At thirteen tracks and 65 minutes playing time, ‘Rush Street’ from Richard Marx is a big listen. It’s a varied listen too, which will take a while to consume.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Richard Marx
ALBUM: Rush Street
SERIAL: 7 95874 2
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Richard Marx – lead & backing vocals, pianos, keyboards * Guests numerous, refer Discogs link above.
TRACK LISTING: 01 Playing With Fire * 02 Love Unemotional * 03 Keep Coming Back * 04 Take This Heart * 05 Hazard * 06 Hands In Your Pocket * 07 Calling You * 08 Superstar * 09 Streets Of Pain * 10 I Get No Sleep * 11 Big Boy Now * 12 Chains Around My Heart * 13 Your World
WEBLINKS: Site Link
The late 80’s AOR scene wouldn’t quite be the same without mention of the name Richard Marx. Songwriter to the stars, but not quite in the same domain as Desmond Child and Diane Warren, Marx went one better by achieving superstar status between the 1987 and 1992 years, just before the grunge movement arrived on the horizon.
I won’t delve too much into Marx’s origins, it’s been covered on his debut review, and I might cover a bit more on his forthcoming ‘Repeat Offender’ review. If you’ve heard those previous two albums, Richard settled quite nicely into a safe AOR come R&B groove, sort of like Bryan Adams meeting Huey Lewis & The News.
The fact that both albums were multi-million sellers says a lot about American attitudes and values in the late 80’s, ‘Repeat Offender’ in particular eventually selling well over 7 million copies. The release of his third album ‘Rush Street’ during the first week of November 1991 saw a lot of contrasts.
Firstly, there’s a cast of thousands (literally) on this album. I guess with two stellar selling albums in the bank (albeit with EMI/Manhattan), Capitol could hardly refuse could they? The sound is harder than before, save for a couple of ballads which pushed this album into the million-selling territory yet again. But if people were thinking the entire album was to be based on the albums two biggest tracks ‘Keep Coming Back’ and ‘Hazard’, then they could quite rightly accuse Marx of false advertising.. lol.
Because there are so many tracks here, I won’t go over all of them, instead I’ll cherry pick a few of them. The album commences with the fiery (literally) ‘Playing With Fire’ which has Toto‘s Steve Lukather shedding steel all over it.
Steve also adds the firepower to the gritty ‘Streets Of Pain’, which is so hard rock as to make Marx’s ballads indistinguishable. The funky but hard-delivery of ‘Superstar’ is another to push through the barrier, a song all about Madonna which Marx admitted to several years later.
One of my favourite moments would be the Bruce Gaitsch handiwork of ‘Calling You’, a supreme slice of AOR, and one I hope Marx can deliver again in future. Of course, the two biggest moments on the CD are the hits ‘Keep Coming Back’ and ‘Hazard’, both doing well on the charts. In fact, ‘Rush Street’ generated five singles, of which videos were made for all of them.
‘Hazard’ is still a classic track, a haunting song which has all the drama of a crime show episode. The question remains: did the protagonist in the song actually kill the girl or not? I also enjoyed the Toto like tapping piano on ‘Big Boy Now’ plus the general AOR nature of the song, with big choruses and pumping bass.
Bruce Gaitsch and Michael Landau share the guitar duties on the power-ballad ‘Chains Around My Heart’, which in itself must be a sure-fire invitation to give this one a listen. The finale track ‘Your World’ is a soothing exit, and also sees Gaitsch and Landau sign off in style.
At thirteen tracks and 65 minutes playing time, ‘Rush Street’ from Richard Marx is a big listen. It’s a varied listen too, which will take a while to consume. Hope you’ve got the time. I don’t doubt that people will have polarised opinions as to the merits of this album, but I ask that you go back and give it a thorough workout. The album sessions were undertaken among a number of studios, so one can expect that no stone was left unturned to deliver a superior product.
I think I prefer his direction here, the first two albums while good, hovered in that pop rock zone, on ‘Rush Street’ however the songwriting is less throwaway with a serious angle on some of them, ‘Hazard’ a case in point. Marx’s albums beyond this moved him more into R&B territory, probably a safe bet to opt out of hard rock considering the musical climate of the day.
Still going, Marx has released two independent releases during 2008 ‘Sundown’ and ‘Emotional Remains’ (available at his website), while last years ‘Stories To Tell’ was an acoustic greatest hits release, of which there are three releases (standard US, European with bonus tracks or the whopper 3-disc set sold exclusively through Walmart).
Marx is at an interesting crossroads in his career, and I believe it’s now time for him to rev up his engines again in the mould of his first three albums, and get back on the horse. Go to it Mr Marx.