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Many Thanks to Cricket for Emailing me her collection of articles and reviews, of which many are used here.
Tal in the saddle
Sunday May 9, 1999
Bachman Jr. launches his own music career - with just a little help from his dad
By KIERAN GRANT
"Go ahead, ask me about my dad."
Tal Bachman doesn't sound threatening as he settles in for an interview at a downtown hotel recently. He doesn't come across as rude. He just sounds like a guy who's been answering a lot of questions lately. Not about his new self-titled debut album, but of what it means to have an album and be the son of Canadian rock icon Randy Bachman.
For the record, my first question isn't about Bachman Sr. But since Bachman the younger has done me the favour of raising the issue, why not?
"If you have a prominent parent, it's often tough to conceive of yourself as distinct from that parent," the 29-year-old Bachman says matter-of-factly. "If you couple that with a similar interest, it becomes doubly difficult to think, 'I am my own man.' "
He adds: "I don't really want to be my dad, and if I'm a musician, I'm really going to be scrutinized for that."
And scrutinized for it Bachman has been. Fortunately, he has an effective antidote: His album.
Spearheaded by the current radio hit She's So High, the 12-song disc, which came out last month on Columbia Records, will likely disappoint those looking for another Guess Who or Bachman-Turner Overdrive.
Clean, sugary pop melodies and glossy arrangements reach into an altogether different musical direction. Nick Lowe and Queen alternately come to mind. Bachman himself professes a love for The Smiths, Radiohead and E.L.O. -- "No one ever talks about E.L.O. anymore," he enthuses. "It was sheer genius."
While critical response to Bachman's big, middle-of-the-road sound has been mixed, there's no doubting who's man he is -- his own.
He's frank, pleasant without being overly polite, and outspoken. At one point, talking about his role as a Canadian musician signed to an American label, he offers unblinkingly: "I got passed on by Canadian labels, it's not like they didn't get an avalanche of demos. (Americans) want to discover a hidden gem, or think that they have.
They don't care where I'm from. They don't know anything. They can't pick out their own state on a map."
He laughingly calls the advent of Canadian children-of-baby-boomer songwriters like himself, Rufus Wainwright, and Adam Cohen "the rash of second-generation musicians -- well, maybe rash is the wrong word."
You get the feeling that Bachman has some pretty unflinching opinions about pop music, too.
Born the same year his dad quit The Guess Who to form B.T.O., he was raised just outside of Vancouver in predictably musical surroundings. He spent high school as "basically a zombie, listening to Led Zeppelin, playing guitar and skipping classes."
But, by the time he attended university in Utah in the early '90s to study philosophy, Bachman had hung up his guitar and thrown any musical aspirations to the wind. "I knew that I had musical talent," he says. "I knew that music could come more easily to me than to anyone that I had known.
But in college you want to make your mark on the world, you have all these grand ideas and you think of our opinions as being important.
"Then suddenly it all made sense. I'd had this crash course in classical education and I felt that chapter of my life was now closed." His ambition restored, Bachman went home to B.C. and got to work on the pop career he was determined to have.
"I wasn't thinking, 'Gee what 12 songs am I going to pick when I get into a studio,' " he says. "But I was totally focused on writing. No TV, no reading. No personal recreation unless absolutely necessary -- like, right when I got out there the Canucks went to the Stanley Cup finals.
"I'm not exaggerating. Every spare moment was spent listening to CDs, trying to figure out what made a good song a good song, writing and rewriting in my dad's demo studio.
"I had a goal in mind: Get a record deal. I would be successful when I could write good stuff."
Bachman owns up readily to his early use of nepotism. Yet even with his father acting as sounding-board and middle-man between his son and various record companies, he wasn't going to get by on his name alone.
"We got passed on by everybody," the singer says. "I sort of knew that I didn't have the killer songs. My dad would send stuff out and get all these rejection forms back: 'You suck, Sincerely ...' No. It wasn't like that.
"But my dad would say things like, 'Your kind of songs are not in style right now.' Depressed, tormented Ritalin addicts on the verge of suicide, with distortion boxes, were in style.
"There were times where he said, 'Just do a two-chord song and scream.' I was like, 'I just don't like that kind of music, Dad.' You know, it's like that scene in that Monty Python movie, 'I just want to sing, father.' "Torment is not the ruling idea of my life. I like music-based music. I don't like attitude first. It's not me. I don't want to win that way. I want to win my way."
Finally, Bachman says, he took a creative leap and got it right. "And it wasn't rocket science. I don't want to make this sound crass, but I don't want it to sound like it's the writer as oracle, either. It just comes out of a certain amount of discipline and experience. When you get that spark of inspiration, you can make it into something.
"There's a difference between having a good day and writing a great poem and being Yeats. Anyone can have a good day."
The BACHMAN File
A Random Sampling Of Two Generations Of Bachmen:
"Jagged thorns and pretty petals/ Butterflies and stinging nettles/
Sunny days and nights of blackness/ But where's the joy to cure my sadness." Tal Bachman, 1999
"Goodbye/ I lied/ Don't cry/ Let it ride," Randy Bachman, 1974
"She's blood, flesh and bone/ No tucks or silicone/ She's touch, smell, sight, taste and sound." Tal, 1999
"There's a whistle up above/ An' people pushin' people shovin'/ And the girls who try to look pretty." Randy,
"Cynics sneer at fairy tales/ They mock love and all its details/
But we've got something magical/ Those fools will never see." Tal, 1999
"She said that any love was good lovin'/ So I took what I could get/
And she looked at me with those big brown eyes and said/You ain't seen nothin' yet." Randy. 1974
Tal Bachman shows us love
Wednesday April 28, 1999
By KAREN BLISS -- Jam! Music
Vancouver singer-songwriter Tal Bachman, son of consummate rock 'n' roller Randy, may be wry and witty, but he is also something few modern men would admit -- a romantic.
His self-titled album contains that very thing, a love song so obvious that it must be tongue in cheek.
"No, not at all," he says, "Just pure pop romantic shamelessness."
"You're My Everything" contains such shamelessness as "oh baby", the mention of "cupid", the cliche "love is blind" and a sweeping string section.
"I wanted to write a big love song," says Bachman. "I didn't think of it as going for a cliche, but I heard the Van Morrison 'Have I Told You Lately That I Love You' and it's this simple, beautiful grandiose thing."
Of course, the majority of Bachman's lyrics deals with topics less tangible than the love he's found with The Perfect Woman, as he calls her in the album liner notes, from fate ("If You Sleep") to fame ("Darker Side Of Blue") to fantasy (the single "She's So High") and there's nary a cliche line in the lot.
