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Thread started 04/22/21 6:54pm

kitbradley

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EW&F Forgotten "Faces" Album

Very interesting article regarding the commercial and critical failure of EW&F "Faces" album. I own it on CD but honestly, I don't remember much about it. It's been a couple of decades since I've listened to it. Any fans of the album here?


https://www.soultracks.com/story-earth-wind-fire-faces

"It's not nice to fuck with K.B.! All you haters will see!" - Kitbradley
"The only true wisdom is knowing you know nothing." - Socrates
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Reply #1 posted 04/22/21 8:02pm

ReddBlitz

I guess in comparison to the group's previous Platinum plus sellers, FACES would be considered to some as such, although the double album did go Gold. "And Love Goes On" was the stand out hit for me back when I was a kid, even though "Let Me Talk" charted higher on the R&B Billboard chart.
[Edited 4/22/21 20:08pm]
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Reply #2 posted 04/22/21 8:43pm

phunkdaddy

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I remember reading a write up about it last week. The critic was claiming this album was

a better piece of work than I Am. eek Truth is the album just wasn't ready for radio. It was a cluster of songs that just didn't have any bite to it. It was like a Pound cake with a dry taste and the wrong ingredients. The critic pretty much blamed the album flameout on the leadoff single Let Me Talk which he felt was a little too political.

If this wasn't gonna be the lead single what other song on this album was? This was by far the most

danceable tune on the album. Hell I remember we used to pop lock to it in high school. lol

It seemed like they felt pressure to come up with a masterpiece for a double album after the massive success of their previous albums and just failed to deliver. The album had it's moments but nothing really memorable like previous albums plain and simple.

I even remember when EWF released the Raise album with the massive hit Let's Groove my Uncle who was a huge EWF fan telling me and his friends now that's the real EWF. Faces wasn't shit. lol

[Edited 4/22/21 20:44pm]

Don't laugh at my funk
This funk is a serious joint
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Reply #3 posted 04/22/21 9:10pm

SoulAlive

The lead single “Let Me Talk” was disappointing,imo.Great message,but it lacks a strong,catchy groove.It was hard for people to get into it.I wonder how things would have turned out if “Share Your Love”,”Win Or Lose” or “And Love Goes On” had been chosen as the lead single.

It’s a superb album though.I just think that the world wasn’t ready for it.
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Reply #4 posted 04/22/21 9:14pm

SoulAlive

The very next year,they released “Let’s Groove” as a single and it became one of their biggest hits.The song is super catchy and alot of fun.”Let Me Talk” lacks those qualities.
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Reply #5 posted 04/22/21 9:25pm

SoulAlive

kitbradley said:

Any fans of the album here?


I love the album.Last year,I purchased a sealed vinyl copy.Man,the poster included in the album is gigantic! biggrin My favorite tracks are “Turn it Into Something Good”,”Pride”,”Song In My Heart”,”Sailaway”,”Share Your Love”,”And Love Goes On”,and the title track.

The only criticism I have is...I would have liked to see them stretch out a bit more and included some of the jazzy,Afrolatin stuff that they do do well.The title track gives us a taste of that,but on a 2-record set,there was plenty of room for more.
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Reply #6 posted 04/22/21 9:40pm

funkdoctorrock

Faces is Underrated in my opinion...
And the last "Earth Wind and Fire sounding" album..
Raise,Powerlight,Electric universe,Touch the world,
Were very good albums..but felt to me..Ewf was experimenting with the musical technologies of the day..

Faces was basically their whole sound from 1975-79 all wrapped up in one..
"You" was after the love is gone..
"Song in my heart" was September
"Take it to the sky"was thats the way of the world..and on your face
Win or lose..had shades of Getaway
Faces had elements(no pun intended)of Runnin'
Sparkle was one of Philips best ballads in my opinion
You went away..sorta has a ill write a song for you vibe
Share your love is a precursor to Let's groove
And Love goes on...was my favorite track
In Time as well..

