Bob Seger - The Albums and the career, song by song thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by mark winstanley, Mar 20, 2021.

  1. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

  2. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I'm not sure the cover is particularly a great one to me.... but I guess something a little unusual may have been seen as an attention grabber. I guess the eye, and the child on the back are Bob's child?
    I don't hate it, but it is an odd cover
     
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  3. fspringer

    fspringer Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    It's a Mystery: I hate to say, but even fresh off the purchase of the Greatest Hits set, I didn't buy this album. I heard "Lock and Load" on various radio stations and liked it, but that was the extent of my connection. In effect, I had become like that fan who pined for "the old days" and such. But not really. (I think I was pining for rock to maintain that sort of cultural dominance and recognizing it was fading fast.) As the 90s wore on, I was finding plenty of new stuff to listen to, whether it was a massive wave of Britpop that started with Oasis, to plenty of American bands, like the Ben Folds Five and The Flaming Lips. The latter part of the decade, there was a seeming avalanche of American indie labels springing up, with a wide range of bands. I wanted to hate the 9os as I felt little affinity to hiphop, boy bands and the beginning of a horrible form of synthetic dance/pop that exists to this day, grunge, rap metal, etc. But I can look back now and see I was still very much engaged.

    What Seger was noticing with radio was true and didn't seem fair to me. But was it really all that new? I'm sure 50s artists, especially if they were pre-rock and roll, could tell Seger at that age all about shifting cultural tides, and the difference between playing legendary venues and county fairs. It was in the late 80s that I started noticing hugely popular 60s bands, like The Turtles, Paul Revere & the Raiders, Tommy James, etc., playing package tours as they couldn't draw more than club-sized crowds on their own. And often needed these sort of line-ups just to play clubs! In the 90s, I will never forget driving by a notorious dive bar in a small town back in rural PA that normally hosted teenage metal bands ... and Foghat was scheduled to play there the following week!

    So, I'm curious to hear all of this, Seger rocking with his "balls to the wall." (The phrase has always puzzled me. I picture unzipping my pants, removing my testicles from my underwear and placing them against the wall. That doesn't feel like rock and roll to me. It feels like some perverse take on kissing the Blarney Stone.) The free and unfettered Seger! The thing is, I think we already heard that in the early days, and there were plenty of great, more raw moments from those pre-Beautiful Loser albums. It sounds like he was trying to recapture those days ... while completely ignoring their existence? Yes, something feels a little off here. But I am curious to hear him try to recapture a more free, less encumbered element of past that he remains in denial of!
     
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  4. Davido

    Davido Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austin
    RE: Mark's questions

    • "It's a Mystery" got a shout out in the music column of the local newspaper (imagine getting music news from your local paper instead of the internet but the release occurred just prior to the web explosion).
    • I don't recall the album making an impact on the whole, less impact than "The Fire Inside" even - if that's possible.
    • Honestly can't remember hearing anything on the radio, e.g., "age discrimination" as Seger said (note: Springsteen's "Ghost of Tom Joad" came out in the same period with plenty of radio play for the single - but then an accompanying acoustic tour was in the offing).
    • As with any Seger album, liked a few of the songs quite a bit but the album didn't move me as a whole.
    • IDK, as with "The Fire Inside" will be interesting to revisit this album but I think the production will be far improved (or hope so).
     
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  5. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    It is a really strange scenario.

    I don't understand Bob's seeming hatred of his earlier albums, and I dont necessarily think this is exactly a return to roots, though fairly close, but it is a more real sounding album than Fire Inside, and the music breathes, rather than being suffocated with production.... i think.

    As for moving on.
    I did the same. I mean i didn't even know this album existed til i went looking....
    But it is like the Stones, i love them, but i didn't feel the need to buy anything after Dirty Work..... there were too many other interesting albums around. Too many other interesting bands, and it seems like.... "hey i love you guys, but there are other artists out there giving me something fresh, and i need a new flavour".

    The nineties was odd to me, i liked a ton of the music, but it wasn't all new and shiny like people were trying to tell me. Grunge was just a return to hard rock, to my ears, and when you've been listening to Zappa, Beefheart and a slew of odd earlier artists, the hugely pushed Alt. Rock scene seemed somewhat comical by comparison.... again, I'm not knocking it, I like and have plenty of it, I just didn't see it as being particularly fresh and new....
     
