How does someone who grew up on metal defend a guy whose song was covered by Celine Dion?
Well, I’m going to give it a try.
The truth is that I’ve been a fan of Eric Carmen’s voice since I was a kid and my brother came home with a Raspberries greatest hits albums. In fact, Carmen was actually one of my dark-horse picks for Best Male Singer when we put that poll together last year.
Now, all these years after I first heard that album, I seem to have picked Carmen and the Raspberries up out of the lost & found bin: I recently picked up the Raspberries Greatest Hits CD, one of those compilation albums that I always end up with.
So, what is it about the one-time bubble-gum rocker turned balladeer?
Carmen’s claim to fame are a handful of top 40 hits he wrote with the Raspberries, including “I Wanna Be With You” and “Go All The Way,” which were regular tunes on AM radio back in my youth.
Later on he went solo and started singing love songs, scoring with “All By Myself,” a plushy ballad that, yes, Ms. Dion later covered.
The thing is I’m a big believer that music is cyclical, and sometimes the stuff just comes around again. Production and recording quality changes, as do musical arrangements. But the tunes are the thing, and sometimes the stuff just seems current and relevant again.
For me, I’ve always thought that albums like Electric Warrior by T.Rex and Marquee Moon by Television would fare well if released today.
Now, I don’t put the Raspberries in that category. But there’s a nice tug-of-war going on with their music. There’s a slightly raunchy quality to the guitars, which somehow works alongside the sugary vocals and chorus. It’s just a nice — and unusual — contrast.
So, it hooked me again. There’s always a lot of nostalgia involved when I get back into something from my youth, but I’m certainly enjoying it.
And who can tell me I’m wrong? ‘Cause that’s the beauty of it: Sometime you find something old in the lost & found and it just seems to fit in the moment.
C’mon, you know what I mean.
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