The Horns were great as usual...
Maurice and Phillip were great as usual..
EWF From 1974-1980..was a major force to be reckoned with..
Going just gold...after consecutive multiplatinum albums was considered
a commercial failure to EWF..
Collaboration with a member of Journey..their labelmates..
Didnt Both groups sported an Eagle symbol??..hmmmm

Pride..let me talk..back on the road..were very good songs as well.
.
I like Faces better than Raise,Powelight and Electric universe..
Like i said ..the last earth,wind and fire sounding album
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Reply #7 posted 04/22/21 9:45pm

SoulAlive

It’s interesting that,around this time,three of the most popular black bands (EW&F,Parliament,and Isley Brothers) were,all of a sudden,having problems with record sales.

In 1979,the Isley Brothers released a 2-record set,’Winner Takes All’,which wasn’t as successful as their previous albums.

In 1980,Parliament released an album ‘Trombipulation’ which also didn’t do so well,even though it had an excellent first single (“Agony Of Defeet”).

I know that there was a music industry recession at that time,so there is that.
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Reply #8 posted 04/22/21 11:12pm

ReddBlitz

1979 was a blast of a year for EWF, from album sales to their tour. It's hard to close out a decade with such an album as I AM, and to try in kicking off a new decade with an album such as FACES. As SOULALIVE said best, had "And Love Goes On" been chosen as the lead single, the album would've garnered far greater attention.
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Reply #9 posted 04/23/21 9:40am

MotownSubdivis
ion

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It's a solid album but it had little in the way of good singles to mine for hits and many of the cuts didn't stand out all that much from each other. Even so, Maurice himself said this was his favorite album of the group as he believed their singing and playing had never been better.

Also "Sailaway" is a gem, I also got appreciation for "Turn It Into Something Good", that song has been helping to keep me afloat the past few years.
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Reply #10 posted 04/23/21 1:12pm

mrwiggles

Best I can describe it is this album is a trying listen from beginning to end. I get bogged down in it, tired of it at about the halfway point and have no real reason or desire to finish the plate.

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Reply #11 posted 04/23/21 2:05pm

SoulAlive

In his book,Maurice talks about how important a first single was.If that first single doesn’t catch on,the record company won’t fully promote the subsequent singles.They lose interest.I think that’s what happened with this album.

With the next album,Raise,everything worked perfectly.”Let’s Groove” was chosen as the lead single and it was a monster hit.One of their biggest,most enduring hits.
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Reply #12 posted 04/23/21 2:46pm

Allnall

Yep. That’s what Maurice said. Whilst I love the album myself I will admit that quite possibly it is a tad too polished and lacks sharp twists and turns or exuberance of horns and patterns that are interesting all on their own. If I was to try and find gems on the album the best examples of EWF in their glory is Pride which has some of the rawness that is missing from the rest of the album and a great Kalimba instrumental from Maurice, Turn it into Something good which reminds me of Love Music with its musicality and bounce.

Take it to the Sky also reminds me of EWF at its best too especially with the uplifting lyrics. You Don’t know has some of Phil’s best vocals although possibly just a little too pop for my tastes.

If I was to be critical of it I think it has some good ideas but rarely fleshes them out in musically wondrous ways. Back on the Road starts out with a really daring guitar intro and then sort of backs off into something more banal. It lacks the urgency and gritty musicality that The Changing Times from Raise had whilst having a predominance of guitars.
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Reply #13 posted 04/23/21 4:56pm

SoulAlive

Allnall said:

Yep. That’s what Maurice said. Whilst I love the album myself I will admit that quite possibly it is a tad too polished and lacks sharp twists and turns or exuberance of horns and patterns that are interesting all on their own. If I was to try and find gems on the album the best examples of EWF in their glory is Pride which has some of the rawness that is missing from the rest of the album and a great Kalimba instrumental from Maurice, Turn it into Something good which reminds me of Love Music with its musicality and bounce.

Take it to the Sky also reminds me of EWF at its best too especially with the uplifting lyrics. You Went Away has some of Phil’s best vocals although possibly just a little too pop for my tastes.

If I was to be critical of it I think it has some good ideas but rarely fleshes them out in musically wondrous ways. Back on the Road starts out with a really daring guitar intro and then sort of backs off into something more banal. It lacks the urgency and gritty musicality that The Changing Times from Raise had whilst having a predominance of guitars.



