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FERGIE FREDERIKSEN / EQUILIBRIUM
LABEL: MTM MUSIC
OVERALL: 90%
Produced by: Ricky Phillips
  1. Blaze Of Love
  2. Mata Hari
  3. Equilibrium
  4. All For Love
  5. Best I Can
  6. Crazy
  7. Tell Me Diana
  8. Falling Into Place
  9. Died In the Midst Of A Dream
  10. The Truth Is Good Enough
  11. Language Of Love
This album is sensational.
At first it wasn't what I expected it to be, especially after the last collaboration by Fergie with Ricky Phillips on Frederiksen/Phillips.
Fegie signed on to MTM with buddy Ricky Phillips hired as album coordinator and producer, running through a stack of songs and finally choosing the songs he thought fitted Fergie best and would highlight the vocalists' talents.
What the result is, turns out to be one of the smoothest Westcoast AOR albums since the heydays of mid 80's Chicago and certainly one of MTM's finest moments.
This is the type of record any major label would be mighty proud of and has the production, musician and vocal quality of any major release.
The albums credits run like a who's who of AOR. The base of the band was Ricky Phillips, Bruce Gowdy, Ron Wikso with Tim Pierce and Guy Allison. Providing backing vocals - the quality of which is just superb, was Kelly Hansen, Jason Scheff, Jeff Scott Soto and Ricky Phillips. Other notable guests include Neal Schon, Rocket Ritchotte, Steve Porcaro, Marcus Nand and Denny Land of the Moody Blues.
The Starship track Blaze Of Love is the opener and is done fairly faithfully by Fergie and co. It is certainly smoother than the original and like the rest of the album is powerfully delivered while keeping it smooth and from going completely over the top.
When Fergie screams 'I'm Over The Edge' towards the end of the track, you certainly don't doubt him. Vocally, this is powerful stuff. Mata Hari is a cleverly titled track that is one of only a few truly guitar driven tracks on Equilibrium.
The strong intro dips back into a pop verse and toughens up for a rock chorus. The style is a mix of Toto's Isolation and Frederiksen/Phillips.
The Jim Peterik co-penned title track is all pure power AOR. A mid paced rocker and ballad all in one the chorus contains some of the best backing vocals I have heard. Fergie's vocals are strong and controlled and it is left to the soaring backing vocals to take this track into AOR heaven.
It is after the instrumental break, the song rises another notch and simply goes off. This will be an all time favourite for a long time to come.
The next track is another superb slice of pure AOR. Fergie puts it all into this track. The Chicago/Toto cross track is one of the biggest ballads since God knows what.
The chorus sees the vocals rise up and the backing vocals carry it further still. Some nice soft guitar soloing adds to the feel. Another classic.
At this point the album leaves AOR behind and heads for Westcoast city. The next few tracks are pure Westcoast and have a jazzy Chicago, King Of Hearts and Toto mix.
Best I Can is a mid paced and jazzy pop track. Smooth vocals over horns, keyboards and soul influenced backing vocals.
Easily matching any Joseph Williams solo track.
Crazy is pure Chicago. This track could have been lifted from Chicago 18 or 19 and has everything a Peter Cetera track has and more. I asked Ricky about this and he said he thought it was so much in the style of Chicago, he had to ask Jason Scheff about it. Turned out to be a track they never recorded and so Ricky and Fergie decided to record it as if it was Chicago recording it. Indeed it does. Touches also on Cetera's solo track The Glory Of Love.
Tell Me Diana is a little more in AOR territory, mixing a little Toto with Westcoast. A soft chorus sees Fergie singing in a more familiar Isolation tone and a chorus that has Steve Lukather all over it.
Falling Into Place is another big AOR ballad. It's a moody track with the feel of Toto and Chicago again, but a chorus that rises like All For Love did and is pure AOR. Some great vocals here, with Fergie providing some of his own backing vocals.
Died In The Midst Of A Dream is totally Toto, but more from the Fareinheit era. This is Fergie singing a track that normally would have seen Joseph Williams at the helm. It is a soft and medium paced pop ballad. Very smooth and maybe not too all tastes. I like it, but some might find this track one of the albums only slow spots. Great soulful backing vocals if you give it a chance. It also reminds me of the slow ballads on guitarist Michael Thompson's solo album How Long.
The Truth Is Good Enough is pure Chicago once again. A ballad that builds to a more uptempo ending. Like some of Chicago's tracks, there is no big chrous, just a progression of melodies amd good vocals. This would suit a big 80's movie soundtrack.
Language Of Love ends the album and lifts the tempo a little. It starts soft but builds into a great mid paced AOR ballad. The verse is soft but the bridge rises and then the chorus does it all. The vocals rise a little and the backing vocals are back in there, even if it is a little more restrained than the first few tracks on the album.
So this is one great album. Class all the way as I said. But of course, please realise that this may not be for your average hard rock fan. This is a mature sophisticated pop rock album.
Ricky Phillips has done a magnificent job with producing the album and his arrangements of the backing vocals are to be applauded.
Fergie's vocals are another highlight. He shows strength and diversity that he has previously kept somewhat hidden.
Westcoast fan's album of the year.
PRODUCTION: 93%SONGS: 90%VIBE: 87%ATTITUDE: 91%
ESSENTIAL FOR: Toto, Westcoast, Mr Mister, Chicago and smooth pop rock fans.


