Review Summary: Both Sides grows on you with every new listening.
Being faithful to it's title, the album recreates life in blue tones, sprinkled with a few rays of sunshine here and there. The fair use of instruments can't get unnoticed, although the densely used drum box tends to connote lack of inspiration. From a lyrical standpoint, it manages to pass on valuable life lessons based on Collins' latest experiences. Coming to a point in his life, the incorporation of his worries and emotions tend to come with such easiness that makes you wonder if the recovery would benefit such a treatment. The sobriety of the songs found on Both Sides
set the tone for one of his most personal albums to date.
Both Sides of the Story
kick-starts the album with a perfect atmospheric asphalt jungle sound that only Collins could pull off. The injustices found in our daily lives are transmitted with such aggressiveness that can't leave us indifferent. Continuing with a more down beat, the next 3 songs carry a weight that can be sometimes unbearable. The unfulfilled love theme present on Everyday
and the hypnotic Can't Turn Back the Years
, I've Forgotten Everything
, Can't Find My Way
highlight the insecurities that each and everyone of us face at some point in our lives. You have to learn from your mistakes, time is irreversible, love can be found and can be lost so fast that it can get unnoticed, but in the end finding the right way to cope with everyday life seems to matter the most. A retrospective of his childhood days are expressed on We're Sons of Our Fathers
, bringing forward the differences he encounters while analyzing the lost family values of today's youth. The country guitar tends to deliver the right amount of erosion the song needs to make it's point. When it seems that anguish feels like it's at home, the mood suddenly shifts with Survivors
. There is hope after all, but beware it comes at a price! Loneliness is highlighted on We Fly So Close
, while the perceptiveness of There's A Place for Us
makes us realize that a relationship can be developed if there is the right amount of will poured into it. Peace is put to a test on We Wait and We Wonder
, where the use of bagpipes in recreating the sound of a Scottish military band harmoniously accompanies the stand out lyrical warning on the dangers of terrorism. In the end, love is found and expressed on Please Come Out Tonight
Despite it's much darker tones (reminding us of Face Value
) it's vibrant orchestration and meaningful lyrics succeed in highlighting the need for hope when there is none to be found, in the end letting you easily confirm that Collins' mastery is at it's best, both lyrically and melodically.