(All Album Reviews by I.M. Weasel)
Inner Revolution is the 3rd in a series of more pop-rock oriented albums Adrian Belew did for Atlantic Records in the late 80s and early 90s. Inner Revolution is different from most of Belew's catalogue in several ways. For starters, this is the least experimental and more song-oriented album of his career up to this point. This is also the most introspective album of Belew's career; it is seen as a transition, both in Adrian's professional career, and personal life. Inner Revolution came on the heels of a divorce between himself and his first wife, Marsha. For a musician whose music is usually bright and energetic, the liner notes show a rather subdued and somber musician. Keep in mind, you won't find the tone of music or lyrics here that you might find on a Radiohead album, or even a Pete Townshend solo album, but here Belew shows that right now, he is going through a tough time. But even in the face of adversity, Belew keeps an optimistic outlook. This is the theme of Inner Revolution.
This album starts off of course with the title song "Inner Revolution", which is a perfect song to open up this album. In it, he writes "There's something in your life you don't like, you got the power to change it". Belew opens the album with a statement proving that he is ready to deal with life's troubles.
The next song, the shuffling "This is What I Believe In" is a near-perfect companion to "Inner Revolution", because both songs share similar themes. "All the World is a cannibal....but that’s no reason to be a jerk" Belew writes here.
On every album, Belew tries to stick in a "socially conscious" song, and "Only a Dream" fits the bill here. Admittedly, this is not one of his better songs in this mold. The song starts out with a howling Belew vocal, but the energy unexpectedly decreases throughout until it finally fades out. "Birds", a lively song, comes next, where Belew laments the fact that he can't "be up in the sky with those birds".
"The War in the Gulf Between Us" is perhaps the standout on this album, as he discusses his relationship with his ex-wife, and the irreconcilable differences between them. "I Walk Alone" is perhaps the most somber song on the album, and the opposite of "War in the Gulf", where Belew laments the fact that he has to "walk alone" now in life.
"Everything" picks up the mood as a bit, with a lively guitar and piano based song. Another socially conscious song comes next, "Heaven's Bed", but with a different twist; there are times for action, and there are times for rest. The album closes out with "Memeber of the Tribe", a driving, wild song where Belew talks about how he's "never fit in" in life. This is the song that is perhaps most reminiscent of his earlier music, with wild guitar effects and driving tribal percussion.
There are better Belew albums than Inner Revolution, and certainly more experimental ones. This is its biggest drawback, the "sameness" in sound with many of the songs; but it certainly has more emotion than any Belew album up to this point, and this makes it an essential release.