Saturday, September 22, 2012

'Stranger in Town' shows Bob Seger at his best

Ha Segah
In the mid and late 1970s, Bob Seger was on a hot streak. After years of struggling to find national success, he had hit the big time with Live Bullet and Night Moves. Both were huge commercial triumphs, and with his straightforward unflinching style, Seger was being mentioned in the same breath as Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty when it came to traditional American rock and roll.
In 1978, Seger released Stranger in Town, and it is a consistently pleasing album that has not lost any of its punch through the years. Coming sandwiched between Night Moves and Against the Wind, I have always felt it has been a little lost in the shuffle when considering his work.  However, there is not a weak track on it, and all of Seger's trademark styles are represented here.
It opens with the thunderous 'Hollywood Nights' and it is highly reminiscent of other Seger rockers such as 'Rock and Roll Never Forgets' from Night Moves and 'Even Now' from The Distance.  His masterful acoustic style is represented on 'Still the Same' and it fits nicely with other similar songs in his catalogue like 'Against the Wind.'
Still, there are other songs that make the album stand out.  For anybody who has ever felt unappreciated by their employer, there is the working man's anthem 'Feel Like a Number.'  For those who were chafing under the popularity of disco in the late 70s, 'Old Time Rock and Roll' felt like a life preserver back then, and it still holds up today.  'We've Got Tonight' and 'The Famous Final Scene' are tremendous ballads that exude warmth in a way that is rare on a mainstream rock and roll album.
Seger brings fire and fury on this album, and if it is not in your collection, it should be.

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