SINGLE REVIEW: Baby, I Love You by Peter Senior
Peter Senior’s second release from his much-acclaimed album On The Edge is titled Baby I Love You. It’s an all-out attempt to reach back into those heady days of AM pop radio when piano-driven songs with soulful, Brill Building-inspired laments poured out of car stereos and reverberated along summer boardwalks. This track reflects the more upbeat side of Peter’s album which contains everything from ballads to straight-ahead pop rock, but it is also indicative of his songwriting style, and a clue to the album’s production. At times, it’s quite expansive, a well-oiled band working up a sweat behind Peter’s stride-like piano and an array of backing vocalists, brass players and a studio sheen that doesn’t resort to kitsch but emphasises respect for the musical forms harnessed. Baby I Love You begins with a descending trail of chords that’s reminiscent of a late-era Beach Boys tune, replete with a resolve within its melodic arc that nicely ties it all up, and all in preparation for the part that follows: a giddy, foot-stomping chorus which confirms the song as a genre piece. This is where the main hooks are, the oohs and doohs and the Uptown Girl bounce creating an atmosphere of good-time enthusiasm, despite the ache and craving of the lyric’s imploratory message. It’s a crossover song that might confuse listeners into thinking that it’s a record not of its time and that, it indeed is. But that’s what’s refreshing about it; it could very well have come straight out of the mid-seventies, in a time before pop became so self-conscious. It might be old school but it does have its modern touches, perhaps most clearly in Peter Senior’s vocal delivery, with its rock-like cadences and gruff, or in those spoken incantations that follow the second chorus, delivered in self-mocking tone and drizzling with dry humour but which also seem to fit the emotional energy of the song. This is an interesting release for our times and might just be that breath of fresh musical air you’ve been searching for.
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