First impression of ‘The Snake King’

Wow, I wasn’t expecting to be able to hear the whole CD today so it was a nice surprise that it premiered on Billboard.com this morning. I had to get through my list of things to do for work before I could sit down with this. I didn’t want to just stick it on in the background, but wanted to really listen. Here are my first impressions of the songs.

(Not that I think anyone really cares what my first impressions are or that they really matter to anyone but since this blog is like my journal of all things Rick Springfield, I am recording them here.)

In the Land of the Blind: Hi, Matty (the voice at the beginning, I’m pretty sure). Great start to the album. Has a catchy, upbeat vibe. I liked it the first time I heard him play it last week and I still like it. I like the ooh- la-la-las. Interesting concept about how the one-eyed man is king in the land of the blind. From a previous post: “In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is king” is a quote attributed to Desiderius Erasmus, a Dutch philosopher, humanist and theologian and is explained online as “If surrounded by people less capable or able, someone who would not normally be considered special can shine.” (NOTE FROM JULY 23: Just found out in an interview that the voice at the beginning is Mark Lennon, who did some background vocals on the album.)

The Devil That You Know: Here’s the “I know what you want’ phrase from the guitar pics thrown out in the audience last year. Another really catchy tune, makes me feel like dancing. Biblical references, I can’t wait until I get the lyric sheet so I can look at the lyrics more carefully.

Little Demon: Such a familiar song already. Incredible guitar. As I said in a previous post, it sounds like another unrequited love/lust song but who is it about? We may likely never know because he said in interviews that he doesn’t know. I especially like the second part of the song, it’s so expressive and beautiful. I picture driving out on an open road in the desert. Not sure yet about what the “Hey, guess whose got a new boyfriend” at the end and the devil’s roar is about. Is it that the devil is popular with the ladies because they don’t know who he really is?

Judas Tree: One song after another sounds SO good musically. This sounds the most like the blues to me so far. These lyrics are pretty disturbing, very graphic. I don’t think I’ll be singing along to this one.

Jesus was an Atheist: This song we’ve heard live before over the past week so it’s interesting with all these added sounds. I think it’s an interesting approach to have it written with the viewpoint of someone who was a friend of Jesus. Did people consider him a “son of G-d” during his life or was it only after he died? I don’t know. I’m not Christian, but I thought he was raised Jewish, which the reference in the song alludes to (“in Temple back in Roman Palestine”). It made me think of a person who becomes famous and their childhood friends are like “Oh him? What’s the big deal?” because they knew him or her as a kid. Of course when you add religion to the mix though, it’s a much more sensitive issue.

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The Snake King: There’s the roar again. This song has a similar sound to “Miss Mayhem”on “Rocket Science.” Maybe “The Snake King” can be turned into a rock opera similar to The Who’s “Tommy.” This song is where they introduce the main character, “The Snake King.” RS is performing with a symphony orchestra these days so maybe a rock opera is next? Since he has experience both with EFX and as portraying Lucifer, he can star in it.

G-d Don’t Care: The opening sounds like the sound from a concert. He’s said in interviews that he often wonders where G-d is these days with all these horrible things happening in the world. The song also reflects some childhood experiences of “Little Ricky.” A very sad song. Hopefully he won’t ask fans to sing out loud if he plays this in concert like he did for “I Hate Myself.” This song definitely fits into the rock opera idea because this would be the devil singing to the masses.

The Voodoo House: These sounds before all the songs definitely give it a very theatrical feeling. I really like this song, such great sounds and so catchy. That Rick Springfield, he sure has great hooks. As I mentioned in a previous post, it sounds like another unrequited love/lust song, but this time addressing it with a voodoo doll concept. I like the hey-ya-hey-ya-ho hey-ya-hey-ya-ho’s.

Suicide Manifesto: This song had a physical effect on me – I literally felt heavy and drained after listening to it. It’s heartbreaking that he feels that way and that so many experience these feelings. It made me think of my sons and pray that they will never have those feelings.

Blues for the Disillusioned: Still reeling from the previous song so these lyrics sound really cynical and depressing. But what incredible lyrics. It’s hard to get it all at the first listen, but lots going on here, both lyrically and musically.

Santa is an Anagram: Now I can see why this song was placed here for comedic relief. A Chuck Berry sound with a Lucifer perspective.

Orpheus in the Underworld: This song, more than 10 minutes long, has a Bob Dylan vibe to it, with the sound, length and lyrics. Although it’s difficult to process all that’s happening here on the first listen, I look forward to delving deeper into this one, too.

So there you have it, “The Snake King.” So impressive, RS. WOW. Glad you’re getting so much great recognition for this one. I’m looking forward to learning what other fans think about it, too.

Here’s the link to “Rick Springfield shares provocative blues album” (exclusive premiere)

(There was also a great podcast that went live today: “Rock Solid” with Pat Francis – a great in-depth interview by a big RS fan.)

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