About that country twang

The reviews are coming in for “Rocket Science.” One from Real Gone isn’t too thrilled with the country twang, but says that “while the country elements are, at first, perhaps, a little disorienting, at least eight of the thirteen tracks are of a great standard with some pretty infectious hooks.” And on myglobalmind.com, the reviewer says he doesn’t hate it  and that “it’s actually pretty good even with the twang.” And on Uber Rock, the reviewer gave it a great review, calling it “Manna from Heaven for record label bosses; equally at home in the record collections of melodic rock obsessives, the car stereos of soccer moms, and the charts devoted to modern country pop rock.”

I’ve never been a big fan of country music, although I did watch a marathon of the show “Nashville” a few weekends ago and enjoyed the music so maybe either country music is changing or my musical tastes are expanding? In either case, I’m still trying to keep an open mind about “Rocket Science.”

But one thing for sure, I respect that RS is trying new sounds. He’s been making music for so many years and he’s certainly entitled to try different types of music. In fact, he has already tried quite a variety of sounds. How about a little “Hooky Joe”?

That’s a pretty different sound than this:

At his shows, RS plays blues songs and surf songs and even performs his “Working Class Dog” song “Inside Sylvia” on a smartphone with a guitar app. His talent spreads across all mediums. And what I’m most looking forward to is hearing his new songs and lyrics, even with a country twang. I hope that “Rocket Science” is extremely successful and maybe it will even lead to a performance at the country music awards show rather than him playing his guitar outside on the street.

And if I never get used to the country sound, then there’s always the hope that he’ll play acoustic versions of these new songs at future acoustic shows or rockier versions at his full-band shows when the band doesn’t want to schlep the violins, banjos and mandolins on the tour.

 

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Enduring lyrics

As I mentioned in a previous post, I recently ordered the “Rick Springfield Original Album Classics” – which includes five of his CDs, all albums I had back in the 1980s. Some of the songs I haven’t heard in decades, yet I found myself still singing along. If only my brain retained some other information besides song lyrics from my school days, I’d probably be in better shape today…

Anyway, I’ve been listening to the CDs in the car, singing along, and realized today that one of the (many) reasons why Rick Springfield has such longtime fans is because his songs really stand up through time. He was in his 30s when these albums came out (for four of them) and although many of us may have related to some of these lyrics when we were 13, now that we’re on the other side of our 30s, they resonate much more, based on our life experiences.

While some of the music production may seem outdated in a few songs, his lyrics have so much depth and meaning. I think that’s why his solo “Stripped Down” show is so popular – you are hearing the essence of his songs: just RS playing guitar and singing his lyrics.

(Read the post about the “Rick Springfield Original Album Classics” here.)

RS: Let Me In

First thing this morning there was a notification from Spotify in my inbox letting me know that “Let Me In” was now available. Waiting for the launch of “Rocket Science” has been much easier than I anticipated because every few days there seems to be another treat available to help pass the time until its debut on Feb. 19.

Of course I had to listen to it right away and noticed the strong Country vibe. As I’ve mentioned in the past, Country is, um, not my favorite kind of music so at first I was worried I wouldn’t like it. But once I got past the intro, I LOVED it and think it’s my favorite song so far on “Rocket Science.”

Toward the end of the song, my second thought was that RS must be in a happier state of mind these days than when he originally did the song because the repeating lines at the end are different than the original one. “I don’t think the girl’s in love” is now “I sure hope this girl’s in love.” (The We Love Rick Springfield fan site has posted the new lyrics here and the lyrics for the older version, the demo that was one of the bonus tracks of “Songs for the End of the World,” are here.)

Sure enough, later in the day, Billboard tweeted an article that starts out, “Rick Springfield calls his upcoming disc, Rocket Science, “probably the most positive album I’ve ever written.”

“I was just wanting to change my attitude,” Springfield tells Billboard. “Pissing and moaning about something and dooms-daying is not gonna help anything. I’ve always been a big one to do that, pissing and moaning. So I wanted to have some solutions for once rather than just moaning. I’ve been having a better mindset lately and focused on different things. I’m always fighting the depression — that’s taught for me — but the way I deal with that mainly is just to write, and feeling that I’m doing something creative really helps my mood.”

That said, “Let Me In” — the first song Springfield wrote for Rocket Science, which comes out Feb. 19 — was drawn from darker circumstances in his life. “I was having issues with my primary relationship, and it came out of that,” explains Springfield, who’s been married to wife Barbara since 1984. “The best songs come from a moment of truth for me, and that was an issue I was having a really tough time with, so it came from that. I’m very guilty of creating conflict to get the emotions stirred up and be able to write. There’s deeper stuff in conflict; That’s the only time you stop and think is when things aren’t going well. When things are going well you’re kind of full steam ahead, and I don’t really write much when I’m happy.”

