With The Living Years, Mike + the Mechanics firmly established themselves in the adult contemporary genre after the mid-'80s pop of their debut. Slickly produced with rich vocals from Paul Carrack and Paul Young, The Living Years moves smoothly between anthemic ballads such as the title track and more upbeat numbers such as "Seeing Is Believing." The band even shows a trace of Mike Rutherford's prog rock roots with Genesis on the epic-like "Why Me?" When the bandmembers try their hands at funk, as on "Don't," or harder rock, as on "Black and Blue," they sound quite out of their element. But on midtempo tracks with Rutherford's trademark bubbly bass (such as "Nobody's Perfect" and "Beautiful Day") and on the infectious "Poor Boy Down," the group displays a soulfulness that many in the genre lack, even while there is a distinct lack of individuality present in their musicianship.