Originally Posted by aleuzzi
ITM is a great sleeper, a cool project we didn’t see coming. It got very mixed reviews when it first appeared—the usual Christine criticism: she’s great in the band but on her own a bit bland. Honestly, I did NOT agree this time out.
One of the obvious shortcomings of the 1984 record was its bid for wide commercial appeal. This went against much of what made Christine’s musical style so appealing. On that record, the standout tracks—“One in a Million” and “Smile I Live For”—capture two very different features of her musical identity: the earthy blues and the haunting ballad. Other than those tracks (and a couple of others slightly below them in quality) that solo record did not seem genuine to me. It felt calculated, and it suffered because of it.
By contrast, ITM emerged organically as a project that affirmed Christine’s desire to create music on her own terms. As a result, she sounds relaxed, and the musical environment of the record suits her perfectly. The ballads—“Calumny” and “Northern Star—might have been written by Dan Perfect but they “perfectly” suit her voice and attack. Likewise, the catchy, mid-tempo numbers—“So Sincere”, “Friend”, and “You Are”—have a quiet fire that simmers underneath the pop craftsmanship. But, for me anyway, the album’s best moments are the R&B-inflected numbers like “Anything is Possible,” “Bad Journey”, “Forgiveness” and the driving “Liar”. These songs show her at her sauciest. Top that with the lovely closer, “Giving it Back”, a tune worthy of The Eagles at their best, and you have a remarkable suite of songs that hangs together nicely.
My only complaint is that the acoustic version of “Friend” was not available on the disc as well. THAT arrangement of the tune is better than anything on the album!
I agree with everything you said except one thing
I agree that ITM is more genuine Christine McVie than her 1984 solo album. She was under no pressure and it was just her pleasure recording when she wanted to at her house with her nephew. What an incredible experience that was!!
I would not call her 1984 solo outing "calculating." The reason part of the album ventures off the traditional Christine McVie was because she did not want to do the album alone. Warner Brothers wanted a solo album from her and probably gave her a nice advance to do so. She met Todd Sharpe during Mick's solo outings and he also played in Bob Welch's band. She told Todd she wanted him to do her solo album with. So we get songs written by Todd that Christine sings like I'm The One which is not a typical Christine song. At the time, I loved the idea and sound. She stepped out of her comfort zone. 30 +years later I look back and wish the entire album was just her. I love the idea she did not do a pure pop album. There is no cheezy 80's sound on it which is refreshing to hear. There are amazing songs on her 1984 solo album: The Smile I Live For, The Challenge, Ask Anybody, etc. Those are so rich in Christine goodness. Christine is not a solo star. She needs and loves to work with someone else or an entire band. She hit the nail on the head when in 1984 she said her solo album was not the most adventurous album in the world but it was pleasing to her own ears. That was so TRUE. Her 1984 album had mixed reviews. One article stated her album lacked musical muscle even though Eric Clapton, Lindsey Buckingham, and Mick Fleetwood play on it. They stated the songs were not wimpy but failed to energize the listener.