"You can't write lyrics like 'You're My Everything' to a 'Strong Enough'," explains Bachman. 'Strong Enough' sounds kind of cool and mature. It wouldn't make sense. The mood that you're trying to create and the melodies of the music will dictate what type of rhymes you can use."
He pauses, then gets more philosophical about his reason for writing "You're My Everything".
"We have a great history of the love song. 400 years. And now we have the sex song, the intercourse song. Every love song is like sooner or later, they're grunting and moaning. (Sings in falsetto) 'Ooh baby, when I'm inside you.' It's like the triumph of the male fantasy, love completely devoid of consequence or that's entirely obsessed with the actual act of sexual intercourse.
He pauses again. "I'm not trying to cerebralize this into oblivion," he says, realizing he might be onto something -- perhaps the seed for another song.
Tal Bachman keeps his roots
Sunday, April 18, 1999
By JOSHUA OSTROFF
The children of the '60s were determined to not follow in their father's footsteps. But the children of those children have no such qualms.
From Sean and Julian Lennon to Adam Cohen and Jakob Dylan, the offspring of rock 'n' roll royalty are coming into their own.
Enter Vancouver's Tal Bachman, son of CanCon legend Randy Bachman (Guess Who, BTO), who's prepared to take care of the family business. With his debut CD just hitting the stands, Bachman's already got a head start with his music featured on Dawson's Creek, Charmed, NYPD Blue promos and an upcoming Melrose Place.
But the former philosophy major doesn't really need the TV exposure. His hook-laden, '70s-era retro power pop should be able to reel in the fans all on its own.
While adamantly refusing to break any new ground, Bachman's new "classic" rock sound is undeniably catchy, occasionally epic and jam-packed with potential hit singles, particularly the slow-building power ballad I Wonder, the Beatlesesque Beside You and She's So High which mixes his falsetto with long-missed Gowan-style dramatics.
It may sound cheesy, but at least it's vintage cheese.
Take kin care of business
Sunday April 11, 1999
By MIKE ROSS
CALGARY -- Tal Bachman is intense and easily distracted. You would be too if you had music running through your brain all the time.
During a recent interview in Calgary to promote his forthcoming debut album, the 29-year-old son of Randy Bachman frequently breaks into song, drums the table and talks music theory as easily as most red-blooded Canadians discuss hockey. At one point, the Muzak wafting into the Holiday Inn cafe sparks his interest.
"Hey, that's Rita Coolidge," he exclaims. "This song's amazing. Talk about chord progressions. Boz Scaggs wrote that."
Bachman doesn't like to listen to music when he's trying to concentrate on something else. He says he's always generating songs in his head as it is. But there is no escape. Most of us ignore the constant backdrop of music in modern society. Bachman grew up immersed in it. He can't ignore it. He's a fascinating example of a generation born and bred entirely within rock 'n' roll - nearly 45 years old itself and well into its mid-life crisis.
As the privileged eldest son of the man who wrote Takin' Care of Business, Tal knew almost nothing but music.
"It wasn't like dad and I went out chopping wood or hunting," he says. "Everything was rock 'n' roll. It's not like, 'go out and get a job at Burger King.' It's like, 'hey, listen to this record' or 'you want to come to the studio?' Everything was music. It's like The Truman Show. I didn't know anything else."
Although Tal learned to play drums, piano and guitar at an early age, he rebelled - by refusing to be a musician and going to university instead.
"I had interests other than music, I guess. Let me try to think of what some of them might have been. Ah ... I played raquetball once in a while. And I liked English lit, but I didn't know how to do anything. I couldn't even flip a burger. I don't want to dwell on how stupid I am, but I wound up at college because I guess maybe I really didn't have a lot of practical skills. I was really good at music, but I didn't know if I wanted to pursue that and I didn't know what else to do. So I just went to college while I worked that out."
It took a passage from Plato's Republic to snap him into action, something about how a person should follow the path nature intended and on and on and on. So Bachman quit school, and at the age of 23 became a songwriter.
Through what has to be a seamless fusion of genetics and conditioning, he turned out to be rather good at it.
His Bob Rock-produced album (in stores Tuesday) is redolent in lush chord changes, catchy hooks and elegant arrangements. The single, She's So High, is racing up the charts. Nearly every other song on the self-titled album is a potential hit, thanks to a classic writing style that owes more to Queen or Paul McCartney than his father's three-chord chunkers. It's a writing style, Tal says, that sadly went out of style.
"It seems like it died. Maybe it was me. I can't even listen to the radio. I hardly ever hear anything I like. I like Radiohead and Beck. I like that Verve song. I liked Don't Speak, the No Doubt song. You like these hits ... but maybe the acts that really have compelling music don't exist any more. Where are they? I go into clubs, I turn on MuchMusic, dudsville.
As for my own stuff, I don't know how compelling that is going to be for any other listener, so let's just take that out of the equation. There's so little music that means anything to me ...
"Maybe in a way my album sounds a little bit old-fashioned. But there was nobody else doing anything that seemed to approach songwriting in and of itself. You get three chords and slam them over and over again and it's anger and attitude and it might be really great, but I always liked the music first. I never got into the punk movement, because it was sort of about attitude and style first and music second. I just liked music that I liked. It didn't matter what they dressed like or who they voted for."
Or whether it was "cool" or not.
He takes a bold stance: "You can print this - Bjorn and Benny from Abba are better than Mozart. I've listened to hours and hours of Mozart and some of it's great. But I put on Abba Gold the other day and it's like one hour of total perfection. There's no difference, really. So you have an electric guitar instead of a viola. Big deal."
Let the debate ensue.
Bachman has seen the Light
Wednesday, April 7, 1999
By DAVID VEITCH -- Calgary Sun
Tal Bachman isn't just an Electric Light Orchestra fan. He's a walking, breathing ELO jukebox.
When conversation over lunch yesterday revealed our mutual admiration for the '70s supergroup, the 29-year-old son of Canadian rock legend Randy Bachman started drumming on the table and singing impromptu versions of obscure ELO songs such as Standing in the Rain, The Fall, Whisper in the Night and 10538 Overture.
He didn't just sing the melodies, but the harmonies, the string arrangements, the keyboard parts. Everything.
Later, he told me in all earnestness that he believes ELO mastermind Jeff Lynne is better than Mozart. "He is a genius," Bachman said. "His songs encapsulate 400 years of popular music, from Mozart to Roy Orbison to The Beatles to Chuck Berry."
