Pony Canyon PCCY-01557
Produced by: Eric Martin

Released: OUT NOW / Website
Relatives: Goo Goo Dolls, Mr. Big
GENRE: Rock / Nu Breed

  1. My Disease
  2. Spaceman
  3. Goin' Sane
  4. Free Of It
  5. Marie
  6. There Goes The Neighborhood
  7. Carnival Of Souls
  8. Untouchable
  9. Bigger Man
  10. Who Am I Supposed To Be
  11. Everyday
  12. Fly*
  13. In Case You Didn't Know*

Most should know that I am a long time Eric Martin fan, both as a solo artist and as singer for Mr. Big.
But even I can be disappointed, as I was by a couple of Mr. Big's middle period albums and mostly by Eric's last solo album - which was classy, but way to soft and polite for my liking.
So I spent several weeks looking forward to this album, but with doubts in the back of my mind as to just how good it would be. After all, Mr. Big had returned only some months ago with a fabulous album that restored a lot of faith for me, but would this solo album do the same?
All that and more! This album totally rocks and has definitely caught me off guard with just how good it is and indeed, just how hard Eric rocks.
Not even on his early records has Eric been so outwardly aggressive in his singing, so I must place this alongside Mr. Big's Actual Size as two of the best albums Eric has been involved in.
Taking his own San Francisco based solo band into the writing and recording sessions for this album, Eric has emerged as a force to be reckoned with, proving that there will indeed be life after Mr. Big (should they permanently disband).
This album may not appeal to the wider fans base of Mr. Big, as it is more in your face than they have been in a long time and style wise is a momentous jump into modern rock territory.
Armed with classy songs and a voice in remarkable touch, Eric proves that he can be as contemporary as those like the Goo Goo Dolls or Marvelous 3.
That's right, this CD is both melodic styled modern hard rock, and punkish rock n roll with a strong commercial edge.
The album gets off to a rocking start, leaving no misunderstanding what's to come. My Disease is a heavy modern rocker featuring distorted guitar, effects channelled vocals in the verses and an aggressive edge not heard in Eric's voice before. This is right in your face and the chorus, as tough as it sounds, is highly memorable as is the song itself. The song changes paths as it goes, but is a fine way to kick start the album.
Spaceman is a little less intense, but still features a modern feel with a punkish delivery. The uptempo rocker runs through pretty quickly, but is still very catchy.
Goin' Sane is more commercial and supports a more familiar sound to classic Mr. Big and Martin fans. Still, it's very much guitar driven in the same in your face style as the rest of the album. The chorus is classic Eric Martin at his catchy anthem best. One of the album's best tracks.
Free Of It features a drum loop intro, briefly making one question what's to follow. But despite the effect that acts as a foundation to the song, the guitar still kicks in and the chorus sounds like it could have come from the last Mr. Big album, just with a modern edge.
Marie is pure punk rock! This frantically paced punk rock is a whole lotta fun and showcases another angle to Eric's musical personality. Punk and modern rock driven, but still very catchy.
There Goes The Neighborhood is a change of pace. Things are relaxed a little for this easier going pop rocker with a slightly earthy feel - might be that organ they use!
Carnival Of Souls is a little more straight ahead, this mid-tempo rocker goes through the paces ok, but doesn't feature a great chorus.
Untouchable sounds hot from the first lick. Just when the album seemingly needed a kick along, this track plants one firmly in the ass! This track rocks and features one of the album's best choruses and will appeal more so to long time fans of Eric. A classic hard rocker and maybe the album's best track.
Bigger Man is ballad time. And can you believe it took until track 9 for the first ballad to be rolled out? A far cry from the last solo album! The song features an occasional female co-lead vocal and is Eric doing his best soulful mid-tempo pop.
It's time to rock again with the funked up, mid-tempo, organ drenched Who Am I Supposed To Be. This is classic Mr. Big from any era. Could have come straight off the last album, or any other for that matter. The most Mr. Big-ish track of the album.
Everyday closes the regular form of the album, in fine Eric Martin sentimental acoustic pop style. One of Eric's better ballads in recent years.
Fly* is the first of the Japanese bonus tracks. This track is another great classic rocker! This is 80's hard rock with a modern edge and is the most straight up rocker of the album. This is 80's anthem hard rock that could easily be featured in a movie soundtrack - something Eric's pretty good at. Huge!
In Case You Didn't Know* is bonus track number two and is a slow to mid tempo bluesy ballad. Not a bad track at all, but not the essential bonus track that must be had.
BOTTOM LINE: Fabulous. It's just great to Eric breaking ot on his own and rocking harder than ever. Songwriting buddy Andre Pessis has a had in 9 of the album's songs, so you know it's always going to contain hooks, melodies and great choruses, despite the more aggressive, modern touch applied through the musical interpretation of the songs.
Together with that last Mr. Big album, Eric has recorded two melodic rock gems and I recommend this as highly as I did the Mr. Big record.
I'll rate it the exact same rating to that of Actual Size. There is no difference in quality, rather it will be down to personal tastes which appeals most to you, if not both. Both rock, but this has a modern edge - Mr. Big was more classic style.
ESSENTIAL FOR: All fans of solo Eric Martin and most fans of Mr. Big. Some modern rock fans.
DISCOGRAPHY:Eric Martin Band . Eric Martin . I'm Only Fooling Myself . Somewhere In The Middle . I'm Going Sane

