Bright Side Of The Moon

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jueves, junio 05, 2008

Bob Seger - Like a Rock

Bob Seger - Like a Rock

Released: Apr 1986
Genre: Rock - Detroit Rock
Format: eac.wavpack.log.cue.covers

Enough already. Just when you thought you'd defect if you heard one more song with "America" or "U.S.A." in the title, here comes "American Storm," the first single off Bob Seger's new album, Like a Rock. A shallow rewrite of "Even Now" (a single from Seger's last album, 1983's The Distance), "American Storm" is a compendium of the kind of clichés about "America" and "struggle" that ring false. When people hear Seger sing, "We take no risks," they're either going to laugh at the unintended irony or quickly turn the dial.

This is a shame, because much of Like a Rock, Seger's fifteenth album, is likable and thoughtful, unlike "American Storm." On The Distance, Seger extended his vision beyond the rocker's standard concerns, and he continues to probe; this album's "Miami," for instance, is a haunting evocation of the dreams carried from Cuba to Florida on the Freedom Flotilla. But his best writing is still centered on stark domestic scenes. Now forty-one, Seger seems most comfortable and least overwrought when he slows down: the most fully realized of the album's dramatic ballads, "The Ring," describes a marriage crumbling into resignation. The sweetly nostalgic title track, a wistful sequel to 1976's "Night Moves," finds Seger's gaze fixed on the rear-view mirror, yearning for strength.

All well and good, but Seger doesn't break any new ground with this LP. For the past decade, much of the Silver Bullet Band's best music has been in E Street territory, a tradition continued here. There have been some updates, though. The vocal arrangements are exquisitely tight and supportive, and "Tightrope" and "The Aftermath," two synthesizer-dominated songs Seger co-wrote with keyboardist Craig Frost, are the most distinctly modern tracks he's recorded. Like a Rock is a modest album, but when it works, it picks you up, takes you out and brings you back home. (RS 475)

Many people condemn this album as being Seger's attempt to reinvent himself as an '80s rocker. It's true that the omnipresent synthesizers sound a little dated today, but if you're willing to overlook them, you'll discover a treasure trove of music that got surprisingly little recognition for its inventiveness and power. "American Storm" is essentially an update of Seger's earlier song "Even Now," displaying all the glorious driving beats and hard-sung lyrics that made that song such a hit. "The Aftermath" and "Sometimes" follow up in that vein, with a relentless rhythmic pulse--driving music if ever there was any. "Miami" is something of a departure for Seger, a smooth, almost soft-rock song that casually tells a compelling tale--a notable foreshadowing of the style he would explore in depth with his album "The Fire Inside." The other work is less notable, although "The Ring" is one of the most lyrically brilliant stories Seger's told. "Like a Rock" sounds the most like the "original" Bob Seger, and would easily be the best song on the album if we hadn't all heard the chorus so darn much (and I agree... someone at Chevy should be fired for that). Overall, this CD represents Seger's first real departure from his classic-rock roots, and that might initially turn people away from buying it. If you take it on its own terms, however, there's a lot to like about this album--and a surprising amount of the original Bob Seger sound to boot.



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