Another in the recent string of soft, sumptuously arranged ballads, and like the others this is something I can think myself into enjoying – the polished class of the instrumentation in particular – but find it hard to feel. Some of my reserve is down to Sayer’s voice, which is like a thinned-out version of Elton and comes across as a little too whiney. On the positive side, the dynamics of “When I Need You” stop it being pure sap: good pause-and-punch effects on “it’s cold out – but hold out” and the chorus’ return after the sax break, and when Sayer starts improvising a little at the end it works as a payoff.

Score: 5

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