Tuesday, March 8, 2016
A Different Emitt Rhodes, But No Less Worthy
Word on the street had not been promising. Those who had listened to the new Emitt Rhodes record were reporting back with phrases like, "Not as dreadful as I expected" or "I guess it's okay, but I was expecting something less easy listening." I think Seals & Crofts may have even been tossed out as a comparison. So the question is, do I love this new Emitt Rhodes record because I was set up not to or is it truly a great record? I want to say it's the latter, but I'll be realistic and go with a combination of both.
I think it's important to understand one thing-it's been 43 years since Rhodes released an album and if you're a fan, and I am, you have been listening to a 20 year old voice all these years. This is not the voice you're getting on "Rainbow Ends." I want to thank those who set me up with the lukewarm reviews. It made that transition much easier for me.
"Rainbow Ends" may not sound like young solo McCartney the way the Merry Go Round or any of Emitt's first solo albums did. But, with the help of some pop geniuses behind the scenes like Jason Falkner & Roger Manning, as well as producer Chris Price, "Rainbow Ends" is absolutely not a disappointment. If you get inside the warm production and embrace the older man, this is a record that offers some gorgeous melodies and harmonies that are pure Emitt Rhodes.
"If I Knew Then" shuffles along with more than enough nods to Jeff Lynne. An earlier version of "Isn't It So," according to one friend, sounds like something off of a Michael McDonald album. And he's right. But the rerecord found on the new album is a stunner, with a vocal arrangement on the chorus that rivals early Nilsson. I can say great things about almost every song.
This is a pop record made by an adult who along with some very smart friends, made an album that he should be making. It's an album I wish some of my other pop heroes would make. "Rainbow Ends" may not be perfect and maybe Emitt Rhodes has lost just a touch of his wordplay and ability to create intricate melodies, but don't fear. He had enough of both to make "Rainbow Ends" a finer than fine comeback.