Wow. Real rock and roll, real art.
By Terry Pinkard - Professor of Philosophy, Georgetown University
Wow. I remember the Romeos of the 80's as great musicians and as the kings of swagger and attitude. Now they’ve reappeared, almost twenty years later, with the same sound, tighter than ever, better than ever, off and on leavening their sound with a country feel. What’s great here, though, is the way their songwriter, Jerry Honigman, has taken that sound (which was always something great beyond description) and put it to entirely new uses: it’s tight, bluesy, rock and roll about coming to terms with life, losing, acquiring, losing, and acquiring again a kind of faith (sometimes religious, sometimes not), songs about the pain not just of breaking up but of actually getting divorced, songs of doubt and affirmation.
If art is supposed to tell us what it’s like to be an individual human being with all the kind of messy detail that each of us carries around in our lives, then the Romeos have achieved something almost impossible to carry off: Real rock and roll that’s real art. At least in my experience, when older rockers get it into their heads to make art, they usually don’t become artists, just artsy - they become tedious instead of thoughtful. Not here: the Romeos blast out music both to dance to and to think about - and, as if to remind us that it is, after all, only rock and roll, they also throw in a quintessential pop-another-bottle-top-keep-the-party-going rocker, “Go Go Go,” to compliment the driving beat of the wonderful and reflective title track, “Open Wide” (which itself should become the defining song of the new decade).
In my opinion, the Romeos have here provided real insight set to a driving beat, rock and roll suitable for sixteen to sixty year olds. Quite an achievement - I would have never thought it could have been done. Wow.