Rick Springfield - Busy of Late
I have to admit I wasn’t there all the way with what Springfield has done musically until around 2000, though I’d liked a lot of what he’d done previously. I just wasn’t all that familiar with the earlier stuff except the obvious hit songs and odd album track.
Springfield’s last studio album was the covers affair, The Day After Yesterday, which was respectable but a little on the light side for his more rock-driven fans, especially following the dark 2003 release, Shock/Denial/Anger/Acceptance. That was a very brave move for him if too diversified for most of his die-hard fans.
In 2006 he also released a live greatest hits type DVD, Live In Rockford, to critical acclaim. By the way, Springfield's live performances - if you’ve never seen this guy - more than prove that he can rock!
Nice Dose of New Music
I have to add that seriously, this isn’t the album I would’ve expected from this artist, and to be honest I really hope die-hard fans give it a chance, as it has a lot of more modern influences than, say, that '80s groove. The CD opens with a title that you knew one day someone would have to claim, "What’s Victoria’s Secret?". It starts as if it is "Jesse’s Girl"'s not too distant cousin, and it’s classic pop rock in the finest Springfield tradition.
"I’ll Miss That Someday" is next, and it more than reminds me of Goo Goo Dolls once it gets going. It’s a really strong song that could certainly get airplay on a current style radio station.
Springfield has said the title track was written about his wife and, like the opener, it has more than a nod towards something he’s done before, perhaps circa Rock Of Life. Don’t get me wrong - I love this album, and it has seriously been a grower. Yes, it’s one of those.
Contemporary Influences & Weighty Matters
Least likely to get you at first but soon to take a hold is "Oblivious," another modern-sounding song which in fact is one of two songs on the album on which Springfield pays tribute to a young girl – Sahara Aldridge - who apparently attended many of his shows and recently passed away from a malignant brain stem tumor.
The next track touches on a sensitive subject also. "3 Warning Shots" is all about John Lennon’s assassination. Again, it’s a straight-ahead track of a similar nature to, say, modern-day Bon Jovi (OK, a few years before that band's country shift anyway) or Def Leppard. I would even say you feel an element of perhaps a modern day Beatles to it.
"Time Stands Still" reminds me at times of Green Day with its punky edge; it really does. It’s a really catchy song after a few plays and also features a bridge section with some nice overlaid harmonizing.
On the next track, "God Blinked (Swing It Sister)," Springfield totally threw me with a big band backing sound and almost a Huey Lewis-meets-Aerosmith vibe in places. You figure that one out, if you can. Listen to it and let me know! Please!!
Springfield Continues to Surprise
The next track, "She," is perhaps Springfield's most direct tribute to The Beatles, kind of similar to what we’ve all heard the likes of Oasis or Jet doing. Maybe he asked Jeff Lynne from ELO to help him out on this one?!
As I mentioned at the beginning, this album was seriously not the album I thought Springfield would release, and to be honest if someone were to arrange some serious radio play, Springfield might be able to have some huge success again with this album.
"Nothing Is Ever Lost" even got me thinking - can I say it here? - about a Pink Floyd influence, with some elements of the Beatles tossed in, too. More of a laid-back affair than usual for Springfield.
The album's closer, "Saint Sahara," is Springfield's outright tribute to Sahara Aldridge, whose story is seriously cruel. But she was a serious battler by all accounts, and this song - which Springfield insists is "still a love song" - is really about denial of the finality of death.
This album really is something that at times I found hard to grasp in terms of how contemporary Springfield has become, not to mention that it's so different from what he plays in his live sets these days. It’s even a significant change from his dark Shock/Denial/Anger/Acceptance, but I can seriously say for the better!
How much of this Springfield will play live on his current tour is anybody’s guess, but I'd say he’ll always entertain either way!