Picks and Pans Review: Phoenix

updated 02/18/1980 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/18/1980 AT 01:00 AM EST

Dan Fogelberg

Rock stars who attempt "pretty" music usually drown in pretense, overproduction and silly sentiment. Fogelberg, an Aspen self-exile from rock stardom, is smart and talented enough to veer around the many clichés that could cheapen his work. At worst, he does slip in a lyric from Along the Road like "Absence makes the heart grow fonder/Darkness obscures the trail." But then, happily, in Beggar's Game, he gives us "She drew a bath and the windows steamed/She looked like every woman ever dreamed." Fogelberg's soothing, rustic sort of rock has never sounded better. The title track displays beautiful electric and acoustic textures, and the gently flowing harmonies on ballads (particularly Along the Road and The Last to Know) are wonderful. Fogelberg has a searching, vulnerable voice full of intelligence.

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