Saturday, October 13, 2012

Exactly What One Expects Of Old Money: Super Hits By Eddie Money

The Good: Some real decent rock songs, Good voice
The Bad: A bit overproduced in places, some "hits?!"
The Basics: A solidly middle-of-the-road compilation of an '80s artists works that remind us that Eddie Money can rock pretty well.

One wonders about how fate twists with musical artists. Before checking out the liner, scant as it is, to the c.d. Super Hits by Eddie Money, I think I had assumed he was more of a performer than a musical artist. After learning Tina Turner was a performer, not an artist, a bunch of musical talents just were dumped in the same pile on assumption. Eddie Money was one of them, though it turns out he wrote a number of hit hit songs. But this got me thinking, as I listened to Money's lyrics; what sick fate twists with artists to eventually bury an Eddie Money with the times, while a John Mellencamp continues producing new material long after his peak decade?

Super Hits reminds us that Eddie Money was a reigning talent of the 1980s, with chart topping (or Top 10) songs like "Take Me Home Tonight / Be My Baby," "Walk On Water," "Two Tickets To Paradise," and "Baby Hold On." Super Hits consists of ten tracks, from which only the four I listed above were immediately recognizable to me. I suppose there are some people who recall "We Should Be Sleeping," though I don't think I ever heard it in the mid-80s.

So, who is Eddie Money? According to the liner notes, he is an ex-New York City cop who apparently got lucky with a singing career. He managed to have some decent hits and his sound is distinctly 80s. There are hard drums, fast guitars, synthesizers and Money's raspy voice. The music is not terribly complicated, so Super Hits does not hold up especially well after repeated listens. It's a hard album to listen over and over and over again when one simply has the disc on repeat. It is, however, a decent, get charged, quick pump up album. This album clocks in at under forty minutes, so it is a disappointment in regard to length.

Eddie Money is rock and roll from the 80s, so his sound is distinctive and limited by that era. It was a time of pounding drums, mid-range guitars being played fast and synthesizers. Money is a part of the time, not a defiance of it.

I usually bitch about lyrics that are predictable rhymes. I'm not going to do that for Eddie Money's Super Hits for two reasons. First, as we go back further in the musical spectrum, the lyrics are new. That is to say, while rhyming the same word with itself is passe and disappointing now, when Eddie Money sings, "I feel a hunger / It's a hunger" ("Take Me Home Tonight / Be My Baby") it sounds pretty fresh or meaningful still. As for predictable rhyme schemes, monosyllabic words like "be" that rhyme with "me," "see," "free" and about two hundred other words are death on toast now. While "Baby hold on to me / Whatever will be will be" ("Baby Hold On") might not be the greatest line in history, someone had to rhyme "me" with "be" before it became so overdone as to be vomitworthy. I suppose, in a way, Eddie Money makes it work. And it's not like handicapping him, he has enough vocal talent to sell us on his lyrics.

The second is that Eddie Money manages to occasionally surprise. On the otherwise terrible "Running Back," Money sings "Don't coming back, tears in your eyes / I can't listen to your stories . . ." Decent money would have put the rhyme as "listen to your lies," but again, Money (or the writer, R. Bryan) manages to make enough of a change to keep it fresh.

This is not to say Eddie Money is an exceptional writer. He is not, at least not as evidenced by Super Hits. Some of his biggest hits, like "Take Me Home Tonight / Be My Baby" are tragically short and the lyrics quickly degenerate into repeating the same chorus over and over again. And that song, it is amazing to see, took five people to write! For a 3:33 song, that's pretty amazing. Similarly, "Walk On Water" was not even written by Eddie Money.

Outside the four songs I mentioned at the top, there are a few decent tracks that harken back to the '80s. "Think I'm In Love," I was surprised I didn't know. It sounded pretty much like the formulaic '80s track.

And some call back to the '80s in ways that aren't terribly great. "Running Back" sounds like it was made with a generic Casio keyboard bassline. And "The Big Crash" is bafflingly bad and I'm not even going to bother describing it.

But, essentially, this is Eddie Money from the '80s. I'm weakly recommending it for the nostalgia aspect. When I listen to a more voluminous collection of his hits, I am likely to recommend that (he has a song from the '90s I still love) and return here to not recommend this. But if you want a solidly nostalgic album, Super Hits works. Listening to this reminds us why "Take Me Home Tonight / Be My Baby" was such a huge song. It rocks.

And, I suppose, Eddie Money does, too. How's that for a twist of fate?

The best tracks are "Take Me Home Tonight / Be My Baby" and "Walk On Water," the worst is "The Big Crash."

For other contemporaries of Eddie Money, check out my reviews of:
Let’s Dance - David Bowie
Twenty-Four Seven - Tina Turner
Say You Will - Fleetwood Mac


For other music reviews, be sure to check out my Music Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2012, 2007 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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