Chicago, “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day” from Chicago VI (1973): Saturdays in the Park

I don’t particularly like 1973’s Chicago VI. There, I said it. All in all, the songs are mediocre, the playing uninspired and the vocals seem phoned in.

I’m not sure what the band was going for in terms of a cohesive album. To be honest, I’d rather listen to Chicago 16 – or the last album, Now: Chicago XXXVI, but that’s for another time.

It seems the record-buying population would disagree with me, however, since Chicago VI hit No. 1 on the pop charts and spawned two Top 10 hits. The schlocky classic “Just You ‘N’ Me” is rightfully a staple. “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day,” the debut single from this album, was the other hit single.

Peter Cetera and James Pankow co-wrote optimistic and catchy verses set over the top of Robert Lamm’s ringing Hohner Planet electric piano. Cetera and drummer Danny Seraphine play a rather straight ahead and tight rhythm, which allows space for Cetera to forcefully press ahead with the earnest lyrics. Pankow’s horn charts compliment the vocals, while Terry Kath provides a melodic foundation with his guitar.

Things get tasty after Kath leads the band into the bridge. Lyrically and musically, the pace quickens. Despite the loss of his love interest, Peter Cetera is inspired. The vocal chorus over the distorted Kath rhythm soars, and the horns carry the ball almost dropped by Seraphine’s ragged playing.

The infectious and inspiring end of “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day” makes for a fitting and uplifting conclusion to the song – and Chicago VI. The last few years, Chicago has been playing only the double-time sections to close out their concerts. That’s a shame, as the contrast is an essential element.

‘Saturdays in the Park’ is a multi-writer, song-by-song examination of the music of Chicago. Find it here at Something Else! each weekend.

Preston Frazier

Preston Frazier

Preston Frazier is a bass-playing lawyer living in Atlanta. His first Steely Dan exposure was with an eight-track cassette of 'Pretzel Logic.' He can be reached at slangofages@icloud.com; follow him on Twitter: @slangofages. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Preston Frazier
  • Charlie Ricci

    Danny Seraphine ragged? NEVER!

    • Preston Frazier

      Spirited maybe?

      • Jamie Reno

        spirited is not a synonym of ragged! dude, with all respect, learn how to write or just don’t do it.

        • Preston Frazier

          Thanks for your feedback Jamie. I’m just not a fan of all of Danny’s work. I think Chicago VII is one of many hight points however.

  • Jamie Reno

    Hi Preston, I just read your rather lame attempt at musical criticism. Please don’t quit your day job. Unless, of course, you’re a litigator, in which case you might want to consider another career. Perhaps selling magazine subscriptions door-to-door. You’ve no idea how to make a persuasive argument. Your take is uninsightful, self-contradictory, perfunctory, at times truly head scratching, and simply and demonstrably inaccurate. You call “Just You and Me” schlocky… then you say it is “rightfully a staple.” Which is it? How do you reconcile that bizarre comment? If a song is schlocky, then how can they be “rightfully” staples? That’s very strange and unclear writing. And Danny Seraphine is anything but a ragged drummer. Please tell me you are joking. Any bass player worth his salt knows that Seraphine is one of the best rock and jazz-rock drummers of all time. And he was in peak form on this record. Chicago VI isn’t my favorite Chicago record, but there are some outstanding songs, including some of Robert Lamm’s finest compositions: “Hollywood” (one of the band’s very best and most unheralded tunes),”Critic’s Choice,” and “Something in This City (Changes People).” There are also the undeniably melodic “Just You and Me,” and the powerful and high-energy “Feeling Strong Every Day” and “What’s This World Coming To.” By the way, seek a copy editor, or at least read what you wrote before you post it. This sentence, for example: “All in all, the songs are mediocre, the playing uninspired and to vocals seem phoned in.” Remove the “to” and replace it with “the.” And then get a clue. There are great songs, great vocals and inspired playing throughout this album. The only thing mediocre, uninspired and phoned in is your review.

  • Kit O’Toole

    One of my all-time favorite Chicago tracks! Nice work!