10CC: WINDOWS IN THE JUNGLE (1983)
The final squeak from the band, before it went on a decade-long hiatus. What we have here is a desperate, but even so, only half-hearted attempt to squeeze the last bit of power from the few remaining drops of fuel — you can almost literally hear the agonizing sounds of the engine dying down in the middle of an Arizona desert. Windows In The Jungle is just another mix of sappy ballads, now veering on the brink of choppy adult contemporary, and all-natural reggae grooves made from 100% concentrate; "auto-pilot" is the best way to summarize it in one word.
The saddest thing of all is that the Gouldman/Stewart duo still had some creative songwriting left within — many of these songs have sane, interesting melodic ideas, nothing too original, but, under better conditions, you could at least shape 'Americana Panorama', 'City Lights' and 'Working Girls' into convincing New Wave rockers. But it's not enough to string together memorable choruses — you have to imbue them with some sort of sense, to energize them, so to speak, and neither the musical arrangements nor the singing betray any signs of energy. The music is all either synthesizers or Eric's gentle, but — by this point — lethargic jangle, and the singing is completely passionless.
Windows In The Jungle also has the merit of featuring at least two of the worst tracks ever created by the band. If the main problem of the album opener '24 Hours' is the length (eight minutes may be too long even for a good progressive rock number, it certainly is overkill for a synth-pop one), the next two songs are enough to kill off any semi-decent impression or semi-tepid hopes you had for the record. 'Feel The Love' is "cod reggae", an attempt to imitate Bob Marley that miserably fails because of its rigid and robotic attitude, and 'Yes I Am!' is every bit as pathetic as the most pathetic ballad you'll ever see on a Foreigner album — which is pretty pathetic. Just how sad is it to hear a band that used to have some of the sharpest lyrics on all the
The only redeeming moment on the whole record is the coda to the album closer 'Taxi! Taxi!', a trifling, but pretty instrumental passage based around Eric's looping guitar theme and some non-ugly keyboard work. It is quite sympathetic in its position of a humble goodbye to the fans (not that Eric and Graham were really meaning it), as long as you manage to detach it from the rest of the song. There is no greatness here, of course, just a drop of sadness, warmth, and nostalgia. And it is obviously not redeeming the existence of this album as a whole, justified only by the fact that it would be a great help in accelerating the milk-curdling process if you play it next to your milk. Thumbs down — from the indignant brain, mostly, because the heart has long since fallen asleep.