Album Notes: "It's Only Love" is an album by Simply Red. It was released in 2000 on East West Records. It peaked at #27 in the United Kingdom and #35 in Germany. The album is a compilation album primarily featuring the band's love ballads.
Simply Red's second major hits collection not only celebrates their illustrious 25-year career but also marks the end of it, thanks to Mick Hucknall's announcement that he will henceforth only be working under his own name. The much more comprehensive 25 features all but two of the tracks included on 1996's Greatest Hits, plus several tracks from the commercially inconsistent last decade. Of course, it's the late-'80s and early-'90s material that made Simply Red, essentially a solo vehicle for Hucknall, a household name. The likes of "A New Flame," "Holding Back the Years," and debut hit "Money's Too Tight (To Mention)" all showcase their signature blue-eyed soul sound…
Best of Simply Red: Holding Back the Years 1985-1997 contains all of Simply Red's biggest British and American hits, including "Holding Back the Years," "If You Don't Know Me By Now," and "Something Got Me Started." In addition to the well-known singles, there are two new tracks added to the collection, including "Angel," a duet with the Fugees. Simply Red always worked better on singles than albums, making this single-disc compilation an excellent introduction.
Life failed to deliver on the glories of Stars largely because the album lacked the strong original songwriting of its predecessor. Similarly, Blue, the follow-up to Life, is weak on original material. However, Mick Hucknall makes up for the deficits by assembling a good collection of outside material, ranging from Gregory Isaacs' "Night Nurse" to Neil Young's "Mellow My Mind." Initially, Blue was going to be a covers album, and judging by these numbers – along with Dennis Brown's "Ghetto Girl" and one of the two versions of the Hollies' "The Air That I Breathe," not the superfluous chart-grabbing Stevie J. production that replicates all the bad parts of Puff Daddy – it would have been a great, sultry listen.
This five-disc set, part of Rhino's priced-to-move Original Album Series, features five complete recordings from the Simply Red discography, including the group's 1985 debut Picture Book, 1987's Men and Women, 1989's A New Flame, 1991's Stars, and 1995's Life.
The band finds a steady R&B groove reminiscent of '60s Stax house band the MG's, and, as with the MG's, it's all in the service of a big-voiced soul singer, in this case a British redhead. Features the U.S. number-one "Holding Back the Years" and the U.K. Top 20 "Money's Too Tight (To Mention)."