Sony Music, 1995
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/24/2008
Anyone who grew up in the ‘70s and early ‘80s will have one of two views regarding singer/songwriter Dan Fogelberg: unheralded genius or sappy balladeer.
There is no denying that Fogelberg, in truth, was a sappy balladeer -- but, oh, how memorable those ballads proved to be. This collection, thrown together after Fogelberg left the Sony Music camp, could be seen as cashing in on his legacy, and perhaps they were. But this 10-song disc does boil Fogelberg down to his base element, creating a powerful disc that only falters if you don’t recognize the material.
Now, some of the song titles might not appear to be tracks you know just by reading them. I had this happen to me with the opening track “Heart Hotels”, but the moment I heard the first piano chords, the lightbulb went on in my head, and I remembered this song. For those who may have only been familiar with Fogelberg’s work from the adult-contemporary radio stations,
Love Songs may prove to be an interesting journey.
In truth, this proves to be a very solid album. Normally, when only one genre is focused on, it seems the disc is weakened because the counterpart of that musical style is missing. In the case of Love Songs, the lack of more energetic numbers (“Part Of The Plan,” anyone?) doesn’t hurt this disc in the least, mainly because – well, you know exactly what you’re getting from the title of the disc.
Love Songs proved to be a trip down memory lane for me; songs like “Longer,” “Make Love Stay,” “Leader Of The Band” (which always made me cry as a kid) and “Same Old Lang Syne” sound like they could have been recorded yesterday, and have lost none of their charm and power over the passage of time. For the first eight tracks of this disc, I could find no fault at all -- even if “Run For The Roses” was never one of my favorite Fogelberg songs.
The only stumbling point, per se, comes on the final two songs, “A Love Like This” and “Seeing You Again,” both of which came off discs that were released past Fogelberg’s high-water mark in terms of popularity. So, the only thing going against these songs is familiarity -- and while these two aren’t as instantly embraceable as the old standbys, they prove to be strong competitors in their own right.Make no mistake, Fogelberg was more than a balladeer throughout his career, but it seems that the greatest successes he had commercially were from the softer, more gentle songs. In that regard, Love Songs is a pretty powerful collection that, it could be argued, is all the Fogelberg one needs in their collection. This, of course, isn’t true -- you’d be missing out on a lot of other great tracks otherwise -- but if you needed a starting point to get into Fogelberg’s music, this disc provides it.
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