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This Is Where I Came In (2001)
Audio CD
Track Listing

1. This Is Where I Came In
2. She Keeps On Coming
3. Sacred Trust
4. Wedding Day
5. Man In The Middle
6. Deja Vu
7. Technicolor Dreams
8. Walking On Air
9. Loose Talk Costs Lives
10. Embrace
11. The Extra Mile
12. Voice In The Wilderness
13. Just In Case
14. Promise The Earth

by Nicholas James

Again the Bee Gees look for a new direction. After their inspired-but-not-very-successful idea of using other contemporary producers for their last studio album, Still Waters, the Bee Gees try something different again. This time, they recorded a few songs together, then went their separate ways and did the rest of the album as individuals. The result? Well, it was a definite improvement over Still Waters, but it just ended up emphasising that they write and perform better when they are together than separately.

The 'group' songs first: The title track and first single 'This Is Where I Came In' was a big change of direction for the group, and a very brave single. Far less commercial than their other recent singles, this was a multi-layered, slightly Beatles influenced song, with a strong acoustic sound. It fitted the title and their intentions perfectly - going back to their roots, but with a contemporary edge. It worked brilliantly and showed that the Bee Gees could produce music of as much relevance to 2001 as other artists of the day, such as Radiohead and Coldplay. The song received a huge amount of critical acclaim, and rightly so.

The next track, 'She Keeps On Coming', is heavily influenced by 1980s US rock bands such as ZZ Top. It is a very catchy song, with unusual lead vocals from Robin Gibb. 'Sacred Trust' was a song the Bee Gees reportedly wrote for the Backstreet Boys. As it was never used by the boy band, the Bee Gees took it for themselves. The song is reasonable but, unfortunately, the production sounds like a demo. Considering they spent between three and four years making this album, that is surprising.

The ballad 'Wedding Day' sounds, on first listen, very corny for the Bee Gees, a group that has always eschewed cheesiness. Having heard them discuss it in interviews, and knowing now that their intention was for it to be tongue in cheek, I like it a lot more now. In fact, the simple melody and the Barry and Robin vocals make it a grower.

The other two 'group' tracks are excellent. 'The Extra Mile' was written for the Sydney Olympics and sounds like it. But it is a great song nonetheless, with a powerful Robin lead. 'Just In Case' can only be described as beautiful. They still have the ability to write tender love songs that send a shiver down the spine.

Their solo work on this album was much less consistent. Maurice was up first, with his production of a Robin and Maurice song, 'Man In The Middle'. The finished product is average, nowhere near to being in the same league as the similar 'Omega Man' from Size Isn't Everything, and the production is over cooked. The same can be said for Maurice's other contribution, the summery 'Walking On Air'. Despite its obvious Beach Boys influence, the song and its lyrics are buried under stodgy production.

Robin fares a little better. His first track, 'Deja Vu', was written by all three brothers, but was produced by Robin in the UK, with only his vocals. This is a superb song, and one of the stand-out tracks on the album. Robin's multi-layered production has several nice touches, including some interesting sound effects. This is a track Robin should be very proud of. His other two tracks, 'Embrace' and 'Promise The Earth', are less successful. Both are very 'Europop' influenced, well produced by Robin, with some good grooves, but the songs are non-descript, incoherent and are, quite frankly, difficult to tell apart.

Barry also had mixed results, although there is something to commend each of his songs. 'Technicolor Dreams' is an attempt to do a slightly humorous, 'When I'm Sixty Four'-style song, with a touch of Frank Sinatra. It is not entirely successful, but you will smile if you listen carefully to the background noise just before the song begins. 'Loose Talk Costs Lives' is a slightly skewed ballad, in the same vein as 'How To Fall In Love' from Size Isn't Everything. It is interesting rather than great. His final song, however, 'Voice In The Wilderness', is fantastic. Barry Gibb goes punk, with some great guitar work and nice harmony accompaniment from Robin and Maurice. Barry's lead vocals are also very good.

In summary, this album is better than Still Waters, but still does not climb the dizzy heights of consistency that they managed to achieve in the early 1990s. The fact that there are some stand-out tracks shows that they still had what it took to produce a great album, but This Is Where I Came In ultimately failed to show the group at their best. It is all the more disappointing in hindsight, when we now know that this was probably the last ever Bee Gees studio album, due to the unexpected death of Maurice Gibb in January 2003.

Why Buy This Is Where I Came In?

It is the last ever Bee Gees studio album, and has a number of outstanding tracks.