Tim Finn released his debut solo album Escapade in 1983, and was still promoting it when the recording of Conflicting Emotions started. As a result, for the first time Neil was the senior partner in the band, writing six of the ten songs, while Tim sounds distracted, and even his best songs are filler. There’s a less ornate sound, most of the percussion is from drum machines, and it all adds up to Split Enz’s least interesting album.
Despite all of Conflicting Emotions‘ problems, there’s at least one classic song contained within; Neil’s ‘Message To My Girl’, a tuneful, uptempo ballad dedicated to his wife (“It’s no New Years resolution, It’s more than that.”). Neil also contributes ‘The Devil You Know’ and the single ‘Strait Old Line’, but otherwise his contributions are below par, even if the introspective lyrics of ‘Our Day’ are touching. Tim’s songs are uniformly poor, not surprising when he’d just released a solo album.
If you already have the excellent compilation Spellbound, which cherry picks the three best songs from Conflicting Emotions, there’s little else of interest here. Surprisingly, the cover art was painted by Phil Judd.