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ESP (1987)
Audio CD
Track Listing

1. ESP
2. You Win Again
3. Live Or Die (Hold Me Like A Child)
4. Giving Up The Ghost
5. The Longest Night
6. This Is Your Life
7. Angela
8. Overnight
9. Crazy For Your Love
10. Backtafunk
11. ESP (Vocal Resprise)

by Nicholas James

This was the first full Bee Gees album since 1981's Living Eyes. The guys had taken a break to write and produce other artists, such as Barbra Streisand, Dionne Warwick, Kenny Rogers and Diana Ross, had produced a number of solo albums and contributed songs to the soundtrack of the movie Staying Alive. But in 1987, they had decided it was time for the Bee Gees. With a new recording contract with Warner Brothers, the Bee Gees teamed up with producer Arif Mardin, who had relaunched their career in the 1970s with Mr Natural and Main Course. And, guess what? They pulled it off again!

Yes, the Bee Gees made a triumphant comeback and entered the third phase of their career (or fourth, if you include the productions and solo work). The first single from the album, 'You Win Again' was a worldwide smash (except the USA), reaching number one in the UK singles chart, and topping the charts elsewhere. The album itself followed 'You Win Again' to be a massive seller. The Bee Gees were back!

So, how did they achieve this remarkable rebirth? On this occasion, by going back to what they do best: mixing superior, commercial tracks with experimental tracks that pushed them into new areas. By remaining accessible, but trying out new sounds and styles. In short, they remained at the cutting edge.

'You Win Again' was an extremely catchy stomper of a song, with a strong, distinctive production and clever lyrics. The follow up single and title track, ESP, was a high energy, edgy piece of work, that was well-received by the critics, although did not fair nearly as well as its predecessor in the charts. It was also accompanied by a tremendous video. There were great ballads in the traditional Bee Gees style ('Angela' and 'Live Or Die') and moody 1980s ballads, such as the atmospheric Robin Gibb-led 'The Longest Night'. They experimented with a piece of lightweight pop confectionary, 'Crazy For Your Love' (this is what you get if you mix the Bee Gees with Madonna's 'True Blue'), and expressed their dislike of rap in 'This Is Your Life', which includes a tongue-in-cheek rap of some of their most famous titles. The rest of the album was made up of slightly less successful, but all highly contemporary, tracks like 'Giving Up The Ghost' and 'Backtafunk'. Oh, yes, and the Maurice Gibb 'token' track returns, with the up tempo, electric guitar led, 'Overnight'.

The Bee Gees were back and, this time, to stay. And each subsequent album in the late 1980s/early 1990s would improve upon the last.

Why Buy ESP?

To experience how the Bee Gees manage to return from nowhere back to the top of the charts. Some great songs, well produced.