Monday, September 29, 2014

Kenny Rogers - What About Me?

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of What About Me?, the fourteenth studio album from Kenny Rogers. It spent thirty-one weeks on the US Billboard Album chart, peaking at number 31. It also went to number 26 on the Canadian Country chart and number 9 on the US Billboard Country chart.

Side one opens with the title track, a love ballad about one woman torn between the two men who love her. “What About Me?” features guest singers James Ingram and Kim Carnes, the latter whom was part of the New Christy Minstrels with Rogers back in 1966. This single was co-written by Rogers, David Foster and Richard Marx. It went to number 70 on the US Billboard Country chart, number 49 in Australia, number 25 on the Canadian Country chart, number 18 in Canada, number 15 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and number 1 on both the US and Canadian Adult Contemporary charts. Carnes and Ingram were not the first choices for the track. Initially it was going to be Barbra Streisand and Lionel Richie, but when Richie left the project so did Streisand. The second proposal was Olivia Newton-John and Jeffrey Osborne, but both had scheduling conflicts.

Next, “The Night Goes On” with a sultry, mid-tempo beat.

“Dream Dancin’” was a nice, gentle sway to it that makes it perfect for a slow dance.

The up-tempo “Two Hearts One Love” tells of two people that are that apart, with the guy longing for the woman’s return.

“I Don’t Want to Know Why” is a piano-based ballad duet with Cindy Fee, the singer who would go on a year later to cover Andrew Gold’s “Thank You For Being a Friend” for the theme song of The Golden Girls.

Side two begins with another question “Didn’t We?”

The mid-tempo “Somebody Took My Love” was co-penned by Richard Marx and David Poeranz.

Marx and Rogers co-wrote the ballad “Crazy”. As the second single, it went to number 79 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 56 in Australia, number 5 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, and number 1 on the US and Canadian Country charts and the Canadian Adult Contemporary chart. I vaguely recall this one from my radio listening time in 1984. Truthfully, I was very much into the college radio station at the time and this definitely was not in the rotation. Still, it is a lovely love song.

Next up is the Dolly Parton penned “The Stranger”, which was chosen for the B-side to the second single. This country song tells the story of a child who meets his estranged father many years later.

“Heart to Heart” ends the second side with a mid-tempo appeal to let a relationship go where it will.

What About Me? is a middle-of-the-road record with some highs and lows. It has a very fixed 80’s adult contemporary sound to it.

For more Kenny Rogers reviews, click here.

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