John Taylor can’t sing. That was clearly evident on 1986’s “I Do What I Do,” a slinky, sexy number that relied more on backing vocalist Tessa Niles to relay its message.
But when Taylor released his loud, rocking solo debut, Feelings Are Good and Other Lies, he actually sounded pretty good.
Since leaving Duran Duran in 1997, Taylor has released a number of recordings — Feelings Are Good, two EPs and a pair of outtake discs.
Now Taylor returns with a second solo album, and this time, he returns to crafted pop music, leaving behind his dabbling into punk rock.
With a wall of guitars behind him, Taylor’s off-kilter warble found a home. But with drum machines and synthesizer effects as a backdrop, that voice takes some getting used to.
If anything, it interferes with his songwriting. It’s difficult to pick out the hooks in a song if they’re not delivered well. And there are a lot of pretty good songs on Taylor’s eponymous second album — if you take the time to listen closely.
Taylor made a bold move by emancipating himself from Duran Duran, and by no means should he ever get Simon Le Bon to do his vocal duties for him.
But that doesn’t make Taylor the most ideal candidate for his own songs, much in the same way composers aren’t the best interpreters for their music.