We're talking ELO because Bachman's self-titled debut album -- due in stores on Tuesday -- is greatly influenced by British rock of the 1970s. Not only do Bachman's overdubbed vocal harmonies recall ELO, but songs such as I Wonder echo the pop symphonies of Queen, while Paul Buckmaster -- who worked on all of Elton John's '70s classics -- handles the orchestrations. You can almost detect a slight British accent in the Vancouverite's sweet, falsetto-prone singing voice.
"I'm a total anglophile, and so is my dad," explained Bachman. "England is sacred ground in our house. It's where this magic combination of British music hall tradition sort of mixed with American R&B and it was an explosion of gargantuan proportions."
His parents split up when he was 11.
The boy went to live with dad, who just happened to be a bona fide rock star thanks to his work in The Guess Who and Bachman Turner-Overdrive.
"It might have set the course for the rest of my life," Bachman said. "For my dad, everything is about music.
Everything relates back to music.
"I became fanatical because my family disintegrated ... there was a void and now, all of a sudden, the void is filled with Brit-rock. That's what makes up my universe."
However, Bachman's musical future didn't look too bright earlier in the decade, when his early demos were rejected "by everybody on earth," he said, chuckling.
The main complaint? He wasn't grungy enough.
"The funny thing is, I had one fan. Jeff Lynne, my boyhood idol.... My dad slipped him a tape when their paths crossed and I didn't have a deal. I got this phone call one day when I'm in the studio. 'It's Jeff Lynne. How you doing, mate? I heard your tape. I just wanted to say great job, mate. Sounds really good.' I'm like, 'Oh wow. I worship you. I know every note you've played.' "
And how does dad, "a meat-and-potatoes guy," deal with his son's love of fanciful ELO? "It was like coming out of the closet," Bachman quipped. "He accepted it."
Not a typical rocker rebel
Growing up surrounded by music has obviously rubbed off on Tal Bachman.
The 29-year-old son of Lorrayne and Randy Bachman, a Canadian rock legend of Guess Who and Bachman-Turner-Overdrive fame, has just released his self-titled debut album. And already it's proving to be a success, with the infectious pop single She's So High climbing rapidly up Canadian and American charts and being played on the popular U.S. teen television series Dawson's Creek.
But Bachman wasn't always so certain he wanted to follow in his father's footsteps. At one point, he opted for academics over music and enrolled at Utah State University, where he studied political philosophy. It was, he now admits, a case of youthful rebellion.
"Everyone expected me to just do what Dad did," says Bachman, who lives in Vancouver. "And to rebel in that situation was to either put on a suit and get a nine-to-five job or go to university."
Growing up in Vancouver, Bachman was often in the recording studio, listening to his father play guitar.
When he decided to attend university, he says, it broke his father's heart. "I'd get a phone call from him every month, saying, 'What are you doing at school? You should quit and join a rock band,' " says Bachman. "It was pretty funny when you think about it."
In 1994, Bachman dropped out of school and started working on his music -- but not, he insists, because his father said so. "I was just sitting in class one day and all the dots suddenly connected," says Bachman. "I realized then that I should be writing songs and performing them. It's what comes most naturally to me."
"Tal Bachman Flying 'So High'
Tal Bachman is riding high on the reviews of his self-titled album, propelled by the single "She's So High." But while Bachman is quite happy with his current situation, he recognizes it wasn't long ago that making music was the last thing he wanted to do.
"When I was about 19, I freaked out, because I stopped liking all the bands that I had liked," he says. "To put it in a nutshell, these bands that had occupied almost this religious role thoughout my teen years suddenly meant nothing. I don't want to exaggerate, but it was kind of like having a crisis of faith or something, you know, like learning your pastor's been stealing from the congregation or something."
And with Randy Bachman of Bachman-Turner Overdrive as a dad, he had already seen the world of rock and roll. "I was always my dad's son, and not only is that a hurdle to overcome, but I knew that if I pursued music, I'd really be lost. So I moved to Utah and my mom's place, and went to college for a few years."
Three years of Plato taught Bachman plenty, and also made him realize that making music is definitely something he should be doing. "I started to snap back to my senses, and realize that I hadn't really heard anything since I turned my back on music that I really loved.
But that didn't mean that I couldn't create something that I would love, that means something to me, and hopefully mean something to other people. I was pretty much running away from reality, though I'm not the first person to go to college to do that. I was just putting in time. But I got a lot of out it. I had a great time, but the point came where I'd realized I'd done everything I needed to do there."
The result is Tal Bachman, a rich, lush record that seems more similar to the classic rock and pop of the '70s than today's current sounds.
Catchy and melodic, the album pulls listeners in and keeps them listening. "I wanted to make the record sort of superficially likable. Wait, that'll look terrible in print," Bachman laughs. "I guess I mean that I didn't want to make a record you'd have to listen to 50 times before you started to like it. My favorite songs and works of art are those that you can appreciate on a number of levels, but there's something that's immediately attractive about them.
It's not like I did the record with a slide rule and a set of encyclopedias, but the bottom line is that I like pop music. I like hearing things that grab me.
It doesn't have to be a Leonard Cohen record every time - it can be good, simple music." The natural question, of course, is how his dad reacted to his son's first album. "Everyone asks that," says Bachman, "But it never really occurred to me to get the big review from dad.
I didn't really think about it. He said he liked it a lot, though."
Differently timestruck, Tal Bachman (no relation to Turner or Overdrive) offers up a self-titled debut (Columbia) that smears some now technology over unreconstructed '70s wank-as if history had stopped working altogether.
TAL Bachman, Adam Cohen and Eagle-Eye Cherry have plenty of reasons to thank their mothers on Sunday.
But each owes an equal, if not greater, amount of gratitude to their fathers, all musical giants from the 1960s.
Bachman, son of Randy Bachman of Guess Who and Bachman Turner Overdrive fame, originally resisted his dad's attempts to steer him into a rock and roll career. He opted to study philosophy at a Utah university instead.
"I was stubborn, I guess," says Tal, who released his self-titled debut album in April. "It was clear that he didn't get it, but I'm not going to let that influence my decision to go to college. As it turned out, I'm really glad that I did go to school.
"After a few years down there it was like I got what I came for and I've gotta move on. Now it's time to rock!"
Bachman, a Winnipeg native who graduated from Semiahmoo secondary in White Rock, got his first big taste of rock and roll on the road in 1986 when BTO toured with Van Halen.
It was the first tour for new singer Sammy Hagar, but guitarist Eddie Van Halen was ailin'.
"My dad was never a drinker or into drugs," he said. "All (Van Halen) did was drink. Edward Van Halen said to me, personally, I am an alcoholic. This is years before he sobered up. They just drank and played rock and roll."
