Monday, November 11, 2013

38 Special - Tour de Force

This week (November 8th) marked the thirtieth anniversary of Tour de Force, the sixth studio album from the southern rock band 38 Special. Following 1982’s Special Forces (click here for that review), this one from 1983 peaked at number 22 on the US Billboard Album chart.

Side one starts off with “If I’d Been the One”. As the first single, this mid-tempo rocker hit number 19 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 1 on the US Mainstream Rock chart. I like the melody on this song about love that has failed to connect permanently. Of the two hit singles from the record this one is my favorite.

“Back Where You Belong”, the second single, reached number 20 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Where on the previous track the heartbroken guy is resigned to accepting the loss of love, here a guy in the same position is a little more firm about how things need to go. I was always the former kind of guy when I was dating back in the 80’s, so that is why the first track probably strikes a better chord with me.

On “One Time for Old Times”, the heartbroken guy here is sort of in the middle of the road from the first two. He accepts things have ended and is not adamant about rekindling things permanently; he just wants one more for the road. Between these three songs, they’ve got all the bases of heartbreak covered.

“See Me In Your Eyes” is yet another song about being broken up. Man, seriously, were all of the guys writing tracks for this album in failed relationships? It would certainly seem that way. I guess maybe they were targeting the lovelorn audience this time out.

Side two opens with “Twentieth Century Fox”, the B-side to the first single. This one is up-tempo, upbeat and very welcome at this point. I love the title wordplay for a famed movie studio.

“Long Distance Affair” slides back into that neurotic mode of a guy worried about his relationship, in part because geographic distance separates him and his woman.

“I Oughta Let Go” while up-tempo, here again we have a guy who is doubting the situation he is in. I am guessing she has a problem with his lack of self-confidence.

From the next title, “One of the Lonely Ones”, I knew it was time for yet another sad sack song. This time it is about a lonely woman though, so I guess that changes things up just a little bit.

The closing track “Undercover Lover” was also the B-side to the second single. Finally, somebody in this album’s narrative is getting some action.

All kidding aside, I did enjoy listening to Tour de Force even though it could have used a little more variety thematically. The band sounds solid, and there are some strong hits and deep tracks too.

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