Rick Springfield’s apparent youth has always been deceptive. As the heart throb of American teenagers in his early eighties heyday he was already well into his thirties , and now despite appearances to the contrary he is an unlikely 63.
More significantly in musical terms, this, his first album since 2008’s back to form Venus in Overdrive, sees him neither mellowing towards retirement, nor trying to recapture the signature sound of his halcyon days. Instead he has produced a dozen remarkably fresh songs which are not only some of the best work of his career, but embrace modern writing styles and production values, even if some rather cluttered instrumentation and the odd bit of Coldplay –style piano are initially off putting to those of us reared on classic melodic rock styles.
Far from being ready for pipe and slippers, spiky pop rockers with a slight punky edge predominate with opener Wide Awake a case in point. Our Ship’s Sinking has such strong hooks that it deserves to be ranked as a classic alongside his eighties hit singles, and Sign of Life and Joshua are also irresistibly commercial, while in contrast I Hate Myself is a three chord garage rocker, yet works in this context.
Although the album is up tempo, the ballads You and I and I Found You showcase the melodic sensibility always at the heart of his work. This has always been counterpointed by a darker more confessional side to his personality which comes through in the lyrics to the likes of Love Screws You Up, with its chanting chorus reminiscent of the J Geils Band.
Another positive thing about the album is that some of the song structures are not obvious, closing number One Way Street being a good example, and this means that new layers are discovered with repeated listening in a genre which often provides an instant fix. On this evidence the Dorian Gray of rock is maturing with age like the finest Australian Chardonnay.
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In this show, first broadcast on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio on 2 February 2020, David Randall plays a selection of tracks from some of the artists who impressed at this year’s Giants Of Rock event in Minehead (24-27 January).
Featured Albums w/c 17 February (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 NEWMAN Ignition (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 BLACK SWAN Shake The World (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 CORMAC O CAOIMH Swim Crawl Walk Run (indie)
Power Plays w/c 17 February (Mon-Fri)
SHAKRA Turn The Light On (AFM Records)
THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA Transmissions (Nuclear Blast)
RYDERS CREED Lost Soul (Off Yer Rocka Recordings)
FRAMING HANLEY Puzzle Pieces (Thermal Entertainment LLC)
ROBERT HART Mysterious (Escape Music)
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