The next year, Bachman's father used some of his music industry connections to get backstage passes to U2's Joshua Tree tour concert at B.C. Place Stadium.
"Next thing I know, I was eating a sandwich next to Larry Mullen and talking to Bono. The conversation didn't last very long, but it was nice.
I've had the opportunity to meet a number of prominent musicians over the years, because of dad."
The younger Bachman is now on the cusp of becoming a prominent musician himself. His album was recorded a year ago on the Hawaiian island of Maui at producer Bob Rock's Plantation studio.
Though his father has an extensive collection of Gretsch guitars, Tal didn't use any for the sessions. "He's smart enough not to lend me any of the guitars he cares anything about, because I always end up dropping them and kicking them over by accident. For me to ask to borrow a guitar is (like) saying, 'can I break one of your guitars' I would never ask that."
Evidently, Tal Bachman listened more to his dad's collection of British Invasion pop than he did to the groups that father (Randy Bachman) actually played in himself (the Guess Who and Bachman Turner Overdrive).
The proof is in sonny boy's debut set "Tal Bachman" (Columbia), a honey pot of power pop swept up in yearning, McCartney-sweet vocals and equally gorgeous melody lines/arrangements. And all that's in service of heartstruck, romantically pining lyrics sure to appeal to teen-agers (of all ages).
Nepotism is not key to Tal Bachman's career
Andrew Flynn The Canadian Press
TORONTO - In recent years, dozens of children of rock stars have emerged to pursue their own careers in the music business. Tal Bachman, son of Bachman Turner Overdrive founder Randy Bachman, is one of them.
But he says the assumption that most of the second-generation rockers get record deals by virtue of their parentage is ridiculous. Besides, he says, what record company would give someone with no talent such an opportunity to embarrass them?
''If the Randy Bachman thing was a factor in my signing they didn't tell me,'' says the tall, blond, fresh-faced singer.
''I don't know if people would believe me, but in my experience, it doesn't matter. There are literally hundreds of guys floating around whose dads were in big bands.
''You have to imagine yourself as a signing agent at a record company - they don't want to look like a geek. They're petrified to sign anyone, period.''
Bachman's self-titled debut has already attracted interest in the entertainment industry on it's own merits.
Bachman will appear in an upcoming episode of the hit TV show Melrose Place to play the singles She's So High and Beside You. Other songs were chosen for the Dawson's Creek soundtrack and Darker Side Of Blue is being used in ads for NYPD Blue.
''I just knew what I like and these are the kind of songs that I like,'' he says.
''You maybe think of ulterior motives and big ideas or ideals and stuff but when it comes down to it, you're writing stuff that you want to hear.''
Bachman almost chose not to follow in his father's footsteps.
''I wasn't sure that I wanted to pursue music,'' he says. ''The immediate alternative was to go to college and see if I could learn something. ''I was there for a few years until I realized that it wasn't really the way for me to go so I quit and moved back to Vancouver and started writing songs all the time.''
In an interesting reversal from the norm, Bachman's father called him at college to urge him to give up school for rock 'n' roll. ''I'd get a phone call every month from my dad saying, 'Why are you studying? Quit university and start a rock band.' I think he realized that was the only thing I was any good at,'' says the younger Bachman.
''I don't blame him or anything. He was like a concerned parent: 'My son's wasting his life. Get him on the phone!'''
His years of studying political philosophy weren't entirely wasted, however.
Bachman has a keen intellect that surfaces in his songwriting and occasionally surprises those who expect rock musicians to be little more than drooling cretins. ''In an interview I referred to the grunge canon as 'fantastic hymns of a nihilistic, narcissistic death cult,' '' he says somewhat ruefully.
''The reporter looked kind of stunned, but that was the only way I could describe it and why I didn't really get the whole thing,'' Bachman says.
''I mean, I liked Nirvana on a sonic level, but there's more to it that that. Say you like a hymn because it sounds pleasant. But a hymn in the church hymnbook has an intrinsically didactic purpose, to inflame religious passion.
''Grunge had a purpose, and that was to promote depression and emotional selfishness. I just couldn't get along with that. It's not productive.''
Which is why Bachman chooses to explore less morose themes. And it also explains why he waited until now to release his album.
''There had to be a change in the audience's appetite before I could bring this sound to light,'' he says. ''I write songs, strangely enough, about how I feel. I don't do angst particularly well.''
A near classic - among the best of the year
It's another rockin' Bachman
Son of BTO great seeks his fortune in rock world
By Betsy Powell
Toronto Star Pop Music Critic
He was only five or six, but Tal Bachman remembers well when his father and hard-rock outfit BTO were taking care of business.
``It's admirable, four hosers pile into a van and conquer the world - you've got to give them credit,'' says the 29-year-old son of Canadian rock 'n' roll legend Randy Bachman of Bachman-Turner Overdrive fame.
The younger Bachman, who sings and plays guitar, is the latest rock progeny to toss his entry into the pop sweepstakes. Family connections have eliminated the need for much van time; he's jumping into the fray with a major-label push behind him.
His self-titled debut CD (out Tuesday) recalls an earlier age of lush '70s power-pop with sturdy melodies and earnest lyrics polished - with a little tinkering from Vancouver producer Bob Rock - for the adult-contemporary radio market. (First single ``She's So High'' is already travelling up the charts.)
Born in Winnipeg, Bachman moved to Vancouver when he was 3 and later, briefly, to Washington at he peak of his dad's success.
``They built a big dream house about 200 yards south of the border, then the big split-up. Acrimony. Disaster.''
He moved back to Vancouver with his remarried father and went to high school, but: ``I played guitar, listened to records, played in bands. It was lopsided toward music.''
In his late teens, Bachman, the eldest of six, headed to Utah to live with his mother. He enrolled in a small university and studied political philosophy.
He worked at odd jobs and had no clue what to do after college.
``I tried to figure out how was I distinct if I had the same interests as my dad.''
Plato helped. ``I know it sounds corny but we had this class where we read Plato's Republic . . . It's excruciating because it asks you to really evaluate and re-evaluate what you think about everything.'' Bachman realized: ``I'm a musician.''
He began shaping musical ideas into songs that no one at record companies wanted to hear.
``It was 1995-96 and everyone wanted alterna-grunge-attitude,'' says Bachman. ``I got passed on by everybody and in a terrible sort of way I knew I deserved to be passed on. I knew my stuff was not in style.'' Then he wrote ``If You Sleep.''
