Thursday, August 16, 2018
CLIF MAGNESS: Lucky Dog
Label: Frontiers 2018
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom
'Step right up take your best shot. Don't be shy gimmie everything you've got. No right to do me wrong. Knock me down I'm coming back twice as strong'. Words that speaks directly/straight to/from the heart? What can I say? Clif's a fighter and the lyric on the opening track, "Ain't No Way", pretty much sums up the whole idea and concept behind the 'Lucky Dog' album. It's not exactly about politic, the complex storytelling, or out of the box arrangements that will leave you stunned and confused in the following months to come. It's simply just the great melodic rock album that oozes of quality and class songwriting and production.
To be perfectly Frank or Urban. Lyric content will most likely also appeal to your average teenager or fans of Avril Lavigne and Kelly Clarkson. And yes, Magness produced and wrote songs to above mentioned artists as well as all kinds of artists such as Clay Aiken, Joe Bonamassa, Céline Dion, Amy Grant, Steve Perry, Wilson Phillips. Magness has a Grammy for the song The Places You Find Love from Quincy Jones' Back On The Block and was nominated for an Oscar. Very posh. You may also recall the great Planet 3 and his first solo effort from the year of 1994.
What to expect if you haven't heard his music? Production/harmonies clearly inspired by the work of David Foster and that's always a big plus in my books. Uptempo rockers such as "Ain't No Way" and "Shout", could just as easily have been on any of the latest albums by Night Ranger. "Unbroken", superb semi-ballad and I believe that's David Foster calling wanting his eighties sound back. Add Planet 3 and you're closer to the core. "Love Needs A Heart" is a semi-ballad duet with Robin Beck and a nice slice of AOR. Clif goes Todd (Rundgren) in the "Rain" [Todd in the Rain??? Not to be confused with Robin Beck's Tears in the Rain :)] and the Nelson twins are mad they couldn't come up with "All Over My Mind".
Conclusion. All you need is hooks and the catchy approach? One thing's for sure. There's plenty of both and it's the great fun summer album that yours truly enjoy. Don't hesitate to pick this up if you're into classy melodic rock. Perhaps you'd wish for a bit more, dare I say, mature lyric content? You know... considering the age of the man. Nothing too pretentious and I certainly do not except John Keats. But... there's more to life than Avril Lavigne lyrics. Tongue-in-cheek people. Tongue-in-cheek. So what if he's stuck in his teenage set and mind and never bothered to grow up? You Lucky Dog!!! Highly Recommended.
PS. Goddamnit. Now I can't stop singing Todd to the music of Robin Beck. 'You can't see Todd in the rain. No matter how hard you try'...
Posted by Urban Wally Wallstrom (RockUnited.com) at 9:54 AM