.

album reviews

Cheap Trick

Heaven Tonight

Given Cheap Trick's boisterous indebtedness to rock & roll history, you could argue that the members of this foursome are not so much creators as dedicated fans. Exactly. Heaven Tonight, the band's third and best album, practically synthesizes the music of the Beatles, the Who, et al., into a series of superbly crafted and cleverly arranged original songs. While Cheap Trick may not be remembered as lovingly as its primarily British antecedents — the price one has to pay fo... | More »

July 27, 1978

Johnny Cash

I Would Like To See You Again

In recent years, Johnny Cash has made some poor music. He's recorded songs that didn't suit his peculiar, coarse subbaritone and struck saintly postures that couldn't help but look foolish on such a craggy tough guy. While you rarely doubted his sincerity, particularly in matters of religious fervor, the songs that such zeal inspired were, ah, uninspired. On I Would Like to See You Again, Cash modifies one of his earlier personas, the ex-con. In current country terminology, th... | More »

Bruce Springsteen

Darkness On The Edge of Town Columbia

Occasionally, a record appears that changes fundamentally the way we hear rock & roll, the way it's recorded, the way it's played. Such records — Jimi Hendrix' Are You Experienced, Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone," Van Morrison's Astral Weeks, Who's Next, The Band — force response, both from the musical community and the audience. To me, these are the records justifiably called classics, and I have no doubt that Bruce Springsteen's Darkness... | More »

July 12, 1978

The Kinks

Misfits Velvel

After twenty-odd albums, either you follow the Kinks or you don't. If you don't ("Gently pity those you can't persuade," as Jonathan Swift put it), it's unlikely you'll acquire the habit with Misfits, especially since none of the songs sounds like an immediate hit single. But if you do, this LP can make you cry. Not because Misfits is a bad record — on the contrary, it's the Kinks' best since, at the very least, 1974's underrated Preservation Act ... | More »

Dion

The Return Of The Wanderer

Dion's new album opens with a house-rocking version of Tom Waits' "Heart of Saturday Night," and Dion rings the bell twelve times: every note hits home. Fittingly, the title of this record implies something more than just another step on the endless comeback trail of the Fifties hero (the comeback that, by the nature of how rock & roll history is made, will always fall short): Return of the Wanderer means a return to form, not simply an escape from obscurity. Dion may never agai... | More »

June 29, 1978

Willie Nelson

Stardust Sony

When country singers go back to their roots, the album's usually called Amazing Grace, but Willie Nelson's never been known for his orthodoxy. Instead of hymns, he's giving us ten of the best from popular classicists like George and Ira Gershwin, Duke Ellington and Irving Berlin. Still, Stardust traces Nelson's musical family tree more convincingly than The Troublemaker, his own white-gospel collection. In one sense, Stardust is a memory album: "On the Sunny Side of the S... | More »

Elvis Costello

This Year's Model Ichiban

Listening to Elvis Costello is like walking down a dark, empty street and hearing another set of heels. His music doesn't make you dance, it makes you jump. It doesn't matter that he's stalking his obsessions and not you, because nobody ought to be this sure of his obsessions. But Costello appears determined never to reach that age when, as Joan Didion once put it, "the wounds begin to heal whether one wants them to or not." This Year's Model, his second album in less than... | More »

June 15, 1978

Carly Simon

Boys in the Trees

In an interview two years ago, Paul McCartney was asked some chestnut of a question about the plight of the aging rock star. He replied thoughtfully and sympathetically, but without much concern for his own situation. He could see how worrisome it might be to grow long in the tooth and still pass oneself off as a teen angel, but he felt his own fans had stopped thinking of him that way. McCartney was confident that he'd successfully made the transition, in his audience's mind, from ... | More »

Paul McCartney

London Town

In an interview two years ago, Paul McCartney was asked some chestnut of a question about the plight of the aging rock star. He replied thoughtfully and sympathetically, but without much concern for his own situation. He could see how worrisome it might be to grow long in the tooth and still pass oneself off as a teen angel, but he felt his own fans had stopped thinking of him that way. McCartney was confident that he'd successfully made the transition, in his audience's mind, from ... | More »

Graham Parker

The Parkerilla

They think it's a show," English rocker Graham Parker muttered one night last fall, coming off a stage in Phoenix. "But it isn't a show, it's real." The Parkerilla, three sides of live material (side four is taken up by a new studio version of "Don't Ask Me Questions," reduced to just under four minutes for the benefit of AM radio), is a show.   We find Parker and the Rumour, who at their best greet a crowd like a storm warning, on something less than a hot night; r... | More »

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Vicious”

Lou Reed | 1972

Opening Lou Reed's 1972 solo album, the hard-riffing "Vicious" actually traces its origin back to Reed's days with the Velvet Underground. Picking up bits and pieces of songs from the people and places around him, and filing his notes for later use, Reed said it was Andy Warhol who provided fuel for the song. "He said, 'Why don't you write a song called 'Vicious,'" Reed told Rolling Stone in 1989. "And I said, 'What kind of vicious?' 'Oh, you know, vicious like I hit you with a flower.' And I wrote it down literally."

More Song Stories entries »
www.expandtheroom.com