I tried and tried to like Richard Ashcroft's old band, The Verve, but I never got into them. I don't really recall what they sounded like (other than the song "Bittersweet Symphony"), but if they were anything like Keys to the World, it's easy to understand why I didn't like them.
If I still worked in the music industry and someone sent me this album, it would've lasted about 15 seconds before I took it out of the CD player and threw it in the garbage. The first four songs are the most miserably contrived Rock Songs™ you could ever imagine. This is what happens when mediocre producers hire lame studio musicians to back a generic has-been. Fortunately, the fifth song was almost worth the suffering I endured: "Keys to the World" is a really good song that would've been great if it'd been performed by the Twilight Singers. I'm not sure if the songs on the second half of the album actually got a little better, or if my ears were just so numb that anything would've sounded good.
Look! There's a picture of Richard Ashcroft looking like a cross between Tom Verlaine and Andrew Eldritch! And there's one where he's gazing over the countryside like Nick Drake probably did. And there's one where he's wearing sunglasses and a leather jacket and... wait a second. Is there anything besides generic rock star photos in these liner notes? Oh, look, there on the last page, some tiny text that lists the credits. Brilliant!
Listen if you like: rock music, and you have no ability to tell the good from the lame.
If it were food, it'd be: bland