"THE SECRET VALUE OF DAYDREAMING." Julian Lennon. Atlantic.
Frank Sinatra Jr. has made a nice living out of being an ersatz version of his father, and in a brief time Julian Lennon has had even greater success in a similar role. With this second album, John's offspring continues to take the slickest and most colorless facets of his father's latter-day sound and combine it with even smoother and blander aspects of contemporary commercial pop.
If anything, "The Secret Value" out-fluffs Lennon's debut LP. Musically, it's so unremittingly listless it could replace Valium. As a songwriter and bandleader, singer-keyboardist-bassist Lennon is content to let the album float from track to track across a never-ending stretch of horse-latitude settings--the sort of homogenized pop arrangements and rhythms that only succeed if they become beautiful or affecting. With Lennon, they just leave you thinking, "Get on with it."
He's particularly fond of a loping reggae beat that's had all the soul extracted from it and simply serves as a kind of offbeat metronome in easy-listening tracks like "Let Me Tell You." And seldom have keyboard sounds been so far up in the mix without being able to carry their weight--they alternate between accordion-like pumpings and characterless drones. But then, producer Phil Ramone didn't have much else to work with--the other instruments are played in corny, near-amateurish styles throughout.