Rick Springfield – ”The Snake King” (Frontiers records)
If you were a teenager in the 80s, there’s a good chance you’ll remember “Jessie’s Girl”, the super catchy Pop-Rock track from the clean cut Rick Springfield. For me, it sits alongside the likes of “Centerfold” by J.Geils Band and the theme tune to the Ghostbusters film as the soundtrack to that part of my teens.
Bar his cover of Sammy Hagar’s “I’ve Done Everything for You”, and the aforementioned “Jessie’s Girl”, I haven’t heard much of Rick Springfield’s music, maybe the odd single or two. I also know he’s an actor.
Fast forward, what, 36-ish years and we are presented with a new Rick Springfield album, I think his seventeenth, and it’s an album I was going to avoid when it popped up on our promo list, but E-Music had it on their front page, so I took a little listen, and was blown away.
The Snake King is a super laidback slice of Bluesy Rock, that takes me back to the likes of John Cougar Mellencamp at his finest, circa “Pink Houses” and “Crumblin’ Down”. And my knowledge isn’t great on the genre, but from what I’ve heard, this would also appeal to those that like the grittier side of Alt-Country. The album, as a whole, as the swagger of a Southern Rock band, but the Blues edge takes it off on a slightly different path.
Lyrically, I’m going to guess it’s an intensely personal affair. With the singer contemplating suicide last year and his battle with depression. I think there’s a battle with religion going on as well, with song titles such as “Jesus Was An Atheist” and “Santa Is An Anagram”, being just two amongst a plethora of references, of a possible inner battle.
Personally, I don’t need or believe in religion, so that’s an easy solution to that particular problem.
But the subject matters have obviously brought out the best of Rick Springfield, musically. He’s now aged 68 and he’s (still) cranking out some hard hitting Rock, that’s mixed in with some more thoughtful moments that Dave Gilmour would be proud of. And I don’t know who plays the guitar solos on the album, but they slay… as does the slide guitar.
I’m pleased I eventually found this album as it really is a classic piece of Blues Rock. At 68, Rick Springfield could easily knock 15 years off of his age and no one would know. He’s aged well musically as well.