Children of the World
Released: September 1976
Chart Peak: #8
Weeks Charted: 63
Certified Platinum: 12/23/76
From mushy pop ballads through late-Sixties psychedelia and low-key rock, the Bee Gees have demonstrated a chameleonlike ability to adapt to disparate pap trends. These days, as they said on the Tonight Show in their best Cockney accents, "Rhythm & blues is what's happening." Audacious, right? Well, not exactly. Some of their stuff is really good, better than poseurs like Wild Cherry, AWB and Kokomo.
The overwhelming success and acceptance (by blacks and whites) of white bands working in black idioms must have some underlying social significance. Don't aske me what it is. I just dance to the music.
- Joe McEwen, Rolling Stone, 11/4/76.
After some years of disappointment, as one good record after another failed to reach its potential market, the Bee Gees found that Number One single formula again by absorbing many of the hooks of the exploding disco music into its richly textured style. Now with the Bee Gees label, RSO, leaving Atlantic to go independent, this is the Brothers Gibb first recent LP without Arif Mardin, who produced their comeback sides. On their own, the Bee Gees have lovingly reproduced and even further refined the blue-eyed disco sound it developed with Mardin. Lead vocalist Robin Gibb has deserted his distinctive vibrato for a pure falsetto that could be easily at home in the O'Jays or the Stylistics. Brothers Maurice and Barry provide lead instrumentals and vocal harmonies that also out-soul all but the best of contemporary soul groups. The Bee Gees have had the determination and good fortune to create for themselves a second style that caught the public imagination as much as the group's earlier hits. Best cuts: "You Should Be Dancing," "Love So Right," "Lovers," "You Stepped Into My Life."
- Billboard, 1976.
Their closed-system commitment to a robot aura renders embarrassing questions about whether they mean what they're singing irrelevant, which is good. Too often, though, their pleasure in artifice doesn't wholly irradiate the rather patchy material. Best hook: Blue Weaver's organ part on "Subway." B
- Robert Christgau, Christgau's Record Guide, 1981.
The Bee Gees were well on their way to earning the Disco Kings crown that would haunt them for the rest of their career when they recorded this disc, which found the kings of pop harmony self-producing and Barry Gibb experimenting with the falsetto that would mark a change in their singing style. Great vocal interplay and gritty soul combine for fun party hits, so get up on your feet, boogie child, 'cause you should be dancing. * * * *
- Zagat Survey Music Guide - 1,000 Top Albums of All Time, 2003.
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