Jeff Scott Soto
Jeff Scott Soto is, by far, my favorite singer out there today. The guy has one of the strongest voices in the world, and his ability to use it in a multitude of ways stretches far past what most singers ever showcase. Let’s face it, you have to have incredible talent to be able to front a band that was defined by a voice (Journey), as well as fronting a metal band of prominence (Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force).
Even the great ones come back to earth occasionally though. While DAMAGE CONTROL is a fine album without anything that you’d look at cringe on, it lacks anything that really grabs you too much either. It’s fairly standard, and while it does feature a full plate of good songs, there’s not really a great or unique moment on it. The truth is that Soto pretty much spoiled fans with his last release BEAUTIFUL MESS. That album had so many twists, turns and unexpected moments that anything a bit more standard would feel like a step backwards. Still, DAMAGE CONTROL feels like a step backwards.
Even stepping backwards though, I’m happy to have DAMAGE CONTROL. Songs like the arena rocker “Afterworld” certainly will have your head bobbing and will tempt you to throw your fist in the air and scream “Hey” on queue. Other songs, like “Look Inside Your Heart” definitely find Soto channelling his inner Journey once again. For his part, Soto sounds fantastic as always on DAMAGE CONTROL. He’s a big time voice that knows when to croon and when to shout, and as always, he puts it together perfectly. Listening to songs like “If I Never Let Her Go”, it’s apparent that he’s very compelling as a singer.
The issue with DAMAGE CONTROL is that so much of the material is very formulaic. It’s kind of like listening to a Bryan Adams record with a better vocalist. With his last release BEAUTIFUL MESS, there were twists and turns from song to song. That really doesn’t happen here. Instead, you have 11 really strong songs that are all pretty similar stylistically. DAMAGE CONTROL fails to deliver something unique like “21st Century” or “Mountain” from the last album. While songs like “Give A Little More” and “Damage Control” are certainly good songs, they are very predictable AOR rock.
PITRIFF RATING – 80/100 - To reiterate, DAMAGE CONTROL is a solid album; completely listenable and entertaining. Unfortunately for Jeff Scott Soto, he raised the bar very high with BEAUTIFUL MESS to a point where a straight forward rock record was not about to clear that hurdle. I like it. I don’t love it. It’ll be in my Ipod for the next six months, so it will probably grow on me. For now though, it’s a solid, standard release from the best vocalist making music today.