Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Roger Daltrey - Parting Should Be Painless

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Parting Should Be Painless, the fifth solo studio album from Roger Daltrey. It stalled at number 102 on the US Billboard Album chart back in 1984.

Side one starts with "Walking in My Sleep". As a single, it went to number 62 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 56 in the UK, number 40 in the Netherlands, and number 4 on the US Mainstream Rock chart. It opens with Michael Brecker’s sensual saxophone. I definitely do remember this one from radio airplay back in the day; not having heard it for many decades this was a blast from the past.

The title track is next. "Parting Should Be Painless" has an almost Bond-like vibe to it - very secretive and cautiously dramatic.

Daltrey poses two questions next: "Is There Anybody Out There?" and "Would a Stranger Do?". Both are slower arrangements that feel like they could have been a lot more powerful and heart wrenching. He is known for his booming vocals; here he comes across as much retrained. The latter number features David Tofani on the clarinet.

The side closes with the Bryan Ferry penned "Going Strong". I like the contrast between Mick Gallagher’s keyboards and Mike Thorne’s synthesizer; both are distinctively yet very complimentary.

Side two begins with "Looking For You".

Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart of Eurhythmics wrote the next track "Somebody Told Me". This one has a bit of a funk/blues grind to it, complete with Daltrey playing harmonica on it. This was the B-side to the first single.

The mid-tempo "One Day" follows.

"How Does the Cold Wind Cry" is a mid-tempo ballad about loneliness. The synths have a spiritual sound to them near the end.

"Don't Wait on the Stairs", a cover of the 1980 Steve Swindells’ up-tempo song, closes out the album. Of the entire second side, this is the track I like the most here.

This was Daltrey’s first solo album after the Who’s break-up in late 1982. The ten tracks on the record reflect a different direction musically than what he had done previously with the group. A lot of that could have to do with the fact that each had a different song writing team involved with them, none of which included Daltrey himself. Other than the first track, most of these were complete unknowns to me. If they played much on the album-oriented rock stations back in 1984, I certainly don’t recall them.

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