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Size Isn't Everything (1993)
Audio CD
Track Listing

1. Paying The Price Of Love
2. Kiss Of Life
3. How To Fall In Love, Pt 1
4. Omega Man
5. Haunted House
6. Heart Like Mine
7. Anything For You
8. Blue Island
9. Above And Beyond
10. For Whom The Bell Tolls
11. Decadance

by Nicholas James

This album is the very pinnacle of the Bee Gees career and could well be the finest album they ever produced.

This is the Bee Gees first album following their return to Polydor, after a three album stint with Warner Brothers. Each of the three albums with Warners saw the group develop and change their musical style. On this album, they crystallise this process and produce the most perfectly crafted set of songs of their careers.

I don't usually review albums on a track-by-track basis. But this album is so special that I will break with tradition.

The first track and first single release, 'Paying The Price Of Love', saw the brothers back on the case with a fantastic slice of mid-1990s dance music. As the distinctive opening bars pound in, you just know that the guys are on top form. This is dance music with passion, with perfect breathy Barry Gibb vocals and and the highest pitch falsetto middle eight I have heard from the man. Anyone who saw the Bee Gees perform this song on the BBC's Top of the Pops live from Miami Beach will know that the Bee Gees put their all into this, with their best ever television performance.

'Kiss Of Life' is a driving piece of Europop, with a crystal clear vocal lead from Robin and some uplifting synthesiser backing.

With 'How To Fall In Love, Pt 1', the guys slip down a gear, with an intense, Barry-led, love song, with a rich production.

Maurice steps in and triumphs with the simply remarkable 'Omega Man', a mid tempo track with a chorus you won't get out of your head (not that you will want to get it out of your head!) Maurice's voice is perfectly matched to the groovy melody, and the delicate production - with hints of 1960s-style organ in the background - is flawless.

'Haunted House' takes up the 'spooky amusement park' theme that the guys experimented with in High Civilization's 'Ghost Train' and takes it a step further. The production of this song is quite literally sumptuous, and shows the Gibb Brothers complete mastery of the art at this point in their careers. From the unsettling 'Hammer House of Horror'-style opening bars, through Barry and Robin's unison vocals, and the lulling, dreamy chorus, this song has it all.

In 'Heart Like Mine', the album takes a surprising turn. Here we have a completely innovative ballad, which shows that the guys want to try something new. But perhaps the most surprising thing about this track is Robin's vocals. Here he returns to the nasal vibrato he used in the 1960s, and this works splendidly with this delightful, gentle melody. The careful use of falsetto harmonies in the chorus uses that particular Bee Gees sound better than it had been used for many years.

'Anything For You' is a lightweight piece of Barry Gibb pop, and is the weakest song on the album, but that is quickly forgotten when 'Blue Island' gently floats in. This is yet another surprise, as the Bee Gees go completely acoustic for the first time since the early 1970s. Not only is this a nice song, it yet again proves that the Bee Gees were inspired when they produced this album, doing something they had done before, but with a contemporary edge. First-rate song, very pleasing production.

Then Maurice's 'Above and Beyond' storms in like a hurricane. I have always had a liking for Maurice's 'token' songs, but this album gives us two Maurice leads. That should have been a good sign, because whereas 'Omega Man' was great, this song is beyond compare. With a bracing, uplifting backbeat, the Bee Gees mastery of the melody is used to amazing effect here. This song is completely exquisite and, I believe, could have been a major hit single.

'For Whom The Bell Tolls' was the second single from the album and was a massive UK hit. Again this demonstrates the quality of the Bee Gees song writing and production at this period in their careers. Lovely guitar intro, simple, effective lyrics sung by Barry in a gentle falsetto. The build-up to the chorus is clever, and Robin's section is powerful and memorable.

'Fallen Angel; is like a cross between Robin's How Old Are You album and the Pet Shop Boys. Again this is a perfect pop song and Robin's voice is adds to the experience no end.

The album ends with a re-recording of 'You Should Be Dancing' called 'Decadance'. Quite why they decided to do this I do not know, but my belief is that the Bee Gees knew that they were producing a multi-layered sound that had much more depth than they had previously achieved and just wanted to show what a classic old dance track could sound like if performed by the new, invigorated Bee Gees. It doesn't disappoint.

So, Size Isn't Everything is probably the ultimate Bee Gees album. It has a much bigger, clearer sound than any album they had produced to date, with a staggering attention to detail that was several years ahead of its time. For this album, they composed the best selection of songs for a single project since 1975's Main Course, and they used their different vocal and musical styles to much better effect than they probably ever did before or since. In short, this album demonstrates why the Bee Gees are regarded as one of the world's great bands. Sadly, this was to be the last great Bee Gees album, and they would never return to this level of ingenuity and excitement.

Why Buy Size Isn't Everything?

This ties with Main Course as being the best album they ever produced. This is the Bee Gees at their song writing, producing and performing best.