One Track Mind: American Anthem, "Jessie's Girl" (2012)

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American Anthem plays it straight to start, deftly recreating both the lithe riff and trembling sense of uncool desire for your best friend’s girl that’s long been associated with the original Rick Springfield track. But when it comes time to ramp up into chorus (when Rick, remember, finally lets loose his real feelings on the subject: “She loving with that body, I just know it!”), American Anthem doesn’t stick with the early-1980s pop-rock template: They tear into the original riff with a bloody-knuckled passion, as Cliff Calabro howls: “Why can’t I find a woman like that?!”

So begins a standout moment from the forthcoming Springfield tribute album Working Class Dogs, due June 15, 2012 from MelodicRock Records. Preorders are being taken now; those who do so directly from MelodicRock.com get three additional tracks via Mp3 download. Complete tracklisting, including bonus tracks, is below.

[STREAM A SAMPLE: A portion of American Anthem’s take on Rick Springfield’s No. 1 hit Jessie’s Girl, part of the upcoming MelodicRock.com tribute album ‘Working Class Dogs,’ is available for streaming here.]

The LA-based American Anthem — which features Cliff (lead vocals) and Christy Calabro (guitar), along with Joey Andriaccio (bass) and Lisa Rav (drums) — has toured with Poison frontman Bret Michaels. They’ve even gotten a seal from approach from Springfield himself, who had this to say about the Working Class Dogs compilation: “I like the song choices and the versions still retain a lot of the original vibe, but have definitely been updated. These versions are a lot more like how we now play the songs live.”

If so, Springfield’s started totally rocking them out. By the time American Anthem gets to his memorable admission about feeling dirty when they start talking cute, “Jessie’s Girl” has moved from the original’s sense of romantic reminiscence into an angrier, more confrontational place. The quick blasts of guitar from Christy that follow, searching and then soaring, provide a cathartic release that didn’t exist in the track before.

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Here’s the complete tracklisting for MelodicRock Records’ forthcoming Rick Springfield tribute album ‘Working Class Dogs’:

Waltham – Light Of Love
American Anthem – Jessies Girl
Handsome Devil – Love Somebody
Gary Schutt – Carry Me Away
Stratocruiser – I Get Excited
The Meddling Kids – I’ve Done Everything For You
Tom Cinefro & The Rick Springfield Band – Kristina
Eric Martin, Eric Ragno & Vic Rivera – Souls
Hardway w/Thom Griffin – Stranger In My House
James Christian & Jeff Silverman – Right Planet Wrong World
7th Heaven – Affair Of The Heart
Steve Newman & Vinny Burns – Human Touch
Brand New Machine – Calling All Girls
Keith LuBrant – Rock Of Life
Paul Sidoti – What Kind Of Fool Am I
Mitch Malloy & Vinny Burns – Tear It All Down
Barely Pink – Don’t Talk To Strangers
Fig – Wasted
Clay Howard – Beautiful You
Endway – Living In Oz

Bonus tracks:
The Vague – Love Is Alright Tonight
American Heartbreak – Human Touch
Jeremy – Speak To The Sky

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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