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

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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
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