Despite the ‘cringe factor’, Bruce Willis’ debut album, ‘The Return of Bruno’, has a handful of other knits that you might want to pick. Listening to it would might make one wonder why the likes of amazon are currently pricing a CD version of this 37 year old record, at £22.95.
Probably the pick of the bunch is a cover of the 1966 song Secret Agent Man, most famously recorded by Johnny Rivers. Interestingly the original version of this song isn’t bad at all, in fact it’s actually quite an enjoyable rock and roll tune.
There are two major differences between the original and Willis’ version;
One is, that he’s taken a rock and roll tune, and turned it in to what is recognized as ‘Rhythm and Blues/Pop’. Frankly the only thing blues about this album is the sad fact that so many people have purchased it.
The second is that he has the melody of the James Bond Theme tune as an intro to the song. Now…it’s not an illogical idea considering the name and content of the song, but the fact that he has taken the melody from James Bond and made it sound like a scene from Miami Vice is pretty fucking questionable to say the least.
Most of the songs on the album sound pretty much the same to me. I mean, there is a little bit of variety but not enough to know the difference between songs (apart from lyrical content of course). This is already a problem in itself but the fact that none of the songs have much musical value to appreciate is just the icing on the cake. This album is nothing short of mediocre.
People often say that it annoys them how people these days have no talent but still manage to make the big bucks in music, but this album is a fine example that it’s been happening for many years. I mean Bruce isn’t totally untalented, but on songs such as Young Blood, and Under The Boardwalk, you can hear him straining to reach notes that quite frankly a professional singer would find a walk in the park.
The album has been noted as ‘A kitsch artefact that stands more as a testament to excesses of Reagan-era celebrity and baby-boomer nostalgia, than a piece of music’.
An overall view of the album- Maybe listen to it and you might get some kicks from it, but certainly don’t even think about purchasing it.
Words by Rich Coveney