Thursday, June 2, 2022

"Voices of Babylon" by The Outfield

Song#:  3842
Date:  03/25/1989
Debut:  97
Peak:  25
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  This band's second single from their 1985 double-platinum debut album Play Deep, "Your Love," became a memorable #6 hit. However, after that success the band struggled to get another single in the Pop Top 10. Their gold second album Bangin' featured only one Pop chart single, the #31 "Since You've Been Gone." They needed something better to keep them relevant and so for their third album Voice of Babylon, lead guitarist/songwriter John Spinks took on production duty along with David Kahne and David Leonard. Spinks once again wrote all the songs (one was co-written with lead singer Tony Lewis) including this title track first single. The tune would do well enough to become the band's biggest hit at Rock reaching #2. However, it failed to fully ignite at Pop and it stalled way short of the Top 10. The results left the album peaking at #53.

ReduxReview:  With this single is seemed like the band wanted to create something a bit more mature and different from their typical power pop fare and they sort of succeeded. It was a good album track that seemed to play well on rock radio with Tony Lewis turning in another terrific vocal, However, it wasn't something that was going to be a major player at pop. The chorus didn't really stand out and the tune was lacking the type of hooks needed to lure in the kids. The production has a more European flavor, which was different from their typical US arena rock sound (even though they were from the UK). I appreciate they were trying to expand their sound, but they still needed to bring along the big hooks that made "Your Love" a durable 80s hit.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  The Voices of Babylon cover featured a tic-tac-toe style grid and in the spaces were specific symbols. Going clockwise around the grid beginning in the upper left square, the symbols actually spell our the name of the band, Outfield. It doesn't look like it because the symbols used come from a method of switching plain text into a code commonly known as pigpen cipher (there are other names as well for it including Freemason cipher). Based on pairs of tic-tac-toe grids and X's, with or without dots in the spaces, each space equates to a letter of the alphabet. The cipher has been around for hundreds of years and so because of that and its simplicity, it is a highly insecure form of communication. However, it can still be fun, especially for kids who discover it and want to send secret messages to each other.


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