Electric

Paul Rodgers

CMC International Records, 2000

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/31/2000

Anyone who is an afficionado of classic rock will know Paul Rodgers's voice almost instantly. Whether it was his work with Free, his powerful lead presence in the first incarnation of Bad Company, or his short stint as lead throat with The Firm, Rodgers has built up quite a musical resumé for himself.

Yet since the breakup of The Firm, Rodgers has not been able to carve out a successful solo career for himself, to the point where he'd probably have difficulty getting arrested in the States. It's not that his solo efforts have been bad - rather, they've just been bland.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

His latest disc, Electric, is no exception to this pattern. Is it a bad disc? Absolutely not. But it takes the safe road, displaying 10 songs which could have easily been leftovers from Rodgers's Bad Company days, only without the guitar work of Mick Ralphs to seal the deal.

In a sense, this could be seen as Rodgers putting himself through the typical singer's workout. On one side, he's blazing through the power rockers like "Deep Blue" and "Love Rains," sounding close to the young singer he once was. On the other side, Rodgers handles the ballads like "Over You," "Conquistadora" and "Jasmine Flower". There is plenty of middle ground on Electric, as songs like "Walking Tall" and "Freedom" demonstrate.

Rodgers hits his peak on the hauntingly beautiful "Jasmine Flower," a song a father sings to his daughter, though I am having trouble deciphering whether this is being sung to a child or to the young woman she has become. Whichever the case, it's a powerful song that I can easily see becoming an adult-contemporary favorite.

Yet there are signs of the songwriting excess that has plagued Rodgers throughout his career. Case in point: "Conquistadora," which gets a little too bogged down in a story line to be effective. Musically, it's okay, but it loses any momentum it had quickly.

Yet Electric doesn't seem like it's an album made to win over new fans. If anything, this feels like it's supposed to be a reminder for those who used to listen to Rodgers in other groups that he's still out there, and he still has the pipes that can carry the tunes. In a sense, that's a relief to hear - but it's still somewhat unsatisfying that he doesn't try to break any new ground here.

Electric is the kind of album that longtime Bad Company fans will adore, since it often sounds like it was cut directly from that mold. It's proof that Rodgers can still hold his own in this field, but it's not going to be the key to opening the door to solo success for Rodgers.

Rating: C+

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© 2000 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of CMC International Records, and is used for informational purposes only.