I can still recall the first time I heard “Missing you” by John Waite. It was around 1984, and I was nine years old. Waite’s voice really stuck with me, and every time I would hear “Missing You” on the radio, I would fall in love with the song all over again. Fast forward to 1989 and Waite formed Bad English, captivating me yet again, this time with the haunting “When I See You Smile.” The band disappeared as quickly as they arrived, but yet again I was left with a lasting impression.
“Missing You” and “When I See You Smile” remained two of my favorite songs, but in all honesty, I didn’t expect to hear anymore of Waite’s music. That was until I chanced across Figure In A Landscape in a local record store. I bought it, unsure of what to expect, but instinctively knowing I would love it from beginning to end. And you know what? I was right. It’s one CD that I’ve had in constant rotation since I bought it two months ago.
I love the stripped down feeling to Figure In A Landscape. It highlights the earthiness of Waite’s voice and the genre his music has switched to. While he may have once been classed as rock, he is now more adult contemporary. It’s a genre-switch that suits Waite’s style well and is as appealing to me as it was 24 years ago.
Figure In A Landscape has a consistency that allows the songs to smoothly follow each other. Each song is strongly written and there’s a maturity to each that suits Waite. It is almost as if he has finally found his niche and the smooth vocals show his comfort in doing so. Each song has straight forward melodies, performed with a group of tight musicians that showcase Waite’s strengths and vocal range.
“NYC Girl” is the real gem on Figure In A Landscape and it’s a track I could listen to over and over again. The lyrics provoke an imagery and it really takes you to where Waite is at. You can almost imagine yourself in that coffee shop with Waite as he waits for his “NYC Girl.”
I don't think there's any song on this album that I would skip over and it's been a pleasure listening to Waite again after all these years. Yet again, he has left a lasting impression.
Songs not to miss: “Keys To Your Heart”, “NYC Girl”, “Fly”, and “Whenever You Come Around”.
I give this 4/5
John Waite-figure in a landscape
Record Label: Gold Circle records
1. Keys To Your Heart
2. Always Be Your Man
3. Thinking 'Bout You
4. NYC Girl
6. New Thing
7. Special One
8. Whenever You Come Around
11. Masterpiece of Loneliness