Title: “Living in a Fantasy”
Artist: Leo Sayer
Release date: 1980
Favorite track: “Let Me Know"
Leo Sayer has a voice with many layers.
Every song I hear reveals a side of his voice I hadn’t heard before. In some songs, it’s husky, and in others, it’s boyish.
His falsetto is irrefutably angelic.
“You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” is the first Sayer song I ever heard. I adore that catchy disco track, but I haven’t spent much time listening to his music.
Writing this column is the first time I’ve listened to Sayer’s eighth album, “Living in a Fantasy.” From what I’ve read, the record didn’t garner much success or attention, which makes me glad I gave it a listen.
“You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” feels like an inaccurate representation of Sayer’s discography. I always equated Sayer with disco music, but “Living in a Fantasy” highlights so many other genres — namely classic rock, folk and country.
It surprised me to hear similarities to Elton John, Tom Petty and, of course, The Beatles — a band from which Sayer covered several songs. Sayer is, however, British, so that makes some sense.
The big hit on this album is a cover version of Bobby Vee’s “More Than I Can Say.” I can see why people were attracted to this song. The country heartbreak track sounds emotional, yet soothing in Sayer’s vocals.
I think “Millionaire” is a hidden gem. It’s a playful, anxious song that doesn’t force Sayer’s vocals in any direction.
Going broke with a loser like me
And you’re a girl who’s just got to be free
And I don’t think you’ll ever be happy
Chasing a millionaire
While this album didn’t see significant commercial success, none of these songs are bad — or even half bad. I didn’t find myself ripping my headphones off at any point. In fact, I found it rather peaceful as background music during work.
The last few tracks really caught my attention.
“Once in Awhile” is a fantastic pop-rock song. This track reminds me of many Journey songs. The reason I’ve name dropped so many musicians is to help you find a place for Sayer in your musical library. He certainly deserves one.
“Let Me Know” is another hidden hit, and my personal favorite. I’m shocked at how much I like it. I listened to this 10 times in a row with no remorse. It reminded me of some of my fave Fleetwood Mac songs.
Take another time another place
Take this heart of mine and dry your face
Oh won’t you let me know
— “Let Me Know”
Sayer’s powerhouse voice puts the rock 'n' roll in an otherwise calm title track. It was during this song I realized what I like so much about Sayer’s singing and this album, his soul. He co-wrote many of the songs.
Sayer puts a lot of heart into his music, and I think that makes “Living in a Fantasy” worth a listen.
This album art is 100 percent disco, but the album is not. Seeing it and hearing it are two different things.
While I couldn’t find any information about the album art, I have to assume the fragmented images and colors depicted inside Sayer’s figure reflect an inner identity crisis.