Reo Speedwagon – After Tonight

oldMust admit I don’t know much about this legend. For me, REO Speedwagon’s music can be split into 2 distinct eras : The hard Rockin’ of 70s that emphasized the guitar work of Gary Richrath; and the second period starting with 80s “Hi Infidelity”. When the band steered into more of a pop-based direction with the massive success of both album and the No. 1 single “Keep On Loving You”, continue with mega-hits “Can’t Fight This Feeling” released in 1984 about how to fall in love with your best friend is tough. By late of 80s the band’s popularity declined, former members were gone. Having lost their recording contract with Epic, REO Speedwagon ended up releasing their 14th album “Building The Bridge” (1996) on the minor label. It became the group’s first non-charting album since 1972’s but I can still hear their power on “After Tonight”. It should have been the most underrated song of them. Sometimes we don’t know what we have until it’s gone, and it definitely happened to REO Speedwagon. But they never cry when you said goodbye, just leave to make it right by writing the perfect song. After tonight, I promise, I’m gonna be a better man .. So play this loud to get over the one you lost.

REO Speedwagon, nama kumpulan musisi yg kini semakin jarang disebut lagi. Mereka eksis pada dekade 70an sbg pengusung Hard Rock dipimpin gitaris Gary Richrath. Namun sejak periode 80an lebih dikenal sbg penghasil tembang manis. Seperti rangkaian balada cinta One Lonely Night, berikut sukses luar biasa Can’t Fight This Feeling tentang rumitnya saat jatuh cinta kepada sahabat sendiri. Sayangnya pamor mereka semakin meredup saat memasuki era 90an, serta putus kontrak dgn perekam raksasa, Epic. Band yg pernah digelar sbg “kesayangan publik Amerika yg sedang kasmaran”, punya reputasi cukup unik. Yakni gak pernah memiliki vokalis utama alias tanpa front man. Maka lagu dan jenis suara mereka lebih variatif, namun berkesan tidak bisa konsisten. Itulah yg terjadi saat Gary Richrath pamit di awal 90an, seolah tinggal tunggu pengumuman resmi kapan bubarnya. Namun Reo Speedwagon memang bandel seperti truk Amerika sejati. Mereka merilis album ke 14 berjudul “Building The Bridge” di tahun 1996 lewat jalur indie. Sudah tentu minim promosi dan hasilnya jeblok. Tapi mereka malah bangga lalu menyatakan sbg salah satu album terbaik sejak 1972. Terutama tembang “After Tonight” yg secara filosofis bercerita, “Anda mungkin sulit menghargai, hingga harus kehilangan dia. So after tonight, I promise .. I’m gonna be a better man”. (nDy)

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