For the 10 years prior to this release, Jeff Scott Soto has been singing for other people and other bands. This time around it was all for himself. ‘Love Parade’ is Jeff’s first solo album and the first chance for people to see a side of Jeff they’ve never seen. That can be a good thing or a bad thing and for a lot of Jeff’s metal fans this album was a strange departure. It was because this was not a metal album or even a hard rock. It is more a funk, R&B and a rock album all rolled in to one. His influences are worn on his sleeves with this one.
The songs he compiled for this album were mostly old demos he had that never amounted to anything prior. He felt they truly represented who he was outside of the metal/rock world. There were several songs from his band Slam that never released anything. He had a couple songs from his girlfriend, Julie Greaux, that he was co-producer on. He took them, re-worked them and then sang on them.
Musicians on the album were some friends including Gary Schutt, who Jeff sang for on Gary’s debut solo album, played bass and guitar. His girlfriend, Julie Greaux did background vocals and keyboards. George Bernhardt played drums, bass and guitar as well. And Jeff played a little of everything as well including the singing. The album was released sometime in 1994/1995 on Long Island Records but the year depends on who you ask. The album didn’t make any major waves, but thankfully in 2002, Jeff signed with Frontiers Records and they re-released it and by this time it made bigger waves as he was more famous.
Before we get to the music, let us briefly talk the cover art. It was actually done by Jeff’s song Jason when he was a little child. I think that is really cool he used it as I find it to be a great cover that fits with the album theme. Now let’s look at the music and see what Jeff is like when he isn’t belting out metal songs with German guitar slingers.
The album kicks off with spoken words from Jeff called “A New Salvation” and you can see those lyrics on the back cover above. I won’t grade it as it is only an intro and not a song. But it does go straight in to the title track, “Love Parade” with its jungle sounds and then a jungle beat before turning in to a funked out rock track. Jeff touts his peace, love, rainbow, unicorns and hippie beliefs and does it in a fun, upbeat way. He even breaks in to a ra in the middle which just seems to fit perfectly. It is not what you expect from Jeff, but you accept it nonetheless. The song “Love Parade” was actually leftover from his band Slam that never actually put anything out.
The song transitions nicely in to “People” which has a heavy, nasty groove. Jeff’s vocals have a radio announcer type effect on his vocals during the verses. Jeff’s vocals on the chorus soar on the chorus and that bass line throughout is just killer. The lyrics are more social commentary and Jeff seems to have a lot to say so far with this album about what is important…love and people!! This track was one from Eyes that he re-worked in to his own song.
“GotIt Goin On” is funk in the same vein as Red Hot Chili Peppers as that bass has a whole Flea vibe. There is also a whole 70’s vibe going on here as well. Jeff feels right at home as he confidently shouts out the lyrics. A fun track that makes you want to get up and dance a little with it or at least bob and weave in your chair. This song was written by his girlfriend Julie Greaux.
“Listen Up” has a whole R&B feel to it as Jeff’s vocals are so soulful and so silky smooth. There is a cool rhythm to it all and it sucks you right in taking you on a ride back in time to music of the 70’s and it is just a wonderful feeling. This is the second song from Julie that we mentioned earlier.
“How You Want It” has a Sabbathy opening before you get a Flavor Fav “Don’t Believe the Hype” before the funk is brought back and Soto brings the grooves, the soul and all the good time feelings and the Hip Hop craziness. So far there is nothing you’d expect from Jeff, but I love every minute of it as it is more his personality. The rap is a little too much, but no denying the song is a blast.
Then comes “United/Divided” and it is more rock with hints of the funk but the whole ‘Love Parade’ theme still shines strong. There is nothing new or fresh on this one, but still a solid tune but the one thing the song does highlight is the programmed drum sound the album has seen throughout…big negative for me (like it was on Gary Schutt’s album). This is another former Eyes song.
One of Jeff’s idols is Prince and he goes full on Prince-mode with “4 U”. It is a ballad that sounds like an old school R&B track but with the whole thing sang as Prince when he does that falsetto. Jeff also has some sultry speaking lines thrown in to turn it in to a sexy and sultry track and I swear at times it sounds like Prince singing. This is another track from his former band Slam.
Then we “Monogamy” which almost has a New Kid On the Block or Bobby Brown electronic keyboard sound. Kinda scary. It is funked out as well and overall is more of the same with nothing really new and exciting to it. Maybe I’m all funked out at this point. But not a fan. This was another song he had written when in Eye.
The funkiest song of the whole bunch is “Funk Sandwich”…I mean it is so funky it is even in the title of the song. Jeff throws every funk sound in to this song and he attacks it vocally with some amazing gusto. The song is a total blast and there are so many James Brown vocal elements that you can’t help but love every second of it. This has always been a favorite of mind for its quirkiness. Suddenly, I’m hungry for a funk sandwich!!
“Friend” is a ballad and is the most normal melodic rock sounding song on the whole album. Jeff can sing ballads and he doesn’t let us down with this one at all. It is actually out of place on this album, but I still love it. His vocals are so smooth and feel like they are floating through space even when the song picks up the tempo mid-way through. A great track.
The final track is the Queen cover of “Dragon Attack”. Jeff actually was approached by Queen to sing with them and he has many times, but I don’t think it was based on him singing this song (or I doubt it was). This one falls flat. He can sing Freddie and does a respectable job, but it is just an uninspiring version as it is too funked out a version. If he would’ve sang it more true to the original, it would’ve been fantastic, but a funk song this is not.