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  6. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    To me it sounds an awful lot better, but I don't know it well enough to have any kind of authoritative statements about it lol
     
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  7. Davido

    Davido Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austin
    I didn't see the name Don Was listed in the credits you posted above so that's a good start! And I do know there are a couple of good rockers on this album - so that's a nice start for what is supposed to be a rocknroll album (even if we all know Seger loves his ballads and does them well). I was personally more excited about this album going in (in relation to "The Fire Inside") because I think I had more musical distractions in 1991 than in 1995. Who was big then? The Smashing Pumpkins? Nothing against the Smashing Pumpkins, I almost went to see them once. Most of the "new" music that excited me then was by artists who did not seem to be following trends, e.g., Sugar, Liz Phair... but I was ready for a new Seger album because it seemed like it had been a long time.
     
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  8. JamieC

    JamieC Senior Member

    Location:
    Detroit Mi USA
    Last Seger I bought. Listened half heartedly and filed. On the other hand, his classic albums and records were never out of reach.
    The nineties were a wash for the most part for me. I was deeply into Folk as a performer and writer, and listening to albums by my peers along with mining the folk and country genres. Embarrassingly the only new artist I got into in the 90s was Garth Brooks. My oldest was deep into grunge and Nirvana and I retro-ed into that by the turn of the century.
    As far as radio all I listened to was news and NPR.
     
  9. tenor1

    tenor1 Forum Resident

    I got It's a Mystery when it was released and then went to the concert he did on the tour, which was my first Seger concert in a long time. I don't recall ever hearing anything from it on the radio. I think the weaker sales are not just due to age discrimination but also a residual effect of The Fire Inside being so disappointing. As with Mark, I like this one better. As mentioned in the overview, the lyrical content is much different than in his past albums. There's one track that is both musically and lyrically completely different than anything else in his catalog.

    Did you see that "drum programming" credit in the overview? That was perhaps the most controversial production choice on the album. I didn't really notice it at the time but with more listening experience I can hear it now. It's used on just under half the tracks if I remember correctly.
     
  10. fspringer

    fspringer Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    Mid-90s was a great time to be into Alt Country/Americana, probably the dominant form of music for me in the 90s. Wilco and Son Volt were emerging from the ashes of Uncle Tupelo (and changing with each album), and dozens of more under-the-radar bands like The Gourds and The Bottle Rockets were just starting to form. Steve Earle was coming back from some dark days, and Lucinda Williams was working her way towards a genre-defining album in a few years. With women, you had Alanis Morrissette on one end putting out a huge album, and Ani DiFranco on the other, starting a DIY scene that fed into a 90s indie explosion of bands. Grunge was just fading fast, and it seems a shame that most of those British bands putting out great material never quite clicked here. It was a different story in the U.K., that's for sure! But it was an awkward time for mainstream rock. While a band like Everclear had a few songs I really loved, there was something about a lot of rock from that time that didn't feel like it was going to last.
     
  11. Davido

    Davido Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austin
    True. Personally, I was a reasonable-to-big fan of those artists you list and saw 'em all in concert (except for Alanis but you sure couldn't escape her big radio hit!), but had a serious musical relationship with the Gourds (naturally) and Lucinda whose "Sweet Old World" was a fairly big deal around here. Wilco was sure exciting to hear evolve for the whole of the 90s especially (for me) since I thought their debut was a big let down from the final Uncle Tupelo record. Thanks for the memories. As always, the best stuff wasn't on mainstream radio for the most part.
     
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  12. tenor1

    tenor1 Forum Resident

    1995 was also setting the stage for Lilith Fair a couple years later, a wonderful era for female singer-songwriters. Not just Alanis Morissette, but also Shawn Colvin, Sarah McLachlan, Paula Cole, and Poe were doing really well in the 1995-1997 range, along with many others I sure I'm leaving out. 1995 specifically was Alanis's year.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2021 at 1:53 PM
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  13. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Rite Of Passage.

