Thursday, April 21, 2005

the Raspberries

Most people know Eric Carmen for his solo hits, "All By Myself" and "Never Gonna Fall in Love Again." Any time some American Idol contestant belts out "All By Myself" and thinks that Celine Dion was the first artist to do the song, I cringe. Any time somebody dumps on the apparently flimsy pop of Carmen's "Hungry Eyes," I get annoyed. If people want to diss Eric Carmen and his Top 40 "fluff," feel free, but check out his old band, the Raspberries.

The Raspberries had a few big hits in their day, including "Go All the Way," "Let's Pretend" and "Overnight Sensation." Often placed in the '70s power pop canon with Big Star and Cheap Trick, I think this grouping is fair. You can hear some Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson in Carmen's voice along with the Beatles, the Beach Boys, the Who and even some glam rock in their music. You're not going to find a lot of lyrical depth in songs about driving around town, wanting to be with someone (especially during the nighttime) or trying to get your song played on the radio. However, the spirit of young, teenage desires can be timeless.

The hooks in the Raspberries material are so immediate that you may find yourself singing along after hearing a song for the first time. Yes, that is a lofty remark, but just hear me out.

Start with Overnight Sensation: the Best of the Raspberries to understand what I mean.


Jason H. said...

I keep reading his name as Eric Cartman.

Kev said...

Heh, I've always been a Carmen fan too, though I've yet to seek out the Raspberries on CD. He actually had some good stuff on his solo albums too that never saw the light of day on radio.