RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Bob Seger – I Knew You When (Deluxe)
Capitol Records

Rating: C

One has to wonder how much an artist has to say in his or her career. 

After 18 albums one might think Bob Seger has nothing left in the well.

You would be wrong to think this…but not totally off base. Perhaps that is why two of the strongest tracks on his latest album are remakes. “Bus Load of Faith” is a Lou Reed cover which Seger succeeds at making it his own. The other cover is “Democracy” by Leonard Cohen. This one is not as good…but it has a cool political vibe.

Seger seems more comfortable talk/singing on songs like this one then he does belting them out…that may be style and it may be due to age. Either way, with his gruff voice, he makes it work.

The best track on the album is the opener “Gracile.”  Bob set the bar high for the album putting this one first on the list. The rest of the album has a difficult time keeping pace with it. “The Highway” is a good example of a song that just isn’t Seger-good enough yet here it is on a Seger album. That sucks.

“I’ll Remember You,” on the other hand, is a powerful song. Bob struggles a bit vocally on this one. Back in the day there would have been blow-out vocals…now in the same spots he has to refrain and sing softer. Don’t get me wrong, he sounds good…just not great. 

Unfortunately, Bob is getting judged against his amazing vocal skills of his youth here. I am guilty as charged. While he has kept his voice better than many of his contemporaries, Bob is not “Feel Like a Number” Seger, vocally anymore. He is more “Like a Rock” Seger these days.

Bob was good friends with Glenn Frey of the Eagles and he wrote the tune “Glenn Song” for him, available only on the deluxe version. This is a tune about the reality of life and death. It is a simple song and not that memorable at first glance. However, the lyrics take over on this one making it heartfelt and sad. 

At the end of the day, this is an okay album. “Okay” just doesn’t cut it when this writer thinks of Bob Seger, however. For Bob I say, “make it great or go home.” This one is not great.   

You may ask, “Is this album worth paying money for?”  Sure it is. The opening number and “Busload” are worth the cover price alone and there are many other good, solid tunes. You could do worse.  

The album, overall, is much like the beardless photo of Seger on the album cover. It’s Bob Seger…just not the way you remember him.

Bob Seger, 'I Knew You When' Track Listing
"Busload of Faith"
"The Highway"
"I Knew You When"
"I'll Remember You"
"The Sea Inside"
"Runaway Train"
"Something More"
"Forward Into the Past" (deluxe edition only)
"Blue Ridge" (deluxe edition only)
"Glenn Song" (deluxe edition only)

By Jeb “Against the Wind” Wright