I think this is why I like this song so much – the honesty behind it and how it illustrates the ups and downs of a long-term relationship. The Billboard article also mentions his upcoming film, “Traces” and that he’s still working on the sequel to “Magnificent Vibration.” And that he’s working on ideas for a TV series as well. So many good things to look forward to!

And here are the new “Let Me In” videos: the official audio from “Rocket Science,” an acoustic version (filmed in his home studio) and a video about the making of “Let Me In.”

Throwback Thursday, on CD

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This post is for those who once had all of Rick Springfield’s albums on vinyl and haven’t gotten around yet to purchasing the CD versions. Or for newer fans on a budget that may have purchased his more recent releases but haven’t yet invested in his earlier offerings.  (Or for all those future fans who will be curious about his earlier work once they fall in love with “Rocket Science” next month.)

Whatever the case, this  five-album CD box set, “Rick Springfield Original Album Classics” – which is $19.99 –  offers “Comic Book Heroes,” “Working Class Dog,” “Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet,” “Living in Oz”and “Tao” all in one cute little box. 20160113_215356Plus, the sleeves of each CD are replicas of the original album covers. There’s a total of 56 songs – which includes extra tracks on “Working Class Dog” – the demo version of “Jessie’s Girl”- How cool is that?! – as well as “Easy to Cry” and the original version of “Taxi Dancing.” (It’s the 25th anniversary edition of “Working Class Dog.”)

Back in the 1980s, when my RS obsession was last in full force, I listened to these  records countless times – along with “Beginnings,” “Wait for Night, “Beautiful Feelings” and “Hard to Hold” – but sadly sometime in college during a move, my entire record collection disappeared. Years later I picked up a “Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet” record for RS to sign, but I didn’t even have a stereo by then. 20160113_215529

Anyway, I’ve listened to the songs here and there via YouTube videos – and a few live, which was amazing of course – but there’s something unexpectedly thrilling about seeing  mini-little versions of the albums I once held so dear (and probably spent hours staring at when I was 13, especially the back cover of “Working Class Dog”). And there’s also something special about hearing the songs in the same order  (without advertisements) as I did so long ago.

Although we’ve gotten to hear “Light This Party Up” and “Down” (and a few seconds of “That One“) so far, there’s still about a month until all of “Rocket Science” is available so I guess until then, I’ll spend some time revisiting “the classics.”

 

 

 

RS: That One

For those keeping track, here’s the first appearance of “That One,” off Rick Springfield’s new album “Rocket Science.” There are only a few seconds of the song in this album promo, but a few seconds is better than nothing,  right?

Gestures of kindness

The following story came up on Twitter tonight:

“Shooting Victim Meets Rick Springfield”

It is about how Kathy Steever – who was shot at a South Dakota steel mill in February of last year – got to meet her high school heartthrob while he was in town for tonight’s concert. He visited  with her, signed autographs and took photos with her, which of course brought her tremendous joy.

The story features a sweet video of the visit and I couldn’t stop thinking of it  afterward as my 7-year-old was reading me “Adventures of Frog and Toad” stories: I found myself crying at Frog’s small gestures of kindness to his sad friend, Toad. It was a reminder that although a celebrity definitely has the power to brighten someone’s day by small gestures of kindness, so, too, does an ordinary person (or even a frog).

I remembered hearing about the shooting last year – one of many in the news last year, unfortunately – and after reading the above story on Kegoland.com, I did a little more research and saw that Kathy Steever was an employee of the steel mill and was a victim of a shooting by a disgruntled contractor who was having a dispute with another worker. According to tonight’s story, she is now paralyzed from the neck down. I can’t even imagine what this past year has been like for her and it was so beautiful to see how RS lifted her spirits.

Also found on the Google search was Kathy’s Pinterest page called “All About Rick.” She obviously has excellent taste!

Today’s ‘Human Touch’ is better

Rick Springfield’s 1983 “Human Touch” video showed a prediction of what 2016 would be like.

But I prefer the 2015 version of “Human Touch,” which involves Rick Springfield coming out into the audience during his live shows. (This example is from the March 7, 2015 concert in San Tan Valley, Arizona, but it happened in various venues at RS concerts throughout the U.S. and Canada in over the past few years and hopefully will happen many more times in 2016).