Springfield, Rick - 2008 Venus In Overdrive

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ARTIST: Springfield, Rick
ALBUM: Venus In Overdrive
LABEL: Angelmilk
SERIAL: BAM-AM002
YEAR: 2008

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image
LINEUP: Rick Springfield - vocals, guitar * George Bernhardt - guitars * Matt Bissonette - bass * Rodger Carter - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 What's Victoria's Secret? * 02 I'll Miss That Someday * 03 I'll Miss That Someday * 04 One Passenger * 05 Oblivious * 06 3 Warning Shots * 07 Time Stand Still * 08 God Blinked (Swing It Sister) * 09 Mr PC * 10 She * 11 Nothing Is Ever Lost * 12 Saint Sahara

RATING: image

Background

Three few years removed from his collection of covers, 'The Day After Yesterday', Rick Springfield returns with his first album of new material since 2004's 'Shock/Denial/Anger/Acceptance', which was decidedly heavier and more modern than Rick's usual melodic rock fare.

Springfield had said during the recording of 'Venus' that this was close in spirit to 'Working Class Dog', an encouraging claim indeed, but certainly a lofty one. Apparently the album was recorded in a hasty 32 day period, impressive in today's landscape of drawn out recording sessions.

For a man on the verge of 60 years old, Springfield belies his age with this convincing set of modern rock, displaying the creativity he did some quarter of a century ago and more, tailoring his trademark melodies to the current age. This is far more commercial fare than 'S/D/A/A', a wise move this time around.

The Songs

Upon first listenings of 'Venus' I thought this was too modern and hardly a relative to 'Working Class Dog'. Happily this opinion was flawed. Repeated airings prove this to be a brilliant rock album, with Springfield simply updating his sound once again for the times we live in.

'What's Victoria's Secret' opens with the same riff which 'Jessie's Girl' was styled after, evolving into an ultra commercial chorus which deserves to be a massive hit, but due to ageist policies probably won't. It is similar to much of 1999's 'Karma', but this is the best track the man has recorded since 1987 and despite the modern tones, AOR fans should be well into this.

As is the norm for Springfield, nowadays he incorporates various samples and effects into his sound, heard during 'I'll Miss That Someday', a superb track with soaring vocals and melodies from Springfield which rate as among the best of his career.

There's a reggae feel to the title track, mixed with some heavy riffs, which in their own way recall the 'Living In Oz' period, e.g.'Tiger By The Tail'. Horns are thrown into the mix during 'One Passengers' opening bars for good measure and there's a Beatles influence to the John Lennon tribute '3 Warning Shots', which isn't as bad as it sounds.

The theme of aging crops up during the uptempo rocker 'Time Stand Still' and is followed by 'Get Blinked (Swing It Sister', which has a Rolling Stones vibe in the riffs, almost sleazy and an excellent piece of rock and roll.

The dreamy ballad 'She' is another highly melodic outing, but 'Mr P.C.' is almost Blink 182 meets Nirvana inspired pop punk, deliberately so and a nice swipe at the less than cutting edge music scene.

'Saint Sahara' is a heartfelt tribute to a young girl named Sahara Aldridge who died of a brain tumor last November and was a friend of Springfield's. Very emotional as one would expect and another stellar melodic moment.

In Summary

Earlier today while reading reviews of 'Venus' I stumbled across a blog of a hack music journalist who claimed the material was 'insincere' and 'Saint Sahara' was an 'attempt to evoke Neil Diamond.' I've read some nonsense before but this might take the cake.

Everything found here is the exact opposite. It is obvious Springfield put everything at his disposal into the lyrics and music, which are very personal, and as discussed range across various topics which might affect someone at Springfield's stage in life.

I admit I was less than thrilled after first hearing this, but once repeated most of these songs will stick around in your head much like 'Don't Talk To Strangers' or 'Affair Of The Heart' did so many years ago. A statement of unbridled class, this is tailor made for AOR fans and rock fans in general. Springfield's still got it.


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