Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Howard Jones - "No One is to Blame"

No One Is to Blame - Best of Howard Jones

(Debuted April 12, 1986, Peaked #4, 23 Weeks on the Chart)

Here's a song that has seen me change my opinion about as the years have unfolded. When it came out, I found it slow and meandering, and would sigh when the percussion that kicked off the tune started playing on my radio. Oversaturation of the song on MTV, Top 40 radio and the adult contemporary-leaning station that I also listened to had a definite effect, because I detested this song by the end of the summer of '86 in a way that just isn't healthy.

Today, I'm closing in on my 40th birthday (that will pass in December) and have experienced a lot more of the life I wouldn't have seen coming in 1986. And it's not like I would have believed the stories I'd have been told if -- somehow -- an older version of myself showed up and had a talk with me at 13. That's the reason I didn't care for this song back then; there's a philosophy to the lyrics that just didn't register in my mind at the time. Back then, I still believed that anything was possible...since then, I've realized that there will always be someone bigger, stronger, more handsome or smarter. That's just the way life is, sometimes things spin out of control despite your best efforts and I'm getting better at understanding that.

"No One is To Blame" was Howard Jones' biggest hit on the American pop charts, reaching #4. It was also a #1 adult contemporary song. It originally appeared on his 1985 LP Dream into Action but was given a makeover the next year. Phil Collins produced a new, radio-friendly version (which is why the drums here are so prominent) for Jones' One On One LP. And this version had Collins' marks all over it, with an instrumental backing that sounds like his later hits: the piano on "Groovy Kind of Love" and the vocal quality that marked "Another Day in Paradise" show up here.

Despite its overt pop leanings, its message has stuck with me over the years more than I realized.

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