Soft rock, or near enough






In response to Alyson's soft rock appreciation, here are a few of my own picks. Her post was primarily dedicated to the 70s. Has been written soft rock evolved into the synthesized music of adult contemporary in the 1980s, so there's a bit of genre confusion in my 80s choices. Perhaps I should have titled the post differently. Hope you like them.


New Frontier by Donald Fagen (album: The Nightfly) (1982)
(Arguably The Nightfly is jazz pop, after all, it is a solo album by a member of Steely Dan. But I think the song can go as soft rock)


Young Turks by Rod Stewart (1981)
(Some may describe the lyrics as cloying. I like the big 80s chorus and optimism about the future. Wikipedia labels the album soft rock, though could be described as new wave/pop rock)


Let's Fall In Love Tonight by Lewis (album: L'Amour) (1983)
(Apparently singer-songwriter Father John Misty's wife walked down the aisle to this song. Reissued in 2014. Has been claimed the music is not from the 80s, a prank that was recorded in our times. Either way, a mysterious, soulful album I can get lost in. Could be labeled as ambient pop, fits here)




Any thoughts? As always, comments are welcome

14 comments:

  1. The Nightfly is a tremendously good album all the way across. I might like it better than I like Fagen's Kamakiriad, but I like them both a lot.

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    1. @SJHoneywell: Thanks for the recommendations

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  2. I'm not a fan of soft rock. It's just something that is just dull and grating though I do like that song by Rod Stewart.

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    1. @thevoid99: The upbeatness of that Rod Stewart song is irresistible. Good dance video too

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  3. I'd also have picked "IGY" from Fagen's "The Nightfly" album. A simply beautiful song of joy and hope for the future. And I think it's similar in feeling to "New Frontier".

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    1. @FurryBootsCityBoy: Looking forward to listening to The Nightfly soon. I'm told it's Fagen's best solo effort. The sleeve doesn't shout joy and hope, I guess the songs do!

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    2. I don't think Fagen's bettered "The Nightfly". As well as the 2 tracks already mentioned here, there's a fine cover of Leiber and Stoller's "Ruby Baby" and a sweet song in ""Maxine". The title song is a wonderful evocation of 1950's US radio and a song that would easily fit on a Steely Dan album.

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    3. @FurryBootsCityBoy: Didn't know Ruby Baby is a cover. I like the musicianship and rate the album 4 out of 5(may change). The backup vocals and harmonies got on my nerves a bit on first listen, though less bothersome on further plays. There are some nice grooves.
      "In my dreams, I can hear the sound of thunder" is an inspired lyric

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  4. Thanks for the mention Chris and thanks for writing this post. The Nightfly is one of my all-time favourite albums, Walk Between Raindrops is great too. Soft rock is one of these genres that potentially covers just so much - It all gets very confusing at times but all I know is that I usually enjoy it. As England Dan sang, "I don't want to change your life", which is sometimes just what you want from your music.

    Not so fond of the Young Turks era of Rod Stewart - he had become very Americanised by that time. Never heard of Lewis before but had a listen and see what you mean about the ambient pop label - Very ambient indeed.

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    1. @Alyson: You’re welcome. Yes, I had a tough time narrowing down soft rock, especially tricky by limiting myself with 80s choices when it seemed to be changing.
      I almost went with More Than I Can Say by Leo Sayer, a soft rock song from 1980, though I don't think it holds up to repeat plays as well as the three I shared.
      Lewis is an acquired taste, an album I find quite soothing to listen to. The Nightfly /and Steely Dan are both on my to-listen list.

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  5. Rod's first five LP's (plus The Faces' albums) are absolutely terrific, but it all came to a shuddering halt for me with 'Atlantic Crossing' in 1975, since when he's barely put a foot right.
    I agree with your other correspondents, 'The Nightfly' is a classic. You might also enjoy 'Who's Your New Professor' by Sam Prekop, which is in a somewhat similar vein.

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    1. @The Swede: Haven't listened to Rod Stewart's albums, you've sold me on the first five LP's. Thanks for the Sam Prekop tip , don't know his music.

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  6. Like Alyson, The Nightfly is one of my favourites. I don't mind the other two tracks, but they're not in the same class as Fagen. I'd never describe him or Steely Dan as soft rock though.

    If you're going to go through the Dan archive, I'd recommend The Nightfly and SD's debut, Can't Buy A Thrill, as excellent places to start.

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    1. @Rol: The site Rate Your Music lists The Nightfly as: Sophisti-Pop, Jazz Pop, Pop Rock, Soft Rock, Jazz-Funk

      I gave both those you mention a listen this week and enjoyed. The Steely Dan debut has 3 timeless, relatable songs which I love, while The Nightfly I think works better as an album experience.

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