Rick Springfield’s solo debut happened in 1972 and went practically unnoticed in the world of music. Moreover, until 1981 he enjoyed only local popularity despite his activity, release of four albums and participation in the Australian band Zoot, which dabbled in pop rock and so-called bubblegum pop.
Rick himself and his output, at least in the early stages, cannot be described using such common expressions as ‘the star has risen’, ‘exploded in the charts’ or ‘fresh sound’. Instead, we see steady workmanship where it is possible and careful treading of a novice when talking about bordering areas. We see trend pursuance however fickle in its successfulness, though not devoid of some originality showing a glimpse of talent.
All these traits are applicable to the majority of the musician’s output and his first LP – an uneven attempt to introduce himself as a full-fledged musical unit, independent but at the same time keeping in mind some of the ideas of his contemporaries.
The album sounds like it is comprised of cuts in various states – from infant to fully formed – that in places hint at Springfield’s following artistic path. The LP is in constant fluctuation, it goes from simplicity to pretentiousness, from originality to imitation, from ballads to light-headed circus overtures. It seems as if the musician tastes different genres, but he doesn’t possess a developed palette. Some songs are clearly influenced by the already mentioned bubblegum pop, which hurts the album tightly tying it its time period and air-headed fashion. Rick’s detours to baroque pop are curious, but attentive listener can notice mischievous glitter of Elton John’s glasses. A touch of rock-n-roll in a form of Come On Everybody
with its gospel-like backing vocals is fine and bouncy, however it cannot save the album from youthful exuberance typical for sol debuts, when a musician wants to demonstrate everything at once.
Nevertheless, this turbulent vessel is sealed on both sides with the best songs on the album. Airy Mother Can You Carry Me
reminds of space themes on David Bowie
’s Space Oddity
, only with a more grounded Major Tom. Surprisingly rugged yet elegant blues rock cut The Ballad of Annie Goodbody
is like a prophetic wave to himself in 2018 (The Snake King
). A complete and polished song is one of a kind on the album, but it puts a suggestive ellipses instead of a final dot.
And so the beginning in all senses has been laid and the next release of Springfield acting as error correction taking his output to a new level. All we need to state is that a new musical presence appeared but it is only one of the many.