It's hard to imagine that this album's bleak-spirited songs, grinding modern rock tack, and contemporary production aura are all the products of a musician who scored his first American chart hit in 1972, then was written off again a decade later after a string of MTV-fueled hits--including the classic "Jessie's Girl." But this is indeed the same Rick Springfield, his former bubblegum-rock incarnation belied by a tough musical stance that would be the envy of many a rocker half his age. But one doesn't have to dissect the slinky, eastern-inflected guitar hooks and fat, thumping bass of the wry "Jesus Saves" (chorus: "Jesus saves white trash, baby like you") very far to find that Springfield's songwriting instincts remain rock-solid. It's just as surprising to find that this self-produced album is the product of ears that have been anything but dormant in recent years, and savvy--or is it idealistic?--enough to turn a spunky, thrashed-up take of the Easybeats
' 60's jewel "I'll Make You Happy" into a bridge across the generations. Cynical ears may mistake it all for a pose; if so it's an acting job the former soap opera star should be proud of. --Jerry McCulley
Shock/Denial/Anger/Acceptance finds Rick Springfield spreading his wings to embrace multiple genres while revisiting the high points of his past. More rock than pop, it is an extension of his last album of new material, 1999's Karma. Not a disc loaded with radio-ready cuts, this is a solid album from a canny pop/rock vet.