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Magnet - Robin Gibb (2003)
Audio CD
Track Listing

1. Please
2. Don't Wanna Wait Forever
3. Wish You Were Here
4. No Doubt
5. Special
6. Inseparable
7. Don't Rush
8. Watching You
9. Earth Angel
10. Lonely Night In New York
11. Love Hurts

by Nicholas James

Robin Gibb's first solo album for 18 years is a major disappointment. The album is very different from the Robin Gibb solo albums of the 1980s and from recent Bee Gees material, which is not a problem at all. In fact, that is one of the few good things that I can say about this album; Robin was trying something new. But the fact that the album is uncompromisingly bland is a major problem that drowns the album.

Fans of Robin, regarded as one of the world's finest song-writers, may be surprised to learn that he wrote few new tracks for this album. In fact, his only real contribution as song-writer was 'Inseparable', which he co-wrote with Deconzo Smith, which is actually one of the better tracks on the album (but that, sadly, is not saying much). The rest of the tracks are either new songs written by young, emerging song-writing talents, or cover versions of old songs.

Before going through the bad points, it is worth pointing out that there are some positive points to Magnet. Firstly, the production. The entire album is a slick, contemporary piece, that could easily be the work of a new teenage artist. Perhaps it is too slick and too contemporary at the expense of distinctiveness, but I am convinced that this production style could have worked with better songs, as evidenced by the fine first track, 'Please'.

The second good point is Robin's voice, which is as at home on the youth orientated dance tracks as it is on the classic covers. There can't be many 50-plus artists that could get away with that, without at least having their tongues firmly implanted in their cheeks. Robin was serious, and he pulls it off admirably.

Other than the opening track, 'Please' - a perfect piece of chart fodder - the rest of the album just drifts by, with hardly a single song standing out from the crowd. Two of the songs are old Gibb compositions. 'Wish You Were Here' is a reworking of the fantastic Andy tribute from the One album, but this version is soulless, Robin dumping many of the better aspects of the song, replacing it with dreary, clichéd lyrics. 'Lonely Night In New York' is not even a reworking of 'Another Lonely Night In New York' (a fantastic Robin and Maurice Gibb-composed track from How Old Are You'). No, it features exactly the same vocal track as the original, with the beat speeded up and all the life and character of the great original removed. What a complete waste!

Other than the first track, the only memorable song is 'Love Hurts', a cover version of an ancient Roy Orbison hit, that is perfect for Robin's voice.

Everything else on the album, without exception, is background music. The songs will waft by without you even noticing. And, I guarantee, you won't be able to remember one of them 10 minutes after returning the CD to its case. Shame, because Robin Gibb has proved himself to be capable of so much better. I hope there will be a 'next time'.

Why Buy Magnet?

For the excellent first track, 'Please'. To hear Robin Gibb try out a new sound. No other reason.

© 2007