There's a curious thing about the cover of Tim Easton's new CD, The Truth about Us. Right beneath the title and just to the right of the singer's name sits a row of three stars, as if the album was being rated right on its own cover. Of course, it's unlikely that the graphic was intended as a comment on the quality of the record within, but there it is, begging for that interpretation. And even though I'm loathe to grade someone's art with stars, popcorn boxes or erect or flaccid thumbs, I'd say that the three star grade is not all that far off, though perhaps a little modest.
In fact Easton's record is what — without the use of dingbats or wingdings — I would call, "good." Unfortunately these days, in the hyperbolic world of Rock criticism where the blurb standard seems to be "amazing" or "brilliant," "good" sounds like a half-hearted compliment. It's not meant to be. Personally I haven't had any "amazing" or "brilliant" musical revelations in awhile. And even though I've heard a lot of records I've liked better since, I probably don't listen to any of them nearly as much as I did the Alan Parson's Project Pyramid LP when I was 14. Of course, I had a pool table and a poster of Cheryl Tiegs in my listening room at the time and nothing but time to kill, but still, Pyramid is hardly a classic by anyone's estimation, even with the lovely singing from Colin Blunstone.
The point is, without exaggeration, The Truth About Us is a good album with several songs I like and a few I like a whole lot. And I know, because I've listened to the whole thing, which is almost impossible to do with this stupid, overlong CD format. I'm aware that it's archaic to fuss about CDs at this point, but God, give me a Side 2.
If there still really were such a thing as a side 2, I imagine