Linda Lewis - A Tear And A Smile (EPC 25478) 1983 MP3/Flac


Along with "Say No More", this is perhaps the Linda Lewis album that's hardest to come by in second-hand outlets. Her Arista and Ariola albums are all over the place. If you're in any major town or city, it would probably only take half an hour to find one of them. The Reprise albums sometimes take a little longer to acquire.

"A Tear and a Smile" indicates that Lewis's career trajectory was sometimes markedly similar to Melissa Manchester's. Both began with charming, self-written albums, then got steamrollered into becoming more conventional by Clive Davis and the Arista machine, and then - by the first half of the eighties, went pop - Manchester with the "Hey Ricky" album, and Lewis with this one. At the same time, both retained some traces of their original approach, supplying three or four self- or co-written songs per album.

Thankfully, since then, both have reconnected with their muses. Which isn't to say that their respective, short-lived pop periods were not enjoyable. "A Tear and a Smile" is largely upbeat, near-bubblegum, with a handful of ballads. Linda wrote "Why Can't I Be The Other Woman" about her failing marriage, and it's probably the best of the slow ones here, while "I Am What I Am" is my favourite of the shamelessly boppy, synth-pop ones. "This Boy" sounds like something from a flashy, insubstantial 60s girl group given an 80s makeover.

Listeners differ in their preferences for this artist's different periods, so I'd love to hear from someone attempting a spirited defence of "A Tear and a Smile" as Linda Lewis's best album. Judge for yourself by listening to it here at 320 kbps.