RICK SPRINGFIELD – Automatic (2023) *HQ*

RICK SPRINGFIELD - Automatic (2023) - full

RICK SPRINGFIELD’s new studio album of all new material entitled ”Automatic” is being released today August 4, and the good news for fans are the new 20 (!) songs are stylistically somewhere between “Working Class Dog” and “Tao”. Yeah, Rick is back to his most beloved ’80s sound!
Sonically, the album sees Springfield returning to his first love of guitar-based power pop / lite AOR and keyboards, while lyrically featuring his favored subjects of love, sex and death. “My goal was solid three minute tunes with the biggest hooks I could come up with.” And darn… he did it!

Automatic was written and produced by Springfield and features himself playing all guitars and keyboards. The album was engineered by and dedicated to Springfield’s friend and soundman for over 25 years, Matty Spindel who passed away late last year. Springfield notes, “His loss is something that will be felt by me, my band, and the entire touring family for a long, long time.”
As Springfield explains, “the album is called ‘Automatic’ because the songs just kind of came out on their own.”

Springfield obviously remembers what side of his generational bread was buttered. Because ”Automatic” is a good ’80s record in all but year. Are there ’80s lyrical cliches? Yes. Packed with synthesizers? Yes. Enough guitar riffage to qualify as power-pop? Yes.
He’s a 74-year-old man pleading for love and sex in the exact same singing voice as he had 40 years ago.

It’s like rolling through a giant vat of Day-Glo. There’s popping bass and electric drums and occasional horns, and the choruses come early and often, like they’re written for what we hairspray-soaked ’80s kids used to call MTV.
Springfield knows what he’s doing. The whole thing is unapologetically and gloriously 1980s, as long as you remember the decade and aren’t some sort of snotty bearded hipster.

They say go with what you know. And he did. The only reason so many guys didn’t like Rick Springfield back in the day was he was a soap opera actor with whom our girlfriends all wanted to sleep. But he shows on ”Automatic” he was a pop-rock musical stud the whole time people were dismissing him for just looking like a stud.
“Automatic” goes back to his ’80s strengths: catchy guitar riffs, good vocal hooks that don’t waste time, a little glossy pop with just enough rock to make the rockers secretly like him.

Opener “Exit Wound” brings it all back from the get-go: catchy guitar riff, hooky vocals from a familiar voice that seemingly hasn’t lost any air over the decades. This song is a statement Springfield makes throughout the whole record. He knows who he is and what he does best and can still pull it off.
“She Walks with Angels,” and much of the rest of the record, show’s Springfield keeps the formula alive without too much overlap. This gets to the chorus nice and fast, like good pop should. The title track also gets right to it, with a little bit of soul.

“This Town” brings back an underrated trick of male-dominated pop: very present female backing vocals, with a little falsetto from Springfield. “Love Ain’t Cool” shows off a bit of underlying funk that is, in fact, kind of cool.
“Come Said the Girl” has a strong pace and hook, showing his identifiable vocal chops still there. “Broke House” has some real dance feeling, despite some semi-serious lyrics. It doesn’t dawdle, which really works. “When God Forgets My Name” is in the same ballpark, telling a story and moving well.
“Heroes” starts off like a “Dr Who” cover to establish some anthem-cred and ends up being one of those songs that should accompany a video of Springfield bopping around a beach with dancing bikini babes (people could say that in the ’80s).

“Works for Me” brings it down a notch. It’s a cool little song on which Rick Springfield still sounds desperate or emotional about love and sex (he was always good at that; see “Jessie’s Girl”). On “Fake it ‘Til You Make it,” Springfield – who plays all the guitar and keyboard parts on the album – pushes everything out front, especially the vocals.
“The Cure for Loneliness,” is a great fun pop dance groove lined song with horns and some of that plastic soul that nevertheless works (if you’re in a club with a lot of neon lights). There are more synths on “Invisible World,” which is upbeat and well-constructed. “Make Your Move” is the requisite weepy piano ballad that has some lovely harmonies and generally works. “In Case of Fire Break Glass” is just well-built in a glossy way.

Keyboard-driven “Did I Just Say That Out Loud” shows Springfields’ poppy drama voice at its best. He sounds AOR-inspired on “Sometimes I Will Fly,” with lots of energy and sincerity. “Neutron Star” goes back to rocking a bit and, again, launches the hook quickly, even if it’s just some “whoa whoa whoas.”
The very ’80s “Feed Your Soul” is song 19 and Springfield still isn’t sucking wind.

Album closer “We Are Eternal” is fitting, uplifting and well done. Like most of the record. Rick Springfield is not only still going, but making good new music and a lot of it. Not many musicians of his generation can say the same.
HIGHLY Recommended


01 – Exit Wound
02 – She Walks With the Angels
03 – Automatic
04 – This Town
05 – Love Ain’t Cool (Sha Doo Wup)
06 – Come Said the Girl
07 – Broke House
08 – When God Forgets My Name
09 – Heroes
10 – Works For Me
11 – Fake It ‘Til You Make It
12 – The Cure For Loneliness
13 – Invisible World
14 – Make Your Move
15 – In Case of Fire Break Glass
16 – Did I Just Say That Out Loud
17 – Someday I Will Fly
18 – Neutron Star
19 – Feed Your Soul
20 – We Are Eternal


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2 Responses

  1. ERRRMAN says:

    Thnx for this, but This new album is far far from working class dog or Tao, all reviews said this would be a good classic Rick album, in my opinion and many many others, it’s like listening to a Jonas Brothers album. But it’s okay if you definitely want something different for a day or two

  2. zmjazzrock says:

    Thanks for sharing on RapidGator.
    Really appreciated.

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