Chicago's early-'80s return from the scrapheap did more than bring the group its biggest chart successes: it finally shattered the carefully maintained "faceless" image that had prevented any member from becoming an individual star. In the dawning age of video, the band needed a focal point, and bassist Peter Cetera -- already the voice behind Chicago's soft rock smashes like "If You Leave Me Now," which had made significant inroads with the MOR audience -- was the logical choice. So it wasn't a huge surprise that, following Chicago XVII, Cetera decided to use his new celebrity to strike out on his own. He'd already come close to leaving a few years earlier, making his first solo album when Chicago was at a commercial low point; this time he had plenty of momentum, reinforced with a little cross-marketing for the movie The Karate Kid, Part II. Cetera's gallant "The Glory of Love" served as the film's theme and became a major hit as well as defined his post-Chicago sound -- essentially XVII without the horns, with one ultra-slick L.A. producer (Michael Omartian) replacing another (David Foster). The loss of brass, even in the subservient role it had come to play in post-resurrection Chicago, leaves Solitude/Solitaire bland around the edges, and since Omartian went for more trendy embellishments than Foster (especially on up-tempo tracks like "Big Mistake") the album doesn't have the timeless sound of Cetera's former work. However, his familiar tenor and gift for melody insure a pleasant listen even today, the well-crafted balladry making the lack of bite bearable. ~ Dan LeRoy, Rovi
Track samples provided courtesy of iTunes
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