- A New Salvation
- Love Parade – Keeper
- People – Keeper
- GotIt Goin On – Keeper
- Listen Up – Keeper
- How U Want It – Keeper
- United/Divided – Keeper (1/2 Point)
- 4 U – Keeper
- Monogamy – Delete
- Funk Sandwich – Keeper
- Friend – Keeper
- Dragon Attack – Delete
The Track Score is 8.5 out of 11 or 77%. Let’s get the negative out of the way…the programmed drums is always a sore spot with me. Now, what I love about this album is that is not what you’d expect from Jeff if all your knowledge was based on what he had done up to this point. But Jeff loves R&B and funk and Prince was a massive influence on him so if you know that, then this isn’t a total surprise. The album is fun for me and I really enjoyed the departure from the metal and hard rock. If you like something different, then this is for you. My Overall Score is a 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars and a must in a Soto collection. Grab it if you can.
UP NEXT: AXEL RUDI PELL – ‘MADE IN GERMANY (LIVE)’– (1995)
THE JEFF SCOTT SOTO SERIES:
- Panther – ‘Panther’ (1986) – recorded in 1984
- Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force – ‘Rising Force’ (1984)
- Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force – ‘Marching Out’ (1985)
- Kuni – ‘Lookin’ For Action’ (1988)
- Kryst the Conqueror – ‘Deliver Us From Evil’ (1989) / ‘Soldiers of Light: The Complete Recordings (2019)
- Eyes – ‘Eyes’ (1990)
- Eyes – “Nobody Said It Was Easy” (1990) – 7″ Single – Bonus Edition
- Talisman – ‘Talisman’ (1990)
- Talisman – “I’ll Be Waiting” (1990) – 7″ Single – Bonus Edition
- Skrapp Mettle – ‘Sensitive’ (1991)
- Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Eternal Prisoner’ (1992)
- Bakteria – ‘Deficate! Suffocate! Mutilate! Masturbate!’ (1992 / 2009)
- Eyes – ‘Windows of the Soul’ (1993)
- Talisman – ‘Genesis’ (1993)
- Axel Rudi Pell – ‘The Ballads’ (1993)
- Biker Mice From Mars – ‘Biker Mice From Mars (Soundtrack)’ (1993)
- Takara – ‘Eternal Faith’ (1993)
- Talisman – ‘5 Out Of 5 (Live in Japan)’ (1994)
- Talisman – ‘Humanimal’ (1994)
- Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Between the Walls’ (1994)
- Gary Schutt – ‘Sentimetal’ (1994)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Love Parade’ (1994)
- Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Made in Germany (Live)’ (1995)
- Takara – ‘Taste of Heaven’ (1995)
- Talisman – ‘Life’ (1995)
- Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Black Moon Pyramid’ (1996)
- Human Clay – ‘Human Clay’ (1996)
- Talisman – ‘Best of’ (1996)
- Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Magic’ (1997)
- Human Clay – ‘U4IA’ (1997)
- Boogie Knights – ‘Welcome to the Jungle Boogie’ (1997)
- Talisman – ‘Truth’ (1998)
- Takara – ‘Blind in Paradise’ (1998)
- Talisman – ‘Live at Sweden Rock Festival’ (2001)
- ‘Rock Star (Soundtrack)’ – Various Artists (2001)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Prism’ (2002)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Holding On E.P.’ (2002) – Bonus Edition
- Humanimal – ‘Humanimal’ (2002)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘JSS Live at the Gods 2002’ (2003)
- Talisman – ‘Cats & Dogs’ (2003)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Lost in the Translation’ (2004)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Live at the Queen Convention 2003’ (2004)
- Talisman – ‘Five Men Live’ (2005)
- Soul Sirkus – ‘World Play’ (2005)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Believe in Me E.P.’ (2006) – Bonus Edition
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Essential Ballads’ (2006)
- Talisman – ‘7’ (2006)
- Journey – ‘Live from Atlanta (Bootleg)’ (2006)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘B-Sides’ (2006)
- Redlist – ‘Ignorance’ (2007)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Beautiful Mess’ (2009)
- Jeff Scott Soto – “21st Century” / “Gin & Tonic Sky” CD Single (2009) – Bonus Edition
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘One Night in Madrid’ (2009)
- Trans-Siberian Orchestra – ‘Night Castle’ (2009)
- W.E.T. – ‘W.E.T.’ (2009)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Live at Firefest 2008’ (2010)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Damage Control’ (2012)
- W.E.T. – ‘Rise’ (2013)
- W.E.T. – ‘One Live in Stockholm’ (2014)
- SOTO – ‘Inside the Vertigo’ (2015)
- SOTO – ‘Divak’ (2016)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Retribution’ (2017)
- Sons of Apollo – ‘Psychotic Symphony’ (2017)
- W.E.T. – ‘Earthrage’ (2018)
- SOTO – ‘Origami’ (2019)
- Sons of Apollo – ‘Live With the Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony’ (2019)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Wide Away (In My Dreamland)’ (2020)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Live and Loud in Milan 2019’ (2020)
- Sons of Apollo – ‘MMXX’ (2020)
- SOTO – ‘Revision’ (2020)
- W.E.T. – ‘Retransmission’ (2021)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘The Duets Collection, Vol. 1’ (2021)
- Jeff Scott Soto / Jason Bieler – Live In Concert (2022) – Bonus Edition