Joe Jackson fans, rejoice! The singer/songwriter is back with original material that resulted in a whopper of an album, originally intended to be released as four individual EP’s based on four separate cities; New York, Amsterdam, Berlin and New Orleans. Sixteen tracks became Fast Forward and is the first album full of original tracks from Jackson in seven years.
Fast Forward has the familiar Joe Jackson charm with his uncanny ability to write stories into song. Take its title-track for example, it’s six minutes of Jackson rambling over a simplistic arrangement; feeling like you are having a conversation with somebody in song is a fulfilling experience. After a snappy cover of See No Evil, we are treated over the album to Jackson’s classical contributions, in tracks like A Little Smile we were taken with the powerful piano and the intriguing violin.
At a time you may have thought the album couldn’t be diverse it does, So You Say sounds like it came out of a low budget yet sophisticated musical; the environment intensifies as If I Could See Your Face shows a darker side with its dramatics. 1930s German cabaret song Good Bye Johnny gets a catchy revamp, but from there the rest of the album seems to slip by.
It’s great to see Joe Jackson continuing to do what he loves, Fast Forward is a decent release and proves that the 61 year old still has still got it. You might get just over halfway through and think that maybe the album would have been better as separate EPs, the tracks end up blending in too much and at times you may feel like you lose interest, but you still punch through the album anyway and you appreciate the heart that has gone into the lyrics and the passion that has gone into the sound.