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JSS Beautiful Mess Frontiers Records
FRCD401
· Produced By: Paulo Mendonça & JSS

· Running Time: 51.30

· Release Date: Out Now

· Released:

· Musical Style: Pop/Rock/Soul

· Links: JSS Frontiers
96%
Songs: 95%
Sound: 97%
Beautiful Mess is anything but. In fact, the album, which marks Jeff Scott Soto's switch to a more organic soul-rich sound, could well be his personal pinnacle for performance and emotion.
Signaling a change of direction a couple of years back, JSS has been intent on capturing the best elements of his many musical influences, which have always been on show in some parts of his prior solo career.
Pop, Soul, R&B and funk have all played a part in the JSS sound, but now they are front and center, with rock taking a backseat.
Beautiful Mess is a collaboration with Swedish songwriter/producer/musician Paulo Mendonca, largely recorded in Sweden.
I know there will be some JSS fans that might on the surface have a hard time accepting the direction change or the mood of the album. But the more you listen, the more the music appears as simply a natural progression from the sound we already know and love.
The main difference in the record – aside from the obvious production effects, sampling and various bells and whistles, is the fact it is simply a more mature and mellower, reflective Jeff Scott Soto.
The album reflects a particular state of mind and the performances ooze passion and emotion and for that reason, I loved the record from the first note. It is just so honest and real – and positively electric in its delivery and tone.
Track By Track:
21st Century is a snappy, effects filled modern pop rock track with a sultry vocal and a lush production and a catchy melodic chorus. A perfect set up for the record ahead and the new JSS direction.
Cry Me A River is a mellower, more reflective soulful pop/rock track with a slightly funky undertone.
Gin & Tonic Sky is simply one of the best songs JSS has ever put vocal to. This is a soulful, emotional and passionate pop ballad with some fabulous harmony vocals and an unforgettable chorus – not to mention the inspired lyrics. Outstanding vocals, from the softly sung beginning to the more powerful finish.
Hey is a largely acoustic based song and again features a sparse arrangement, with only the absolutely necessary instrumentation playing a part. A rockier chorus and more prominent guitars add a little muscle. Another wonderfully reflective track.
Broken Man is yet another inspired and touching acoustic driven ballad with a ton of soul and some delicate, well-placed harmony vocals. Another classy track and another killer vocal.
The first "half" of the album closes with a slight change of musical course. Opening with some of the more reflective mellower tunes in the new arsenal, JSS now rocks it up a little with a more modern rock friendly tone on the funky, effects filled rocker Mountain.
That is closely followed by the modern rock anthem Our Song, which while dressed up in a contemporary setting, is probably the closest thing to JSS of old on the album. A great hands-in-the-air chorus comes at a perfect time in the scheme of the album.
Eye and Bring It Home might be a couple of tracks that the traditionalists could struggle with – funky, driving pop/rock with a R&B base. Still, a well written song is a well written song – no matter the style and these have their own style of catchiness.
Testify is another track that has a familiar air to it – a funky rocker with a Prince influence – drawing on Jeff's debut solo album Love Parade and his occasional style deviations since that point.
Wherever U Wanna Go is a song of contrasts – a slow, mellow verse and an upbeat pop chorus with a great hook. Really works well and is another album highlight.
Kick It is an acoustic driven modern pop track with a changing pace and a tempo that builds through the song to a rousing almost retro pop styled finish.
Heart Starts Healing and Take You Over With Me are both easy going, free flowing pop/rockers with a more traditional sound, while also matching the "new" JSS.

The bonus DVD is a very worthwhile addition to the package, containing 4 different music videos and a 20 minute discussion about the new album from JSS, whilst also cruising thru the corridors of the NAMM show, with countless guests making an appearance.
The Bottom Line
A truly great album for those that appreciate the craft of making good music and the art of making a record from one's heart.
JSS is all over this as far as style and influences and he sings his heart out. Paulo contributes some world-class pop production tricks and instrumentation and together they deserve to take on the world and win. Hopefully established JSS fans will all appreciate the work that has gone into this record and I'm also hopeful it will draw in a new range of fans.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
· Love Parade
· Holding On EP
· Prism
· Live At The Gods
· Believe In Me EP
· Lost In The Translation
· Beautiful Mess

Line Up:
· JSS: Vocals
· Paulo Mendonça: Most Instrumentation

Essential For Fans Of:
· Jeff Scott Soto - Love Parade
· Pop/Soul/Funk based Rock
Track Listing
· 21st Century *
· Cry Me A River *
· Gin & Tonic Sky *
· Hey
· Broken Man *
· Mountain
· Our Song *
· Eye
· Bring It Home
· Testify *
· Whereever U Wanna Go *
· Kick It
· Heart Starts Healing
· Take You Over With Me

--*Best Tracks


04/12/09: DAVID - FROGLEGS100@HOTMAIL.COM
Rating: 80
VERY GOOD CD. JSS IS ONE OF THE FEW ARTISTS THAT I WILL FOLLOW INTO DIFFERENT MUSICAL GENRES. HE COULD SING THE PHONE BOOK AND I'D GIVE IT A LISTEN! THAT BEING SAID, I LIKE JSS WHEN HE ROCKS THE BEST. THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THIS CD ARE "21ST CENTURY", "TESTIFY", AND "CRY ME A RIVER", BUT IF THERE WERE MORE SONGS LIKE THE FIRST 2, MY RATING WOULD BE IN THE 90'S. STILL THIS IS A GREAT CD TO RELAX TO.