    Seger said the song is "about the pain of war."
    Seger: "The idea of a 'feel-good' war, which is what some people called the Persian Gulf War. Power can be corrupting. When you have the ability to level your enemy, you damn well better be sure it's the right thing to do morally. Because our sons and daughters are going to die. It had better be worth it." Capital "Leaning Tower" Internet Pages

    It's the age of reason for the anarchist
    It's a change of venue for the lobbyist
    It's a dream of justice buried in the grist

    It's a secret briefing based on need to know
    It's a condescending rationale from command control
    Feel the sense of wonder at the overthrow

    It's a rite of passage through a hurricane
    Through a rolling thunder through a screaming rain
    Hear the shriek of Abel hear the cry of Cain

    And Abraham will take his son
    Five billion years from now the cruelty will be done

    Make a destination
    Of the greater truth
    Make 'em hang their heads and eat their words
    When you find the proof
    This is all you're given
    It's your only move

    It's a rite of passage for the everyman
    To a higher ground
    To a brighter light
    To a promised land
    You can feel the power
    Of the master's hand

    It's a rite of passage

    Songwriters: Bob Seger
    Rite of Passage lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

    The first thing I notice here is the youtube links are all a lot thinner sounding than the cd.

    We open up with the drums and a synth playing a repeating melody for the song to sit on top of.
    This is a solid lyric and Bob pulls no punches. Here there is no middle aged man talking about the old days, we have a solid and critical commentary on situations we aren't allowed to comment on. So I'm just going to say I reckon this is an excellent lyric.

    This feels like a set up song. We are brought into the album and given the idea that this is going to be a propulsive grinder of an album that isn't going to play nice, like the last couple of albums.
    The guitar comes in with a solid grind, and there is a lot of punch on the cd.
    Bob is delivery an urgent vocal that is working with intensity rather than messing with too much melody, and in context with the song, that works perfectly.
    I think the backing vocals help to raise that intensity.
    We get a nice sax break.
    I like this as an opener, but the youtube link fails to capture the intensity properly to my ears.

    A very good opener.


     
  14. Hey Vinyl Man

    Hey Vinyl Man Another bloody Yank down under...

    Rite of Passage - All I can say about this one is, Seger is lucky I'd already heard "Lock and Load" on the radio and loved it. If I'd heard this first, I probably wouldn't have bought the CD. Didn't like it in 1995, don't like it now.
     
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  15. Rfreeman

    Rfreeman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lawrenceville, NJ
    Rite of Passage
    Sax and guitar solos are compelling. The rest of the song not so much - no real melody, not the type of lyrics I prefer, and the repetitive lick is annoying from intro through outro. It does have energy.

    Given comments about YouTube sound quality I went to check it out on Spotify and found that neither the album or the song is there, making it clearly a forgotten effort in today's world.
    Rating 4/10
     
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  16. fspringer

    fspringer Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    Rite of Passage: I'm assuming the album gets better from here. Nothing terrible about this song, but it sounds like a fairly esoteric rocker. Feels political in the way "American Storm" did, although I'm still not sure what that song is about (despite being told directly by Seger)!

    I was surprised to see RFreeman's note bout Spotify unavailability. You can't buy the album on iTunes. Went to Amazon: $35.97 for the CD, albeit numerous used copies were available in the $2.00 to $10.00 range (no streaming option). I didn't see Face the Promise on iTunes or Spotify either, although the new/not-used CD is available on Amazon (but not digital or streaming). The catalog hijinx continue!
     
  17. Davido

    Davido Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austin
    Ah, the "programming" that Mark mentioned in his intro to this song didn't take long to rear its digitized head. Perhaps I'm a poor fan: I like when Seger rocks it up and then complain when the arrangement is cacophonous. By now I might should've adjusted to Seger's use of modern technology but it's just overdone in "Rite of Passage". I think it's cool that Seger is energetically updating his anti-Vietnam songs from the 60s.
     
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  18. tenor1

    tenor1 Forum Resident

    Rite of Passage is one of my favorite songs on this album. It's an updated riff rocker, going back to some of his oldest writing style. If you don't like the riff this may get old quickly, but I like the energy, the lyrics, and the performances. Minor key rockers are really rare in Seger's catalog so there's also the novelty effect.

