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Pop - Released July 17, 2014 | Columbia - Legacy

Columbia/Legacy's 2001 release The Essential Kenny Loggins lives up to its billing, and not just because it has all of Loggins' solo hits. No, this collection earns its title because it contains no less than seven Kenny-fronted Loggins & Messina tracks, along with all his big solo hits, plus a sharp selection of album tracks and latter-day material, for a grand total of 35 tracks over two CDs. That's a lot of material, and many listeners may find that they are drawn to the first disc, which truly captures him in his prime by spanning from "Your Mama Don't Dance" to the era just before "Footloose." This is a compulsively listenable disc, from the sweet singer/songwriterisms of "Danny's Song" and "House at Pooh Corner" to the exquisitely crafted soft rock of "This Is It" and "Heart to Heart," two of the greatest singles of their kind. If the second disc isn't as good, it's largely because it's a mishmash of dated '80s productions and latter-career cultism; there's still good stuff here, but apart from the first six songs, it's for the serious fan. That, however, is not a criticism that can be lodged of The Essential Kenny Loggins as a whole, since it far exceeds any other compilation in its scope and its success, presenting all sides of this fine, mellow singer/songwriter. Plus, the first disc is a stellar listen in its own right. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Pop/Rock - Released March 25, 1997 | Columbia

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow compiles Loggins' biggest solo hits, including the chart-topping "Footloose" theme, "Danger Zone" (from Top Gun), and "I'm Alright" (from the classic Caddyshack), along with the newly recorded single "For the First Time." ~ Jason Ankeny

Pop/Rock - Released July 20, 1993 | Columbia

On his second live album, Kenny Loggins puts together a special show consisting of rearranged versions of old favorites like "What A Fool Believes" (complete with co-author Michael McDonald on vocals) and "Your Mama Don't Dance." It's Loggins' version of an "unplugged" performance (despite a substantial backup band), and as such, a turning away from the technology-happy days of albums like Back To Avalon (which, by the way, is forgotten in a catalog promotion in the CD booklet), without quite returning to the more homegrown quality of early albums like Celebrate Me Home. The real question in Loggins' career is what will happen with his next set of new material, but as a placeholder, this release should be welcomed by his fans, who may find even "Footloose" tolerable in a barrelhouse piano arrangement. ~ William Ruhlmann

Pop/Rock - Released April 28, 1983 | Columbia

Disregard the self-styled epic title track, a seven-and-half-minute indulgence that may be a bid for artistic credibility yet leads nowhere and doesn't have much to do with what follows. Nightwatch is, by and large, a more focused affair than his first. Granted, his first holds a mood better, a slice of great late '70s soft rock, but this has more pep and hooks, from the sprightly "Easy Drive" to a cover of Billy Joe Royal's "Down in the Boondocks" or, especially, the warm Stevie Nicks duet "Whenever I Call You Friend," which brought Loggins his first solo hit. These signal that this rocks a bit harder than its predecessor, which is true -- while "Down 'N Dirty" may not be filthy, even with its harmonica, it does hit harder than anything on its predecessor (which, admittedly, is on a relative scale). This does wind up as one of his stronger records -- and it was his biggest hit -- but it also feels more like a collection of moments, moving from originals to covers and back again. Not necessarily a bad thing, since this is professional soft rock at its finest, but in comparison to the seductive Celebrate Me Home and the tour de force of High Adventure, Nightwatch pales slightly. (By the way, what led Loggins to credit himself as Ken Loggins throughout the album credits?) ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Pop/Rock - Released February 11, 1986 | Columbia

Freed from Loggins & Messina, Kenny Loggins retreats from that duo's folky conceits, turning to smooth, smooth soft rock, filled with leisurely paces, lush strings and electric pianos and easy attitude -- so it's no surprise when you discover this is a co-production by Billy Joel's chief collaborator Phil Ramone and Bob James. There is a bit of surprise that this album doesn't really have any big hits to its credit, especially since Loggins would later have several Top Ten records, but this is a consistent record, maintaining its mellow mood even when the tempo picks up for the relatively insistent "I Believe in Love." Loggins is in good form throughout the record, and if even only the title track entered his readily-acknowledged canon, this has a fine, sustained mood: a soft late '70s vibe that makes it a nice artifact of its time, as well as one of his stronger records, as illustrated by its platinum status -- something it achieved without any blockbuster singles. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Pop/Rock - Released September 1, 1991 | Columbia

