Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Coming off of his Grammy sweep in 1981 - including the entire "big 4" categories, Song, Single, Album, and New Artist - and his smash charttopper from the motion picture Arthur (which won him an Oscar), the pressure was on Christopher Cross in January 1983. That was when he released his sophomore effort, Another Page (Warner Bros.), and it essentially was just that: a very similar record to his debut, state-of-the-art polished pop, mixing ballads and midtempo numbers drenched in studio gloss. It's pretty awful, especially the "thanks, General Hospital!" hit "Think of Laura." But I've always had a soft spot for the first single taken from this Page, "All Right." It's a relentlessly upbeat song with would-be "rock" guitar lines (including a solo, incredibly) that should hit all the wrong buttons. But when you catch me in the right mood - or at age 12 - I can at times be a sucker for such schmaltz:

"You should pick it up
Ooh, and try it again
'Cause it's all right, think we're gonna make it
Think it might just work out this time
It's all right, think we're gonna make it
Think it might work out fine this time..."

It's got background vocals from the marvelous Michael McDonald. And you know who's largely working as Cross's backing band? Why, it's those L.A. studio wizards, Toto! Yes, this is easily digestible radio schmaltz. But it's good easily digestible radio schmaltz. I know you're bobbin' your head - 'cause I can see you.

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