    I didn't mind the drum machine when this came out, but nowadays the repetition and sound of the cymbals in particular are the main thing I don't like on this track. The other is the overall sound quality. Even on my CD this doesn't sound as full as other tracks on the album, and I'm not sure why.
     
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  19. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    That could be it....
    I guess I enjoyed the fact it was a good rock song, and the tracks to follow sound better.
    It just sounded a bit flat and lifeless this morning, and listening in the car last week, it sound full and lively.
     
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  20. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Lock and Load.

    Label: Parlophone – CDCL765
    Format: CD, Single
    Country: UK
    Released: 1995
    Genre: Rock
    Style: Classic Rock


    [​IMG][​IMG]

    1 Lock And Load
    2 It's A Mystery
    3 Roll Me Away
    4 Mainstreet
    -----------------------------------------
    "I just started singing it one day. The way I was perceiving it was: Time to get serious
    -- a metaphor for that. Time to hunker down and do your best." Roger Catlin, Spring, 1996, Hartford Courant.

    "Me hammering myself for my dark side. I spent years trying to appease people on the periphery of my existence -- the bottom-line corporate people. Now I've finally gotten off my duff and realized that what's important is family. That's because now I know what family means." Capital "Leaning Tower" Internet Pages
    --------------------------------------------seger file------------------------------------------

    Well I wish I had a nickel
    For every time I fell and blamed somebody else
    I'd give a ton of money to the ones I've hurt
    And I'd still be sittin' pretty well
    I've spent years losin' touch of what's right and what's real
    Caught up in these missions of my own
    And you're tellin' me you think I've done so damn well
    While we're sittin' here a thousand miles from home
    There's a hole in your wisdom, a hole in your sky
    Two holes in your head where the light's supposed to get by

    Time to lock and load
    Time to get control
    Time to search the soul
    And start again

    So many times I've seen chances disappear
    I hesitate and watch them slip away
    Like the time I fail to spend with the ones I love
    And it's gone as sure as yesterday
    All these users and fakers, big time takers
    Manipulating everyone they see
    I get caught up in their schemes and their useless dreams
    And the only one I have to blame is me
    I get turned `round and twisted, pulled left and right
    I can see where I'm goin', but I can't see the light

    Time to lock and load
    Come in from the cold
    Take a different road
    And start again

    I can sit here, in the back half of my life
    And wonder when the other shoe will fall
    Or I can stand up, point myself home
    And see if I've learned anything at all
    Anything at all

    Mediocrity is easy, the good things take time
    The great need commitment, right down the line

    Time to lock and load
    Come in from the cold
    Pay these debts I owe
    And start again

    I've been down this road
    I've seen things get old
    Time to get control
    And start it all again

    Time to lock and load
    Time to get control
    Time to search the soul
    And start again

    I've been down this road
    I've seen things get old
    Stand up, get bold
    And start it all again

    Time to lock and load

    Songwriters: Craig Frost / Tim Mitchell / Bob Seger
    Lock & Load lyrics © Peermusic Publishing

    So this song was written with two of the guys that play on the album, and I guess that gives it the feeling of an organic band type scenario going on, rather than a dictatorial scenario.

    Well first off I love this lyric. This is Bob being a little harsh with himself in many ways, but in an age that seems to blame everyone else for everything that ever happened, and accountability is merely something to do with a bank account, Bob here takes a good hard look at life and comes to the logical conclusion that like all of us, there are times his focus has been in the wrong place, his decisions have often been poor and it is nobodies fauly but his, and he needs to stand up and take control of his life, the real one, not the facebook one.
    From the very first line, the theme is set up. I wish I had a nickel for every time I fell and blamed somebody else. To some degree I reckon we have all done this to some degree. I'm human, I've done it. Sometimes it is easier to point over there, than it is to look back clearly and deeply at our own shortcomings.

