Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Rick Springfield - Tao

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Tao, the tenth studio album from Rick Springfield. This record went to number 85 in Australia, number 50 in Canada, and number 21 on the US Billboard Album chart. It spent a total of twenty-seven weeks on the latter chart.

Side one begins with "Dance This World Away", a raucous rock number with a thundering beat and screaming synths.

"Celebrate Youth", the first single, hit number 80 in the UK, number 39 in Canada, number 26 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 5 in Germany. I remember this high energy tune from its MTV video as well as being played at campus parties and in the clubs I frequented in 1985. It has a steady synth beat that was great for working up a sweat to on the dance floor.

The second single "State of the Heart" reached number 75 in Canada, number 44 in Germany, and number 22 on the US Billboard Hot 100. This lulling love song was a slow dance favorite back in the day.

The slower tempo continues with the opening of "Written in Rock", a tragic tune about a relationship that had crumbled apart. As the lyrics point out, nothing is written in stone and there are no guarantees.

"The Power of Love (The Tao of Love)”", the B-side to the second single, is almost the calm after the storm of the previous track. Here, the lyrics are more of hope and possibility.

Side two starts with "Walking on the Edge", a piece which opens with an ominous, darker tone. The track shows Springfield’s edgier side and continuous with the Euro-synth influences.

"Walk Like a Man" keeps the dance beats coming as it examines getting older and seeing life from a place of wisdom and experience.

"The Tao of Heaven", at a minute and a half long, is a short spiritual mantra.

"Stranger in the House", the B-side to the first single, examines a growing void between former lovers to the point when one no longer feels he knows the other.

The album closes with "My Father's Chair", a stripped down piano ballad about his father's passing. After so much dance music up to this point, I found this track to be a refreshing change of pace. I actually found it to be one of my favorite tracks on the whole record.

Outside of the two singles, most of Tao was new to me with this review. This was definitely a different direction, for me, for Rick Springfield - one that was trying to capture the changing sounds of the mid-80's. For the most part, it works for me.

For more from Rick Springfield, click here.

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