E.S.P., by the Bee Gees
Continuing my tour of the Bee Gees discography going roughly backwards in time from the post-disco comeback period of the group, it is time to look at their first post-disco comeback album in E.S.P. This album was not a particularly successful album, but it did have a big hit in “You Win Again,” a dark love song whose striking percussion established the Bee Gees as a group that others wanted to sample because of their musical excellence even if none of these songs were hits in the United States. So, how does this album hold up overall? Let us take a look at this relatively short and obscure album and see if it deserves to be better known.
The album begins with the title track, which views love as the solution to problems of communication, a driving and beautiful song that starts the album on a high note. After that comes “You Win Again” another song that looks at the problems and difficulties of love and relationships, which appears far more upbeat than it is once its lyrics are understood. “Live Or Die (Hold Me Like A Child)” is a lovely synth pop ballad about love and devotion that could only have come out of the 80’s. “Giving Up The Ghost” then follows with a beautiful and rousing example of 80’s dance pop. “The Longest Night” is a song about loneliness and devotion that is beautiful and touching. “This Is Your Life” is an attempt to examine the life of the Bee Gees with upbeat 80’s industrial instrumentation that reflects on the Bee Gees’ previous period of music in a driving outro. “Angela” then returns to a beautiful power ballad about the reflection on a past relationship. “Overnight” then contains a midtempo attempt on the part of the narrator to stay overnight with someone through charm and seduction. “Crazy For Your Love” is a surprisingly touching and lighthearted song about the narrator’s love. “Backtafunk” then provides an example of 80’s funk devoted to the Bee Gees’ amorous efforts. The album then closes then with a vocal reprise of the opening track to bring everything back full circle.
As someone who is generally fond of the music of the Bee Gees, this album is definitely a worthwhile find. If you enjoy the vocal harmonies of the Bee Gees set to 80’s pop, dance, and funk instrumentation, this is an album you will enjoy a great deal. At least a few of the songs on this album, like “E.S.P.,” “You Win Again,” “Giving Up The Ghost,” “The Longest Night,” “Angela,” and “Crazy For Your Love” all deserve to be much better known and remembered, and the album as a whole demonstrates that the Bee Gees made compelling music after their commercial peak that do not deserve to be forgotten the way that so much of it has. If you don’t like 80’s production, though, this album is probably not going to be as enjoyable to you as it is to me, though.