We gave it a B
It’s no secret that Pat Metheny has a romantic streak a mile wide, and the guitarist exercises it without restraint on Secret Story. Fueled by jazz, folk, pop with a capital P (he counts Burt Bacharach among his musical heroes), film music, and world music, this album is his most ambitious project to date, at least in terms of logistics-almost 80 minutes of music featuring a shifting cast of players, including members of the London Orchestra. Metheny leaves the edgier aspects of his musical palette at home, focusing on airy, atmospheric pieces that sound like soundtracks for mental movies. Occasionally, he slips into mawkish soap operatics, but he also bumps up against the sublime (the lovely ballad ”Always and Forever”) and the inventive (the rhythmic maze of ”Finding and Believing”). The album works best when Metheny sees the world, weaving in such influences as a Cambodian hymn on ”Above the Treetops.” Heart on sleeve, music credentials in order, he has constructed an impressive, impressionistic opus that periodically gets carried away with itself.