// Album Recommendation

Bee Gees

Still Waters

(2001)

"I was a midnight rider on a cloud of smoke
I could make a woman hang on every single stroke
I was an iron man, I had a master plan
But I was alone"

Bee Gees Still Waters 1997 Front Cover 21102

After a couple of somewhat sterile-sounding late-80s/early-90s albums, The Bee Gees made a very satisfying return with Still Waters, by far their strongest album since 1979's Spirits Having Flown. With a much more appealing balance between the warm late-70s/early-80s sound and the late-'80s/early-'90s production values, the album also contained the trio's most confident and convincing songwriting in years. First single, the melodic and catchy Alone featuring bagpipes, is superior to any other single released by The Bee Gees in the 80s and the 90s (even You Win Again off 1987's ESP and the title track off 1989's One). Barry Gibb's lyrics could very well be a response to his younger self, a sequel of sorts to the partying ladies man of Stayin' Alive ("I'm a woman's man / No time to talk"). Looking back he acknowledges the prize that he paid ("I was a midnight rider on a cloud of smoke / I could make a woman hang on every single stroke / I was an iron man / I had a master plan / But I was alone").

The funky I Surrender is Barry Gibb's most dance-friendly tune since Stayin' Alive, Tragedy, and You Should Be Dancing (see Greatest Hits). A captivating and effective fusion of late-90s R’n’B production, subtle 70s Wah-Wah guitar and those tight harmonies, it’s a successful update of The Bee Gees' hit sound. To these ears, it’s the Bee Gees’ very best composition and most hit-potential song since the late 70s and should’ve been released as the first single off the album. Smooth and low-key, Still Waters Run Deep is an elegant mid-tempo Pop song that doesn't necessarily reveal its strengths and charms on first listen. A warning against infidelity, it describes the emotional impact of seeing through your partner's dishonesty while living in quiet anguish ("Still waters run deep / Just remember when we lie to each other / No-one wins and losers weep / Deception will show / It's a struggle when you're starved for affection / This is all we need to know").

Three R’n’B flavored slow jams also grace the album. Second only to Wish You Were Here (from One), when it comes to The Bee Gees’ post-1970s ballads, My Lover's Prayer is hopelessly romantic and puts the trio’s trademark harmonies to great use. A quietly uplifting chorus and a short segment with just Robin Gibb’s affecting vocal furthermore add a sufficient amount of magic to secure that this song is another winner. On the track With My Eyes Closed Barry Gibb sings lead over a subtle and simple electronic beat, accompanied by Robin Gibb’s haunting background vocals. It’s yet another striking example of a Bee Gees production, where the brothers Gibb have managed to successfully update their sound while still maintaining what long-time fans have always loved about their music in the first place. Possibly Maurice Gibb's best ever contribution to The Bee Gees song catalogue, Closer Than Close captivates with its lush instrumental and vocal arrangements and sheer atmosphere.

The appropriately titled Irresistible Force is just that – an enticing, catchy Robin Gibb composition that's impossible to resist. The emotional depth of Robin's distinctive, passionate voice is goosebumb-inducing and this up-tempo song's greatest asset. Be prepared to press the replay button multiple times. Still Waters was a fine return to form and should be in any Bee Gees fan’s music collection. The fact that they were capable of delivering such a solid, engaging album this late in their career is testament to The Bee Gees’ huge talent, craftsmanship and complete mastery of the art of songwriting.

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