Rock-Pop Review and Interview With Neal Smith For Pop 85/95 Album!

Release Date: June 1, 2020

Label: 2020 Neal Smith


Leave it to a living legend like Alice Cooper to lend us a diamond in the rough. Cooper’s drummer Neal Smith, finds himself at a crossroads of pop and rock. At 72, the rock-musician-turned-solo-artist releases a set of songs that harken back to simpler times on Pop 85/95. In particularly thinking of all that’s occurring in this world, especially with the Coronavirus, Smith finds solace and simplicity in pop melodies and lyrics with rock flares throughout. With a time warp back to the 80s, the album is a great reflection of sentimentality and flashbacks to easier times.

“If I Only Had You,” revs the album up to a steady soft-rock start. With its even tempo and words of desire and love, it reflects on what could have been. The person in question who has moved on, might just be listening around the corner. “Dying to Love You” slows up almost immediately. Typically an album contains a number of songs before a ballad or song of sadness play on. The singer is in need of that long lost love, from years gone by. That is what brought him true happiness. “Secret Eyes” give off that cool, smokey vibe. The synthesizer combined with the drums and guitar makes way for the perfect ‘80s flashback.

If you want an enticing intro, look no further than “Love Sets the Night on Fire.” The piano/keyboard, back-and-forth notation combo, pulls the listener in to acknowledge a deep emotional state and build of excitement. Essentially, we as the listeners are anxious to hear what the singer is yearning for.”Distant Drum” finds itself in the middle of this album due to its dream-sequence sound and mood. Speaking of a drum that the singer can only make out now, but wishes for it back to keep it as his own again.

This time we take samples of Journey and Modern English’s “I’ll Stop the World” when “I Wanna Be Good, But I Don’t Know How” begins. The song is a rush of energy that the album is refueled by. This allows the listener to re-engage, should she or he be dissuaded or dissatisfied by the mellow tones of prior songs. “Love Can Run, Love Can Hide” sings of how the strongest emotions can be buried or subdued as hard and deep as possible, but in the end, when it comes to love – it always finds a way to materialize. “In a Heartbeat” is a heavily synthesized creation of pure excitement and conviction. The song is a great representation of how quickly and immediate something can occur or materialize when desired heavily enough.

As though the title of the song didn’t give away that this would be a sad tune of wish and desire to come back home, “Fly Home Sweet Angel” is peaceful and somber at the same time. “I Love You to Death” is the exact opposite of the track before. It is a jolt of energy and pure enjoyment. The themes of love and reminiscence are prevalent through Pop 85/95. It plays well with the concepts of sexy, a bit of risque, and relationships both sweet and sour. Finally, “All My Eyes Can See” plays with imagery and conceptualization of what our desires and perceptions see in the world and in our own mindsets; even when it comes to a specific love or just romantic interest.

Key Tracks include: “I Love You to Death,” “Secret Eyes,” “All My Eyes Can See”

Gregg Keniston - MuzikMan.net Staff
August 7, 2020

Track Listing:
01. If I Only Had You
02. Dying to Love You
03. Secret Eyes
04. Love Sets the Night on Fire
05. Distant Drum
06. I Wanna Be Good, But I Don’t Know How
07. Love Can Run, Love Can Hide
08. In a Heartbeat
09. Fly Home Sweet Angel
10. I Love You to Death
11. All My Eyes Can See

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