Friday, May 24, 2013

Marshall Crenshaw - Field Day

Tomorrow (May 25th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of the release of Field Day, the second solo studio album from Marshall Crenshaw. Following his 1982 self-titled release (click here for that review), this 1983 album was produced by Steve Lillywhite who was known for his work with bands like U2 and XTC at this point. How would the English man’s studio magic mesh with the American band’s old fashioned sound? It turns out fairly well.

Side one begins with “Whenever You’re on My Mind”, the album’s sole single. This pop song, with its sweet sentiment, was a favorite of mine back in ‘83 and still remains a favorite today. The video mixed in pirates and mermaids with a high school dance; you just have to love some of those video concepts from the early days of MTV.

“Our Town” contains in irregular guitar chord in parts; upon my first listen I thought it was a skip in the audio but realized it was intentional. A remixed version of this song was also the lead track on a five song EP released later in 1983 in the UK under the title of Our Town.

“One More Reason” is a mid-tempo tune full of the sadness and loneliness that accompanies heartbreak.

Crenshaw stretches the syllables on the title word of “Try” to show the desperate dedication of the song’s protagonist to salvage what is left of a crumbling relationship.

“One Day With You” is all about sacrificing anything and everything just to be with the one you love, even if it is just for a brief, fleeting time.

Side two opens with “For Her Love”, which also was remixed for the EP.

“Monday Morning Rock” was the last of this album’s tracks that were remixed for the Our Town EP. It actually welcomes the end of weekends that are full of repetitious nights out drinking at clubs.

On “All I Know Right Now”, the singer comes to the realization that while he will always have a fondness for his former girlfriend that he cannot forgive her for what she has done. We never find out exactly what she did though, but it was clearly enough to make him depressed and to have to say goodbye to her.

The next track asks “What Time Is It?” It counts down the hours in anticipation of a lovers’ reunion. I like the tick-tock percussion that is present in the right audio channel as the song moves along; that is a very nice touch. With the vocal backing harmonies, it reminds me a bit of the 1965 hit “Five O’clock World” by the Vogues.

“Hold It” tries to capture a single moment in time to remember exactly a specific feeling forever. Here too, the vocal harmonies play a big part for me.

Once again on Field Day, Marshall Crenshaw demonstrates his ability to craft accessible pop-rock songs that anyone who has ever been in love can relate to. I liked listening to this one, however a bit more variety in the subject matter might have been more welcome. I can see this one would have been a good go-to for my troubled dating times back in the 80’s.

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