His father passed a tape on to Bachman's boyhood idol, ELO's Jeff Lynne, who took to it. So did Columbia Records. ``That sort of kicked down the door for me.''
Tal Bachman, Tal Bachman (Columbia) rating: 9
The surname may have a familiar ring-Tal Bachman is in fact related to Randy Bachman of The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive. But that's where the connection ends.
With a musical debt to late Beatles, ELO, and Cheap Trick, Bachman is the rare artist who concentrates on writing great songs and not trying to capitalize on musical fads or fitting into the ever-shrinking and narrow genres with which we are now overwhelmed.
The songs manage to sound like instant rock classics, with their killer hooks, soaring power pop guitars, and self-assured vocals. Bachman generously tosses in falsetto vocals, recalling the melodies of Jeff Lynne's ELO, but never sounding cheesy.
Case in point is "She's So High," a pop song so perfectly catchy and brilliantly arranged that, in a perfect world, it would be a number-one single for weeks. For a debut, it's quite a remarkable achievement. Bachman has developed a fully-formed sound that both inherits the legacy of great rock 'n' roll and builds a launching pad for a long, fruitful musical career.
REVIEW: Tal Bachman, Tal Bachman (Columbia)
- Michael Van Gorden
The most appearling element of POP music? It's all right to wear your influences on your sleeve. Those that do it poorly tend to be nothing more than a pale imitation. And those that do it well are a pleasure to listen too.
Tal Bachman falls into the latter category....thankfully. The easy influences to spot are of course the Beatles, Kinks, XTC, Beach Boys, and the Guess Who (Tal's father is Randy Bachman - Guess Who alumni, and the B in BTO). A more recent comparison might be Adam Schmitt and a man called E (before he added another e, an l and an s).
The CD starts off with the one two punch of "Darker Side of Blue", a "Cheap Trick covers the Kinks" kind of song, while listening to a little ELO.
This is quickly followed by the second hit of "She's So High", a great rumination on that unattainable beauty we have all dreamed about. "She's as perfect as she can be, why should I even bother" is a great lyric that is followed up by the chorus that won't go away ("she's so high, high above me, she's so lovely").
After this perfect start, Tal decides to slow things down on the lovely ballad "If You Sleep", a song about contemplating the fate of a loved one. His voice effortlessly floats from a sweet falsetto to an anguished cry for help in the chorus: "If you Sleep, you Sleep With God".
Tal Bachman takes you on a emotional roller coaster as well, with the moody "Strong Enough", where he questions the safety of an obsessed imagination by asking his lover 'Are you strong enough to love me?'
Then there is the soft romantic "Beside You", which echoes the Beatles circa "I will" and "Julia" from The Beatles (White Album).
On "You Don't Know What It's Like", you hear the unmistakable sound of Bowie and Marc Bolan as the raunchy guitars and sing-along chorus reel you in to this pop delight.
And yet Tal Bachman is not just a about pop hooks. His words are simple, effective and intelligent. Sample this line from "Romanticide": 'Whoever said to take it on the chin, whoever said that good guys always win, has never seen the sorry state I'm in, the victim of Romantacide again.'
The listener will find pop gems all over Tal Bachman, full of unforgettable melodies, elegant and often regal arrangements, beautiful vocals and lyrical wonders. In a recent interview, Tal said that he has devoted his life to the study and practice and perfection of a musical ideal.
Those studies have paid off ten-fold. And, despite all the influences, Bachman has staked out a personal style that is his alone and will hopefully attract many pop lovers for years to come.
Tal Bachman Tal Bachman.
Randy's kid takes care of business with an often-mesmerizing blend of early Bowie-sounding vocals, Tories-cum-Jellyfish instrumentation, and hook after hook after hook after hook
Pop/Rock Release of the Week Tal Bachman - Tal Bachman (Columbia)
The old adage that the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree has been borne out with the recent spate of releases by the sons and daughters of rock's most visible purveyors. It hasn't been too difficult to draw a line between Jeff Buckley and Tim Buckley, Rufus Wainwright and Loudon Wainwright III, Adam Cohen and Leonard Cohen, Sean Lennon and Julian Lennon and Joh Lennon. But like all good rules, there are the occasional exceptions.
Tal Bachman is one such example. The son of platinum-selling Canadian guitarist Randy Bachman, best known for stints with rockers Guess Who and Bachman Turner Overdrive, Bachman displays a gorgeous pop sense that makes him sound more like the son of Paul McCartney.
The elder Bachman's penchant for riff-heavy rock chunkage is nowhere to be seen in the almost delicate power pop palette of the younger Bachman.
This shouldn't imply that Bachman doesn't know how to rock. There are shards of loud guitar all over his self-titled debut, and he uses them to the same advantage that was the hallmark of his father's best work in the '70s, with considerably more finesse.
The album's lead-off track, "Darker Side of Blue," and its follow-up, "She's So High," feature the whisper-to-a-roar arrangements that Bachman seems to favor, in a pop vein that hints at plenty of Cheap Trick and Cars albums in his record collection.
Equally impressive are the pounding rock bliss of "Strong Enough," the jumping pop of "You Don't Know What It's Like," the Beatlesque balladry of "Beside You," and the Jellyfishy "Looks Like Rain."
The one quality that the Bachmans share is an unerring sense of the music that they're playing.
Regardless of personal opinion on the veracity of Bachman Turner Overdrive in the grand scheme of rock history, few could dispute Randy Bachman's care and craft in presenting his material. Tal Bachman inherited that ability in spades from his father, but he chooses a substantially more melodic and understated method for his work.
Although he's working a slightly different corner than his father, Tal's debut album finds a new generation of Bachman taking care of business.
Tal Bachman -Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All-Music Guide
Living up to the legend of Randy Bachman might not be as overwhelming as living up to the legacy of John Lennon, but Tal Bachman does somet hing neither Julian or Sean Lennon did -- he made a debut album that has nothing to do whatsoever with his father's music.
Tal Bachman's eponymous debut is a classic pop-rock album, in the vein of '70s pop singer-songwriters that spent as much time crafting the sound of their record as they did the songs.
Since the record is a product of the late '90s, it does have a bit of the self-conscious pastiche that characterizes post-alternative pop, but Bachman is more sincere than his peers. Occasionally, he is a bit too sincere, suffering a bit from schmaltzy lyrics and music, but when he delivers, he delivers mainstream pop that is unabashedly designed for radio play.
If the album suffers from overproduction in the hands of Bob Rock, so be it -- the best moments prove that Bachman has the potential to develop a career as a fine mainstream pop-rock hitmaker.
