The Freelance Mentalists.
Sunday, September 09, 2007
  Turn The Page And O.D.(Pt. 2)
TURN THE PAGE AND O.D. (PT. 2)
It's A Mystery only went gold, but Seger kept trying to make another
album of (even sharper) social commentary, because he became a father
at forty-seven, and while that was his self-stated reason for
"retiring," to take care of his kids, he's got a lot to sort out and
sing about, to his family, to himself, to whoever listens. He's got a
new song about war: "No More" is the title, and the point. He sounds,
not necessarily older than on most of Face The Promise (where the
raspy wailing top end of his range is gone, or obscured by clouds),
but he's especially weary on this track. He's doggedly dog-tired of
having to sing about war; he remembers previous occasions all too
well. And that's a good cure for nostalgia: a strong memory. PS: in
the middle of this our life's journey toward Face The Promise
[1997-2006], came 2003's Greatest Hits 2. Key might well be track 4,
"Beautiful Loser." Little Brother Underdog stops worrying long enough
to kid and look quizzically at his His Way of getting in even or
especially the hard or anyway long way. And does indeed scoop up some
beautiful losers, lost from the spotlight: prime but mere album
tracks, not hot singles; hot but not overplayed singles; soundtrack
contributions; covers/derivations; and stuff that would have been good
on Face, but he'd ditched that and started over, knew he already had
tons of stuff to chose from. It all sounds great, in this context.
Even track 1, "Understanding," from the Teachers soundtrack, though
boring, is thematically apt, and leaves no bad (or other) aftertaste,
as the continuity quickly kicks on. The Night Moves blues karma guy,
who went back to "Mainstreet," as carved into the great shining
mausoleum of Greatest Hits Une, is now sweating "Fire Down Below, "
and needs to be reassured by the enlightened butt respectors of "Watch
Her Strut." (GH1 released in 1994, opened to the no-fault collision
insurance of "Roll Me Away," but the only exit was via Rick Vito's
great, groaning slide solo, which finally discharged or at least
dislodged the younger-self-as-ancestor worship of "Like A Rock." Even
"Night Moves" didn't sound as good in this context, where the midnight
insights seemingly led to ever stiffer rituals.)
Meanwhile, back on GH2, inspired derivations x departures incl.
"Sunspot [Sahmspot] Baby," big sad eyes, drawls, draws for the bit o
honey who's ripped off Underdawg. Savors the crime scene details of
Broocian but dab hand "Manhattan," just showing the younger geezer how
to write and sing one. Ditto the Waits-written but minimally mannered
"New Coat Of Paint." Wailing in the tick-tock machine of Rodney
Crowell's "Blame It On The Moon." (Hey, an actual hit on GH2; getting
technical again, are we!) Self-writ duet with Martina McBride,
"Chances Are," gloriously. (This is how it's done, Kenny Rogers.) On
"Satisfied," he confides he needs some truth, some dignity, some
beauty, "But meanwhile, I need a place to hide." On "Tomorrow," he
can't tell you what happens when/if "neutrinos have mass," or about
anything else up ahead, but suggests the utilization of "the sports
section, the weather channel, a good battery." Did all that, and now
there's a new album after all! And almost as good as this, or close
enough, if you've got both, and other good stuff.
 
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