The Second Disc

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Here’s to a “Brand New Year”

with 11 comments

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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

11 Responses

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  1. Glad to have the Second Disc (and you and Joe!) as a part of my daily world! Keep on rockin’!


    December 31, 2013 at 12:42

  2. Dear Mike and Joe, Sorry to hear about the personal loss you’re experiencing, Mike. We’ve all been through something similar, and although it’s never easy, the people and things we love help to get us through. Thanks for the pleasure, entertainment, information, and occasional thrill (“I can’t believe that’s finally being released!”) you men provide to me and all your readers every day. Good luck of r ahealthy new year.


    December 31, 2013 at 13:38

  3. Your very eloquent piece struck a nerve with many second disc readers I am sure. I know it did with me. Ever since ICE Magazine ceased publication, there has been a big void in my life. Their “From The Vaults” section was always my favorite. The Second Disc has stepped in to fill their shoes very nicely. I appreciate all that you do and I look forward to each and every post. Happy 2014 to you and all your readers!


    December 31, 2013 at 14:16

  4. Very well written piece. I agree with you 110%. As someone who’s been afflicted with bipolar and OCD for over 40 years, and lost both parents at a relatively young age, I’ve leaned HEAVILY on music to keep me going. There are a bazillion analogies I could use, but a good piece of music, to me, is like warm shelter in a 24/7 downpour. We must leave the shelter at some point to continue our daily journey, but fortunately there are many similar musical shelters along the path to replenish our spirit and keep us moving forward. Good job, guys!

    Chief Brody

    December 31, 2013 at 14:54

    • I couldn’t agree more about the Nilsson box set being one of the best ever. A bench mark for future releases. Keep up the great work

      Ken Ward

      December 31, 2013 at 16:13

  5. Mike – Thank you — today and always — for your fantastic blog! It is always a joy to read, so thoughtfully written and full of details to learn and appreciate. I wish you every personal strength, a Happy New Year, and all best wishes for 2014!

    Jeff from Rockville, Maryland


    December 31, 2013 at 16:34

  6. Thanks so much for this wonderful website. I visit it daily and it’s my favorite site highlighting all my favorite record labels. Keep up the greate work and happy new year!!


    December 31, 2013 at 16:42

  7. Thank you, Joe and Mike – you’ve replaced the much missed ICE Newsletter as THE information source/Watchdog for compact disc releases. And yes, music is the art form that, more than any other, makes me glad to be alive, and that constantly reminds me that no matter how savage and cruel we human beings are capable of being to one another, that we are equally capable of great beauty, and life affirming work. ROCK ON IN 2014, PLEASE!!!

    Larry from Boyds, Maryland, USA

    Lawrence Sojka

    January 1, 2014 at 02:38

  8. This kind of post is a great example of distinguishes The Second Disc from just a series of press releases from record labels. Here’s to another great year of music along with happiness and health for you and yours.

    Jeremy Shatan

    January 2, 2014 at 11:31

  9. Thank you for the great news about the upcoming Eric Carmen Essential compilation! “Brand New Year” is a brand new breath of pop air for the new year. Wonderful. Concerning the upcoming 2 CD set, I really hope that Legacy includes two rare cuts in particular. One is the 45 single-only song “The Rock Stops Here,” which was written, recorded and released by Eric on Cool Records in Cleveland. I believe it was used as a fundraising and awareness-raising project for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame campaign. From the even rarer picture sleeve, it appears that it was available only through local Arby’s restaurants in the Cleveland area. Would love this rocker to be on the compilation! The second cut is “My Heart Stops,” a stunning Diane Warren tune that was released as a promo only CD single in 1991, previewed as a cut “from his forthcoming album.” I don’t believe that album ever materialized. It’s a great tune. Hope we see and hear both of these great tunes.

    Sean Anglum

    January 2, 2014 at 23:57

  10. Thank you for a wonderful site. I am sorry to hear of your loss. No matter how or when it happens, it is never easy. never. As a longtime reader, I want to thank you for all of your hard work. I really appreciate it. I hope that 2014 is a year that turns toward the light and provides you some comfort.

    Jonathon Campbell

    January 3, 2014 at 18:42

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