345. Vox Humana – Daniel Amos

VOX HUMANA (1984)

Daniel Amos

Despite not being one of the best of Alarma Chronicles releases (in fact many call it the weakest of the four), it still remains one of my favorite Daniel Amos albums of all time. It’s fun, it’s commercial, it’s pop…it’s all the things many DA fans cringe at. It is also much more upbeat and positivbe than the other four albums that make up the Alarma Chronicles.

Vox Humana has significantly more keyboards than most DA album and it may have had to do with the departure of longtime member Jerry Chamberlain whose original and discordant guitar styling was a trademark sound for the band. Relying on more keyboards and even (gasp) the dreaded electronic drum sounds (they weren’t alone for the time) the album sounded more pop and, in many ways, more current than other DA projects.

Borrowing from everything from David Bowie and Gary Numan to Wall of Voodoo and Violent Femmes, Vox Humana sounded very much like what was being heard on college radio stations around the country and on LA’s world famous KROQ. Lyrically the album deals with man’s position in a modern world and fears and joys relating to the future and man’s obsession with technology. Imagine if Taylor and company knew what was to happen in the next 20 or so years in regards to technology! Maybe he knew?

Travelog deals with a TV obsessed man whose life revolves and is controlled by television. “Rocket Packs” is a techno driven song about the disappointment one feels when the future is not what they expect. Ultimately it reveals a mankind that never changes in the ways that are most important.

The first single, which received a fair amount of airplay in KYMS back in the day, is Home Permanent, a song about the need to find the eternal home since this world is not our ultimate residence.  It may also go down as the single most commercial sounding song in DA history.

One memorable highlight is the now classic “Dance Stop.” The song contains several “pauses” in which the listener is commanded to stop dancing, only to resume on command. Hidden amongst the humor is Taylor’s strong witted look at the world potential destructive ways. It’s Sick always reminds me of Wall of Voodoo’s “Mexican Radio.”

Taylor also reveals on this album his love and fascination with famed poet William Blake with a stunning song named in his honor. That song along with “Sanctuary” remain two of the finest songs Taylor has ever penned. The latter closes the album is such an emotionally haunting manner that I still recall several times having to just sit and contemplate the song before continuing with my life. The David Bowie like vocals are achingly strong and the content is just staggering. Near perfection!

 

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  1. Shawn McLaughlin
    October 26, 2010 at 3:58 am

    I have also grown to consider this one a lot more highly than most DA-o-philes do. I’ve always described it as Kraftwerk meets The Beatles. As far as the Chronicles, I prefer this to the stylistically schizo “Fearful Symmetry.”

  2. paul
    October 26, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    This is a fantastic album but I still liked Alarma the best. My favorite song on this one is “As the world turns”. I was at a DA concert where Ed had to fiddle with the drum machine for at least 20 minutes to get it to work. I was glad when they got rid of it.

  3. Brian
    October 29, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    I liked this one right away because it was fun and in a satyrical way, powerful.
    Sanctuary is the best track & one of my favorites of all time in CCM
    Travelog and Rocket Packs are just as brilliant
    Dance Stop is just fun
    It’s Sick is still so poignant “It’s sick and I got it on my TV…”

  4. November 13, 2010 at 4:34 am

    My hair used to point to the sky.

  5. Jerrid
    November 17, 2010 at 4:06 am

    Great album. Great fun. I think it should be higher.

  6. newelectricmuse
    November 20, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    I love the line “My hair points to the sky, the place I’d rather be”. A great pop album; I agree with everything you’ve said about it.

  7. adam
    June 8, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    People didn’t like this album? This was the first DA album I ever bought, and I *loved* it… that “William Blake” song was beautiful! It made me go back and buy Doppelganger, Alarma, and Horrendous Disc!

    • November 13, 2011 at 11:19 pm

      I think this was the best selling Daniel Amos album after they pretty much lost their audience during the Horrendous disc debacle. However, most of the DA-o-philes consider this one of their lesser works (which, considering the amazingly consistent quality of their cannon, is not such a bad thing) but I actually prefer it now to Doppleganger, Fearful Symmetry and about 5 others. definitely in the top half of all DA product.

  8. Don
    July 7, 2011 at 3:08 am

    one of their best, I think – but not their absolute best

    Definitely a place to start along with Horrendous Disc

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