Swing To The Right

Review by Ed Grieze (Switch to

What's that sound? That's really different, like nothing I've heard before! It sounds good! It's unique! It's catchy! These were and remain my reactions to the opening title cut of _Swing to the Right._ Hear a different sound indeed. Perhaps this song is Utopia at its' absolute best. Strong vocals from Kasim and powerful keyboard exploits from Roger. And ofcourse writing like this can only come out of Todd's head. Can't say it enough: The music here is just fabulous! Great sound! And lyrically Todd portrays the Windsor knots taking political power at the time; "Don't want to hear what the povertous expect from me." What a great song. It works on many levels. All levels.

The album then moves from keyboard power to a guitar song which sounds better suited for a Todd solo album, especially _Faithful._ But nevertheless "Lysistrata" is certainly another great tune. A story from Greek mythology about a woman who won't let her man go off to war; "You love me too much just to let me die." And she succeeds; "Tell the troops it was a false alarm, 'Cause if I die I want to be in your arms."

"The Up" returns to the power keyboard pop. Excellent vocals by Kasim. Perhaps his best vocals can be found on this song, and on this album. The Up would have been a good follow up to a successful Swing single. But that's another story. Keep that positive attitude!

"Junk Rock" was the song I would skip over on this album. But given the sounds I've heard in the late 80's and 90's, this one somehow sounds OK now. A reflection upon the music industry or the population?

Music is intended to be a display of emotion, as in "Shinola." Todd drops the usual cleverness and let's the anger show; "These are your leaders, come on take a look. They'll lie and cheat and steal then sell the rights to the book." And the song is accented by a fittingly angry guitar solo.

I warmed to Utopia's rendition of "For The Love Of Money" right away. I really like how Todd's vocal comes in following Kasim's. Also cool is the portion where the beat picks up with; "I know money is the root of all evil." And the lyrics fit in thematically with this socially and politically conscious album.

Hey, it's even economically conscious, as the story line continues with "Last Dollar On Earth." An underated Powell tune.

"Fahrenheit 451" is very catchy and reminiscent of the late 70's dance craze. I haven't read the associated Ray B. book. The burning references seem to be along the lines of the album cover. For years I thought Willie sang this, but someone pointed out that it's Kasim. Obviously with vocal treatments though.

Now the moving album takes a break for the obligatory ballad. It's only human. Nice sentiment. But it's far from "Love is the Answer."

Swing closes with a song that had preceeded it on tours, even as the opening number. "One World" was a neat live song. I still find the clapping on the studio version a bit annoying, but I suppose it's there to represent one world clapping together. This is one of those songs which is preferred live. The lyrics are a nice closure to the album; "Politicians and dictators and the guys with the dough, They think they run the world but they just don't know 'Cause down here on the street we got it under control."

The flip side of the "One World" single held "Special Interest," a further political commentary.

_Swing to the Right_ perhaps lacks some continuity, but its' different twists also make it one of Utopia's most original albums. Musically the band may never have sounded better than on the title cut and "The Up." The content is a heavy focus on social. political, and economic issues of the time. The lyrics are more outwardly focused than other Todd and Utopia albums. Swing is more difficult to digest than some smoother Utopia products such as Adventures and POV. But it contains many strong points and is a solid part of the Utopia catalog. Hear a different sound.

- ED

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