Taylor's Tales of Tussaud

CCM Magazine
May 1984 Volume 6 Number 11
© 1984 CCM Publications, Inc.
Page 37

Steve Taylor - Sparrow

Your opinion of Steve Taylor's mini-LP I Want to Be a Clone will have little bearing on your reaction to his first full-length album. Meltdown is worlds away from the quirky, energetic six-song wonder that sparked up 1982.

Meltdown is a modern pop-rock masterpiece from one of Christian music's most fertile creative minds. Each song sounds as thought it had been worked over many times by Taylor and Some Band, resulting in cohesive and powerful combinations of music and lyrics. Meltdown is a complete, mature work.

It's relatively easy to recognize some of the creative influences on Taylor by the arrangements he writes and the sounds of his voice--e.g. David Bowie on "Hero," Dire Straits' Mark Knopfler on "Jenny." However, Taylor assimilates these influences into the framework of his art and not, shall I say, simply clones them.

Side one opens with "Meltdown (at Madame Tussaud's)," which serves as a humorous introduction. It's also a vital link to the '82 EP, with its new wave arrangement and Farfisa organ. An enjoyable romp, the title tune makes a good choice for the video, but it's far from the album's best track.

"We Don't Need No Colour Code" sneers in the face of bigotry within the American church, focusing on the biases of a well-known Christian college founded by "Big B.J." Taylor's voice snarls like Graham Parker on this cut, while Some Band lays a Bo Diddley rhythm track that doesn't let up till it's over. These guys mean business.

Meltdown's subject matter is as diverse as its musical stylings. "Meat the Press," a scathing indictment of the media, would make the Schaeffers proud. "Over My Dead Body" eulogizes a Polish youth killed by government police last year. The law of sowing and reaping is firmly addressed in "Sin for a Season." Another "No Clones" plea for individual responsibility is presented in "Guilty by Association," and a tragic account of infanticide is given on "Baby Doe." Musically enjoyable, Meltdown gives us lyrics that sting and prick our consciences.

Thom Granger