This Is Where I Came In, by the Bee Gees
I have been gradually making my way through the Bee Gees discography one album at a time to see if they manage not only to have five 4/5 albums in a row but five such album streaks in all three eras of their career. This album is the last studio album of the Bee Gees, and although the Bee Gees did not expect to go out on this note–one imagines they expected a lot more time to make more music, but there are at least a few notes in this album that make it all the more poignant as a sending off point. Although this album only had one single (the title track) and it sold modestly, it is still an album worth examining if one wants to see where the Bee Gees ended up. This is an unexpected and somewhat abrupt end, but this album also serves as a capstone of what the Bee Gees had been as a band, and so with that said, let us explore the last studio album of a classic group.
This album has twelve songs and is a bit less than hour, averaging a bit more than 4 minutes per song. The album begins with the title track, an ominous folk-rock (!) number that hints at spiritual themes and that gives a recap of the career of the band, expressing a sense of danger and menace about their experiences in the music industry. She Keeps On Coming expresses a less than perfect relationship–not unlike that the brothers Gibb had–but one where there is persistence in seeking intimacy and love on the part of the woman. Sacred Trust reflects a confidence in one’s love that results from the security of being loved so sincerely. Wedding Day then provides a beautiful ballad (one that should have been an AC smash hit) dedicated to the love of marriage. This is followed by Man In The Middle, with the lead vocals by Maurice discussing his place in the middle between two driven and ambitious brothers who had their own master plans for how their music should end up, another standout track. Deja Vu provides another song that expresses the joy of love, in another song that should have been a hit. Technicolor Dreams is a Beatlesesque song about lasting love that sounds a lost track from Sergeant Pepper. Walking On Air follows with an ominous but beautiful song about the hope for a love to finally take place with gorgeous vocal harmonies. This track is then followed by the sparse Loose Talk Costs Lives, which almost sounds like a lounge rock classic. Embrace then follows as another gorgeous should-have-been Adult Contemporary hit about love and affection. The Extra Mile, with its gorgeous trumpets and valedictory lyrics, serves as a victory lap of sorts that would have served as the perfect tour or album closer, but then after that Voice In The Wilderness ends the album in a post-grunge note of dissatisfaction about the group not wanting to cry out like a voice in the wilderness, unheard.
A substantial number of the songs on this album are real standouts–the title track, Wedding Day, Man In The Middle, Deja Vu, Technicolor Dreams, Walking On Air, Embrace, and the Extra Mile are all songs that belong in the large list of great Bee Gees songs, and Voice In The Wilderness demonstrates, as always, that the Bee Gees were able to master every style they tried their hand to, as had been the case for decades. If this album is not very well known, it deserves to be a lot better known and appreciated. Without question this album is above a 4/5, and along with High Civilization and Size Isn’t Everything, this is an album where not only is every song good, but a large percentage of the album is all-time-great. This is an album that is not only good on its own terms but as an unexpected closing for the music career of an all-time-great musical group, it serves to provide a fitting close to a stellar career, with music that reflects the group’s rich history, themes of multifaceted love, as well as a demonstration that the band never allowed themselves to become stale or out of date.