Somehow, someway in October 1999 I learned the bassist for Duran Duran, John Taylor, was live in concert at The Coach House, a small but popular venue in San Juan Capistrano, CA.
When dating an obsessive Duran Duran fan you make plans. And don’t say anything.
We arrived and she had no idea. Then she saw the posters. Yes, we’re seeing John Taylor. The Coach House is a dinner and show venue and our seats were right by the stage. Before long John Taylor emerged with his band. There he was. And my eventual wife was in heaven.
We followed John Taylor a few days later to the Viper Room (the place River Phoenix died outside in 1993) and stood by the stage. We got to meet him backstage and I don’t know how we got there but my ineffectual memory places us inside this bathroom where we met Taylor and he signed a shirt and his solo album Feelings Are Good and Other Lies.
Long after Duran Duran burned out from their stadium selling peak but before their remarkable and sustained resurgence, John Taylor released his first solo album Feelings Are Good And Other Lies in June 1995. Taylor had yet to leave Duran Duran but by then the writing was mostly on the wall and he officially left in 1997 before returning several years later.
When we saw Taylor, he was performing as John Taylor Terroristen (I have the shirt but I don’t wear it much since 9/11). He also played in Neurotic Outsiders which featured guitarist Steve Jones of Sex Pistols and Matt Sorum and Duff McKahen from Guns N’ Roses. Two songs featuring Taylor on vocals off that super group’s lone and self-titled release from 1996 make the jump to Feelings Are Good And Other Lies. Jones sure gets around with former members of Duran Duran doesn’t he? He helped out Andy Taylor on his solo album and plays guitar on Feelings Are Good And Other Lies, as well.
We mostly looked forward to the Duran Duran songs those nights and John Taylor played some, but mostly dialed in on his own music. This might explain why I paid little attention to Feelings Are Good And Other Lies until now because the non-Duran Duran songs he played those nights didn’t do much for me. I know I popped in Feelings Are Good And Other Lies in my CD player sometime afterwards but quickly dismissed the album and it was put away with all my wife’s other collections.
What a mistake that was.
John Taylor Feelings Are Good And Other Lies Album Review
Feelings Are Good And Other Lies fits perfectly within the music of the day. Lots of Hole. Remember Pray TV? I hear them on here along with Screaming Trees and even The Breeders. But John Taylor likely had the same roadblocks as former bandmate Andy Taylor had with his solo effort Thunder 10 years earlier. The 13 song effort (12 listed tracks) offers 45 minutes of righteous alternative rock that unfortunately got lost along the way.
1. Feelings R Good – Heavy song. Awesome guitar. Reminds me of some of the post punk, punk rock sounds of the 90s. I just made that description up but it’s true. Great song.
2. Don’t Talk Much – Rocking song, with great John Taylor bass and some use of a distorted mic somewhat prevalent today. This album is 25 years old, by the way. You definitely hear some Hole in this song.
3. 2:03 – The shortest song on the record. Seriously John why not just add a few more seconds and make is two minutes and three seconds long. Anyway… “2:03” sounds like a Side B for an alternative rock band. Distorted mic throughout with a fun tempo. I think Taylor was simply having fun.
4. Everyone is Getting it But Me – A more pop oriented song with an easy melody and laid back guitar rhythm. Listen carefully, you can hear Taylor on bass which totally grounds this track.
5. Always Wrong – Back to an alternative rocking song. A pretty simple beat but with a lot going on.
6. Look Homeward Angel – Heavy, hard and abrasive. Screaming Trees got planted in here somewhere.
7. Losing You – Slow and contemplative. John’s attempt at a ballad. Music works, vocals not so much. He’s definitely trying, so good on him. But wait a sec…it really starts to grow on you.
8. See You Again – Alternative rock at its finest. That 90s rock guitar ages very well. Wish bands would bring it back. Great song.
9. Down Again – Quick and fast-paced. Might be some early punk rock in here thanks to Steve Jones but mostly another solid alternative rock song. Taylor’s vocals fit this style much better.
10. Girl Raw – A little repetitive at times but Taylor keeps it going with another good rock song. Heavy on guitar and a Rolling Stones sounding solo closes it out.
11. Hole in the Mud – Taylor brings the distorted mic back which works well for this song. It’s slow, a bit meandering at times but has southern rock overtones. The main guitar which sounds more like background effects settles hypnotically.
12. Trust the Process – I have to take back a little about Taylor’s voice not working on slower, ballad-y songs. “Trust the Process” opens with mostly Taylor singing and he sounds just fine. The song breaks away a few times into heavier rock but mostly keeps a slow roll and begins to drag near the end.
13. Encore for Bean (hidden track) – After a little more than a minute of silence “Encore for Bean” begins . Not sure why they didn’t just feature this as the 13th song (superstitious maybe?) but it’s hardly a throwaway. It’s not radio friendly but a fun alternative rock song in the vein of Weezer.
Taylor has a peculiar tone to his voice and can sound a bit off-key. He’s not a natural born singer but his vocals work well with most of the songs and sometimes he sounds like Tom Petty when hitting the lower octave.
Overall, Feelings Are Good And Other Lies comes across quite raw giving it some charm and a gritty garage recording feel. A remastered approach to pull in some acoustics and pull out others could do wonders for this album. However, John Taylor did not mail this album in as a way to kill time or throw something out there and see what sticks. None of these songs sound the same and Taylor shakes things up with tempos and different approaches to songs. It certainly passes (with flying colors) as a 90s alternative rock album but I can hear it today. Feelings Are Good And Other Lies offers a grand departure from anything Duran Duran had put out or has released since and no doubt the solo artist musician inside John Taylor was itching to get out.
And sometime those feelings are good especially when the result unveils this album.
John Taylor Feelings Are Good And Other Lies Track List:
- Feelings R Good
- Don’t Talk Much
- Everyone is Getting it But Me
- Always Wrong
- Look Homeward Angel
- Losing You
- See You Again
- Down Again
- Girl Raw
- Hole in the Mud
- Trust the Process
- Encore for Bean (Hidden Track)