12/04/05: GoodMusicGuy - voyages@gmx.net
Rating: 100
This is outstanding! Mr.Frederiksen presents truly high class songs here. "Dying In The Midst Of A Dream" is one of the best AOR ballads I heard in my life. Great stuff.

08/04/05: Freddy - frebre@web.de
Rating: 90
Fergie is back! That's soooooooooooooooooo good. I love Fergie. If you don't buy this album - you are a fool.

16/01/04: Mark - mark@wyse583.freeserve.co.uk
Rating: 100
A shining example of the talent of Fergie; the guy could sing the telephone directory and sound cool. "Blaze of Love" is simply incredible and "Crazy" is ear candy as are all of the songs on this fine album - Albums like this just do not come along so much anymore.

03/07/01: kindheartedwolf - kindheartedwolf@door.net
Rating: 97
I think this CD is exceptional! I've had it for several months and still enjoy all the songs. It's true Blaze of Love and Equilibrium are more rockers, although Mata Hari has some rocking moments. Equilibrium takes listener on an
exciting journey, and the songs flow smoothly and effortlessly.
The entire CD,IMHO contains insightful messages, harmony and
plenty of hooks that have you hooked after a couple of spins. All for Love, Best I Can Be, The Truth Is Good Enough and Crazy are beautiful power ballads. I know this might not be everyone's
cup of tea, but Equilibrium has got a lot to offer! If you're
looking to have your socks rocked off this may not do it, but if
you're searching for well crafted songs, excellent harmony, and
hooks that grab your ears, give Equilibrium a try! You may be in
for a real treat!

17/04/01: Dr Nick - ncsamaniego@compuserve.com
Rating: 60
Isolation is just about my favourite Toto album, so I was expecting fireworks on this release.
I'm afraid fans of FF in Toto will be disappointed - there are just too many ballads and mid-tempo songs on this.

The CD starts with a bit of a bang, and kind of sustains it for 2 more tracks, but then everything slows down and the momentum is lost.

The best song is the title track, and Fergie's voice is in good form, but the songwriting is patchy and I just got bored halfway through.
And I've owned this CD for a while, so this isn't a first impression only.
I've played it to seversl friends who are also Toto fans, and their opinion is the same.

Foreigner fans may like it, though.

18/03/00: Susumu - sfuku@d7.dion.ne.jp
Rating: 92
Great album. I heard he was the Vocalist of Toto's Isolation, but as far as I have heard, this album sounds
more like Chicago than Toto. Particularly Crazy is Chicago clone.
I am also glad that Jim Peterik's excellent songwriting is unwavered in Euilibrium and The Truth Is Good Enough also
Mr. Mister's Richard Page made astounding tune
Falling Into Grace,and the rest of the tracks are no fillers
Maybe it is better than Peter Cetera/Chicago's prime time albums
It was too bad it got little radio airplay support
in Japan. (I played Euilibrium though). I am sure Chicago fans
would love this.



