May 3, 2007

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Simply Red, Stay
Simply Red Records, 2007

Simply Red’s Mick Hucknall hatched plans long ago to provide the soundtrack for Generation X’s twilight years, same way Prince decided in 1982 that he wanted to own the year 1999. Interesting approach to a retirement plan, that, and successful to a fault in Hucknall’s case, even if 8 out of 10 people will tell you their all-time most-hated song is “Holding Back the Years” (the other two will blurt whatever Corey Hart song comes to mind at the moment, and there you have ’80s music’s gift to music: a million reasons to hate music). Twinkling and downy soft in the main, Stay would work if you’ve worn out all your nice CDs from American Idol contestants, since even this album’s funk-popper (“Good Times Have Done Me Wrong”) is aimed solely at wedding planners, Hucknall’s cornet-like voice saving itself for Isley Brothers glory at the title track. In other news, album opener “The World and You Tonight” may be the best song they’ve ever done. C+Eric W. Saeger