Sunday, September 14, 2014

Richard Marx-Rush Street (1991)

ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: September 14, 2014

Been a while since I dropped in on one of my all-time favorite rockers from the 80's: Richard Marx. Meant to drop in on him a few days ago, but I had been enjoying my little flashback with WA WA NEE and my other recent music discoveries so much that me getting around to Marx was, so to speak, a little 'off the mark'. Could've listened to anything—anything at all—by this multi-talented guy from my CD collection of him tonight and it would've made me happy, because he's got one of the most amazing voices and most powerful voices you'll ever hear in the rock music world—hands down! I opted, however, for his 1991 album, "Rush Street", on the wings of hearing a recommended song that possibly could be added to a special playlist of mine I called the 'Scary Mix'—songs with haunting melodies and just have a dark, creepy or unsettling feel. Remembered much of "Rush Street" from my music yester-years, but strangely, no memory at all about Track #5's "Hazard", that recommended song I alluded to a moment ago. And it is quite haunting, as the lyrics tell of a chilling tale about a girl who ends up being the victim of some sort of mysterious foul play. Perhaps not the most exciting way to begin listening to a CD, but it was where I wanted to start in order to alleviate my "Hazard" curiosity. The CD's proper beginning is with the blazing opener, "Playing With Fire", and once the big rock beat blows in, I was immediately thrust back into the era when the hard-rockin' Marx was at the peak of his career. I keep wondering whose monstrously deep voice that is uttering the words 'let's get busy' in the song's intro..... I always remember the way the background vocalists chant 'whoa-oh' in the main chorus—adds so much energy to the music, along with the screaming rock guitars, which is a Richard Marx forte. For a song entitled "Love Unemotional", it's sure packin' with a LOT of emotion! Now this is how you rock it—a big voice, tons of energy and some funky blow work with the harmonica! Then a Richard Marx childhood favorite of mine I've heard hundreds of times surges in a few minutes later with "Keep Coming Back", a soft rock radio staple that, in my opinion, can stay on the radio until the end of time; it's really that good! These bluesy low-key number is so well liked, I think, because of the smooth, easy-listening groove and Marx's superb songwriting about him constantly getting pulled back to a romance from which he can't seem to break free. Oh, and the sexy saxophone sweetening up the music—gotta love it! If "Playing With Fire" was a blazing beginning, then the flames are still burning all throughout many other jams that are equally as explosive: "Take This Heart", "I Get No Sleep" (that piano playing is marvelous, especially that piano roll) and a couple where there's some serious jammin' goin' on and the backup vocalists are fantastic: "Streets Of Pain" (my favorite line from the song is 'isn't anybody satisfied with the girl next door?') and "Hands In Your Pocket" ('they'll put their hands in your pocket, take the clothes off your back, stop you like a heart attack'—awesome lyrics!). Marx can even make the simplest of love songs into a big-time music affair, and that's exactly what takes place on "Calling You". Power ballads? More power to him, as the mellow beginnings of "Chains Around My Heart" blows up into a stunning masterpiece. Then a tune that competes with Track #5's "Hazard" in the category of haunting songs is the concluding cut, "Your World". And just as with "Hazard", I had little to no memory of it; another with a fine piece of songwriting in a story that gets your attention, but definitely not as chilling as the one about the girl who mysteriously disappeared. So just as the Rush Street Flyer is flying high (that would be in reference to a favorite thrill ride at an amusement park I used to venture to every summer), this "Rush Street" album is flying high!

1. Playing With Fire
2. Love Unemotional
3. Keep Coming Back
4. Take This Heart
5. Hazard
6. Hands In Your Pocket
7. Calling You
8. Superstar
9. Streets Of Pain
10. I Get No Sleep
11. Big Boy Now
12. Chains Around My Heart
13. Your World

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