by David Chiu
For those who haven’t listened to Howard Jones’ music say in almost the last 18 years, and only know the artist from his ’80s synthpop days, might be in for a shock with his latest record Ordinary Heroes. It’s a heartfelt work free of the gadgetry and predominant synths that have marked his hits, focusing more on Jones the singer-songwriter. Despite the conventional pop music arrangements, Jones’ usual sense of optimism in his lyrics hasn’t changed, especially on the very hopeful “Straight Ahead,” the bouncy and soulful “Collective Heartbeat,” and the encouraging “Fight On. There also some really poignant tunes on Ordinary Heroes as well such as “You Knew Us So Well,” a haunting song that touches on suicide. Ordinary Heroes could be Jones’ most introspective and intimate work yet, and a very affecting one at that.