CD Cover Ric Ocasek

Review by Alphonse Leong

Comparing Ric Ocasek's solo work to his efforts with the Cars isn't really fair, as he deliberately goes out on a limb when he's on his own. But, when you've written sublime tunes like "My Best Friend's Girlfriend," "Touch and Go," "Magic," etc. -- well, dammit, you can't just put out a lame, self-indulgent CD and expect us not to yearn for stuff from the good 'ol days!

As wonderful as Ocasek's past artistic achievements are, Troublizing is essentially a set of smugly written songs that make no real attempt to involve the listener or evoke any emotion. Though Ocasek's writing has always skirted the oblique, lines like "You got the bad cucumber" ("Not Shocked") or "You got a gangly glover" ("Situation") are just plain alienating. And the words are set to some pretty staid and choked guitar playing.

The inclusion of Billy Corgan from the Smashing Pumpkins as co-producer only seems to muddy things up further. His backing vocals on many of the songs (especially "Crashland Consequence") are downright annoying, and he should have kept his donated song, "Asia Minor," to himself.

As it turns out, the one track I marginally like, "Society Trance," is a nihilistic poetry recital over a moody keyboard wash. Maybe being married to a supermodel and living in a deluxe New York highrise apartment changes your creative sensibilites...

First published in Drop-D Magazine on December 15, 1997

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