At times sounding like a poor man's Springsteen, Bob Seger continued to mine the fields he'd plowed so well over previous efforts. There's the send-up of the U.S.A. in "American Storm," and the hard-rockin' "Sometimes," and the heartbreakingly beautiful "Somewhere Tonight." Oh yes, and the song used in those incessant commercials for American pickup trucks, "Like a Rock." A mature effort from a great American talent.
Many people condemn this album as being Seger's attempt to reinvent himself as an '80s rocker. It's true that the omnipresent synthesizers sound a little dated today, but if you're willing to overlook them, you'll discover a treasure trove of music that got surprisingly little recognition for its inventiveness and power. "American Storm" is essentially an update of Seger's earlier song "Even Now," displaying all the glorious driving beats and hard-sung lyrics that made that song such a hit. "The Aftermath" and "Sometimes" follow up in that vein, with a relentless rhythmic pulse--driving music if ever there was any. "Miami" is something of a departure for Seger, a smooth, almost soft-rock song that casually tells a compelling tale--a notable foreshadowing of the style he would explore in depth with his album "The Fire Inside." The other work is less notable, although "The Ring" is one of the most lyrically brilliant stories Seger's told. "Like a Rock" sounds the most like the "original" Bob Seger, and would easily be the best song on the album if we hadn't all heard the chorus so darn much (and I agree... someone at Chevy should be fired for that). Overall, this CD represents Seger's first real departure from his classic-rock roots, and that might initially turn people away from buying it. If you take it on its own terms, however, there's a lot to like about this album--and a surprising amount of the original Bob Seger sound to boot.
Bob Seger - Like a Rock (USA Rock 1986.wv)