Listening to ‘Orchestrating My Life’

Although I thought it was so cool that “Orchestrating My Life” took Rick Springfield hits and recorded them with his band and a symphony, part of me wasn’t as driven to listen to it as I had been his previous new albums in the last few years (“Rocket Science” and “The Snake King”) primarily because I’ve heard his hits countless times.

So now it’s already TWO days after its release and I’m just now listening to it. True, I’ve already watched several videos filmed at his symphony shows the past year or so, including the beautiful new song “Irreplaceable” about his mom, but I hadn’t yet had a copy of the new CD until tonight.

So, in case anyone is interested, here’s the first impression.

Kristina: As I sit in anticipation of listening to the album, the first song has a different beginning than the original. Maybe it’s the album preview in the back of my mind – the one with the red curtains that was posted on social media not too long ago- but I feel like I’m sitting in a theater listening to the overture of a play, with the anticipation of waiting for the show to start. OK, now it’s starting to sound familiar. And here’s RS starting to sing. Whoo-hoo! He sounds so good, it’s amazing to think it’s 37 years after the original recording. Thirty-seven!!!!! Plus it’s super cool that his current band is playing on this one. They are such an important part of the whole RS live experience and they’ve played these songs so many times, it’s nice to have them forever immortalized on a version of these songs.

Here’s a video of the song that was recently released:

I’ve Done Everything For You: This one starts out right away the way you’d expect it to, but with a little extra from the orchestra. The mix of the orchestra and the electric guitars sounds so cool!

Don’t Talk to Strangers: Again, it sounds like you’d expect it to, but with extra depth from the symphony.

Jessie’s Girl: Although I’ve heard this song SO many times and it’s the only RS song I ever hear on the radio these days, I’m still singing along – this version rocks and he still sounds so good singing it.

Affair of the Heart: Such a cool opening. Familiar and yet different. Makes me start thinking of how long many of his fans have been fans. When this originally came out, RS was 33 years old and now it’s been 36 years since it was released. I was 13 then and now am hearing a new version of the same song sung by the same guy who is now almost 70 and he sounds just as good. My mind is blown. This time around, I can clearly hear the words he’s whispering…

Love Somebody: Rocks as usual.

Human Touch: This symphony adds some fun stuff here, not sure what instruments they are, but it sounds good. The only downside to listening to this with audio only is that RS doesn’t come out of my computer for some human touch (like he comes out in the audience during a concert). In fact, he skipped this song altogether at the last live show I was at. Maybe the next CD will include some virtual reality component to take care of this.

Celebrate Youth: My mind just flashed back to a 2015 Stripped Down Q&A where RS explained his inspiration for this song. (See the “Inspiration for Songs” post for a reference.) But then I returned back to the present to ponder on how great RS sounds today.

World Start Turning: As I mentioned in a previous post, this song isn’t imprinted on my brain like the others, but it fits so well on the CD and is such a beautiful song. I think it’s one of my favorites on this CD so far.

Souls: OK, this song isn’t actually on the CD, but I’m including it here because it’s one of my favorite RS songs and it sounds so beautiful with a symphony so I think it should have been included. Here’s a video posted on YouTube by rsandus from a symphony show about a year ago. See if you agree.

State of the Heart: OK, how does his voice sound the same more than 30 years later? I must say, I’m realizing my teen self had really, really good taste when it came to selecting a favorite rock star.

Irreplaceable: This one I listened to with my eyes closed to really focus on it, although in my mind I saw RS performing it live with such emotion. Such a beautiful, touching and meaningful song.

April 24, 1981/My Father’s Chair: “Orchestrating My Life” is dedicated to RS’s parents, Norman and Eileen Springthorpe, so it’s fitting that the CD concludes with the songs dedicated to them. The addition of the symphony to these two songs makes them even more powerful and provide a somber ending to the CD. I think this CD would have made both of his parents proud.

Bravo, bravo to the whole RS team behind the CD!

Now if only The Phoenix Symphony would bring this performance to Symphony Hall!

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April 24, 1981: His Last Words

This month marked the 20th anniversary of Rick Springfield’s “Karma” CD so I revisited it a few days ago. I admit it’s been awhile since I’ve listened to it so when I saw the title “His Last Words,” it didn’t come to me right away what it was. Of course when I listened to it, I remembered it, but it’s not a song that you can sing to so the lyrics didn’t come to mind. Instead it is read to haunting sounds by RS, his sons and his brother.

When I read the lyrics, I found them so powerful and poignant, and was moved by the poetry of it. Especially the last few lines:

And so it went
There were no proud and profound last words
No bright ringing final moment of clarity
He just died

We kissed his still warm face
And strangers came and took him from us forever

The cold wind blew through the tree in my father’s yard
And I looked for meaning.

The words kind of took my breath away and made me feel like sobbing, although I didn’t. My mom died just over 20 years ago on April 20, so I suppose this time of year I’m already feeling melancholy when the date April 24 comes up.

RS’s new album, “Orchestrating My Life,” which officially is released in a few days – April 26 – is dedicated to his parents. Here is a recent video posted by rsandus of “April 24, 1981” and “My Father’s Chair” with the Portland Symphony.

So beautiful and the orchestra adds another depth to it. You may want to grab a tissue before you watch it.

To many RS fans, April 24 is a very meaningful date as today we remember Norman Springthorpe. He continues to live on through his sons and the impact they make in the world.

‘Irreplaceable’

Is it weird to know the song I want to be played at my funeral?

After hearing Rick Springfield’s new song “Irreplaceable,” I almost made that request to my husband, but then decided against it because I thought it might be a little morbid and perhaps a bit presumptuous. (Although I do hope he would consider me “irreplaceable.”)

What a beautiful song. RS wrote it in memory of his mother, Eileen Louise Springthorpe, who died on Dec 21, 2016, and it is so touching and heartbreaking.

You’re irreplaceable to me, inerasable and I see
We are breakable when we fall
You’re irreplaceable in my soul
The sun will rise and morning breaks
As the world awakes without you

A master lyricist at work again. RS fans are so lucky that he decides to share his lyrics with the world. The song is on his new “Orchestrating My Life” album and is performed with a symphony orchestra.

He has said in interviews that after his mom died, he experienced certain signs that comforted him because it made it clear to him that she was still around.

Your spirit shines tonight, blazing like a neon light
Love gives me second sight, I see your signs they’re clear and bright
I’ll find you in the great unknown where angels celebrate you home
And standing at the gate, alone, I’ll be reaching for your hand

I haven’t listened to the song yet without getting tears in my eyes. (And to those familiar with the song he wrote after his dad died, “April 24, 1981,” there’s the mention of the “great unknown.”)

Yeah I miss you most of these days, at moon-rising, sun-downing
But the pain comes in these wave and tonight I’m drowning

As a mom of three sons, it also gets to me when I think of him not as a heartthrob rock star, but as someone’s son who wrote this song about his mom. And even though he is almost 70 years old, he’s still her son.
Yep, there are those tears running down my face again when I think about it.

Just as his song “My Father’s Chair” has brought comfort to so many people who have lost their dad, “Irreplaceable” will also be very meaningful to many.

It’s such a beautiful tribute to his mom and I can picture her warm smile, beaming with pride.

For lyrics, click here.