Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti “heralded the return of Squeeze after a 3-year hiatus. The band had officially disbanded after the release of Sweets From a Stranger in 1982, and the years in between were used by band leaders Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook to launch a career as a duo. Finding neither critical nor commercial success, they reconvened with original keyboard player Jools Holland, who had departed after their third album, Argybargy” (half.ebay.com).
“Though spawning no big stateside hits, the album strongly makes its case with the band's solid musicianship and the always-inventive songs of Difford and Tilbrook” (half.ebay.com). “History and a dated production style hasn't been particularly kind to the album, [but] it is not without its merits. True, it is marred by much of the overblown ambition that undercut [the last two albums], but several of the songs…are real gems in the classic Squeeze tradition, and the move toward ‘sophistication’ is more fully realized and effective” (Woodstra).
The album kicks off with “Wilkinson's throbbing bass lines” (Alroy) on the “interestingly experimental” Big Beng.
The “often overlooked King George Street” sounds like it should be the first single, but didn’t see release until nearly a year after the album came out. If that one wasn’t the single, then I Learnt How to Pray should have been.
Instead, Last Time Forever, “a near-flop” (Alroy) was inexplicably given those honors. The song is “a bland, deadening six-minute ballad with sequenced synth, a jazzy piano break, and nerdy voiceovers” (Alroy).
That was followed by No Place Like Home as the second single, which was at least a slightly better choice. However, as inspired choices go, the band couldn’t have done any better than to go with Holland’s “Heartbreaking World, co-authored by Difford and featuring a wah-wah'ed guitar solo and peppy strings” (Alroy). This song has a great feel and lyrics to match.
“The energetic Hits of the Year [features] a skittery hard rock lead guitar, funky bass line, and halfway-bearable synth windowdressing” (Alroy). This was picked as the single to kick off the album in the U.S.
That’s followed by Break My Heart, “with a fat, leaden beat” (Alroy) and “vocal spotlights by Difford” (Alroy).
It’s all closed out with one of the most interesting songs Squeeze has ever recorded, “the jokey ska experiment I Won’t Ever Go Drinking Again (?))” (Alroy). Complete with the question mark at the end, the title already warns the listener to be prepared for a very tongue-in-cheek song. This and “Heartbreaking World” are the highlights of the album.
Still, overall, this is “a flawed but certainly worthwhile album” (Woodstra).