Sunday, February 19, 2012

Some Tough City

Former Rainbow keyboardist and Planet P vocalist Tony Carey became a solo star in Germany. The California native had some U.S. success in 1984 with Some Tough City. It yielded two Top 40 hits in "A Fine Fine Day" and "The First Day of Summer." Carey plays virtually every note except for drums, the guitar solos, and a couple of saxophone breaks. His keyboard work in particular is tasteful, efficient, and melodic. Some Tough City is a strong effort. It's a loose concept album and the songs are individual stories about the struggle of down-and-out people trying -- and often failing -- to make better lives for themselves in big cities like New York and Los Angeles. "A Fine Fine Day" is a majestic rocker with a powerful chorus; the lyrics about mysterious Uncle Sonny's troubles are cleverly vague. "A Lonely Life" seems to profile a drug dealer and junkie, although a pimp and prostitute are possibilities. "Eddie Goes Underground" is an infectious rocker with disturbing lyrics about a statutory rapist on the run from the law. "The First Day of Summer" is deceptive in its bright sound because the song is about two runaway delinquents; the narrator is left behind to work as a hotel dish washer when his friend steals their car and leaves. The high-energy song "Tinseltown" tells how Hollywood eats up dreamers who want to be stars. "I Can Stop the World" is a ballad, but it's not wimpy. "Some Tough City" addresses poverty in the United States. The more traditional ballad "She Can Bring Me Love" is a Springsteen-esque tale of a young working-class couple relying on their love to get through hard times.

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