Saturday, May 15, 2010

1990 Album Review: Wilson Phillips - Wilson Phillips (3.5/5)

It's hard to believe looking back, but Wilson Phillips was one of the biggest pop breakouts of 1990, hitting #1 with two singles that year, one of which, "Hold On," was the biggest hit of the year on the Billboard Hot 100. The trio was comprised of daughters of famous musicians--Carnie and Wendy Wilson, daughters of Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys, and Chynna Phillips, daughter of John and Michelle Phillips of The Mamas and the Papas. Their videos were all over MTV and VH1. They sounded great, if not due to their singing talent, then to the expert production by Glen Ballard, best known for producing Alanis Morissette's breakthrough Jagged Little Pill.

"Hold On," in particular, is a standout, a breezy keyboard and guitar fueled romp of a song. Their ballads work well too, like "Release Me," their other 1990 #1 and seemingly thematic opposite of their first single. A third #1 ballad, "You're in Love," followed early in 1991, and it's another decent pop ballad. "Impulsive," a mid-tempo song, was another top 10 hit.

"Next to You" strives for some level of dramatic flair, but sounds like it's about 3 years too late. A remake of Rod Stewart's "A Reason to Believe" seems an odd choice, although they do harmonize nicely on it. The rest feels like filler. This album received a Grammy Award nomination for Album of the Year, which is a bit surprising, as there were surely better choices (Sinead O'Connor for sure), and while it does have some great singles, they were front-loaded on the album and it loses steam after that.

Best: Hold On, Release Me, You're in Love, Impulsive


Paul said...

love love loved this album to the point of obsessiveness and still have a soft spot for them (apparently they are coming back with a Christmas album!)... you are right that the singles were by far the best tracks, (I love the single edit of Release Me) but The Dream Is Still Alive was quite good too :)

ww_adh said...

That was actually the fifth single, but I never really cared for it in comparison to the others (sorry). Christmas album! Maybe it can be their comeback vehicle.