Glowing effervescently with enough harmony and melody to warm even the coldest heart, The Cowsills -- Susan, John, Bob and Paul -- are back with a brand-new CD, "Global," as sure a sign as there has been in quite a while that pure pop is indeed alive and well.
By any yardstick, "Global" is one of the best pop albums of the year. Its 11 songs surround you with majestic beauty. If you listen closely, you can hear the beating of the hearts of all nations, brought together by likely the most common bond of all: music that touches all souls, as one.
Like a good book, "Global" is hard to put down, hard to listen to in spurts, and easy to listen to all the way through. Its 42 minutes seep into your skin and transform you. After listening to it, you quite possibly will never be the same.
John Cowsill's only lead vocal on "Global" kicks off the album in grand style. "I can't wait any longer," he sings, uttering the first lyric heard. The group's harmony answer comes on its heels: "When is it coming, when is it coming?" The answer is, of course, "It's here now" -- that familiar, friendly sound that instantly takes you back.
But this is not retro mystery tour. This is The Cowsills, dab smack in the 90s, singing with contemporary urgency. "Under The Gun," the second song on this album, features harmony singing from Vicki Peterson and a great lead vocal from Susan.
"She Said To Me" hits you at top speed. Featuring another lead vocal from Susan, this is a real toe tapper with as infectious a chorus as you're likely to encounter this year. Susan's husband, Peter Holsapple, guests on a number of songs, including the sixties-ish hum-along, "What I Believe," written by Bob for his wife Mary Jo. Beautiful harmonies abound here. A chorus to die for is the centerpiece.
The Cowsills ramp up the power on three songs: "I Be Low," featuring Susan on electric rhythm guitar, "Far Away," once again featuring Susan on lead vocals, and "Rescue," with great harmony vox on the choruses.
I think the version of "Is It Any Wonder?" included here is the same one that appeared on Yellow Pills, Vol. 1. Doesn't matter, though: I absolutely agree that this wonderful song "...should at least be on a commercially available record by now, if not a hit single," as Bill Holdship says in the "Global" liner notes.
The centerpiece here, to these ears, is the final cut. "Some Good Years" features this album's most complex arrangement and maybe its smoothest, richest harmonies. It is quite a performance. "How the good shines through," the Cowsills sing during the song, and how right they are.
"Global" is a towering achievement, a blessed event for pop fans everywhere.
© 1997,1998 Alan Haber and
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Last updated: April 16, 2005
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