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what's he sayin'


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Eric's best lyrics were on the "Boats" album. In between he's had some good moments such as in "Desperate Fools", but overall, I would never say he is a "gifted poet." Jackson Browne, Dan Fogelberg, Don Henley, and Sting, to name a few, are truly blessed with the ability to write thought-provoking intellectual lyrics.

Marvin

Eric Carmen is a different breed. Unlike Jackson, Dan, Don and Sting, his best material (Raspberries, mainly) hits with the cathartic rush of the boy/girl experience/sensation during the late teens early 20s... Something which none of those guys ever took a shot at--or if they did it was mere puff or a lame nostalgic pose. That stuff is in a different league (not for better or worse) than dudes trying to be intellectual. Yes, he's written adult stuff that explores deeper places (i.e. "Boats..") like Bernie pointed out, I believe. And the best stuff holds up well; his weaker stuff goes for cliches (i.e. "Almost Paradise"). The test of any lyricist is that his words resonate and defy cliches and other trite stuff. Eric's gift was that he created such drop-dead honest power pop lyrics that nailed the emotion to perfection without being cryptic, schamltzy or gloppy-- A VERY HARD THING TO DO...especially in the early '70s...
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so then pierson, the question becomes, when that raw "pop' sexual energy matures....can that individual convert that energy into more mature subject mature without strolling down the "middle of the road" (good pretenders song by the way).

just off the top of my head, i think very few have.

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the question becomes, when that raw "pop' sexual energy matures....can that individual convert that energy into more mature subject mature without strolling down the "middle of the road" i think very few have.

It's basically the Beatles blueprint... or how to follow it or use it to one's advantage... going solo is a much tougher task, however... Lots of artists remain significant enough, but aren't knocking down doors (i.e. Bowie, Brian Wilson, Pete Townsend, Bryan Ferry, McCartney, Prince) others wander strangely to good effect (Neil Young, Bob Dylan) or to less returns (Robert Plant, Todd Rundgren). These days, very few classic older artists are in that MOR stance they were in the '80s (i.e. solo Eagles, Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart, Elton John). Most of them are trying to create valid work, albeit to mixed results.
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Just to confuse the issue a little more, I have also heard that when Eric writes with a collaborator it is not just Eric with the tune and someone else with the lyric (as I would have thought), but both contribute to all aspects of the song. Probably depends on the co-writers strengths. Kirk.

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It's the combination of his three outstanding abilities - lyricist, composer, and vocalist - that set Eric apart from everyone else. For example, yes Jackson Browne has written great lyrics and pleasant melodies, but his vocals lack the passion of Eric's.

Steveh

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I've seen enough of Jackson's concerts over the years and seen the reaction that he gets from his audience (including my own reaction) to know the kind of emotion that results from Jackson's songs. It is heartfelt and it cannot be decribed. Ok his songs don't cover the raw emotion that Eric's songs tend to cover (i.e. he doesn't sing about putting his hands in anyone's pants, or wanting to go all the way with anyone), but his songs definitely exude another kind of emotion. Splitting hairs again, I guess.

Marvin

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Tonight's Headline on MSN is "Kurt Cobain,10 Years After.Why his music lives on". Bulls_ _ _ _!

This guy couldn't hold a candle to Jackson Browne,Eric Carmen,Brian Wilson,John Lennon,Paul McCartney or anyone else with half the talent the aforementioned have.The only reason he lives on is because he has a current CD catalog.

There is a lesson to be learned here.

Steve-O

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As much as I've never really understood the fascination with Cobain, "Smells Like Teen Spirit" certainly exploded on my airwaves when I first heard it. I guess if you place value in that Seattle grunge sound which Cobain might have had a hand in ushering in and certainly popularized, you've got to give him his due.

Marvin

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marvin, taken directly from the MSN Encarta Dictionary:

im…mod…er…ate [ i mÛddərət ]

adjective

excessive: going beyond what is healthy, moral, appropriate, or socially acceptable ( formal )

[14th century. From Latin immoderatus , literally “not restrained,” from moderatus (see moderate).]

im…mod…er…a…cy noun

im…mod…er…ate…ly adverb

im…mod…er…ate…ness noun

im…mod…er…a…tion [ i mÚddə r·ysh'n ] noun

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Poet or lyricist--all of the excerpts (and I'm calling them EXCERPTS, not lyrics!) Bernie cited are POETRY. Poetry in motion for sure, because they're set to music, but poetry just the same. They can all stand on their own without any music at all. That's the test of poetry. It's not set to any music at all. Every possible poetic device is present in the excerpts cited by Bernie. I'm sorry, that qualifies as poetry. Period.

In their own way, Fogelberg, et. all, are poets as well. But I still say nobody does it better than EC. The intellectuality is there, and on such a high plane some just won't get it. Too bad for them, because those of us who DO get it are knocked out completely. I think I read that Eric himself said he created the best work when he was unhappy. So did F. Scott Fitzgerald, Robert Schumann, Emily Dickinson and every kind of artist you can possibly name. That's what great work is: the human condition put down in some universally perceived medium, be it canvas, paper, sound or literal expression. That which moves our souls quicker than joy is anguish. His poetry is so much more than "teeny-bopper love." If you don't get that, then you don't understand Eric Carmen at all. Even his "horny singles" speak more of urgency than teeny bopper lust. It's urgency, longing, anguish--all grown up stuff. Even stuff like "Hands On You" has quite a sense of humor to it. His work is intellectual and mature, basically because the guy is EXTREMELY intelligent. I know, because I observed him at many performances over the years. If you don't get that, then you just don't get it.

smile --Darlene

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Julia, Alright! Immoderately is a word! I KNEW it!

Not just a word, a 14th century ADVERB! See, I told you--Eric is an intellectual. Who ELSE would use a 14th century adverb in his lyrics?! He's the absolute gold (or should I say "platinum"?) standard as a lyricist, poet, both. He's fuffin' Eric Carmen...!

smile --Darlene

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Darlene thanks for your words. To a certain extent, I'll agree with your definition of what is and what is not poetry, but I totally disagree with your assessment on Fogelberg vs Carmen. Truth be told (and I do not want this to sound mean-spirited way), you and Bernie are not the most objective people when it comes to discussing Eric.

Marvin

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JuliaD, Only kidding, of course! (I still think you look really great in that black dress with the spider-web back though!) I think the internet can bring out the Devil in most people. It's so anonymous! (Except on this website, and we've all sort of "exposed" ourselves (please--double-entendres meant!) by putting ourselves "out there," if you know what I mean. Nobody hides their opinions here! But that's good. We get to really know each other better. And can tease each other in a well-meaning way. That's why this website is so much fun!

smile --Darlene

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Marvin, I do respect Dan Fogelberg and Jackson Browne's work very much. I have albums by both and love them. I loved Fogelberg's "Leader of the Band" and that's why I got interested in his music in the first place. That was quite poetic. I've loved Jackson Browne too.

I think Bernie and I are very objective about EC.

There are definitely songs we don't like. We've both said so. But we just happen to agree on those that just knock our socks off. Music and the arts are so subjective, no one can really be objective about any of it. It's all about feelings, and what moves one person or another. Somebody said that just not long ago in one of the threads. Some things are measurable, such as how many cadences in a piece, etc., but even chord changes and modulations--one person's love is another person's annoyance. As someone once said, "Music is a thing of the soul..." and it's not given to objectivity--very very subjective.

smile --Darlene

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