Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Robert Tepper-No Easy Way Out (1986)


It's hardly ever an easy decision for me to decide which of the albums in my massive music collection gets the next honor of having my undivided attention for a few minutes. Though it was easy for me to realize that it had been a very long time since I last heard the voice of Robert Tepper. Perhaps the fact that my current 80's rock mood has yet to dissipate influenced my decision to take out Robert's "No Easy Way Out" for another trip around the old block again. Felt like old times hearing that memorable title track heard in the "Rocky IV" movie (which I haven't watched since I was a kid, and that goes for the first movie and all of its other sequels in that epic series as well), and it's just as much the perfect song of motivation and inspiration that SURVIVOR's "Eye Of The Tiger" is. Beyond that, though, I had little to absolutely zero memory of the remaining tunes on Robert's debut solo album, but boy did listening to the other eight songs sure stir up more of those warm childhood 80's flashbacks! 'Trying to get blood from a stone': it is these exact words that I have been hearing quite a bit lately, somebody and his or her heart of stone being the subject of the songwriter straining and struggling to get emotional feedback; I would hear these words once more on "Angel Of The City". The ways with words deserve all the appreciation and praise in the world on a couple of gems that highlight this album: "Your Love Hurts" (oh how the warmth of the breezy, ambient background melody contrast so nicely with the pain and agony expressed in the lyrics, the shrill chords of the guest female vocalist adding even more punch) and " If That's What You Call Lovin' " (beautifully melancholy yet gritty to the bone, as Robert confesses that he'd rather be alone than to have to deal with a broken heart). On a lighter note (literally!), there's so many things to love about "Don't Walk Away"; I myself got hooked the lively bounciness of the beat, which is a fun, eclectic mix of some electronic funk, energetic rock and some addicting dance-pop to boot. And as far as hooks go, "Hopeless Romantic" has a terrific one that totally captures the 80's rockin' spirit. Kinda interesting that it sounded as such, as most songs I've heard where there's a hopeless romantic (or even a helpless romantic) being sung about have come in the variety of a soft, slow-tempo piece with sweet, mellow lyrics. Not a hopeless romantic, but perhaps a restless one.....on Track #5's "Restless World", that is. Robert rocks it out big time here with, by far, his greatest vocal performance on the album; I could almost say he even sounds restless while delivering the lyrics. "No Easy Way Out"—definitely something that is 'easy' for your ears to take pleasure in, and once you've enjoyed the opening title track, there really is no easy way out of listening to the rest:

1. No Easy Way Out
2. Angel Of The City
3. Don't Walk Away
4. Your Love Hurts
5. Restless World
6. Hopeless Romantic
7. Soul Survivor
8. If That's What You Call Lovin'
9. Domination

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