Robert Tepper - Modern Madness

geoviangeovian Earth Orbit
edited December 2022 in Year-1988

Album number two for Robert Tepper 'Modern Madness' is as much high octane as it is hi-tech, landing squarely in the ball park as the Dan Reed Network, Robbie Nevil and Judson Spence, all contemporaries of the era.

Robert Tepper - Modern Madness
ARTIST: Robert Tepper
ALBUM: Modern Madness
LABEL: Scotti Bros
SERIAL: BFZ 40977
YEAR: 1988
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Flag USA
LINEUP: Robert Tepper - vocals, keyboards * Leon Johnson - bass, drum programming, backing vocals * Dann Huff, Gary Myrick, Gene Black - guitars * Fernando Saunders - bass * Kevin Savigar - keyboards * Myron Grombacher - drums, percussion * Carroll Sue Hill, Dee Dee Bellson, James House, Jeanette Tepper, Maxi Anderson, Mendy Lee, Phyllis St. James, Rick Nelson, The Valentine Brothers, Tori Amos - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 The Unforgiven * 02 Don't Get Me Started * 03 Fighting For You * 04 Working Understanding * 05 Down In The Belly Of Life * 06 Modern Madness * 07 When You Dream Of Love * 08 Love Turned To Crime * 09 Sing For Me * 10 Daylight

WEBLINKS: Site Link

Background

It would be safe to say that the debut Robert Tepper album 'No Easy Way Out' from 1986 was a bona-fide AOR jewel which didn't receive a lot of love at the time. A shame really as it flew under the radar despite a clutch of great songs onboard.

Two years later, and the New Jersey native returns with album number two: 'Modern Madness' which is as much high octane as it is hi-tech, landing squarely in the ball park as the Dan Reed Network, Robbie Nevil and Judson Spence.

The Songs

The whole album is well produced if a little overblown on the delivery. You hear this as early as track 1 'The Unforgiven' where you can easily visualise the tough neighbourhoods on the wrong side of town with the mood representating the music and lyrics to a tee.

'Don't Get Me Started' is a pop rock excursion tailor made for the MTV audience. It was co-written with renowned songwriter Phil Galdston (previously with West Coast acts Galdston And Thom and Far Cry).. 'Fighting For You' is a duet with Carroll Sue Hill and features the mighty Dann Huff on the fills and solos.

'Working Understanding' takes a timeout, a mild excursion born of the studio, though I'm unsure what the song is all about. Tepper picks up the tempo on the modern but funky 'Down In The Belly Of Life', the pumping synth bass a feature. A cross between theta Dan Reed Network and Michael Sembello is what you get here.

The title track 'Modern Madness' with its lyrical viewpoint could very well be a song written for 2021, not 1988! It's a punchy number which I'm certain the kids of 2021 just wouldn't get. 'When You Dream Of Love' is the funkiest track here, check out that clavinet lead churning out the bass line. It's 1978 all over again. 'Love Turned To Crime' ramps up the hi-tech element, plenty if synths and zany guitar licks. Think Jennifer Batten.

'Sing For Me' is one of the album's rockier moments, the guitar quota is higher here than on the other tracks.
Finishing with 'Daylight', this track is very laid back when starting out - with none of the dramatic energy found earlier up the track listing, but eventually it does lean into its work, with some synth and guitar solos fleshing it out.

In Summary

Certainly 'Modern Madness' is not as AOR as 'No Easy Way Out', in fact I'd say this is closer to Michael Sembello's overblown style but without the West Coast influences. The record label Scotti Bros weren't very supportive of Tepper and this album during this time and provided next to no label support. This resulted in legal action on Tepper's part, and he wasn't seen with a new album until 1996.

You won't see too many copies of this album lying around, but if hi-tech funky AOR is your thing and you are none the wiser about 'Modern Madness', then check it out on YouTube or Spotify.

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Video

The Unforgiven


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