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Colin Hay, Man @ Work (Compass)
Colin Hay is best known for his days as the singer for Men at Work. Now, recently being part of Ringo Starr's All Starr Band this past summer, Hay has reworked his classics with some newer songs. Beginning with "Beautiful World" which has an alternative mix, the singer-songwriter struts his wares over an acoustic countryish backdrop. Losing nothing in terms of his voice, the songs take on a different meaning and sound despite some being around for more than two decades. "And still this emptiness persists / Perhaps this is as good as it gets", Hay sings about giving up old habits and taking up new ones. "Down Under" is stripped down to its acoustic base with flute still present over a swampy guitar. This might be best termed "Men at Work: Unplugged", but Hay has enough other material to make it interesting and contemporary on songs such as "Overkill" and one of his new songs "Storm in My Heart", a very decent pop tune that oozes adult contemporary characteristics. "Don't Be Afraid", previously unreleased, is an above average reggae tune that has a great flow to it along the lines of UB40. But hits like "It's a Mistake" and "Who Can It Be Now" still keeps one's attention, particularly the former, which seems a song that Sting took his sound from somewhat. "Waiting for My Real Life to Begin" is the longest and possibly most heartfelt tune of the baker's dozen. "Who Can It Be Now" is toned down with an acoustic version. Overall this is a strong album with songs still as good as they once were.