18/02/05: Dr. Rockter -
Rating: 90
I have always loved Mr. Big! I would have to agree with Andrew’s review but would give it a little lower score. The songs are very good with a modern rock sound. There goes the neighborhood is one of my favorite songs…funny song. Very good CD.

13/09/02: Adam -
Rating: 99
Spanning the genres…

This album is a masterpiece. Eric Martin has dared to expand his musical scope, and the result is a hard-rocking, and frequently breathtaking collection of songs. Personally, I would tag this album as the most definitive release of Mr. Martin’s career. It encompasses his work with Mr. Big, his previous solo efforts, yet also ventures into new territories. Prepare yourselves for a lengthy review folks. :)

I’ll start with the overall presentation/packaging. The booklet is first-class, and includes lyrics for all 13 tracks (including the Japanese bonus section!), band member names/duties, as well as the standard list of song-writing credits, additional players and “thank you’s.” There are also plenty of pictures of Eric, and the actual insert is sturdy and higher in quality than your typical U.S. release.

I think it goes without saying that Eric is in top form here. He effortlessly handles each track, from soul-injected numbers like Bigger Man to the metal-tinged opening cut (My Disease). However, just as impressive is the band backing him. Each member’s performance assisted in making this record strong, consistent and instantly memorable. Mark Chole regales the disc with his undisputed bass prowess, which is impressive, though not over-the-top. Denise (Mrs.) Martin (Congrats to you and Eric again!) is the other half of the rhythm section, contributing a variety of both traditional and innovative beats to the album. I feel Paul Dorr is also very talented with his keyboard wizardry, which is particularly enjoyable on There Goes the Neighborhood. And last, but not least, Mark Holley is one of the most impressive and versatile guitarists I’ve heard in a long while. I think his riffs are amazing, and the man can wail too (“Untouchable” is an awesome display of soloing).

I also wanted to touch on the songwriting briefly. I’ve always found Eric Martin/Andre Pessis-penned songs to be among the best on any of Mr. Big’s releases, and this duo has proven that they haven’t lost their magic.

My personal track-by-track synopsis of this “don’t miss” sonic experience…

My Disease: This seems to be the undisputed favorite of many reviewers. The track’s groove is infectious, and the overall “feel” of the track is heavy. In fact, it’s one of the heaviest Eric has ever recorded. Personally, I love the bass tone and drum fills, which stand out particularly during the musical interlude that segues the bridge. Though crunchy and almost nu-metalesque at times, it retains its’ melodic nature. A fantastic way to start this album!
Spaceman: “Chock-full” of hooks. This song is the perfect selection to transition the listener into slightly mellower material (as My Disease is unarguably the heaviest track), though it still rocks! It touches on the viewpoint of wanting to escape. Don’t we all just want to get away sometimes? “You’re my rocket out of here!”
Goin’ Sane: I can’t say enough about this song to do it justice! It is the title track and has a very catchy chorus and is instantaneously likable!
Free of It: This song had to grow on me, but I highly recommend giving it a chance if it’s not your favorite right away. A drum loop is interwoven with live drumming, which adds a fresh and different sound to the track. I also liked the “rap” part of the song. I’ll admit that I cringed when I read “(rap)” in the booklet, but it is actually my fav. part of the song.
Marie: Punk-influenced and very head-bobbable! Denise owns this song! It is full of energy and unrelenting. Love it, love it!!
There Goes the Neighborhood: Creative and at times quirky lyrics, laced with a gentle poke at blue collar, trailer-dwelling types. It’s kind of a modern-day Beverly Hillbilly’s story, and an enjoyable, medium-paced number.
Carnival of Souls: This song is hard-rocking and has Eric screaming wildly at the closing of the guitar solo. Great fretwork coupled with some very in-your-face vocals. Nice.
Untouchable: Radio-friendly and riff-laden. I believe this song is another standout, and quite fun to blast in the car. It’s sing-along quality and driving beat will cause you to miss exit signs and get speeding tickets though, so play with caution. <grin>
Bigger Man: Eric always hits his mark on ballads, and this one is no exception. It is the first introduction to the softer side of the new incarnation of the Eric Martin Band, and hits the high standards set by the previous tracks. It is R&B-flavored and features some excellent back-up vocals, and is almost reminiscent of Hall & Oates in style. The message here is that the narrator isn’t able to look past “everything that’s wrong with us,” and suggests his lady love needs a “bigger man.”
Who Am I Supposed to Be?: Every time I hear this song I find myself playing air guitar and trying to sing along. I say “trying” because Eric’s voice is perfect here, and in his higher range. It doesn’t get it much better than this ladies and gentlemen.
Everyday: I’m going to quote Eric here; “the quintessential love song.” The message is great. People frequently take for granted that their loved ones know how they feel. Everybody call someone now and let them know how you love them; this song will make you want to do it! … really beautiful piano too, courtesy of Mr. Paul Dorr.
Fly: There are many times where bonus tracks are disappointing, but this is not the case here! In fact, this song should be included on all releases, both domestic and abroad. It’s another great song to speed to, and would be perfect for the soundtrack of a millennium-era “Top Gun” flick. Definitely!
In Case You Didn’t Know: Let me intro one of the aforementioned “additional players;” say hello to Mr. James Fisher. His guitar playing is phenomenal and unparalleled on this touching ballad about someone not wanting to release the memories from a previous relationship. This song is very poignant for me. I also think it’s one of the best offerings on this disc.

