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PRISONER
II

Z Records
Produced by: Tommy Denander

Released: OUT / Website
Closest Relative: Chicago, Toto
GENRE: AOR
OVERALL: 62%

  1. Deadend
  2. Jasmine
  3. Hold On
  4. One Way
  5. Return My Heart
  6. Prisoners
  7. One Step Closer
  8. I Am Right Here
  9. Standing On The Outside
  10. You Drive Me Crazy
  11. Just To Think
  12. Woke Up Dead (Again)
  13. Susan

These days it I hard for any artist to be able to work on and live off any one sole project. There is a growing trend for artists to guest on various works and have side projects. Nothing wrong with that at all, but in a few cases I can see, the artist can spread themselves too thin.
In the example of Tommy Denander, this is exactly what is happening.
The talented songwriter/guitarist has four different projects going for three different labels and that is now beginning to effect the out put.
The main problem is that there is little style difference between each project.
His Sayit project was in the softer Westcoast style, while Rainmaker was more a bombastic high tech feel. Prisoner's debut was more towards a harder edge AOR mixed with Westcoast and was some of Tommy's best work to date.
That's why this new Prisoner album is so disappointing. The sound is a lot softer and very much a softer Westcoast sound with some AOR touches.
Tommy has an identity crisis going on here. What project retains what style and what song should go with what project? It is all just a little too blurred.
The sound of Prisoner 2 is really more like the debut Sayit album. There's a release due anytime soon of a second Sayit album, so I have no idea what will separate that from this.
The album's songs are of course, good quality, with the vocal performances of both vocalists great and Tommy's work of his usual standard, but there are other problems.
Mainly the album's production quality isn't as strong as the debut. The style is also a factor, as we already have songs like these on Sayit.
The debut Prisoner was just that little bit harder edged and had a bite to it.
Of course Prisoner 2 is not without it's highlights. The opening track is trademark Denander in fine AOR style and the ballads I Am Right Here and Just To Think are first rate moody AOR ballads. Jasmine also has a snappy Westcoast style and chorus hook.
The inclusion of a cover of the Britney Spears track You Drive Me Crazy doesn't really fit the bill. Tracks covered like that are supposed to be a light hearted addition to an album, but the song sounds like it has been done a little too seriously!
A version of House Of Shakira's Susan is also added as a bonus track, but falls well short of the original track, which is a barnstorming AOR anthem. This version simply doesn't have the balls it deserves and needs. The HOS version is immaculate and can't be topped. Sadly the vocals also fall flat on this track.
BOTTOM LINE: With a new Rainmaker album also on the go and Tommy's Radioactive album due in July, there is every chance of his distinctive style wearing thin on his core fan base. I hope these projects can be spaced out a little more and allow a more distinctive difference to appear and also leave more time for better production.
I really like Tommy, but feel that for a man with an amazing talent and a long history with many bands, these albums that represent him as an artist should be a little higher standard.
PRODUCTION: 55% SONGS: 75% VIBE: 55%ATTITUDE: 50%
ESSENTIAL FOR: Long time fans of Denander and Sayit, fans of soft Westcoast / smooth AOR.
DISCOGRAPHY:Solo; Talk Of The Town; Sayit; Radioactive; Prisoner - Prisoner . II



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