|1. Foreign Sand (single version)||***|
|2. 'You Had to Be There'||***|
|3. Foreign Sand (album version)||***|
|4. Final Destination||***|
1, 3) written by Taylor/Yoshiki, arrangement: Yoshiki
2) written by Taylor
4) written by Taylor, arrangement: Taylor/Yoshiki
Roger Taylor: vocals, drums ("Final Destination")
Yoshiki: drums, piano, synthesizer
Jim Cregan: guitars
Phil Chen: bass
Dick Marx: strings arrangement
Brad Buxer and Geoff Grace: programming
Jason Falloon: guitar ("'You Had to Be There'")
1, 3, 4) produced by Taylor/Yoshiki
2) produced by Taylor
Four tracks from Roger Taylor, but he only drums on one of them. What does possess musicians gone solo to abandon their usual provenances in favour of a belief they can sing? OK, Taylor's singing is competent and he writes for his voice well, but it is hardly his strong point. "Foreign Sand" and "'You Had to Be There'" could both have done with some of his inspired percussion from later Queen.
Nor does his composition here stand up particularly well to his work in Queen. This single, from the album Happiness?, gives us three adequate AOR songs. "'You Had to Be There'" could have come from a late Pink Floyd album and, like Gilmour's work of late, is enjoyable at first, but soon tires for me. "Final Destination" sounds more like early Rod Stewart, but is also vaguely Queen-like with echoes of "Heaven for Everyone" and Mercury's influence noticeable in Taylor's vocal style. Taylor's drumming only lifts the song a fraction above what is otherwise fairly tedious. Throughout, the other players are adept, but uninteresting.
"Foreign Sand" has most potential, but it is lost in an arrangement either too languorous or deep in AOR clich. The lyrics, as with the other songs, have some spark, but I'd rather Rush's "Territories" for the same message.
Henry Potts, 22 Jun 97; revised 31 Aug 2005
Originally posted to alt.music.queen, rec.music.progressive, rec.music.reviews.
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