorite decade, this album and Nick Of Time by Bonnie Raitt have taken some time to get used to. They may be darlings of the Academy and fans of James Taylor, but for me, they fall under the category of bland, one-note singers. Such laid-back adult contemporary fare holds zero appeal for me. I prefer my pop to pack a punch.

But is there anything on Christopher Cross’ self-titled debut that holds up? Sure. The first two singles were chosen wisely by the folks at Warner: the pristine “Sailing” and the upbeat “Ride Like The Wind.” The former brings back many fond memories of slow skates at the roller rink. I can still envision the lights glimmering on the shiny wooden floor. As for the latter, you are captured by the high production values of the intriguing slow build opening. Having Michael McDonald as a duet partner never hurt anyone either. It does get a tad repetitive once the “da da da” refrain kicks in, but hey, a hook’s a hook.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

This album’s other two singles “Say You’ll Be Mine” and “Never Be The Same” are fine, but the first time you hear them, you don’t really need to hear them again. Can you say “Meh?” The rest of Christopher Cross treads pretty much the same terrain. In short, it’s a snooze fest. Wake me when it’s over. Yes, Cross’ voice is a distinctive one. You know it’s him immediately hearing one of his songs. It’s just a shame he couldn’t have found a little more variation in the type of material he recorded. And in the image department, poor thing is a big goose egg. Chubby and balding from the get-go, did he really think he’d have the staying power in the age of MTV? You’d have to drag me kicking and screaming to one of his shows. Sorry…

Good luck educating the young people of today about the artists of yesteryear. Toto anyone? Some Grammy artists simply have faded from the public consciousness. Now it’s a rare occurrence indeed to see any of them perform or present at one of the annual awards telecasts. Christopher Cross had his time, as brief and fleeting as it may have been. He has released a dozen albums since this debut, but there’s no media hype or fanfare to announce them. Methinks Christopher could care less. He knows he’s already made a name for himself, which will always be enough to bring back his fan base to fill the seats. And he now wears one mean fedora.

After this album, Cross would have a few more hits, including “Arthur’s Theme (The Best That You Can Do)” and “Think Of Laura.” I’d rather not think of Laura, thank you very much, mainly because it’s the name of my estranged, bitch-on-wheels sister (yes, Jason, you can print that). Arthur, on the other hand, I don’t mind remembering, because it’s from one of the laugh-out-loud funniest films I have ever seen. The song is also a great tribute to New York City, one of my favorite travel destinations. See? I’m not such a hater after all, I did like at least a few of his songs! Still, nothing compares to “Sailing,” the timeless ballad that has magic written all over it. So I will be generous with my grade, because it’s spring and I’m in a good mood. If you’re going to buy one Christopher Cross album, this had better be the one, because I’m not about to review another.

Rating: C-

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© 2014 Michael R. Smith and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Warner Brothers Records, and is used for informational purposes only.