Words Review

Tony Rich's debut album kicks off with the track "Hey Blue." For the uninitiated, this song is a great example of Rich's style. Rarely does he just give you the songs meaning in a quick listen. Instead, the track is layered in imagery that grows in meaning with every listen. This first track is a pleasant up-tempo song about a man who's having difficulties with his lover. The track is one of the weaker songs on the album but it's still an enjoyable listen.

The second song and biggest hit by Rich, is "Nobody Knows," arguably Rich's best effort. The lyrics are wonderful such as "You could ask my heart, but like a jigsaw puzzle it's been torn all apart." The vocals on the track are haunting as Rich's emotion laces the track with sorrow and separation. The song is perfect through and through and a great example of 90s R&B's best.

The third track on the album is a bit disappointing, though perhaps it is just because it is difficult to match "Nobody Knows." The track, "Like A Woman" paints brilliant images but perhaps gets a little too over the top in its imagery. Lines like "We slit our wrists and join our blood," go a little too far and, while showing a deep love for one another, disconnect the listener from the song. The vocals are still on point and the lyrics are still detailed but the song just doesn't carry the same effectiveness.

"Grass Is Green," the fourth track on the album, is a haunting number about a man who's down on his luck and trying to make ends meet. The track's beat is haunting initially and the lyrics are detailed in their conveyance of one man's struggle. Lines like "Ain't no fairies in these tales" and "I just dread to be alone, cuz I'm afraid of me" make the song effective. It grabs you and if it weren't for its dragging chorus at the end, the song'd be perfect.

Sometimes, Rich gets a little too ambitious in his imagery, as can be seen by the fifth track on the album, "Ghost." "Ghost" is another chilling song as Rich paints himself as a phantom that watches a woman's actions and movements. The vocals are chilling and haunting but are difficult to connect to as they don't really deliver a sturdy experience for the listener to connect to.

"Leavin," the sixth track on the album tells a tale about a man who is disgusted by the lies and actions of the woman he is with. Probably the song's best trait is that it is a very enjoyable listen as the vocals are light and the lyrics are catchy. However, the song does get repetitive near the end. It also has a confusing chorus as it says "My journey's long over, and my body's tired" and then closes with "I know somebody really loves me, but I gotta be leavin." Overall, the song's effectiveness would have been much better if it had just cut the lines about his journey being over, but then, maybe I'm misunderstanding something.

On the seventh track of the album, Rich tells a clearer story about a man who's always cheating on his wife/girlfriend with other women. The song weaves a compelling tale about the man and his attempts to justify his actions. However, while the song is interesting and has a fun chorus, it's delivery seems to be lacking something. While Rich delivers with a soulful feel, its still not all there.

"Under Her Spell," the eighth track on the album is another chilling, depressing number. Rich describes himself as being trapped in the weaving allure of a woman with no way out. She clearly doesn't care for him at all, but yet, she consumes his thoughts. The song really strikes home as Rich sings with a voice that reflects the feelings of his plight. A great song that really emanates its meaning.

The album continues on strong with "Little Ones." The song is a consoling track about suffering youth as Rich tries to empathize with their plight. The song moves quickly and has a great flow to it. Overall, it's an enjoyable, touching song.

Concluding the album is "Missin You." The song has the potential to be of the same calibre as "Nobody Knows" with great emotion in the singing and beautiful lyrics. The only flaw of the track is an overly repetitive chorus that basically just repeats "I'm missing you." Still, with the composition of the rest of the song, it's easy to overlook the monotonous chorus.

tl;dr: The album that put Tony Rich on the map, this album is a solid listen from start to finish. While Birdseye is a little better, Words is a solid effort from start to finish. While some songs have confusing messages and others just don't work as good as they could, overall the album is grade A material.