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Clif Magness: Lucky Dog (2018)

Written by: Kev Rowland

Clif Magness is back with his first album since 1994’s ‘Solo’, and probably isn’t a name that many will have heard of, but when looking at his resume it will surprise quite a few at just involved he has been involved in the scene over the years. By the time the “Solo” record came out, he already made a name for himself co-writing and producing a #1 hit with Jack Wagner (“All I Need”), a top 5 hit for Wilson Phillips (“Impulsive”), and winning a Recording Academy Grammy for the song “The Places You Find Love” from Quincy Jones‘ critically acclaimed album, ‘Back On The Block.’ Just three years later, in 1993, Clif was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globes Award for the song “The Day I Fall In Love” from the film “Beethoven’s 2nd”, co-written with Carole Bayer Sager and James Ingram. Throughout the 1990s and into 2000, he continued to work with outstanding artists such as Céline Dion, Hanson, Steve Perry, Amy Grant, and Joe Bonamassa among others. Clif was also instrumental in developing Avril Lavigne, being among the first writer/producers to work with her. He co-wrote and produced the fourth, much edgier, Avril Lavigne single “Losing Grip,” as well as five other tracks from her multi-platinum debut “Let Go.” He has kept on working and creating some great and hugely successful music in the past few years, working with the likes of Jessica Simpson, Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, and many others.

Now, I haven’t heard Clif’s debut album from 24 years ago, but if it was anything like this one then it was already dated when it was released. This mixes classic bombastic AOR Chicago, but without the heavy brass instrumentation, along with Journey/Bryan Adams into something that is classic mid-Eighties. He has a great voice for this style of music, able to hit the high notes with seeming ease, and given his pedigree it perhaps isn’t a surprising that each and every song sounds as if it is destined for AOR radio as they are all loaded with hooks and singalongs. I feel almost as if I am back reading Frontiers again, discovering the melodic rock underground as l listened to their great cover CDs (which were still good, I still have as I kept them all!). This absolutely nothing to do with 2018, as this style of music was supposed to have been destroyed by grunge and proliferation of metal sub genres, but when it is as polished as this then there will always be a place on my player for it. If you enjoy old fashioned melodic rock destined for the charts, then this is essential.

Rating: 8/10

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Track list:
1. Ain’t No Way
2. Don’t Look Now
3. Unbroken
4. Like You
5. Love Needs A Heart
6. Nobody But You
7. Maybe
8. Shout
9. Rain
10. All Over My Mind
11. My Heart

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Links:
http://cliftonmagness.com/
http://www.frontiers.it/

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