Rick Springfield

Stripped Down

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Take note: Stripped Down bears a different meaning than "unplugged." The latter suggests unadorned and acoustic but this 2015 Rick Springfield affair sometimes finds the rocker armed with just an electric guitar and sometimes backed by a full band. What counts is that Springfield isn't going for the massive, muscled arena rock that is his stock in trade; he's choosing to turn down the volume and turn up the charm. He's telling stories and cracking wise, even within a song (the new "If Wishes Were Fishes" is nothing but jokes), and taking a stroll through his past, serving up covers of Badfinger's "Baby Blue" and Muddy Waters' "Rollin' & Tumblin'" while excavating "Painted Girl," a tune that he wrote when he was 15. For an artist who is often very, very serious, this thawing is quite welcome. When he's stumbling through the words on "Human Touch" and offering anecdotes about the writing of "Live Is Alright Tonite," Springfield is as warm, as funny, and as intimate as the title suggests, making Stripped Down a nice little gift for his die-hard fans.

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