Rush Street

Richard Marx

Capitol Records, 1991

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


I always kind of feel sorry for Richard Marx. The man is plainly talented at writing good, solid, pop songs with hooks you could land a blue whale with, but because he's got a pretty face he can't buy respect, and never could. To me, there's always a parallel with Rick Springfield, also a pretty decent pop singer who was too cute to be considered good.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Rush Street, Marx's 1991 CD, was the closest he ever got to breaking out of his "cute boy" mode and proving he could put together a tight, close, adult CD. And while it has its weak moments, there are times when this is as good as pop music gets.

The CD starts with "Playing With Fire", kicking out the stops right off the bat with a hard rocker, and that sets the tone for the rest of the CD. Whatever Marx does, he throws himself into, and it shows on other harder songs like "Hands In Your Pocket", "Streets Of Pain", and the Billy Joel-reminiscent piano line of "I Get No Sleep", where he hits his mark. Of course, trying that hard means he misses: I'm still not sure what "Love Unemotional" is supposed to be, exactly, but it's not very good at it, and "Superstar" is a trite throwaway that would have been best left off Rush Street (which is a bit long, anyway).

Marx's reputation, such as it is, was made with love songs, however, and Rush Street is no exception. Interestingly enough, almost all of them are excellent, especially "Your World", "Chains Around My Heart", "Calling You", and "Take This Heart". The only weak point, oddly, is what was the second single off the CD, "Keep Coming Back". It drags badly,.meandering like a bad come on line in a cheap bar.

What is most interesting, and makes one wonder about what might have been, is the song that was the first single released, "Hazard", a story in song about a man who might have been framed for a murder. In it, Marx shows the genesis of what might have become a Harry Chapin-like ability to create musical narratives; sadly, this promise was never fulfilled.

Rush Street is a documentation of a career that might have been, an attempt to reach beyond boundaries that ultimately failed. Still, as a pop album, it's a solid, almost brilliant piece of work that's worth a listen or two.

Rating: B

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