You ain't seen nothing yet
If Tal Bachman knows a thing or three about pop-song construction, it might just be because he's the latest second-generation rocker to take over the family business: His dad is '60s-'70s hitmaking heavyweight Randy Bachman, whose tenure in the Guess Who gave the world "American Woman" and "These Eyes," while family band Bachman-Turner Overdrive scored with "Takin' Care of Business" and "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet."
But genetics can only take you so far, and on his self-titled debut, the young Bachman proves that it is possible to follow in dad's footsteps while still carving out a trail of your own. Dad dealt in smooth ballads and AOR riffage, son Tal specializes in guitar-driven power pop with layered guitars and soaring melodies, as on "She's So High," the gorgeous single that turns romantic longing and terminal dweebiness into an irresistible aural confection.
Other numbers are equally sweet, including the Beatles-esque ballads "(You Love) Like Nobody Loves Me" and "Beside You," the punchy opener, "Darker Side of Blue," the string-driven "Strong Snough" and "You're My Everything," and the explosive "Looks Like Rain." Guitar-based pop is mostly in eclipse right now, but Bachman sounds capable of helping to bring it back.
Sounds like he'll be taking care of business for some time to come. - Daniel Durchholz
Add this 23-year-old's name to the lengthening list of pop progeny following in their parents' footsteps with mixed results. On this occasionally engaging major-label debut, the son of former Guess Who/BTO dude Randy Bachman reveals he's a chip off the old block when it comes to the big hook. The opening "Darker Side of Blue" builds dramatically before crashing into an infectious, payoff chorus. And the album's best cut, the vaguely La's-like "She's So High," is a sparkling model of pop composition and execution.
The problem lies in veteran Bryan Adams/Bon Jovi producer Bob Rock's typically ham-fisted sonic treatments, which flatten out any edges the material might otherwise have had and gives even the disc's better moments ("You Don't Know What It's Like"; "I Am Free") a sterile, oddly muted '80s sheen.
Nevertheless, Bachman's often strong, rangy songwriting -- not to mention his taste for florid, though effective, orchestral arrangements -- shines through on tender tracks like the McCartney-esque "You Love Me (Like Nobody Loves Me)" and the Lennon-inspired "Beside You." Meanwhile, the moody, piano-driven ballad "I Wonder" evokes Buckley and Wainwright -- Jeff and Rufus, that is. Tal Bachman, Tal Bachman- Michael Van Gorden
Scott Schinder's B+ CD review of TAL BACHMAN
"The younger Bachman's impeccably crafted tunes from surging wide-screen epics to bittersweet adult lullabies make this one of the most satisfying pop discs in recent memory."
"Spotlight" feature out now in Interview Magazine:
"Imagine if Bryan Adams had been producing Roxy Music with John Lennon pitching in a melody or two, and you'd have something akin to a Tal Bachman tune. Spinning with lush guitars, power-pop drums, and a glimmer of orchestral anguish, these are the type of songs you know by heart the first time you hear them." - Jane Ratcliffe, Interview Magazine
"On The Radio" feature out now in Rolling Stone:
("She's So High") is full of daydreamy splendor. - Noah Tarnow, Rolling Stone
"She's So High" is a pop gem through and through with an absolutely killer hook." - Gavin
"She's So High" is a slice of orchestrated power pop. - Billboard
"Tal Bachman's unqualified love for the lush pop of vintage 70's bands like ELO and Queen, and his warm spot for 60's AM gold, envelopes the Vancouver resident's Columbia debut in a sweet embrace of familiarity, melody and substance." - Guitar
"...his intricate compositions unflinchingly recreate glitter rock's golden age. Whispered verses blossom into epic refrains filled with tingling harp, rich string swells, and lap steel guitar...Tal's aching falsetto (which occasionally recalls Jeff Buckley) makes the finished product intimate and heartfelt." - Nylon
David Wild raves about Tal Bachman's new album in his Rolling Stone issue #812 CD review: "Tal Bachman... can be heard takin' care of family business in a wildly impressive way on this debut. While Tal inherited a serious gift for the pop-rock hook from Bachman Sr., he's very much his own man.
"She's So High"...is simply one of the most undeniable singles of the year -- it sounds like some lost pop gem... Elsewhere, Bachman succeeds in the area where your average gifted power popster fails..."
the twenty-nine-year-old son of Randy Bachman, of Bachman-Turner Overdrive -- can be heard takin' care of family business in a wildly impressive way on this debut. While Tal inherited a serious gift for the pop-rock hook from Bachman Sr., he's very much his own man: "She's So High" (also featured on Dawson's Creek) is simply one of the most undeniable singles of the year -- it sounds like some lost pop gem from the Turtles retrofitted for our post-grunge age. Elsewhere, Bachman succeeds in the area where your average gifted power popster fails: sensitive singer-songwriter tunes, like the emotionally committed "If You Sleep." "Beside You" is a romantic confection of McCartney-like delicacy. And "You Don't Know What It's Like" demonstrates winningly that the young Canadian can rawk out a bit. (RS 810) DAVID WILD
Music reviews: Tal Bachman writes finely crafted
May 30, 1999
"TAL BACHMAN.'' Tal Bachman (Columbia). When he was 18, Tal Bachman disliked U2's "Joshua Tree'' and "Rattle and Hum'' albums so much that he stopped listening to his favorite band and modern music altogether. Now, after spending a couple of years abroad and then studying political philosophy at a small college in Utah, the singer-songwriter has taken the music industry by storm with this finely crafted collection of introspective pop tunes.
Produced by Bob Rock (Metallica, Aerosmith, The Cult) and Bachman, the 12-song debut sparkles with timeless pop-rock that showcases an affection for power-chord progressions, undeniable hooks, and passionate lyrics. Flexing his inherited classic-rock muscle (he is the son of Randy Bachman, the erstwhile member of The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive), Tal incorporates a singing and playing style reminiscent of 1970s David Bowie, Queen, Paul McCartney, and Electric Light Orchestra.
Playing lead, lap steel, and rhythm guitars and piano and getting help from a polished organist, drummer, and bass player, he launches his first disc with the one-two punch of "Darker Side of Blue'' and "She's So High,'' the latter an effervescent ditty about falling for a woman out of one's league. Up next is the heart-wrenching "If You Sleep,'' which deals with the difficult task of coping with the deadly illness of a loved one, followed by a string of songs that speak of coming of age, new and broken love, and enjoying life despite its hardships.
