Picks and Pans Review: Sounds Off

updated 03/08/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/08/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

Rick Springfield

It has been—gulp!—23 years since Springfield, 54, hit No. 1 with "Jessie's Girl." The rocker, who has two sons with wife Barbara Porter, is back with shock/denial/anger/acceptance.

ON HIS CD'S TITLE Shock, denial, anger, acceptance are the four stages of healing. All the songs come from a dark place. It was a hard period of my life. I was going through a lot of stuff. I can't write when I'm in a good mood.

ON TODAY'S POP HEATTHROBS I don't know their music that well, but I'm not going to put it down because I always think there's some reason a guy is successful, and it's not just because he's cute.

ON WHISHING HE HAD "JESSIE'S GIRL" It was a very universal theme, the love triangle and I-want-her-but-I-can't-have-her thing. A lot of people related to that. I'm very thankful it hit.

ON WHY HE STILL PLAYS HIS OLDIES I went to see Elton John once, and he started to play a new song, and I got into line to go to the bathroom. The guy in front of me turned around and said, "New song, huh?"

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