Michael Sembello released his debut album in 1983, and the song 'Maniac', included in the movie Flashdance, won the following year's Grammy in its category and become the third highest grossing song from a soundtrack.
Because of this fulminant success, Michael has spent much of his career writing and performing music to soundtracks for movies and TV shows, his solo discography is pretty short indeed.
His second solo "Without Walls" is a classic mainstream product of its time: commercial but elaborated Pop-Rock AOR with some Westcoast throw in.
"What You Really Want" opens the disc with catchy temperament, featuring a very good guitar riff and solo. This track is a Lite AOR gem.
"Last To Know" is one of those pop tracks that have the necessary essence to stand the test of time. Solid songwriting in the best canadian style.
"Funkabilly Swing" is obviously a funk-pop song, not my favorite style, but the rhythm guitars are just amazing.
The magic returns with the AORish "Is This the Way To Paradise", where Michael sings (especially the chorus) fiercely, and the guitar / keyboard tandem enrich the tune.
"Burn It Up" is another highlight. A pure '80s track with an action-movie style.
"Angelina" and particularly "Wonder Where You Are" are smooth Westcoast numbers, while "Dangerous" and "Gravity" are commercial, almost danceable tracks (the latter included into the 'Cocoon' soundtrack).
"Tear Down The Walls" is a marching, anthemic pop-rocker. This song was later recorded by argentine musician Miguel Mateos (produced by Sembello) and become a latin hit.
"The Picture" is another enormous eighties winner song, with excellent guitar work (Jennifer Batten plays here uncredited), processed drums and glossy production.
"Without Walls" is a terrific album in this style, with great songs, musicians and production.
"Angelina" and "The Picture" are only included in this now hard to find japanese CD version. There's a reissue out there plus 3 versions of 'Maniac', but it isn't official.
As said; hard to find version, at maximum quality + artwork.
01 - What You Really Want
02 - Last To Know
03 - Funkabilly Swing
04 - Is This The Way To Paradise
05 - Burn It Up
06 - Angelina [bonus track]
07 - Tear Down The Walls
08 - Gravity (Special Dance Mix)
09 - Wonder Where You Are
10 - Dangerous
11 - The Picture [bonus track]
Lead Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards: Michael Sembello
Vocals on 'Wonder Where You Are': Tata Vega
Guitars: Steve Rippley, Bud Rizzo, Jennifer Batten
Keyboards: Randy Waldman
Bass: Richard Rudolph
Bass, Keyboards: Danny Sembello
Drums: Vinnie Colaiuta, Carlos Vega
Percussion: Ron Powell
Synthesizers: Dennis Matkosky, Steve Porcaro
Saxophone: David Boruff
Horns: Herb Alpert
Harmonica, Backing Vocals: Stevie Wonder
Backing Vocals: Bobby Caldwell, Cruz Sembello, Danny Sembello