Yeah,that was my initial opinion too.I feel that,when you do a double album,there is a lot of room to stretch out,take chances and experiment a little.Most of the material on ‘Faces’ plays it safe.It’s one polished (but well-produced) track after another.

But years later,I began to really appreciate this album.I love it more today than I did when it came out.I understand more clearly what Maurice was aiming for.The performances throughout (vocal and musical) are top-notch.I can’t really call any of the tunes ‘filler’.And I agree that “Pride” is one of the stronger tracks.
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Reply #14 posted 04/23/21 10:00pm

phunkdaddy

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mrwiggles said:

Best I can describe it is this album is a trying listen from beginning to end. I get bogged down in it, tired of it at about the halfway point and have no real reason or desire to finish the plate.

And that is exactly how I feel about the album. It has it's moments but nothing that makes you

say damn that's classic EWF. Like I said Let Me Talk was the shining moment on this album for me.

I didn't even know it charted as high as it did. Other songs I remember I liked were Tell Me Something Good, You, and In Time but for me especially for a double album this just didn't have

that classic EWF gumbo. It just didn't have the right ingredients.

Don't laugh at my funk
This funk is a serious joint
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Reply #15 posted 04/23/21 10:35pm

SoulAlive

phunkdaddy said:

Tell Me Something Good


I think you mean “Turn It Into Something Good” biggrin

this is one of the best tunes on the album.Positive,uplifting lyrics and a nice mid tempo groove.Definitely could have been one of the singles.

..
[Edited 4/23/21 22:36pm]
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Reply #16 posted 04/23/21 10:42pm

SoulAlive

On this album,Philip Bailey is at the top of his game.He really gets a chance to shine.His vocals on songs like “Sailaway” and “You Went Away” are outstanding!
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Reply #17 posted 04/25/21 1:47pm

RJOrion

the last album with legendary guitar great and cowriter/coproducer Al McKay in the band...their sound was never the same after he left ...Faces is their most diverse and complete album ever...Maurice White also says it was his favorite...with all due respect, i wouldnt call it "forgotten" by any means...i know i play it regularly still 😎
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Reply #18 posted 04/25/21 1:55pm

RJOrion

SoulAlive said:

phunkdaddy said:

Tell Me Something Good


I think you mean “Turn It Into Something Good” biggrin

this is one of the best tunes on the album.Positive,uplifting lyrics and a nice mid tempo groove.Definitely could have been one of the singles.

..
[Edited 4/23/21 22:36pm]



word...Turn It Into Something Good is one of EWF's greatest songs, period...

Take It To The Sky
Song In My Heart
Win Or Lose
Sailaway
Share Your Love
Sparkle
You Went Away
In Time
Faces
Back On The Road
Let Me Talk


all of them great great music...and like SoulAlive said, Philip Bailey was at the top of his game (Win Or Lose, Sailaway, Spatkle, You Went Away)... i somewaht agree with Maurice...along with "Spirit", "AllNAll", and "I Am", "Faces" is my favorite EW&F album ever...im sure its the one ive played the most...and "Turn It Into Something Good" is possibly my favorite EW&F song ever
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Reply #19 posted 04/27/21 2:10am

phunkdaddy

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SoulAlive said:

phunkdaddy said:

Tell Me Something Good


I think you mean “Turn It Into Something Good” biggrin

this is one of the best tunes on the album.Positive,uplifting lyrics and a nice mid tempo groove.Definitely could have been one of the singles.

..
[Edited 4/23/21 22:36pm]


Oops my bad lol
I'm gonna give this album another spin. Besides the early Classic EWF albums
I usually listen to Raise and Powerlight often.
Don't laugh at my funk
This funk is a serious joint
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Reply #20 posted 04/27/21 5:22pm

mynameisnotsus
an

Listening to this album for the first time because of this thread - thanks. It's very listenable and the songs are really good without being great. Its missing an obviously hooky song - Share Your Love maybe?
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Reply #21 posted 04/27/21 6:07pm

SoulAlive

mynameisnotsusan said:

Listening to this album for the first time because of this thread - thanks. It's very listenable and the songs are really good without being great. Its missing an obviously hooky song - Share Your Love maybe?


