David Foster

by: David Foster

The instrumental "Love Theme From St. Elmo's Fire" by mega producer David Foster from his self-titled album hit the Top 15 in 1985, following the number one success of Foster's production of John Parr, also from the film St. Elmo's Fire. Foster's work overshadowed larger-than-life producers who came before him -- Jimmy Miller, who was signed to a CBS label as a vocalist before his stellar career with Blind Faith and the Rolling Stones, as well as Bob Crewe, who was produced by Jerry Wexler when he released the Motivation disc. One would think Foster could have launched himself further into the mainstream given his tremendous success -- or the fact that, unlike Crewe and Miller, he actually had a hit with Skylark in 1973, the Top Ten "Wildflower." An instrumental of that classic would have lent itself well to this Atlantic recording featuring a bevy of name session players from Carlos Vega to the horn section from the group Chicago, as well as Olivia Newton-John appearing on the tune "The Best of Me." The handsome producer stares out of the cover of this album, and he certainly has the look, the drawback here being that it's difficult for the mass audience to get a handle on an album of mostly instrumentals. "Elizabeth" is beautiful, while "Playing With Fire" has techno elegance, but without balance it becomes too much of a good thing, all high-tech frosting when some of the producer's famous vocalist friends/clients would have lifted the project to a different level. Imagine Ray Kurzweil's computers, which write their own poetry, coming up with instrumental music, and that's pretty much what you'll find here. Cool as ice and at times soulless, there's no disputing it is well-crafted and listenable. But outside of Newton-John on "The Best of Me" and Richard Page helping out with backing vocals on the Asia-sounding "Who's Gonna Love You Tonight," the David Foster album plays like a movie soundtrack rather than an album that contains movie music: "Theme From the Color Purple" and "Love Theme From St. Elmo's Fire." "Sajé" is a very nice conclusion to the disc, and it is all first class. Maybe with a future re-release, Foster can put voices and lyrics to some of the instrumental tracks and realize the potential in these grooves. ~ Joe Viglione

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