"INSIDE OUT." Philip Bailey. Columbia. While the issue of Bailey's role in Earth, Wind & Fire still hasn't been resolved, his solo stance has certainly been defined. With this third album (the follow-up to last year's "Chinese Wall" and its hit duet with Phil Collins, "Easy Lover"), it becomes clear that Bailey intends to do little more with his solo records than deliver "uplifting" messages in colorful but unimaginative packages.
The single, "State of the Art," is a fair indicator of this 10-song collection's tone, both lyrically and musically. To a music track that's frisky, professionally produced (by Nile Rodgers) but short of interesting features, Bailey informs us that it isn't material things that count in the world.
Half the album consists of such cheery yet unexciting numbers; the other half is ballads that blandly restate well-worn love themes.
Bailey's sweet-guy approach has potential to stand out as something special, given the sex-obsessed state of current black music. But this pastel pastiche of uneventful romance and advice songs simply has nothing that grabs your attention. If you wonder why you don't hear this sort of thing called "soul" music so much any more, here's part of the reason.