Still Waters, by the Bee Gees
I have to admit upon listening to this album that I do not like this album quite as much as the two proceeding studio albums High Civilization and Size Isn’t Everything, but there is no doubt that this album was much more successful on the pop charts and it is not hard to figure out why. This album is considerably less eccentric and more of an adult contemporary album than those two albums, which for me is a bit of a negative when compared to those two. That said, both of those albums are among my favorite albums all time, and if this album does not rise to that level it is still a very good album, with every song being at least a 4/5, many of them romantic ballads that are enjoyable to listen to if not necessarily relevant to my own existence, and a few songs that are a bit more quirky and thus more enjoyable for me personally.
This album is a pretty normal sized one at twelve songs. The album appears not to have been constructed in a way that is too front-loaded, for although album opener Alone is the obvious standout here, there are still strong songs quite further down, with popular ballad I Could Not Love You More as the third song, title track Still Waters (Run Deep), a minor hit of its own right, fourth, and Irresistible Force seventh and Closer Than Close eighth. This is an album without obvious weaknesses, although there are a lot of songs here that deal with romantic devotion like I Surrender, My Lover’s Prayer, With My Eyes Closed, I Will, and Miracles Happen. That is not to say that there are not more unusual songs, as the album closes with the intriguing Smoke And Mirrors that offers a bit of a change. But this is an album that takes the Bee Gees love of ballads and makes those ballads a larger percentage of the album than usual. If you like that, this is an album that you, like millions of Americans, will enjoy.
In listening to this album, I was struck by the way that the Bee Gees were so skilled at making albums that showed different facets of their artistic muse in ways that could very easily confuse many people who were not used to their protean muse. Their music after Spirits Having Flown in general appears to be greatly misunderstood, and their desires to be played on American pop stations lasted long after radio had no interest in playing most of their songs, to the detriment of their two great albums from the early 1990’s that I enjoy so much. Even so, this turn to Adult Contemporary marked an uptick in the success of the group that would last until the death of Maurice ended the group as a going concern. It is by no means a bad album, or even a mediocre album, but it is not representative of the album though it does show off the group’s beautiful balladry, and at times (“Alone” and “I Could Not Love You More”) this leads to songs that stand with their very strongest, and that is no left-handed compliment.