Tryin' to Get the Feeling
Arista AL 4060
Released: October 1975
Chart Peak: #5
Weeks Charted: 87
Certified 2x Platinum: 9/2/87
Barry Manilow's toothy cheerfulness isn't really offensive -- it's actually preferable to the lachrymse self-pity that soaks through so much current "product" -- but it's lightheaded an emotionally vapid. Manilow is a gifted producer and melodist, and were the lyrics not so mercilessly stupid, Tryin' to Get the Feeling might be satisfying MOR.
Bruce Johnston's "I Write the Songs," for example, is a celebration of the songwriting profession which informs us that "music fills your heart/well thats a real fine place to start." What's distressing is that Manilow sings this slush with such histrionic conviction. He's better at upbeat kickers like "New York City Rhythm" (a predefault salute to the Apple), "A Nice Boy Like Me" and his reworking of the American Bandstand theme ("Bandstand Boogie"); in each case the momentum carries one over his puppyish mannerisms. All three will make killer singles and Barry Manilow may soon eclipse Elton John as the most successful servant of the jukebox. Like Captain Fantastic, Manilow excels in commerce, and on the evidence of this new album, he doesn't care about anything else.
- James Wolcott, Rolling Stone, 1/1/76.
After a string of successful singles, Manilow lets loose with another superlative effort loaded with at least three other potential singles. As usual, he has put together a package of all single-length tunes that are totally diversified. Manilow has something for every listener on this album. Whether it's a soft ballad or a catchy rocker, Manilow displays his talents to the fullest. After waiting in the shadows for years, Manilow has emerged as one of the '70s' most important writer-performers and this LP is living proof that he is continuing to grow as a recording artist. Best cuts: "New York City Rhythm," "Why Don't We Live Together," "I Write The Songs" (very strong single contender), "A Nice Boy Like Me," "Lay Me Down," "Beautiful Music."
- Billboard, 1975.
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