01/05/09: Lynn - lwoodphotos@gmail.com
Rating: 90
I seem to be in the minority with this one -- I have to say I really love this album. Some of the songs like 21ST CENTURY and HEY clicked with me immediately while others took a few more spins. WHEREVER U WANNA GO is one of those that took a little longer, but once it grabbed hold of me it refused to let go. MOUNTAIN has turned into one of those tunes that makes me smile every time I hear it.

With the ballads, let's just say I've always thought JSS could emote his butt off.

I enjoyed the diversity JSS showed with this album. I think he took a few chances with this record, and as far as I'm concerned, they paid off. I like BEAUTIFUL MESS more and more every time I listen to it.

29/04/09: Dirk Hackenberg - dirk@nightlife-coverrock.de
Rating: 85
I was afraid - when I heard the first news about this album - that it would be a totally strange album for JSS fans but to me the album is growing with each more spin. Of course it´s not the heavier edge we know Jeff for and from but there are great songs on the album. A definite minus is the use of programmed drums which is really dislike for somebody like Jeff. Best songs are "Cry me a a river", "Our song" and "Gin and tonic sky". Momentarily I feel some songs from the bottom of my heart because of personal feelings and Jeff is able to transport feelings with his voice and that´s the goal for a singer, to reach people´s emotions and hearts. Good stuff but still headroom for improvement in the long run.

26/04/09: Dimitri - ddimitri@ymail.com
Rating: 20
Dissapointing to say the least.

25/04/09: Hanuk Ray Park - kinghanuk@naver.com
Rating: 40
JSS is a talented singer/writer/performer but this one really lets me down. If you're a fan of his previous works including Talisman, Axel Rudi Pell, Human Clay or his solo albums, I'd recommend you to stay away from this disc as on this album JSS is trying hard to be a poor man's Lenny Kravitz. The problem with Beautiful Mess is, not only it's different, but also it's inferior.

25/04/09: ilse van lierop - ilse39@hetnet.nl
Rating: 5
Ik love Jeff Scot Soto really but i can't get through the material on this cd.
Just like the opinion above it's no hard rock, its just the same thing we hear on the radio but not that catchy.
21st Century Is the best song on the cd and i like Gin & Tonic sky also very much.
But there are imo too many fillers and i miss a few really strong songs with great hooks.
I hope he returns to the style he used to do.
I know people will say, he needs to evolve but not this way.
Than i rather hear JSS sing iron maiden or Metallica hehe

Greetzz
Ilse

25/04/09: PW - pw@undisclosed.com
Rating: 90
Wasn't sure about this from the advanced clips supplied by Andrew, but after a few spins of the CD (& DVD) I like it. Different for Jeff, but still good. The DVD gives a good impression of Jeff and just shows what a great guys he really is. Especially after the Journey fiasco, Jeff has done really well to dust himself down and come back strong with something fresh and different.

Give it time !!!

24/04/09: NunYoBusiness - nun_yo_business_1@yahoo.com
Rating: 20
I have never understood Andrews love affair of all things JSS, I don't think I have ever seen him given a bad review. After JSS's attempt at being Journey's new lead singer (which was not a match made in heaven for either the fans or the band) a job he wasn't suited for. I mean come on Journey is way outside the realm of what I want to hear from JSS. With a voice that is more suited for the likes of a harder edged band, he should of just turned down the money machine that is Journey. I gave this CD a spin (had to borrow it from a friend) to see if he had returned to the one type of music that suits his voice. I spun up the disc hoping to hear something anything that sounded like classic JSS, what we get instead are songs that belong on one of the American Idol um winners (Don't get me started on that crap show, the destruction of music as we know it) Daughtry comes to mind. I think JSS spends so much time running away from himself trying to move as far away as he can from the image people might have of him as just another old "Hair Band Singer" that he forgets his is on of THE voices of all things Rock N' Roll. When he isn't running from his past he is great, but do yourself a favor until he decides to return to being the voice of R N' R and not some Pop, Funk, AI wanna be just put on his classic work and think back to a time when he was proud to sing R N' R

24/04/09: Ian - icarus2@blueyonder.co.uk
Rating: 90
Jeff wanted to try a different approach and with this album he did just that. If you look at it like a brand new artist then it works big time, although many of the old fans will hate this album. I still think 'Gin & Tonic Sky' is one of the best songs of last year, and for me Jeff has another winner on his hand's.

24/04/09: Stunt_cock - thenuge2@aol.com
Rating: 90
You know at first I was put off by this cd. I was like Fuck this aint the Soto I know, but after a few spins it really really grows on you. I put it up there with the Essential Ballads release from a few years ago. When JSS mellows out, like on Beautiful Mess, it's a great listen from beginning to end. The bonus dvd is excellent, the JSS / Namm show interview / doc is awesome. Overall a terrific package.

24/04/09: Jonas Wolfgang - jwolfverine@gmail.com
Rating: 3
Pff What a dissapointing album is this!!!
I bought the cd because of JSS, but i really don't like the modernroch approach.
It's all just DONE and the vocals are sooo sappy and boring..
I want vocals like on the talisman journey and the first solo efforts not this lame going pop vibe..
Just listen too CRY ME A RIVER and GIN AND TONIC SKY they are just soo sad in vocals and all... Nothing really comes from the ground.
I really cried after listening to this album.... a river full.

I hope next time he will be doing rock again what his voice is made for... Really love him though...


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