Perhaps no album polarizes the Alan Parsons Project fan more than this one. "One camp believes that it's the worst thing that Parsons ever put together…Another camp believes it's a misunderstood masterpiece. Fascinatingly enough, this may be one of those rare situations where both are half-true" (Egbert).
On one hand, you can find comments like “Eve…involves some of this group's most intricate songs" (DeGagne) that “are highly entertaining with catchy rhythms and intelligent lyrics. Musically, the tempo appealingly switches back and forth from slow to quick, as does the temperament of the album” (DeGagne).
On the other hand, you’ll find comments like “Eve offers plenty of sonic grandeur [but] the lyrics are almost clumsy and sententious enough to give sex a bad name" (Holden). Even more brutal is the claim that “Eve is perhaps the worst engineered Project CD, for starters, its sound muddy and shallow in places…The drums lack punch in most cases, a sad undermixing of talented drummer Stuart Elliot, and David Paton's bass work is little more than average" (Egbert).
There is an equally polarized view of the merits of the concept. One description calls this one of the Project’s “finest marriages of both concept and music" (DeGagne). It says the theme “deals with the female's overpowering effect on man. Each song touches on her ability to dissect the male ego, especially through sexual means, originating with Eve's tempting Adam in the beginning of time. Not only does this idea gain strength as the album progresses, but a musical battle of the sexes begins to arise through each song" (DeGagne).
Look around, though, and you’ll find a very different opinion: "Eve purports to be a song cycle evoking Woman, yet the portrait thrown up by this 3-D space-rock oratorio is of some whory Victorian witch in a leather headdress flicking her garter belt and hissing curses. ‘I'd rather be a man than sin my soul like you do,’ announces David Paton, playing one of the LP's four male accusers. ‘You lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas,’ spits another. That about sums up Eve's sexual politics. When it's finally Woman's turn to reply — Woman gets only two cuts to Man's four — she's made to whine about being lonely" (Holden).
"On…I Robot, the Alan Parsons Project's bombastic and synthesized orchestral pop rock proved to be a nifty idiom for exploring man-machine myths. But the more human the theme, the more inappropriate such a style becomes. And how much more human can you get than a concept album concerned with sex?” (Holden).
With such differing opinions, it is hard to draw a conclusion. Personally, I consider this one the Project’s weaker efforts musically, lyrically, and conceptually that started with an idea that could have been one of their best works. With the Project’s affinity for using a number of vocalists, this could have been a much more interesting (and balanced) study of relationships between man and woman with an attempt to see both points of view. Having said all that, the individual songs are not completely without merit, even if the overall theme slips into a woman-bashing fest.
"The dominating fury of Lucifer, a powerful instrumental" (DeGagne) opener, "may be the best instrumental Parsons recorded in the seventies, if not all time; its driving keyboard line and eerie Morse code intro is hypnotic" (Egbert).
The best known song, and highpoint of Eve, is album rock staple Damned If I Do. This "bitter but forceful [gem] sung by Lenny Zakatek" (DeGagne) may be the best rocker the Project ever created. Apart from the album, this comes across as just another man lamenting a rocky relationship; in the context of the album, though, it plays into the overly bitter “why do women treat women this way” vibe.
"The loutish You Lie Down with Dogs bears wit with it's gender inclined mud-slinging" (DeGagne) while "the gorgeous You Won't Be There” (DeGagne) “is a sweet, lyrical ballad, plainly illustrating Parsons' connection with more single-oriented bands like Ambrosia" (Egbert). The song “spotlights man's insecurity. Sung by Dave Townshend, its melodramatic feel sets a perfect tone" (DeGagne).
"The classically enhanced Winding Me Up follows suit, based on a woman's ability to dominate her mate and opening up with sound of a wind-up doll being cranked" (DeGagne). Both “funny and catchy” (Egbert), it "may be the most underrated song in the Parsons catalog" (Egbert).
If I Could Change Your Mind "is wistful, elegant, and spare, a brilliant ballad with a rare female lead" (Egbert) by Lesley Duncan. Unfortunately, the effect isn’t quite the same on the album’s other female lead vocal. “Not even Clare Torry, the ethereal yodeler on Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, can save Don't Hold Back" (Egbert).
In the end, one has to accept that "Eve…is neither as great as some claim, or as bad as some others insist. Alan Parsons, with or without Eric Woolfson, is one of the most underrated and original voices in progressive rock history, but even he has some misses. Eve has to be counted as one, recommended for only the completist and the fan" (Egbert).