Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Review: John Fogerty - Revival

Label: Fantasy/Concord Music Group

Released: October 2, 2007

While John Fogerty is not likely to ever match his output in Creedence Clearwater Revival, he still manages to release some very good solo material spaced out over a period of 30+ years. Revival, his latest offering often aims at Creedence and the protest climate of the 60s.

The album kicks off with the Utopian "Don't You Wish It Was True," a nice pop song that has Fogerty written all over it, but lacks the teeth to get its message across. Much of the album follows the same model with varying success. "Gunslinger" takes a Pollyanna view of the past, but its easy metaphor is palatable instead of overbearing and the aptly named "Creedence Song" as well as "Natural Thing" come closest to hitting the CCR mark. Fogerty runs into his biggest problems as he heads into the middle of the album with a couple dull, slow country-rock numbers, neither of which succeeds as either a pace change or a more serious moment, because both are utterly forgetable. The album does pick up again, but Fogerty's eyes remain firmly on the past ("Summer of Love," which he sings like he read about it rather than witnessed it) even as he tries to be relevant in the present ("Long Dark Night," an anti-Bush song that is more likely to make you want to dance than impeach the president). Fogerty's ultimate delusion of grandeur comes on "I Can't Take It No More," another protest against Bush that he clearly sees as on par with "Fortunate Son" (he even makes reference to it). Clearly, he hasn't listened to his best song in quite some time.

All that being said, Fogerty still has quite a flair for songwriting and even after hearing it all these years, it hasn't gotten old. Revival alternates between rockers and low-key numbers, but it's consistently rootsy with just the edges smoothed out. Fogerty fans won't be completely disappointed. Even if for some inexplicable reason they love Bush, they can get past the politics, because Fogerty's stance isn't really the core of this album (even if he wants it to be). For the rest of us, it's non-essential but pleasant listening. He could do worse.

Rating: 6/10

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