Music Article

Head of the 'Class'

''Working Class Dog'' is a good album, really! -- Why the Rick Springfield reissue is worth buying

''Working Class Dog'' is a good album, really!

Given his pretty-boy looks and soap-opera résumé, it's easy to see why Rick Springfield has become an I Love the 80s punchline. But with this reissue of his breakthrough album, it's worth reevaluating his status in the pop pantheon. Despite what you think, the entire album is a relentlessly catchy power-pop classic. What's more, below the chug-chugging grooves and chipper melodies, Working Class Dog is not exactly a fun listen. Filled with tortured sexual anxiety and romantic angst, the disc is an Aussie preppie's take on Elvis Costello's broken-heart masterpiece My Aim Is True. Just check out the lyrics: ''Jessie's Girl'' is about pining for a buddy's hot girlfriend; ''Carry Me Away'' is the diary entry of a painfully desperate ''total wreck'' who's ''afraid of love''; and ''I've Done Everything for You'' is a sneering and cruel kiss-off (written by Sammy Hagar). Despite its fluffy reggae groove, ''Everybody's Girl'' is the darkest of them all, a truly mean-spirited rant about a ''dirty little girl'' who treated him like a piece of meat. Fountains of Wayne fans will dig this disc, but it's the psychologists who will be truly enthralled.

Originally posted Aug 11, 2006 Published in issue #891-892 Aug 18, 2006 Order article reprints

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