Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Emitt Rhodes - Emitt Rhodes - 1970



Most cult heroes are cult heroes by design. Either his or her music is too esoteric to be accepted by the mainstream, or his or her personality too erratic or weird for most people to understand or tolerate. In either respect, the artist usually has sought out selective rather than widespread acceptance on purpose. The cult audience, in turn, is grateful for the opportunity to feel superior to all the stupid, smelly legions of idiots who make up the majority of the music-buying public.
Then there's people like Emitt Rhodes, who's a cult hero for no good reason whatsoever. Far from obscure, his music is loaded with melodic charisma, that essential ingredient that makes you want to hear some records over and over again. Often called a musical dead ringer for Sir Paul McCartney, Rhodes is really the Macca we all wish Macca would be: an incredible pop tunesmith without all the gooey sentimentality and overflowing cuteness. The crown jewel of Rhodes' small body of work is his self-titled debut album. Released to critical acclaim and modest commercial success in 1970, Emitt Rhodes has since taken on mythical status among power-pop and '70's rock aficionados. The album is a tour-de-force: just like McCartney on his first solo album, Rhodes played all the instruments and sang all the vocals himself. But even more impressive are the songs. Only 20 years old at the time, Rhodes had already absorbed the best of '60s rock and matched it. Lennon/McCartney certainly weren't writing songs the caliber of "Somebody Made for Me" or "With My Face on the Floor" at that age. This precocious, good-looking kid should have been unstoppable.-[Steven J. Hyden]Perfect Sound Forever

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