Kenny Loggins seems to have thought long and hard during the three years between Back To Avalon and this album, during which he underwent a divorce. The results can be heard on what is undoubtedly his most mature and heartfelt effort. He embraces environmental issues here, and tells his side of the unhappy marriage. He still isn't a cerebral sort, so the subject matter clashes somewhat with his typically simple expressions, but the effort helped him reconnect with his fans, who made this album something of a sleeper hit: although it was his lowest charting effort ever, it stayed in the charts longer than any album he'd made since the heyday of Loggins And Messina, and went gold. ~ William Ruhlmann

Pop/Rock - Released November 19, 2002 | Columbia - Legacy


Pop/Rock - Released July 18, 1985 | Columbia

With a genuine hit to his credit, Kenny Loggins decided to stretch himself a bit on Keep the Fire, hiring Tom Dowd and toughening his sound slightly, adding a more flamboyant production in the process. He also decided to look like Doug Henning on the cover, which may be a surer sign that success had started to go to his head. All this resulted in a self-consciously tougher record than either of its predecessors, with a punchy sound, detailed production, and shades of boogie. Relying more on original material, this winds up being more uneven than Nightwatch, but it boasts more character, even if that means something as silly as "Mr. Night." Also, the record, though clearly presented as a relative band effort, complete with a photo of the supporting band on the back cover, winds up not being as unified as its two predecessors, even if it's more "band-like." Still, any complaints are erased by "This Is It," one of two pop classics Loggins recorded. Yes, the title track also became a hit, but the heart of this album is "This Is It," a mid-tempo charmer with lush, seductive verses, emphatic choruses, and great supporting vocals by Michael McDonald. This summarizes everything that's right about soft rock, and is enough of a masterwork to make the flaws and filler forgivable, since it lends this pleasant soft rock affair a real spine. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Pop/Rock - Released October 6, 1998 | Columbia

Kenny Loggins clearly has mixed feelings about Christmas. In his liner notes to December, his holiday album, he twice refers to it as "bitter-sweet," and that sense is carried over into his song choices and arrangements. He picks only three real standards, "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)," "White Christmas," and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," all ballads from the 1940s, adds a mixture of jazzy ("Christmas Time Is Here" from A Charlie Brown Christmas) and traditional ("Coventry Carol," sung with David Crosby and Graham Nash) material and some obscurities, and writes four new songs of his own. But in all cases, his approach is low-key and reflective, with slow tempos and restrained performances. While not specifically religious, he seems concerned with revealing "what Christmas really means," as he puts it in his own "The Bells of Christmas." The result is an unusually somber seasonal collection, perhaps more suited for the dead of winter than the run-up to the year's biggest celebration. Play this one just before you put the children to bed; it may calm them down. ~ William Ruhlmann

Pop - Released September 6, 1983 | Columbia

Well, if Duran Duran decided to rip off Raiders of the Lost Ark, why not Kenny Loggins? After all, the swashbuckling cover to High Adventure fits this album, since it finds him relying equally on rockers and melodic pop/rock. The album kicks off with Loggins' hardest-rocking single, "Don't Fight It," a surging arena-rocker duet with Steve Perry. This signals that the rest of the record will be harder than his previous record and that's true to a certain extent, since this doesn't just rock on occasion, it also has his best ballads and mid-tempo charmers. In other words, it's his best album, showcasing all sides of his personality effectively. "Don't Fight It" is a great single, but the best moment here is "Heart to Heart," the second of two pop classics Loggins cut as a solo artist. Here, he has a great mid-tempo groove, a good lyric and an indelible melody that is soft rock at its finest. The rest of the album may not match this height -- most of the genre didn't -- but it's all strong (though it's awful strange that "Heartlight," a tribute to the children's foundation Heartlight, has the oddest melody he's ever written -- an ominous march that just gets creepier when the children's choir pops up at the end). Celebrate Me Home may be more consistent, but this is the most diverse record he ever cut, blessed by fine studio craft and a nice reliance on pseudo-new wave production techniques. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Ambient/New Age - Released June 14, 1994 | Sony Wonder

Kenny Loggins, whose career began with "House at Pooh Corner," joins the flood of pop artists making children's albums and turns out to be a natural. At his best, Loggins always had a childlike quality, but his techno-pop albums of the late '80s buried that, along with his other virtues. On this gold-selling, Grammy-nominated record, Loggins mixes songs by Paul Simon, John Lennon, Rickie Lee Jones, and Jimmy Webb with more traditional children's fare. The result is probably most useful as lullaby material for children, but its secondary (perhaps primary) audience is those children's parents, disaffected Kenny Loggins fans likely to be won back by this winning album that may, in fact, be the best record Kenny Loggins has ever made. ~ William Ruhlmann