    Life is a scenario where it is very difficult to get too much done without having hurt someone, and often we seem to just brush it aside, or fail to acknowledge the fact that certain things have happened. Again taking the easier route of acting as if, there was nothing anyone could have done about it, these things happen.
    I love this line
    And you're tellin' me you think I've done so damn well
    While we're sittin' here a thousand miles from home
    This line almost works as an announcement of the ten year break Bob is about to take. In fact the whole song seems to point to the idea that as much as Bob has enjoyed his music career, he can see that it came at a great cost, and that cost was a family life, and he is about to take off for a while and participate in that family life for better or for worse. I can only imagine how hard it was to do this. There is baggage we carry from these kinds of things. In fact, although I never made it in any way that would be considered successful in the wider world, some of the best days of my life were with bands at gigs or in a recording studio. It's something that I love and miss, and having been there and done that, it is something that I could really see myself doing again, because it is a huge part of who I am, but it is also not generally an easy situation for two of more.... anyway, essentially all I am trying to say here, very poorly, is I completely understand the mindset and scenario being put forward here, and I think Bob does and excellent job of telling this story, and more importantly he seems to be putting forward a very honest appraisal .... which is always refreshing.

    So I think lyrically, this track, for many reasons, stands tall among Seger's classic writing, because it comes from that central place of honesty and relatablility.

    Musically we have a steady rock beat. We are introduced into the song with a processed, but present guitar that rolls between two chords and we move into the main body of the song.
    I think the arrangement here works well also. The organ comes in nicely to lay a bed for the groove to sit on. I think we get some nice changes that keep the melodic structure interesting. We get dynamic variation with parts coming in and dropping out for emphasis.
    I really enjoy the backing vocals on this album too, they give the songs more body and help fill out the sound and feel of the songs.
    We get a nice lead break, that is sitting deeply inside the song. It isn't a shred fest, or a flash fest, it is essentially riff-like in its construction, with just enough flavour to give it a nice bit of spark.

    I think this is a solid follow up to a solid opener.

     
  21. Rfreeman

    Rfreeman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lawrenceville, NJ
    Lock & Load
    This is way too long for a song this musically repetitive. It has a nice guitar break is about the best I can say for it.
    Rating 3/10
     
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  22. Hey Vinyl Man

    Hey Vinyl Man Another bloody Yank down under...

    Lock and Load - I loved this one at first listen and I still love it today. Probably his best song since at least "Roll Me Away". That opening verse may be a bit teenage angsty for a guy who was fifty years old at the time, but it's a sentiment I can identify with. As it happened, this came out right after I graduated from college and I had my share of regrets about not having done better academically, and I knew just what he was feeling with those lyrics. Having since moved halfway around the world, I've definitely had my days where I could only wish I were only one thousand miles from home!

    The only negative thing I have to say about it is, I heard it on the radio before the album came out, and it set very high expectations for the album, which for the most part didn't even come close to being met. Nevertheless, I did listen to It's a Mystery a lot when it was new (remember what I said about having just finished college - you can imagine how much money I had lying around for new music, and this was 1995 - no Youtube!), and it does have a few other strong points. But even one song this good made it worth buying!
     
  23. tenor1

    tenor1 Forum Resident

    Lock and Load is another of my favorite songs from It's a Mystery. I remember hearing this album the first time and really being impressed with this opening one-two punch with Rite of Passage. Mark's analysis is excellent. Indeed during Bob's retirement years to spend with his kids growing up, I would look at this song as his announcement of what he was about to do. About the only thing I can add is that here is where we start with the gun imagery that pervades the lyrics on this album.
     
  24. fspringer

    fspringer Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    Lock and Load: Yeah, this works! Starts off leaning towards Richard Marx's "Don't Mean Nothing" then becomes a traditional Seger rocker. Willing to bet this is the best thing on the album. Maybe my timing is right, but I do recall hearing this occasionally on the radio at the time, probably that Seger superset where they start with the single then get into the stuff you've heard a thousand times before. Would have made a great lead-off track in his tradition, and real statement of purpose. But, as with all songs of this nature, we anxiously await JamieC's strip club stamp of approval.
     
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  25. Davido

    Davido Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austin
    Seger is getting warmer. "Lock and Load" is an improvement over the opener by a good margin but sounds like something which would play over the sound system at that Bada Bing! club in "The Sopranos" - not necessarily an awful thing, at least in the context of the show, but I find the song pretty forgettable.
     
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