10/07/99: JACE - JPAWLAK@DMXSYS.COM
Rating: 25
SORRY SORRY SORRY!!! But I must disagree with every review on here. Let me preface this by saying a few things: I didn't just listen to this album once, sneer, and decide I don't like it. When I get a new album I have a habit of listening to it in my car for a week or so . So I sat thru this particular bore about 5 times. So I'm not making a snap judgement here. Also... (this may seem like a soapbox) but I have a problem with solo artists who don't write their own music. Don't get me wrong, I don't necessarily think that EVERY singer should write. BUT... if the name on the album is the singer's NAME then they should have SOMETHING to do with the writing. That's just my personal opinion and I don't mean to pick on Fergie here, it's just a good opportunity to vent about how people that can't write should be IN a band, not BE the band.
Okay... the review... (Again, sorry Andrew. I love your page but I must speak my mind here...)
What a waste of $30 ordering this flop! I figured with Ricky Phillips at the helm I'd get SOMETHING worth owning. I guess I'll learn. *sigh*
BLAZE OF LOVE- My God don't EVER try to outsing Mickey Thomas. The production's not bad but once you've heard the "Love Among The Cannibals" version there really is no comparisn. I swear to you toward the end of this song when Fergie screeches "Oh... I"m over the edge..." it literally hurt my ears. They put his vocals SO far out in the mix at that part I had to turn it down every time it came up... ouch.
MATI HARI- This song isn't so bad. The words are kinda goofy but overall it's not bad (probably because there's no other version to compare it to) One of the few redeeming tracks on this bomb.
EQUILIBRIUM- Good song. Thru and thru the only solid track on this record. The harmonies are what make this song worth listening to.
ALL FOR LOVE- YUK YUK YUK YUK YUK YUK!!! The epitome of how bad this album is. HOW in the hell did he get to do a Martin Page song??? And what's with the goofy production? One of the best songs ever and it's just plain butchered here. I truly compare it to what it would sound like if The Backstreet Boys tried to cover a Rick Springfield song. Night and Day. Again, like track one... For God's sake don't EVER try to outsing Nancy Wilson!
BEST I CAN- Half of the chorus is good.... that's it. The rest is very unremarkable and plain.
CRAZY- Oh my God it's a Chicago song produced by Mickey Mouse! Fairly good song in and of itself but it's not very smooth, it's kinda "jerky" Too many odd syncopations and chord changes. BUT... it IS one of the finer songs on this album (which should tell you something)
TELL ME DIANA- Diana! Please spit it out so he quits whining!!!!
FALLING INTO PLACE- I honestly had to think real real hard to even remember this song at all... THAT'S how boring it is.
DIED IN THE MIDST OF A DREAM- This song is salvagable. Primarily because at this point in the album you aren't expecting much anymore. It's fair, it's average, and for THIS album it's exceptional.
THE TRUTH IS GOOD ENOUGH- This one is okay. This song is one of the few (if not only) very well produced tracks. Every instrument has a place. I can stomach about half of this one before it gets old.
THE LANGUAGE OF LOVE- I didn't do a whole lot of research on this song but I bet if I dug a little bit I could find that whoever wrote the lyrics for this was either fired from Hallmark in the past or just recently graduated from elementary school. "...with the music composed in our hearts..." Oh GOD when that part comes I can't roll my eyes far enough!! The meaning of this song is so childish and fluffy that it's pathetic. And actually a HIGHLY appropriate way to end this drab, disappointing, inferior piece of work.
I truly hate to rip this apart so badly but I can't help myself. Fergie should go on sobatical for awhile and actually try writing his OWN songs. It's not the production, performance, or quality of this album that's terrible. It's the songs.... they're just plain boring. Again, I'm sorry if I stepped on anyone's toes here but it's how I feel. This record was a waste of my time and money. HEY FERGIE!! if you MUST cover other songs try to do songs that you can sing BETTER than the original singer. I can't see myself ever being in the mood to hear any songs on this record. This CD will sit in my rack for years collecng

09/05/99: Dan Altobelli/Chaos Theory - ChaosDan@AOL.com
Rating: 90
This is a great Mid/Soft Rock album. Fergie sounds better than his Toto days, and I like it more than Frederiksen/Phillips. Fergie was at his best with LeRoux, at least for me. But the production is excellent and the songs wrap you up. Best non-cover song - Equilibrium. Fergie rules!!

05/05/99: Chris - chsitter@yahoo.com
Rating: 95
Excellent work! The one I've waited for for some years and a deep thanx to the folks at MTM! What makes a record a good one are good songs and nothing else! We'll find at least seven one this little masterpieceon

03/05/99: Klaus Jakobsen - onni@online.no
Rating: 100
Best album of this decade!!!!

25/04/99: Dave Williams - dwilly5150@aol.com
Rating: 85
Although a good CD I found myself getting tired of this one pretty quickly. After "Blaze Of Love" it just never picks up again. Don't get me wrong, The songs are all good and the musicians are excellent. Just a little too mellow for me. I would have like to hear some more rockers on this one. Fergies voice sounds great throughout. But I still think he was better with Toto. Won't be in my CD player as much as "Mindfields" But a solid CD none-the-less.

14/04/99: Laurent - laurent_biehly@swissre.com
Rating: 97
Amazing, fantastic, outstanding ! A must to have for all Westcoast/AOR fans. Fergie's voice is great on all tracks and the songwriting is way above average. "Blaze Of Love", "Best Of Me" and mainly "Dying In The Midst Of A Dream" are absolute classics !

Bruce Gowdy's guitar work is his finest to date. Ricky Phillips did a great job both as a bass player and a producer. And Ron Wikso's drumming is the most brilliant I've ever heard in this genre of music.


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