Champlin Williams Friestedt
Black Lodge Records
The Super Group is BACK! Or maybe they never really disappeared; I just stopped noticing them. This particular ensemble consists of Joseph Williams (Toto) – Bill Champlin (Chicago) – and mega producer Peter Friestedt. It’s a time trip back to the 1980s with this slick, highly produced rock sound that leans a bit toward an “Easy Listening.” The tunes lack any rough edges, drum solos or chemical excess. I find it a comfortable retreat; this is what the 1980s would have sounded like had MTV never appeared. This whole collection of 10 polished tracks slides easily into the ear, exciting and listenable. These guys are pros and they all have a string of hits in their back pocket. This is the voice of experience, rocking along very nicely.
The first track I really stood up for is “10 Miles”. It’s a gentle love song where the singer finds himself in Nowhere, TX as he sings: “10 miles east of El Paso”. He’s hoping to give his lover his heart if he can just catch a ride. Knowing this genre of music, that heart is the symbolic one. Then there’s a great break up song a bit farther down the road. “Look Away” catches a romance at the opposite end of the love subway line. Our singer just broke up for good, she’s got someone new and much better behaved, and this poor guy is left with a bitter memory and a great guitar solo. This entire collection leans on the vicissitudes of romance, and that’s the heart of pop music, isn’t it? Late in the playlist we enjoy “Restless Love.” Here our male protagonist recovers joy and looks forward. It’s a more upbeat lyric, but slow and thoughtful in the melody department. I’m taken back few decades as the program flows. Good vocals, clean production and gripping stories: love, loss and recovery.