If you enjoy Eric Martin’s previous work (solo or with Mr. Big), and are able to get into different genres of music, you will be pleased and impressed by this record. “Goin’ Sane” fits easily into the present ever-changing musical climate, and would be a fine addition (highlight) to anyone’s cd collection.

- Adam

24/05/02: Tracy -
Rating: 80
This cd has enough strong tracks to overshadow the poor ones. If you enjoyed his previous efforts then I feel this one will also be to your taste. The best tracks are, Fly, Everyday, Goin Insane and Who Am I Supposed To Be. I remember first hearing Sucker for a Pretty Face when I moved to Florida. I thought man, this cat is gonna explode some day. He did somewhat with Mr. Big but I expected so much more. Still I like this cd and think it's better than most out there these days. At least he has talent where most of the bands these days are so limited.

15/05/02: Alex Lee Ericsson -
Rating: 30
What is this????
I've thought that when we grow older we get wiser...but Eric has just proved us that it isn't true...A guy like Eric with a perfect voice,pitch and everything...why he's sinking this deep...NuBreed shit..aaarggh...Eric's WORST work yet...just like Rush's new album...Mega-Disappointment!!!

01/05/02: frytzsdmf -
Rating: 99
I think this album just rocks! After listening to it the first time yesterday I gotta say it's a really strong album with good songs...and I think the modern edge adds something that was missing on actual size (although I think it's a great album as well).

18/04/02: Stacie -
Rating: 92
I too had to listen a few times to really get the 'vibe' of the album. Though I adored Mr. Big's "Actual Size", my favourite Eric album is "Somewhere In The Middle." But this album is a MUST for any ~E~ fan certainly! My favs are "Goin' Sane" "There Goes The Neighborhood" and "Fly". I can't wait to get back to the States and see him perform this stuff live again! He truly is a GREAT performer!

16/04/02: Mr. Soul -
Rating: 85
Eric's new album has really grown on me.Still, I don't love every song but it's a really good album nontheless (although he can't touch SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE). And Eric's voice is as always a keeper. Favorite songs so far are GOIN' SANE, FREE OF IT, CARNIVAL OF SOULS, BIGGER MAN, WHO AM I SUPPOSED TO BE,EVERYDAY and THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD which is absolutly outstanding!

15/04/02: Ques -
Rating: 97
I am very pleased with this album all over. If you like Eric's voice and vocal style, this is definitely a "buy". So far, my favorite tracks are "My Disease", "There goes the neighborhood", "Who am I supposed to be?", "Free of it", "Everyday" and "Fly".

14/04/02: freddy de keyzer -
Rating: 40
I always try to be honest. Mr.Martin has a great voice but the material on this CD is so disappointing. Once again a guy that jumped on the bandwagon of modern nu-breed rock. Not my cup of tea an I have no respect for people doing that. Avoid like the plague !

13/04/02: David Mosley -
Rating: 87
loved the album but dosent the cover remind you of martin short the actor. Best track the ballard everyday its so positive. The album on the whole is like a great mr big album without over the top baselines. On the whole i cant fault it but i rate all songs by the quality of boston dont look back album so 87 aint bad.

ADD YOUR OWN REVIEW! (Ratings out of 100 please)