If the title of 2012's Songs for the End of the World sounds like Rick Springfield has a lot on his mind, well, that's because he does. He's purging himself of negativity, admitting "Love Screws Me Up," concerned that "Our Ship's Sinking," and pondering "My Last Heartbeat," scoring all this angst to thundering rhythms and heavy guitars. Sometimes all this aggression is released on rockers with sinewy power pop riffs or arena rockers but those are the exceptions to the rule because here, as it has been on every album he's made since roughly 1982, Springfield isn't about having fun. He is wrestling with big ideas and this time he's scored his mental bout with guitars so bombastic they feel throttling even when only a few acoustics are being strummed. Such sonic overkill fits the oversized emotions of Springfield's songs and even if the overall effect can be a little draining, song by song this is one of Springfield's strongest latter-day records, as the production matches the mood and the melodies are as muscular as the album's sound.
Songs for the End of the World Review
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine