I Am – 1978
Review by RJM
The sound on «I Am» is highly refined and sophisticated. The production is flawless. You hear those typical EWF guitar tracks everywhere, and their hot percussion on «Let Your Feelings Show» and «In The Stone».
«I Am» starts strongly on the first three cuts. The beginning of «In The Stone» is epic EWF. «Can’t Let Go» is worth mentioning; it really moves. Things cool off, however, after «After The Love Has Gone». «I Am» picks up at the end with the orchestration of the fusion cut «Rock That!», and the standout single «You And I». The subsequent CD reissue lengthened the latter cut by 35 seconds compared to the original LP release.
In spite of the fact «Boogie Wonderland» is true disco (standing head and shoulders above the popular disco of the time), the rest of «I Am» is definitely not a sellout. However, as good as it is, it isn’t nearly as innovative as their last complete work, 1977’s «All-n-All». It was a turning point for EWF which can be summed up in two words: David Foster. This commercial studio musician’s name appeared in all but three of the songwriting credits, a departure from an EWF forte of writing and playing their own material. In retrospect, this was the first real indication EWF had peaked, though obscured by the strength of «I Am».
order of strength:
Total playing time: 37:09