Picks and Pans Review: Against the Wind
updated 04/07/1980 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 04/07/1980 AT 01:00 AM EST
Seger set an unusually high standard for rock'n'roll excitement with Stranger in Town in 1978, but this LP is sharper and even better. Musically, Seger travels light; nothing gets in his way when he sets to rocking with his bluesy rasp. Horizontal Bop and Her Strut ("Oh, they do respect her but/They love to watch her strut") provide dazzling drums and bass with plenty of guitar fireworks. Betty Lou's Gettin' Out Tonight is a comic rocker with the intensity of Little Richard doing Jenny, Jenny ("The poor druggist he was going insane/His stuff was selling out like never before/He finally had to up and close the store"). Against the Wind is a slow floater, like Jackson Browne's The Pretender, while Fire Lake and Shinin' Brightly are pop-rock ballads reminiscent of Still the Same from Stranger. The album's fastest-moving cut is You'll Accomp'ny Me, a mid-speed tune that meshes acoustic guitar, piano, organ, harmonies and Seger's gift for setting a mood. When he wails "You're high above me/Flying wild and free/O but someday lady/You'll accomp'ny me," his voice shakes with need and lonesomeness. Seger is a rock virtuoso defining rock itself.