Friday, February 5, 2016

Michael Des Barres-Somebody Out There Likes Me (1986)


Yes Michael, there is indeed a LOT of somebodies out there that likes you! Or at least they will by the time they've finished this respectful review that I'm about to spring upon my followers here at "The Music Spectrum"! Isn't it always fascinating how, when you're a kid, you faithfully watch a TV show for years and years, only to get the shocking revelation years and years later that a character from that same show you faithfully watched had a music career to go along with that acting role? Can't even count how many times that's happened to me in my lifetime! But there's always one thing I can count on when it comes to these actors who've led double lives as musicians and singers: I end up listening to all of them eventually. It had been over two decades when I made the surprise connection that British actor Michael Des Barres, who played the part of an assassin named Murdoc, a prominent recurring character on the Richard Dean Anderson-starring TV series, "MacGyver" (and that's just one of the gazillion TV shows I adored in my adolescent years!), had been enjoying a successful music career all the while! Of course, me being a child of the 80's, I took interest in his work as a solo rock artist, which led me to obtain his 1986 album, "Somebody Out There Likes Me". If you're looking for a rockin' good time with tons of entertainment and replay value, this is it! Michael's gritty vocals, the dazzling voices of the ladies backing him up and the terrific production engineers join forces to bring you this forty-five minute thriller, which blasts off with the energizing "Money Don't Come Easy". Lots of truth in that statement, and even more truths belted out in the words delivered throughout. And here's an additional statement of truth from yours truly: you will get caught up in the lively funk/rock party that erupts before you know what hit you! That can be said for this album's other energizing cuts as well, highlighted by my favorite ones: "Locked In The Cage Of Love" (it's these sorts of jams with the classy throwback-to-the-past feel and make me wanna dance that are a lot of fun!), "Camera Eyes" (a pretty neat analogy there with the woman's vision representing the digital recorder of things that have happened in the past; even neater is the cool hook, accented by the synthesized vamps at the chanting of the song's title) and the concluding cut, "Thinking With Your Body". The album flows nicely with the emotional goodies "Do You Belong?" and "Is There Someone Else?" playing back-to-back. There are similar themes at work on this marvelous pair—the former asking if the woman is already attached to another man, the latter asking if there is another man that she's attached to. In both cases, the songwriter needs answers to fill the void in his heart; in both cases, the music is awesome for the listener, though I gotta favor "Is There Someone Else?" because of the extended jazzed-up instrumental and the brilliance of the backup ladies closing out with 'somebody to squeeze ya, somebody to tease ya, somebody to hold ya.....'. The harder-rockin' cuts are definitely an exciting exposition, but the album's two softer selections—"Everything Reminds Me Of You" and "Too Good To Be Bad"—have just as much artistic appeal. In fact, I was already liking the latter one just from the title, and the way he describes the woman as being simultaneously too good to be bad and too bad to be good is a conflict of emotions that can only be explained in a love song. Then my surprise within the surprise had come when I tuned in to Michael's rockin' remake of Johnny Nash's "I Can See Clearly Now". And just like I've lost count of all the actors-turned-singers I've encountered in my lifetime, I've forgotten all of the numerous remakes of this golden classic that have graced my ears. So yes, I believe many of you out there will like listening to Michael Des Barres a lot, because there's certainly lots to like about with just this small collection of songs alone:

1. Money Don't Come Easy
2. Do You Belong?
3. Is There Someone Else?
4. Everything Reminds Me Of You
5. I Can See Clearly Now
6. Somebody Up There Likes Me
7. Too Good To Be Bad
8. Locked In The Cage Of Love
9. Camera Eyes
10. Thinking With Your Body

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