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Justin Hayward

Deram DES 18073
Released: March 1977
Chart Peak: #37
Weeks Charted: 16

Original Album
Advertising Art

Songwriter is the first ex-Moody Blues solo album to approximate the vitality and appeal of the group albums that sold so well to long-haired kids with latent MOR tendencies in the late Sixties. And well it should, since Hayward has exerted a lot of effort to recycle the hooks, riffs and vocal inflections of those albums. Since Hayward's voice was always an integral component of the Moody Blues, Songwriter amounts to a followup to Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, six years later. All the features of the Moodys' sound are here -- the upbeat "Ride My See Saw" number with the drawn-out guitar notes ("Tightrope"), the introspective questioning of fates ("Doin' Time," "Nostradamus"), the angel choir vocal tracks (everywhere). Material that doesn't draw directly from the past is the least appealing; witness attempts at making Hayward a singer/songwriter à la Neil Sedaka on "Country Girl" or "Raised on Love." Hayward has lost little over the past few years (granted, he's gained equally little), and although this album seems unlikely to draw any new converts it will at least do well in the instant-nostalgia market.

- Alan Niester, Rolling Stone, 5/5/77.

Bonus Review!

Hayward has always been at his best as a mystical/romantic, and Songwriter is the solo album that best displays these qualities around a relatively lean sound. From the gentle, lullaby-like "Raised on Love" to the ethereal mystical "Nostradamus," the album is a beguiling collection of material, more personal than his work with the Moody Blues. The material is richly scored, yet lean enough to seem like chamber music next to the Moody Blues' rock symphonies. * * * *

- Bruce Eder, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.

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