by Nicholas James
Again the Bee Gees look for a new direction.
After their inspired-but-not-very-successful
idea of using other contemporary producers
for their last studio album,
the Bee Gees try something different again.
This time, they recorded a few songs
together, then went their separate ways and
did the rest of the album as individuals.
The result? Well, it was a definite
but it just ended up emphasising that they
write and perform better when they are
together than separately.
The 'group' songs first: The title track and
first single 'This Is Where I Came In' was a
big change of direction for the group, and a
very brave single. Far less commercial than
their other recent singles, this was a
multi-layered, slightly Beatles influenced
song, with a strong acoustic sound. It
fitted the title and their intentions
perfectly - going back to their roots, but
with a contemporary edge. It worked
brilliantly and showed that the Bee Gees
could produce music of as much relevance to
2001 as other artists of the day, such as
Radiohead and Coldplay. The song received a
huge amount of critical acclaim, and rightly
The next track, 'She Keeps On Coming', is
heavily influenced by 1980s US rock bands
such as ZZ Top. It is a very catchy song,
with unusual lead vocals from Robin Gibb.
'Sacred Trust' was a song the Bee Gees
reportedly wrote for the Backstreet Boys. As
it was never used by the boy band, the Bee
Gees took it for themselves. The song is
reasonable but, unfortunately, the
production sounds like a demo. Considering
they spent between three and four years
making this album, that is surprising.
The ballad 'Wedding Day' sounds, on first
listen, very corny for the Bee Gees, a group
that has always eschewed cheesiness. Having
heard them discuss it in interviews, and
knowing now that their intention was for it
to be tongue in cheek, I like it a lot more
now. In fact, the simple melody and the
Barry and Robin vocals make it a grower.
The other two 'group' tracks are excellent.
'The Extra Mile' was written for the Sydney
Olympics and sounds like it. But it is a
great song nonetheless, with a powerful
Robin lead. 'Just In Case' can only be
described as beautiful. They still have the
ability to write tender love songs that send
a shiver down the spine.
Their solo work on this album was much less
consistent. Maurice was up first, with his
production of a Robin and Maurice song, 'Man
In The Middle'. The finished product is
average, nowhere near to being in the same
league as the similar 'Omega Man' from
Everything, and the production is
over cooked. The same can be said for
Maurice's other contribution, the summery
'Walking On Air'. Despite its obvious Beach
Boys influence, the song and its lyrics are
buried under stodgy production.
Robin fares a little better. His first
track, 'Deja Vu', was written by all three
brothers, but was produced by Robin in the
UK, with only his vocals. This is a superb
song, and one of the stand-out tracks on the
album. Robin's multi-layered production has
several nice touches, including some
interesting sound effects. This is a track
Robin should be very proud of. His other two
tracks, 'Embrace' and 'Promise The Earth',
are less successful. Both are very 'Europop'
influenced, well produced by Robin, with
some good grooves, but the songs are
non-descript, incoherent and are, quite
frankly, difficult to tell apart.
Barry also had mixed results, although there
is something to commend each of his songs.
'Technicolor Dreams' is an attempt to do a
slightly humorous, 'When I'm Sixty
Four'-style song, with a touch of Frank
Sinatra. It is not entirely successful, but
you will smile if you listen carefully to
the background noise just before the song
begins. 'Loose Talk Costs Lives' is a
slightly skewed ballad, in the same vein as
'How To Fall In Love' from
Everything. It is interesting rather
than great. His final song, however, 'Voice
In The Wilderness', is fantastic. Barry Gibb
goes punk, with some great guitar work and
nice harmony accompaniment from Robin and
Maurice. Barry's lead vocals are also very
In summary, this album is better than
but still does not climb the dizzy heights
of consistency that they managed to achieve
in the early 1990s. The fact that there are
some stand-out tracks shows that they still
had what it took to produce a great album,
but This Is Where I Came In ultimately
failed to show the group at their best. It
is all the more disappointing in hindsight,
when we now know that this was probably the
last ever Bee Gees studio album, due to the
unexpected death of Maurice Gibb in January
Why Buy This Is Where I Came In?
It is the last ever Bee Gees studio album,
and has a number of outstanding tracks.