The Leonardo da Vinci of the melodic rock world, Jim Boggia, delivered another masterpiece in 2008 entitled, “Misadventures in Stereo”. On this, his third full-length release, Jim showcases further maturity in songwriting and instrumentation with tunes that are wonderfully diverse yet unmistakeably Boggia.
What I like most about Jim Boggia is that he wears his heart and his influences on his sleeve. Jim’s love affair with retro pop sounds and vinyl is once again at the forefront. As on a vinyl release, the songs are once again grouped into two “sides” and Jim even encourages CD listeners to take a break in-between to collect their thoughts. Lyrically and sonically, “Misadventures in Stereo” is a comfortable throwback to this bygone era. For those not familiar, Jim Boggia has a perfect voice for this style of melodic rock, sounding somewhere between vintage Rod Stewart and modern Mike Viola. Musically, his instincts are again in top form, creating instantly memorable melodies that are perfectly suited for the lyrical content, which can go from upbeat and brassy (“Johnnie’s Going Down”) to downright somber and chilling (“Three Weeks Shy”).
There is a tie for my favorite track. First is the sweetly nostalgic “NRBQ” (which even includes a guest appearance from NRBQ’s guitarist, Al Anderson!), where Jim’s reflections cause us all to wonder about our past acquaintances, people who shared a priceless time with us at one point. While those times may be gone, the memories remain and the experiences contribute to who we are today. But equally stirring is the powerfully moving closer, “Three Weeks Shy”, an all too familiar and painful account of a soldier who failed to make it home. As the track closes, there is a spoken list of names with rank, followed by DEAD that left me sitting at a red light in deep thought long after it had turned green. I applaud him for ending the record this way and not launching into a feel good track that would have dampened the experience.
In addition to these standouts, there is plenty of the gorgeous pop fans expect to hear from Boggia…the bold and catchy “Johnnie’s Going Down” flows easily into the breezy “To and Fro”, and “8Track” is such a groovy rocker that it makes even me want to get up and dance. The bouncy pop treat, “Chalk One Up for Albert’s Side”, is very Paul McCartney. “So” and “On Your Birthday” are brilliantly gentle and sparse, forcing you to mind the lyrics and appreciate the misadventure.
Out of respect for Jim’s philosophies, I will refrain from choosing our usual “iPOD-worthy” cuts from this record. His records are meant to be digested in two halves, so do it right and reward yourself with the listening experience that Jim Boggia intended you to have. And don’t forget to read the linear notes on this one…hilarious.