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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Pete Feenstra celebrated his 300th show in October 2019. Pete heads up a five-hour blues rock marathon when “Tuesday is Bluesday” from 19:00 GMT. Listen out also for his interview-based Feature show on Sundays (20:00 GMT)
Power Plays w/c 11 November (Mon-Fri)
MILES NIELSEN AND THE RUSTED HEARTS Hands Up (indie)
THE FARGO RAILROAD COMPANY Something In The Water (indie)
THE DARK ELEMENT If I Had A Heart (Frontiers)
LIBERTY LIES A Thousand People (indie)
DIRTY SHIRLEY Here Comes The King (Frontiers)
CARRY THE CROWN Runaway (indie)
Featured Albums w/c 11 November (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 WORK OF ART Exhibits (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 SIGN X Like A Fire (Pride & Joy Music)
14:00-16:00 JACK BROADBENT Moonshine Blue (Creature Records)
Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)
MAGNUM Sleepwalking (1992)
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