TAL BACHMAN - Tal Bachman (CD, Columbia, Pop)
I am not inclined to like music made by kids of the famous. My feelings are usually validated by mediocre artists that nobody would give a damn about except for the fact that the kid had famous parents. (A good example is Sean Lennon...eeeeeeeyyyyyyyuuuuuch!) Before giving this a listen, I just assumed I would hate it. Boy was I WRONG. Tal Bachman (son of Randy Bachman of Bachman-Turner Overdrive) is an extremely talented young man with a real flair for writing tunes...and he's got a KILLER voice.
The music sounds quite similar to another one of my favorite popsters of late, Johnny Society (from New York). Tal's music sounds nothing like his dad's. The music is soaring pop with lilting melodies and spectacular arrangements. Lots of extremely catchy choruses, and lyrics that fit the music perfectly. I love it when someone proves my theories to be wrong. Tal Bachman's music is very, VERY cool. Top picks: "Darker Side of Blue," "She's So High" (this one's GREAT!), "I Wonder," and "I Am Free."
Tal Bachman /Tal Bachman
Columbia Records | 1999
Irony of all ironies: though this debut, self-titled album by Tal Bachman is influenced by many of the guiding lights of the '70s, none of these are his father Randy. Instead, you'll hear shades of McCartney, E.L.O., and David Bowie, all done up with a '90s edge and thoughtful lyrics that are perfect both for pop fans and mainstream record buyers.
Bachman's passionate, occasionally intense singing serves well on gutsy songs like "Darker Side Of Blue" and "If You Sleep," and "She's So High" has a chorus that radio will not be able to deny. He also shows a sensitive, even vulnerable side, on the dreamy "I Wonder" and the string laden "Beside You," the latter of which Paul McCartney would have been proud to have written. And he lets his hair down a bit on the bouncy, glammy "You Don't Know What It's Like" and the Ziggy-ish "Looks Like Rain". An excellent debut, so good that it's only a matter of time before Tal Bachman and radio stations become not so strange bedfellows.
-- David Bash
Name: Tal Bachman
Son of: Randy Bachman (Bachman-Turner Overdrive)
Signed to: Columbia
The rallying call among A&R chiefs last year? "Get Bachman!" The big ol' signing derby for this Canadian in 1997 testifies to the appeal of his big ol' pop songs. Bachman is currently recording in Maui and plans to release his debut around June. Although Tal has worked as a studio engineer and a roadie for his dad, his manager stresses that family ties are not something the young Bachman is eager to exploit.
Post On The Tal Bachman Mailing List:
Tal is 29 years old, both parents born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Tal spent his early years in New Westminster, a former sister city to Vancouver in British Columbia. His father Randy Bachman was one of the founding members of the Guess Who who wrote and co-wrote many hits known by all ages today: "American Woman", "Undun", "These Eyes" etc. While a member of the Guess Who in Winnipeg, Tal's father was influenced by early rockers prior to the Beatles and Elvis Presley, such as Johnny Kid and the pirates. He studied and worked with Chet Atkins for Guitar innovation and Leonard Cohen for lyrics. He met his wife to be Lorraine, who was a Mormon and asked Randy for his conversion to the Mormon church if they were to be married. This he did and followed all of the codes of the Church including tithing, community teaching, family home evenings etc. His new life style clashed with the 'rocker' image of Guess Who and their renowned 'party' atomosphere which Randy had easily become a part of. Meanwhile Randy had four brothers, Gary, Tim, and Robbie (Rob, Robin). They often played together with Chad Allen of Chad Allen and the Expressions who had also been a founding member of the Guess Who (who has been re-united this year by the Premier of the Province of Manitoba, Canada for the milennium celebrations). When Randy left the Guess Who he started a band called "Brave Belt" and put out and album under a record label that had fair success; however Randy envisioned a different approach and sought out a new and appropriate manager, Bruce Allen of Vancouver and moved there with his new bass guitarist and vocalist Fred Turner, guitarist Tim Bachman and drummer Robbie Bachman. They thumbed magazines on the trip to Vancouver and came across a heavy metal bikers mag which gave them the inspiration to call themselves "overdrive" added to the names of the Bachman's and Turner and it became BTO - Bachman Turner Overdrive. It was by the second album that Blair Thornton of Vancouver replaced Tim Bachman. BTO was an immediate world-wide smash with: Taking' Care of Business (still one of the most recognized hits of the 70s), 'Let it Ride", "Roll on Down the Highway", "You ain't s-s-s-s-seen n-n-n-othing yet" (the second most popular song which was recorded as a jest to the other brother Gary who had a stutter and they did it for him to parody his speaking in a good-hearted way. Hit after hit rolled off of this 3 chord "big thighs orchestra" (as they were often called). They had power, audacity, and musical brilliance to do with 3 chords what most bands could not do and would not do. As a lead singer Randy had nothing of a voice like Tal. Randy was a 'speaking' singer in tune but non-melodic and hardly riveting. But his voice was distinctive and his magic was knowing when to use his voice and when to use the enormous range, power and effects of the 300 lb red-headed, had-to-be-former Viking Fred Turner. Blair just played a solid, solid guitar, was the voice of sanity in the dressing room or during disputes and seldom was ruffled - he was just plain, damn good. Robin, went from being called the only drummer who could continue on a world tour always out of synch to the rest of the band - to a drummer 'ahead of his time' depending upon the musician, or critic listening. If voting, one can only judge based on the fact that he remained and was never replaced.
Tal grew up with all of this and his father on the road a lot; LA and NY for recording, publishing and contracts, Europe, Australia, Japan and all over North America for touring. As with Tal now, the children came and came: in no particular order: Talmage (Tal), Ballantyne, Emily, Brigham, Loralei, and Kezia. (one child was lost at birth).
Then as with many extraordinarily talented families under stress and absence, the inevitable happened and after moving to their own architecturally designed 9 bedroom mansion in a sleepy little church town of Lynden Washington, over the border from Vancouver and two hours from Seattle, the parents separated irreconcilably. Tal and his siblings moved to Provost with his mother. Randy was left with the home, its onsite top flight recording studio which had seen the Little River Band from Australia, The Beach Boys, Stanley Clark and many others recording and writing. Tal had been quietly in that scene. Now he was leaving it and going on to another phase of his life where music was not of the same intensity or genre.
Meanwhile, his father remarried a few years later acquiring a step-son Damion and fathering a daughter to a very talented Canadian Singer whose name has also escaped me at this time. Tal was quiet, introspected and non-judgemental - he observed, listened and let his environment sink in deeply and profoundly. It was obvious in everything he did from his early teens onward. That he should come from such a prodigous musical background, ethical and moral standards and religious faith along with the intelligence to take him through graduate studies and beyond in almost any academic endeavor is a lot to say of him.
