The Second Disc

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Archive for December 31st, 2013

Here’s to a “Brand New Year”

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As I write this, we’re one day closer to ending our fourth – fourth! – year of posting catalogue news and views on The Second Disc. To think a year or so ago people were worried the CD would cease to exist as a unit of transporting music to your ears; this year has seen one of the best box sets I have ever had the pleasure of hearing, with so many other wonderful treasures along the way. (And already we have a ton of heavy hitters to anticipate in 2014, including great new Omnivore reissues, more Beatles catalogue activity and a highly-anticipated new/old Johnny Cash album!)

I often hesitate getting too personal on The Second Disc, which can be difficult. After all, it’s so difficult for even the most discerning music critic to separate the listening experience from the beautiful, complex emotions that music makes you feel. But like many of you, I imagine 2013 has been a year of ups and downs. I have seen this site – a site I started to stave off boredom and depression after graduating college – turn into a flourishing community of stories and expressions, with people coming from literally all ends of the globe to read what we have to say. I’m very confident that some of the ideas Joe and I are cooking up for you, our treasured readers, will continue to make us one of the best places to read about your favorite reissues, box sets and compilations.

But 2013, for all its highest highs, has been a year of challenges, too. I end this particular year the same way I started it: saying goodbye to a member of my very close-knit family. No matter how strong you are in the face of such tragedy – or how many times you’ve had to bid farewell to a family member – it’s never easy and it’s never fun. Sometimes, at its worst, it feels like it’ll take more than a few hugs and fond memories to make things feel better.

This is, of course, why I think so many of us turn to music from days past: to feel both the exhilaration of remembering how great things may have been and the promise of a bright future ahead. And this is also why I’m glad for “Brand New Year,” the first recording by Eric Carmen in well over a decade.

Slated for physical release on Legacy Recordings’ forthcoming compilation The Essential Eric Carmen in March, “Brand New Year” finds the former Raspberries frontman and solo hitmaker in a gorgeously reflective mood. “We won’t let them break us down,” Carmen sings, with all the quiet power of a true musical survivor, “as long as we still believe.” And – dare I say – that chorus, with a gorgeous “stack-o-vocals” from the Wondermints, helps lift Carmen close to the same pop pantheon as frequent Wondermints collaborator Brian Wilson.

As we close the book on another year and look eagerly toward the dawning of a new one, I am again reminded of how glad I am to have music like this in my life – and how blessed I truly am to share it with everyone who’s reading our work here on The Second Disc. So here’s wishing you a Brand New Year, filled with hope, happiness and, as always, great music.

(And do download “Brand New Year” at the link above, and give a read to some words from Eric as to how the song came together.)

Written by Mike Duquette

December 31, 2013 at 12:00