Phoenix

Dan Fogelberg

Full Moon / Epic Records, 1980

http://www.danfogelberg.com

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/18/1998

Dan Fogelberg gets a bad rap. Let's be blunt; if you wrote accessible folk-rock with a country tinge in the seventies and were not The Eagles, by 1987 merely the mention of your name would garner giggles from the musical cognoscenti. (Of course, they were listening to the Cure, so there's no accounting for taste.)my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

This is rather a shame. Fogleberg, for all his reputation as wimp-rocker extraordinaire, is actually a pretty brilliant songcrafter, with wide-screen lyrics that paint pictures in brilliant shades. Phoenix, his 1979 release, was one of his biggest CDs, with the million-selling "Longer" leading the way. And let's be honest; "Longer", for all its overplay and ubiqitous appearance at weddings, is still a great song. The romanticism of "Through the years, as the fire starts to mellow//Burning lives in the book of our lives//Though the binding cracks, and the pages start to yellow//I'll be in love with you" is still fresh, and still breathtaking, if you let yourself really listen without the veneer of cynicism that relegated Fogleberg to pop irrelevancy.

Past "Longer", Phoenix remains strong, its moods varying; standouts include "Phoenix", the title track, a bright rock anthem; "Face The Fire", with its passionate ecological message; and what may be the most complex work on the CD, "Beggar's Game", a wistful, rich peon to the salvation potential in love. While there are some weak points to the CD (specifically the Eaglesesque "Gypsy Wind", laden with too much twang for anyone short of Travis Tritt), overall this is a solid work.

If you can muster the courage to admit that yes, the musical establishment might be wrong, Phoenix is a wonderful place to start appreciating a fine storyteller and musician who only occasionally strayed into seventies excess. Kick your cynicism into the closet and give it a try.

Rating: B+

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Comments

I have to agree with Duke. For the most part this is one of Fogelberg's better albums. I have to disagree about one song: Face the Fire. Too much political, liberal message there. But the best song is Beggar's Game. Very strong music and words. Also Heart's Hotel really bring out the strong vocals of Fogelberg. Very classic music and very strong lyrics to back it up. Great album.








© 1998 Duke Egbert 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 Full Moon / Epic Records, and is used for informational purposes only.