“Share Your Love” would have been an excellent first single.
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Reply #22 posted 04/28/21 1:43pm

mrwiggles

phunkdaddy said:

mrwiggles said:

Best I can describe it is this album is a trying listen from beginning to end. I get bogged down in it, tired of it at about the halfway point and have no real reason or desire to finish the plate.

And that is exactly how I feel about the album. It has it's moments but nothing that makes you

say damn that's classic EWF. Like I said Let Me Talk was the shining moment on this album for me.

I didn't even know it charted as high as it did. Other songs I remember I liked were Tell Me Something Good, You, and In Time but for me especially for a double album this just didn't have

that classic EWF gumbo. It just didn't have the right ingredients.

Yep. Its got its moments but I find I simply get bored with it.

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Reply #23 posted 04/28/21 1:48pm

SoulAlive

Everytime I make a slow jam playlist,I always put “Sailaway” on it.That song is so smooth and mesmerizing.I call it quiet storm heaven.
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Reply #24 posted 04/28/21 1:49pm

CoolMF

Clicked on this thread knowing nothing about the album. Wiki'd it and recognized it instantly. Never heard the album but it was another one of those "iconic" EWF album covers that I remember from browsing through auntie/uncle/parents vinyl back in the 80s...

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Reply #25 posted 04/28/21 5:22pm

SoulAlive

phunkdaddy said:

Besides the early Classic EWF albums
I usually listen to Raise and Powerlight often.


I pretty much listen to their entire catalog regularly
smile they are my favorite band.Give a listen to ‘Faces’ again.I’m sure you’ll rediscover some great tracks on that album.
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Reply #26 posted 04/28/21 6:34pm

SoulAlive

phunkdaddy said:

The critic pretty much blamed the album flameout on the leadoff single Let Me Talk which he felt was a little too political.
If this wasn't gonna be the lead single what other song on this album was? This was by far the most danceable tune on the album.


Really? smile I have never been that fond of “Let Me Talk” and I don’t think it was a good choice for the first single.I would have chosen “And Love Goes On”,”Share Your Love”,”Pride” or even “Win Or Lose” as the lead single.Those tunes are catchy and would have really hooked the listeners.

I’m honestly surprised that the best songs on this album were not released as singles.It was a misssed opportunity but luckily,they got it right on the next album.
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Reply #27 posted 04/28/21 8:55pm

BalladofPeterP
arker

With EWF being my all-time favorite band I've never considered this a forgotten album but more of a underated one. Some really nice tracks on this gem. I highly recommend it.

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Reply #28 posted 04/29/21 2:08am

phunkdaddy

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SoulAlive said:

phunkdaddy said:

The critic pretty much blamed the album flameout on the leadoff single Let Me Talk which he felt was a little too political.
If this wasn't gonna be the lead single what other song on this album was? This was by far the most danceable tune on the album.


Really? smile I have never been that fond of “Let Me Talk” and I don’t think it was a good choice for the first single.I would have chosen “And Love Goes On”,”Share Your Love”,”Pride” or even “Win Or Lose” as the lead single.Those tunes are catchy and would have really hooked the listeners.

I’m honestly surprised that the best songs on this album were not released as singles.It was a misssed opportunity but luckily,they got it right on the next album.


For me the only other song that could have worked as a lead single is You.
I listened to Share Your Love and much like Back On The Road it has a killer
intro then you're left waiting for more but never take off. And Love Goes On is decent but would have never worked as the lead single. Next to Let Me Talk and You my next favorite would be In Time. The album while definitely worth a listen you just don't get that feeling you get with the classic EWF albums but definitely better than latter day EWF albums such as Heritage and
Millineum.
Don't laugh at my funk
This funk is a serious joint
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Reply #29 posted 04/29/21 7:51am

RJOrion

BalladofPeterParker said:

With EWF being my all-time favorite band I've never considered this a forgotten album but more of a underated one. Some really nice tracks on this gem. I highly recommend it.



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