This album was a huge disappointment. I had read many reviews that hailed Paddy McAloon as one of the greatest songwriters of his generation. Indeed, When Love Breaks Down is one of the saddest songs I have ever heard. It shows the real aspect of any relationship: that it’s not easy and always filled with tests and tension. In fact, I can’t think of anyone who has captured this feeling better. But, the rest of the album was lost on me. It probably has to do with the fact that Steve McQueen/Two Wheels Good is over produced. The band recruited Thomas Dolby (yes, THAT Thomas Dolby) to act as producer. I have no issue with Dolby’s solo output and some of it is AMAZING (I Scare Myself, Windpower). But, he was the wrong guy for the job. Too many synthesizers and slick pop production. It then causes most of the songs to go unnoticed. McAloon’s lyrics become buried under Dolby’s prowess. It’s really too bad. Maybe I will listen to it again at some point but, despite this, When Love Breaks Down still holds up as one of THE greatest love songs of all time. Overall, I give When Love Breaks Down, 2 out of 5.
Next: Fear and Whiskey by Mekons