||From the Vault...
"Normal As The Next Guy"
© Smile Records
Year of Release: 1970
Girl I Never Lied To You
Normal As The Next Guy
It's Not Me
ONe Day At A Time
Seven Days Of Heaven
Dance Of Romance
Reason To Live
A World Of My Own
The Man On The Beach
The Knack related sites:
"Normal As The Next Guy"
You just have to love it, when you're visiting your local GoodWill store, and there's a small area of used CDs. And, as you browse through the
selections, you notice one of your favorite bands, and one of their lesser-known albums. This is the case of The Knack, most famous for their #1 hit,
"My Sharona." After all, when they released their first album with this song on it, there were many saying that The Knack was going to be "the
next Beatles." Well, this wasn't the case. Although their second album, But The Little Girls Understand did get recognition and regular radio
airplay. However, afterwards, the did release albums, but they just didn't get the star treatment as their debut. The Knack has always been a great
band, and possibly overrated (or underrated). The band was lead by vocalist/guitarist/songwrite Doug Fieger.
The album I noticed from the GoodWill used CD section was their 2001 release, Normal As The Next Guy. This is an album that was not aware of,
although I did know of some of their albums released after their second album.
Normal As The Next Guy is a good album. Maybe not as outstanding as their first and second, but there are good tracks on this release.
And of course, some tracks better than others. One critic mentioned about this album, that it "may be more pleasant, but not as interesting." Fieger's
lyrics in the past dealt with "women issues" (such as "Good Girls Don't" and "Baby Talks Dirty") -- while Fieger may have resolved his issues
with women by 2001, the tracks on Normal are definitely pleasant. But, not as "rocking" as their first two albums.
This is not to say that Normal is a bad album. Maybe the word "normal" probably best suits this album, as these songs are normal in sound,
yet just as creative as Fieger and his band had recorded in the past.
The album opens with "Les Girls" -- which could have easily been a radio hits. No, it's not about lesbian girls, it's based on summertime,
and watching the girls at the St. Tropez beach. There are tracks that easily fits the "Knack rock sound" -- "Disillusion Town," the Pop'ish
"It's Not Me," another good Knack track is "Seven Days Of Heaven," and "A World Of My Own."
Then there's a different sides of the Knack, so to speak -- the laid back Pop "Girl I Never Lied To You" could get just a hint glimpse of U2.
The title track is one that just may throw off the common "Knack rock sound," Is it a punkish sounding sound? Maybe, in the style of a Iggy Pop song.
Then there's another off-track song, the Country'ish "Spiritual Pursuit." Is it Country sounding? Just a bit, I would say... "One Day At A
Time" is more of a laid back style. "Reason To Live" is a mellow tune, and can be compared to the sound of another band that was supposedly
to have been as popular as the Beatles, Badfinger.
The remaining two tracks are "just ok" -- They're not bad, they're just ok tunes. The mellow "Dance Of Romance" is ok, yet the closing track,
"The Man On The Beach" has it's comparisons to the band XTC, and just a glimpse of Paul McCartney's "Pipes Of Peace."
Normal As The Next Guy is just that -- Normal. It's a good album, nevertheless. Doug Fieger's songwriting abilities (by himself and with
fellow Knack members) have always been a treat to listen to. Fieger has always been a distinguished songwriter, and quite honestly, I don't think he
got the full recognition he deserved. The original members (minus their drummer) were on Normal -- Berton Averre and Prescott Niles. Sad to say,
Doug Fieger passed away in in 2010, from his battle with cancer. He was 57. "My Sharona" would be the band's signature song. But realistically,
their music just may have been overlooked. The Knack produced some incredible music, having only six studio albums while Fieger was alive. (One album
was re-released with extra tracks). The Knack was a great band. I'm hoping that they get the nod for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. It would be a great
honor to The Knack, and their fans. And somewhere up in Heaven, Doug Fieger would be extremely proud, knowing his band's music was loved by many Rock
fans, and getting the nod to be in the same Hall as the band that they first compared them to, The Beatles, and all the other talented bands and artists
who have been inducted.
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