Pop/Rock - Released May 2, 1985 | Columbia

The dividing point for Kenny Loggins was, naturally, Footloose, the blockbuster 1984 hit that helped turn him into something of a teen sensation at the age of 36, and with the assistance of Michael Omartian and David Foster, he dove headfirst into synthesizers, synthesizing everything outside of backing vocals and chicken-scratch guitars. Occasionally, he tossed a glance back to the yacht rock of High Adventure -- "I'm Gonna Do It Right" is a nice Michael McDonald song, just given a tight sequencing; "At Last" also contains similar shimmering soft echoes -- but a good chunk of Vox Humana is bombastic and brittle, a somewhat pathetic attempt to inhabit the sound of 1985. Naturally, this desperation kept it from being a true hit -- the title track just barely cracked the Top 30 -- but all those stylistic cutting-edge flourishes that kept it off the charts are the reason to listen to it all these years later: it says 1985 like no other album can. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Pop/Rock - Released August 2, 1988 | Columbia

The title might have implied a return to form, but Kenny Loggins' commercial decline continued here, despite the inclusion of "Nobody's Fool," the Top Ten theme from Caddyshack II, "Meet Me Half Way," the Number 11 theme from Over the Top, and a cover of The Exciters' [RoviLink="MC"]"Tell Him [Her]."[/RoviLink] Instead of addressing the concerns of his long-time fans, Loggins proceeded farther into contemporary sounds, employing multiple producers, the likes of Patrick Leonard (Madonna) and Peter Wolf (Starship), all to little effect. This was Loggins' first solo album to miss gold certification, and made his career crisis official. ~ William Ruhlmann

Pop/Rock - Released August 23, 1988 | Columbia


Pop - Released July 17, 2014 | SMSP


Ambient/New Age - Released April 10, 1997 | Columbia

Just as the six-year-old Leap Of Faith album concerned itself with Kenny Loggins' divorce, The Unimaginable Life is dedicated to his remarriage. In fact, the first voice you hear on the record is not Loggins', but that of his current wife, reciting a poem included in the couple's jointly written book of the same title, published concurrently with the album. Fair warning -- The Unimaginable Life is the singer's musical love letter to his wife. Of course, that's not necessarily a bad thing; Loggins wasn't exactly a stranger to love songs before this, and he seems to have been inspired to return to the lush pop-soul style of hits like "What a Fool Believes," accompanied by such currently hip purveyors of the sound as Babyface. If you stay away from the CD booklet, which is stuffed with hopelessly sappy excerpts from the book (not to mention the lyrics), and concentrate on the obvious, if effective arrangements, this is pleasant enough Sunday morning fare. Kenny Loggins at his worst is still highly listenable. But make no mistake: this is Kenny Loggins at his worst. (And his fans seem to have realized it, too. Badly positioned for release only a few months after a hits collection, the album sold poorly.) ~ William Ruhlmann

Pop - Released February 20, 2007 | Concord Records

Although some fans are still in shock over his drastically reduced facial hair, 1980s pop/rock icon Kenny Loggins soldiers on with a less-hirsute look and an appropriately light sound on 2008’s HOW ABOUT NOW. Largely staying within accessible folk-pop territory, the album does delve into gospel (“That’s When I’ll Find You”) and country-tinged rock (“I’m a Free Man Now”), proving that the ever-amiable Loggins can still cut footloose in his own way.

Ambient/New Age - Released May 4, 2006 | Sony Wonder

Kenny Loggins' More Songs From Pooh Corner builds on his success with Return to Pooh Corner, collecting a new batch of classic and contemporary children's songs. Loggins duets with Olivia Newton-John on "Flying Dreams" (from The Secret of NIMH) and performs Disney classics like "Beauty and the Beast," Dumbo's "Baby Mine," and "You'll Be in My Heart" from Tarzan. Babe: Pig in the City's "That'll Do," Hans Christian Andersen's "Inchworm," and "Hana Aluna," "Goodnight," and "Always, In All Ways" are among the other highlights of this charming collection of children's music, which will delight fans of Loggins' previous kids' albums and videos. ~ Heather Phares

Pop - Released September 23, 2008 | Concord Records

Although some fans are still in shock over his drastically reduced facial hair, 1980s pop/rock icon Kenny Loggins soldiers on with a less-hirsute look and an appropriately light sound on 2008’s HOW ABOUT NOW. Largely staying within accessible folk-pop territory, the album does delve into gospel (“That’s When I’ll Find You”) and country-tinged rock (“I’m a Free Man Now”), proving that the ever-amiable Loggins can still cut footloose in his own way.

Soundtracks - Released February 15, 2013 | BSX Records