As different as Night and Day

The fifth album by Joe Jackson is as different as night and day in comparison to his 4 previous albums. You guessed it already! I am going to review Joe's "Night And Day" album from 1982. Which is his best. No wonder he tried a "Night And Day II" in 2000.
Real Man - single cover
Joe was getting bored by his new wave rock sound of his first 3 albums. We can read that in the liner notes of his third album "Beat Crazy" where he says "This album represents a desperate attempt to make some sense of rock and roll. Deep in our hearts, we knew it was doomed to failure. The question remains: Why did we try?". And also the album was the first not to come up with some hit singles. Strangely enough I consider this album to be one of his better albums. In his song "One To One" from "Beat Crazy" we already get a glimpse what we can hear on his fifth album "Night & Day". His fourth album "Jumpin' Jive" included 1930’s and 40’s Jazz and Swing music but that was a one-night stand.
Steppin' Out - single cover
"Beat Crazy" was released as the Joe Jackson Band that included bassist Graham Maby, guitarist Gary Sanford and drummer Dave Houghton. The band worked with Joe on his first 3 albums. Of this band only Maby made it to Jumpin' Jive and continued to work with Joe also on "Night And Day" and later albums.
Breaking Us In Two - single cover
In 1982 Joe left the UK following a rough divorce with his ex-wife Ruth and settled in New York City to get the opportunity to experiment with the works of Porter, Gerschwin, Latin music and Salsa. He brought in percussionist Sue Hadjopoulos, Ricardo Torres on bongos and drummer Larry Tolfree to handle the latin rhythms and surrounded himself with an arsenal of keyboards including acoustic and electric pianos, organ, and synthesizers. Ed Roynesdal played violin on the album.
Breaking Us In Two - single cover
The album is an album telling the story of an Englishman in New York which could be Joe himself. The Night side of the album starts with the opener “Another World” where Jackson is the one who steps into another world called New York. And the experience of going out in that glamorous city "Steppin' Out". Latin influences are clear in the songs "Chinatown", "TV Age" where we can also hear that Joe's influenced by Steely Dan and "Target".

The Day side tells us about his divorce in “Breaking Us In Two”, Everything gives you “Cancer” and a song about New York’s gay scene in the 80’s titled “Real Men” and ending with a song about the loudness in music of these days and demanding more silence in “A Slow Song”.

The album gave him what he wanted: New success and more artistic freedom!
Original album cover

Night And Day
Night Side: Another World / Chinatown / T.V. Age / Target / Steppin' Out
Day Side: Breaking Us In Two / Cancer / Real Men / A Slow Song

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