Friday, May 12, 2023

"What Kind of Man Would I Be?" by Chicago

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  4123
Date:  12/02/1989
Debut:  95
Peak:  5
Weeks:  18
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  Although it would only peak at #37, Chicago 19 would become a platinum seller thanks to three Pop Top 10 hits including the gold #1 single "Look Away." To cap off the decade, the band's label decided to issue out a hits compilation that covered their 80s resurgence. Greatest Hits 1982-1989 was assembled and it featured all their key hits from the time period. To help promote the LP, a remix of a song that first appeared on Chicago 19, "What Kind of Man Would I Be?," would be give a remix treatment, included on the compilation, and then issued out as a single. The tune would have a low debut on the Pop chart, but it slowly caught fire and ended up reaching the Top 5. It would also get to #2 at AC. The song would end up being Chicago's final Pop Top 10 hit. It arrived nearly twenty years after their first Pop Top 10, 1970's "Make Me Smile" (#9). The Greatest Hits album would peak at #37 and go gold. However, it would be a consistent seller over the years and it would eventually reach the 5x platinum mark making it tied for their best selling album with '75's Chicago IX: Chicago's Greatest Hits.

ReduxReview:  Lead singer Jason Scheff was apparently taking notes on how to write a big pop ballad in the same vein as the ones written for the band from Diane Warren and others. This sits right next to the tracks that became hits and so it wasn't all that surprising that it aced the Pop Top 10. The only difference in this one is it had a bit of the ol' Chicago horn section integrated, which made it sound like something from the band's Peter Cetera/David Foster era. These big ballads were getting redundant and predictable, but I actually didn't mind this one. It was well written and had a good arrangement (with the horns getting something to do in the mid-section) and production. It was a nice last gasp for the 80s comeback era for the band. There was no way the band could sustain a constant barrage of hit ballads. It had to end sometime and it did conclude in '91 (thankfully) when two Diane Warren songs tanked, which allowed the band to go run off into the pasture to do what they wanted.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Chicago would go through more personnel changes prior to recording their next album Twenty 1. Working with producer Ron Nevison for a second time, the sessions were a bit fractured due to the band being out on tour. The band's label also wanted them to record a couple more Diane Warren-penned tunes as potential hits, which they did. Unfortunately, both flopped with only "Chase the Wind" doing anything getting to #39 Pop/#13 AC. The LP would top out at a minor #66 and fail to go gold. With those results, Chicago basically decided to leave their 80s commercial pop sound behind and attempt to get back to the way they did compositions in the 70s. Working with producer Peter Wolf, the band came up with the more experimental Stones of Sisyphus. However, after finishing and handing in the LP, the label unexpectedly and controversially chose to not release the album. The band was asked to go back and record a more commercial album, but they refused. At the time, the LP actually fulfilled their contractual obligation to their label and so they chose to leave. Their next album then ended up being a standards effort titled Night & Day: Big Band, which was on the band's own self-titled label. It would get to #90. After that, the only studio album the band would record was a 1998 Christmas album. They wouldn't issue out an album of original material until 2006's Chicago XXX (#41). Over the years the band would go through personnel changes and continue to tour and record. In 2008, the long lost Stones of Sisyphus album would finally be released (#122). In 2016, Chicago would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


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