Against The Wind

Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band

Capitol Records, 1980

http://www.bobseger.com

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/19/1997

Bob Seger's career has normally been based on the strength of singles, not albums. His works would feature one or two great tracks, topped off with about twelve pounds of filler.

However, his 1980 release Against The Wind (jeez, has it been that long?) is probably his most cohesive effort he ever released. Over half the album gets regular airplay, and it has, for the most part, aged quite gracefully. Would that this were the case with most pop music.

For some stupid reason, I ended up buying this one at a used record store on tape - a copy from England, no less - and my liner notes are, well... they ain't there, kids. I know that Don Henley and Glenn Frey of the Eagles provide some backup vocals here (and I can guess which tracks those are), and CD Now reports that Dr. John provided some keyboard work. I'll take their word for it.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The title track was a successful enough single, but was brought back to people's attention courtesy of 1994's Forrest Gump, a song which was perfectly suited for the scene it was used in. In fact, when I was listening to this tape in my car, it just so happened there were people jogging when this one came on. The song is a poignant look back at a loss of youth and innocence, as well as the struggles that accompany us on our life's journeys. It's quite simply, in my opinion, Seger's most distinguishing moment of his career.

If this were the only good track on the album, Against The Wind would have a place in history. Thankfully, it doesn't stop there. "You'll Accomp'ny Me" is a decent enough ballad which still gets some airplay on AOR and classic rock stations. "Her Strut" has a guitar riff from hell, one which you'll find yourself playing air guitar to no matter where you are. "Fire Lake" was another successful single - I didn't even know it had been released that way - which features the harmonizing of at least one of the aforementioned Eagles. (If anyone has the full liner notes, can you e-mail me to let me know if both Frey and Henley sang backup here? I think it's Henley.)

Even the double entendre of "The Horizontal Bop" - more classic rock than cock-rock - is friendly enough. It seems, for a while, that Seger can do no wrong on this album.

In fact, the mistakes are few on this one. "Long Twin Silver Line" is probably the only real throwaway on the entire album - it sounds like Seger is forcing the issue on this one, and it just comes off as a weak effort. "Good For Me" takes a little time to warm up to, but by the second listen, it sounds like a natural progression.

I don't think that Seger ever topped this one in terms of the quality of the whole picture. He would still have a few hits left in him, but Against The Wind is an album that, with rare exceptions, screams quality from all ends of the tape... even if some releases leave me dangling in the wind with no liner notes. Hey, I don't claim to know everything.

Rating: B

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© 1997 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Capitol Records, and is used for informational purposes only.