A trip through D'Arby's soulful Neither Fish nor Flesh
NEITHER FISH NOR FLESH . . .
Terence Trent D'Arby.
By ALEJANDRO SOLIS
IF EFFICIENT MARKETING WERE NO interference to record sales, Terence Trent D'Arby would have named his latest album Neither Fish nor Flesh, Just God. This man could very well have the biggest ego on both sides of the Atlantic. He likens himself to Prince and brands himself a genius. As he says, "How can you be so brilliant and not be an egomaniac?" Neither Fish Nor Flesh does indicate that there is some substance to his bragging. The man does indeed have talent.
D'Arby's first album helped him achieve star status and yielded a string of top-10 singles. The singles, although commercially-oriented, were quite good. The most surprising thing about Neither Fish nor Flesh is that it is not very commercial. In the age in which bland sing-a-clich'e-with-a-catchy-beat pop has taken control of most radio stations and thus the top 40, it is very refreshing to know that a renowned artist is willing to take risks and explore on his albums, a chancy and brave thing to do on only his second album, when it is "do or die" with both record industry and consumers. What is more surprising is that his record company has already approved six singles from Neither Fish nor Flesh, when there really are no obvious hits on this album.
To quote Prince, this album is "not music, this is a trip," although the trip is musical in nature as opposed to drug-induced. Here, take a ride . . .
Neither Fish Nor Flesh: A Soundtrack of Love, Faith, Hope, and Destruction NOTE: this is the full title of the album ('twas too long for the header) --debby
Declaration: A slab of psychedelia that introduces the unusual mood of the album.
I Have Faith In These Desolate Times: The best song. A touching piece that has D'Arby showing off his vocal cords accompanied only by a sitar that moves to a frenzied African beat.
It Feels So Good to Love Someone Like You: This is the most orchestrated song on the album. The song has an eerie but brilliant mood to it complemented by its fractured but poetic lyrics. This is one of the album's highlights.
To Know Someone Deeply is to Know Someone Softly: One of the more commercial and catchy tunes in this album and one of the future six singles. D'Arby claims that Marvin Gaye appeared before him and sang this song to him.
I'll be Alright: There is a heavy Doors influence here. Although this song is not as satisfactory, it does the trick.
Billy Don't Fall: This is a very catchy and pleasant song. It is, nevertheless, very surprising that CBS/Columbia approved it as a single since this could prove to be a controversial song. In a brave and frank rendition, D'Arby advocates gay rights as he puts forth the humanity of a gay friend.
This Side of Love: It's the sixties all over again as D'Arby does his Hendrix impersonation.
Attracted to You: See This Side of Love.
Roly Poly: In this song, D'Arby emulates his hero and role model, Prince, and he actually does a good job. The song is more textured than Prince's music, but it seems a little overproduced.
You Will Pay Tomorrow: D'Arby questions the sins of today while again ripping off Prince's Parade album.
I Don't Want to Bring Your Gods Down: The music is not very strong, but the lyrics are. D'Arby questions blind faith in religion.
. . . And I Need to Be with Someone Tonight: Although the "lalalala"s in this acappella song prove to be almost embarrassing, the sweetness and originality of the piece make up for it. At the end of this song, D'Arby laughs at you for having purchased his record. Only the joke's on him -- it was worth every penny.