Under Review

Bob Seger

Face the Promise (Capitol)

Review By Jung Ho Park


Do you know who Bob Seger is? Do you know the song “Old Time Rock & Roll?” Ah, I see you nodding your head. Basically Face the Promise is “Old Time Rock & Roll” times three, divided by fresh songwriting. Song after song, the production is pompous and brawny, but not in a good way like Queen. He loves motorbikes, leather, and tight jeans, and he makes sure you know it. From the album cover to the lyrics, he splashes images of riding a bike and wearing leather in more than enough places, such as “The Answer’s in the Question.”

“Face the Promise” and “No Matter Who You Are” are excellent examples where female backup vocals are best left absent. Lyrically he often tries to appear philosophical, and fails. “Wreck This Heart” is another show of pomp and style, although it at least maintains a good melody in the chorus. And I enjoyed the horns and guitar riff on “Simplicity.” Ditto with the strings on “No More.” The best song is the honky-tonk “Real Mean Bottle,” a duet with Kid Rock (whose vocal outshines his host’s — not that I think Kid Rock is any different from Seger).

The album, then, would make a very fitting representative of the life of an outback hero, or a soundtrack to the Wild West (substituting horses for bikes). It reminds me of what would happen if hair metal met John Wayne. The album as a whole is not too awful (we’re not talking Motley-Crue-bad), but variety and better songwriting would help. It’s understandably difficult to pull off the biker/leather shtick when you’re over 60.