This is one of my favorite Maxi Priest albums. If I had to rank them, I would probably put Bonafide
at #1 just before this one, but in some ways it better. It is important (for me) that an album has a consistent flow, that it has a cohesiveness. A perfect example of this is Stevie Wonder's Innervisions
. I feel this album has that and each song on Fe Real transitions into the other smoothly.
This album is reflective of the mix of dance, reggae, r&b and pop that Maxi came to be known for and it is reflective of the times as well. Most of the songs on Fe Real are reggae influenced or reggae fusion, only 1 or 2 are devoid of or have minimal reggae flavor. There is also a strong r&b sound to this album. Still most of the songs maintain a reggae feel. Just for comparison's sake, Fe Real seems to have a stronger reggae presence than his previous album, Bonafide (or probably any album he released in the 90s) but it is also shorter by 2 songs.
Maxi Priest always sings with conviction and makes you believe his words. This album is no different. It left me wanting more, but it is well rounded and definitely worth purchasing. Fe Real has excellent replay value. And as usual quality lyrics. Great production by artists such as Sly Dunbar. This album gives an amazing feeling, sometimes joyful and other times blue, but always fe real.
1. CAN'T TURN AWAY - Always includes at least one socially conscious song on his album (it's usually a few but only one on Fe real) and this one brings the 90s flavor. Smooth and effective.
2. PROMISES - The background vocals (as evident on this song) are always wonderful on Maxi's albums. You can't help but sway to this one, optimistic or not.
3. JUST WANNA KNOW (UK MIX)- One of the more straightforward reggae tunes on the album. Nice rhythm.
4. GROOVIN IN THE MIDNIGHT - Another smooth track with a strong Marvin Gaye influence particularly in singing style. Heavy on the r&b, passionately sung. If you like Soul II Soul you'll love this.
5. MAKE MY DAY - A solid, fun track. Such a sweet song with a catchy chorus and melody and playful element to it.
6. TEN TO MIDNIGHT - Seductive, sexy reggae groove. With a slightly agressive approach. Great track.
7. ONE MORE CHANCE - Beautiful song, probably my favorite Maxi track out of them all. He sings it so sweetly, simple yet moving. It has that underlying reggae beat mixed with smooth R&B sounds.
***8. SUBLIME - This is the standout track! It has an INSANE intro. Wonderfully sung and arranged. Great song. Truly mesmerizing. This is where you know the album is a work of art.
9. AMAZED ARE WE - Great reggae song. Just beautiful. I love his singing, the tone of his voice, especially in the beginning. I always enjoy his phrasing. Love the melody and the lyrics. Great follow up to Sublime.
10. HARD TO GET - Good closing tune for the album. The subject matter is light but the music itself seems to leave a strong message.