However, like most great artists, talent and IQ alone is not often good enough. One must also hurt and hurt deeply to be able to reach into the subconscious and put the pain and the longing and the love and the caring into words and emotions with music and chords and arrangements so that his fans empathise, become part of his agony and ecstacy and get the same relief from his lyrics and music as he does.
I spent 10 years with the family and loved every minute of it. Today, I still benefit from the association. I hope sharing this little bit will help his fans and urge Tal himself and his management to get the press clippings and family stories out for all to share. He has worthwhile stories.
Thanks for letting me share this with you... I will not be a regular contributor and have no contact with the Bachmans now so I do not know how they would react to any other revelations of their backgrounds; hence the rest should come from them.
Tal's Official Bio from his official site:
She's so high, high above me / like Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, or Aphrodite"
"All of a sudden, all the lights in the room seemed to dim, and I only seemed to be able to focus on the page in front of me. Then it hit me like a sledgehammer!" Tal Bachman is in the middle of gleefully recounting in dramatic detail a defining moment in his musical life.
He had grown up in a house thoroughly permeated with music, mastering drums, piano, and guitar at an early age, and, thanks to his father's voluminous record collection (his father is Randy Bachman, erstwhile member of The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive, and author of such hits as "These Eyes" and "Takin' Care of Business") had grown intimately acquainted with what he describes as "the popular music canon of the previous fifty years" - everything from Rodgers and Hammerstein to Roy Orbison, from The Kinks to Irish folk music, from Antonio Carlos Jobim and John Coltrane to The Beatles and The Who, from Led Zeppelin to The Smiths.
That he should pursue music was obvious to everyone - except Bachman himself. "When I was eighteen I stopped listening to music," Bachman states flatly. "I was a huge U2 fan, but The Joshua Tree unnerved me, and Rattle and Hum terrified me - my favorite band was cracking up! The Smiths had long since broken up, The Cure had become redundant, Queen had been comatose for years, hair bands sucked, and I just freaked out."
He spent two years abroad, and then, somewhat peculiarly, enrolled in a small university in Utah, where he wound up studying political philosophy.
Now, as he humorously recounts it, five years after turning his back on pop music, he sat in a classroom "in the middle of nowhere - I mean, Utah" staring, transfixed, at his open copy of Plato's Republic. "I had come to the section where Plato argues that everyone is by nature suited to a particular activity, which ideally they would pursue. Then I remember reading where Aristotle said that 'nothing which exists by nature can be changed by habit.' And then I hit the part where Plato explains why music is 'sovereign,' and how it shapes customs and laws and how it can completely alter society, and I thought, 'What am I doing here? I'm a musician - a songwriter! I'M AN ACORN, AND I MUST BECOME AN OAK!"
And so Bachman, still "smarting from Plato's sucker punch," surrendered to nature and accepted his fate, quitting school and moving back to his woodsy hometown near Vancouver, Canada, to begin searching for his muse.
The only hitch was that it was 1995. The entire industry was still caught up in the search for the next "alternative" breakthrough; and in the aftermath of Nirvana there was no place for a songwriter like Tal Bachman. "I actually missed the whole grunge thing," Bachman admits. "I didn't know what was going on. I didn't care. I was out in the woods trying to look inside myself, trying to make sense of these feelings I had - that I had to write songs, that I had something important inside me that had to come out, something that nobody could stop. I sent out tons of demos to record companies, but of course, my material was hopelessly out-of-sync with what was popular. The industry wanted 'attitude' and permanent angst and stuff, but I was just trying to write good songs."
After all, it is in songwriting "renaissance men" like Harry Nilsson, David Bowie, Elton John, and Paul McCartney that one finds the proper context for what Tal Bachman does. Pretty heavy company for sure, but the comparison comes from the fact that these are artists great not for making the most of their limitations, but for being completely without limitations.
Like the aforementioned, Bachman combines a reverential understanding of pop music history with an unabashed love for - almost worship of - the powerful chord progression, the unforgettable hook and the affecting lyric.
During his period of introspection, Tal incorporated these musical principles into a group of songs which he sent to a variety of record companies as a self-produced demo. These songs caught the ear of Columbia Records and now form the core of his self-titled debut album.
And what an album it is! Crackling and bubbling with musical excitement, bursting with uninhibited emotion, sparkling with lyrical wit, each song stands on its own as a miniature musical document, yet somehow combines with the rest to form a seamless, potent whole.
Produced by Bob Rock (Metallica, The Cult, Veruca Salt, Aerosmith) and Tal Bachman, the album is an explosion of exhilarating, hook-laden, timeless pop/rock - in reality, a distillation of Bachman's lifelong torrid, and sometimes volatile, affair with popular music (and brief fling with philosophy).
It starts out with the one/two power pop punch of "Darker Side of Blue" and "She's So High" - as enthusiastic and catchy as prime Cheap Trick or ELO. (Indeed, Bachman remains an unabashed ELO fan, proclaiming Jeff Lynne to be "better than Mozart - well, at least a lot louder," and likes to refer to ELO albums as "sacred musical revelations.") Up third is the atmospheric and heart-breaking "If You Sleep," a contemplation of fate in the face of a loved one's illness, followed by the stirring "You Love (Like Nobody Loves Me)." "Strong Enough"'s moody lyrics and crashing choruses consider the risks of obsessed imagination, and "You Don't Know What It's Like" drives the pop quotient even higher with its raunchy Jimmy Page-like riffs and anthemic chorus. "I Wonder" is a Hunky Dory-esque tour de force whose unusual lyrics depict a child who, provoked by an enlightening encounter with his grandfather, suddenly begins to see himself in an entirely new light. The innocent romance of "Beside You" is contradicted by the tongue-in-cheek sarcasm of "Romanticide," which in turn is complemented by the frantically accusatory "Looks Like Rain." But the bitterness ends with the haunting, intoxicating beauty of "You're My Everything," a soaring love song featuring Bachman's crooning vocal, a breathtaking string score by Bachman and legendary arranger Paul Buckmaster, and a seductive slidesolo. And fittingly, "I Am Free," with its majestic chorus and powerful spiraling coda, brings to a close this extraordinary debut effort.
"It would be nice somehow to rekindle the significance of rock 'n' roll," Bachman muses. "I want this record to mean something to people, to entertain them, but maybe also to jar them into seeing something a little differently, or feeling something more acutely than before. I want it to move people."
Tal Bachman can bet on it.
Many Thanks to Cricket for Emailing me her collection of articles and reviews, of which many are used here.