An interesting selection today, we have the album “Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D’Arby”. The artist, whose name is in the album title, changed his name to Sananda Maitreya in 2001, so I will refer to him as such from this point on in this summary. This album was not only a big commercial success, it was one of those trendy picks that almost every casual music fan latched onto, not unlike Adele’s album “21” was in more recent times. Ultimately, this record produced two really big hit singles that helped drive strong album strong sales.
As I listen now and look back on this phenomenon, I would say I like this album, particularly in spots, but I don’t love it. He is a very gifted vocalist, although there are certain moments where it just doesn’t quite connect for me. I would also say that the rest of the album doesn’t have the same hook as the two most successful tracks. Among the songs I liked best that weren’t at the top of the hit parade were the relatively funky slow-jam opener, “If You All Get to Heaven”, “I’ll Never Turn My Back on You (Father’s Words)”, and “Let’s Go Forward”.
“Wishing Well” is the biggest hit from the record, and is the only one to reach #1 on the singles charts in the U.S. It is another funky and catchy groove, and it is written by Maitreya and Sean Oliver. I like this song a lot, but my highest praise is reserved for his other big song from this record, “Sign Your Name”. It is a beautifully written love song, that really taps into the soft and sweet side of his singing voice. He has an impressive ability to blend smoke and rasp with a really lush tone in his voice, which was certainly a big part of his wide appeal with this debut performance.
I’m not quite sure why Maitreya did not have much commercial or widespread success after this huge record. Sometimes it just works that way, and even though he was much more than a one-hit wonder, for some reason his staying power did not extend through the continued rise and prominence of R&B moving into the 90s. I’m glad I was able to listen to this entire album, which I don’t think I did back in its heyday, and I found a couple more solid adds to my playlist as a result.