Thursday, November 8, 2012

11-8-12 The Obscure Richard Marx Song of the Day #11

Obscure Song #11: "Can't Lie to My Heart"

Third time in a row I had to make the video from my track instead of linking to YouTube because a copy doesn't exist. Obscurity! 

Flesh and Bone as an album is probably entirely obscure to everyone except self-confessed fans. It came out in 1997, exactly a decade after the self-titled debut, and it was the death knell for his time on Capitol, although ironically it still sold in numbers that would be touted a success today. 

A lot of the cuts are heavily influenced by R&B grooves, and God help him, you can still find a sax solo on this album. Some of the more up-tempo songs get him a little too close to shouting for my taste. The lyrics are, at turns, overwrought, sometimes heavy handed, and still largely forgettable.  

Some of the openings ("You Never Take Me Dancing" and "The Image" come to mind) go on way too long. It's like I can see them sitting around the studio bobbing their heads listening to the groove and just letting it go..and go.. and go.  Look at the run times of the cuts -- most are pushing 5, even 6, minutes and this isn't because there is just so much to say.  "Can't Lie to My Heart" (above)  is a nice little  groove that should end at least two minutes earlier than it does.  

He does cover Stevie Wonder's "Too Shy to Say" very sweetly, but without the depth of Stevie's phrasing, it's just passable. I heard an interview with Richard at some point, where he was saying that he really didn't want to write another "Right Here Waiting": why compete with it? Agreed. But "Until I Find You Again" sounds an awful lot like that's exactly what he's going for, except with snaps added. Ok, it's still a pretty good heartbreak song.

And finally,  I am unable to listen to "Touch of Heaven" without thinking of Hank and The King of the Hill episode where he takes Bobby to the music store and insists on listening to every choice, approving none of them. That is, except for one: 4Skore, the boy band who sings "One fine day God was kickin' it heaven" in a slow, four part harmony. Hank stops the song and gives Bobby his blessing. He even takes Bobby to the 4Skore concert, and is horrified to discover the rest of the song is nothing like the opening. Listening to "Touch of Heaven"'s opening, I keep waiting for the explosion/take-off.... but it never happens.


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