Is It Shit? Mad Mad World by Tom Cochrane

Mad, Mad World by Tom Cochrane, September 15, 1992

We’ve all heard Tom Cochrane in some form or another, whether it was in his band, Red Rider or solo. One of his songs, his largest single to date, was covered by the country group Rascal Flatts. Things however, are not all they appear to be…

Mad, Mad World opens with Life is a Highway. This is a rocking track that had a good video. WRZE and Pixy 103 played this to death. For an AOR song it’s good. As a pop rock song, not so much. As I said above this was played to death on the local Cape stations. The title track comes next. The track opens with a bed of synth. The backing vocals don’t really detract much from this song, but they do get a little tedious. This song was not played on Cape stations.

No Regrets comes in third and like almost every other AOR song out there it has that typical beat to it. Tom Cochrane is a master of AOR (Album Oriented Rock). I like this track, and it seems like I’ve heard it somewhere; it could have been when I went to Nova Scotia back in 2002. Due to Canada’s Canadian Content Law, stating half of music played on Canadian radio stations must be from Canadian artists, this song is played on their classic rock stations. Here in the states? Not so much. We’re lucky to hear Life is a Highway and maybe, just maybe Washed Away. Sinking Like a Sunset opens like a pop rock song, with a piano and guitar. Tom’s suave voice immediately cuts in. This could have been a single in the US, yet somehow wasn’t. Damn, it’s just like the British navy of yore: the officers get the best cuts of meat.

Washed Away, the other American release did not do as well as Life… on the charts; but it has its place. I secretly enjoy this single more than I do Life… Tom shows emotion here in the first verse. The chorus is enjoyable. This could have been a great Red Rider song. Did I just say that? Maybe someday I’ll go through Red Rider’s discography. He has a distinctive screech towards the end of the track. I cannot really explain it. Maybe he’s trying to emulate a harmonica.

With Everything Comes Around, I’m reminded of visiting Nantucket last March. The island was quiet and I had this album playing on my iPod as I walked through the streets and lanes of my childhood; past my grandmother’s former home and into Prospect Hill Cemetery. It’s a Nantucket song. The Secret is When to Know When to Stop is probably the first track I didn’t enjoy as much. The song is a typical AOR number, but it’s also a little slow. Almost too slow for my tastes. Brave and Crazy opens with a great riff and it builds from there. Tom is a good guitar player. The song is about being yourself and not caving to anybody else. The echo is a little much.

Bigger Man is a track I couldn’t get into. I tried, but didn’t like it much. Seems like it should be played in a bar; perhaps The Muse comes to mind to those readers on Nantucket. Friendly Advice opens with a 60’s esque riff and seems like a typical AOR song. AOR is a broad genre, and this fits into it. Hard to believe this album is twenty-five years old; no, hell, I can’t believe it’s been twenty-five years. Get Back Up opens with an acoustic guitar, and the lyrics pertain to a drug overdose. I like this track, as it reminds me to bounce back from when I’ve been kicked to the ground by people who were friends, but that’s another story for another day.

Emotional Truth is the penultimate track here. Memories of my parents’ divorce come to mind with this song. That was in 1993 however. Maybe this could be from my father’s point of view. The bassline is groovy and I can dig it. I like this, no, I love this track. Tom has written some good songs here. I have yet to experience the rest of his discography. Finally, we come to All the King’s Men. There are hints of Red Rider here and the song seems to sound like a lullaby.

So, is Mad, Mad World shit?

This is difficult to answer, as there are only two tracks here that I did not like. The album is certainly not a five and it’s not a zero. Tom Cochrane is an excellent songwriter and he’s a good guitarist. He knows his trade well and masters it with this album. As I stated above, I have yet to experience the rest of his discography, but from what I’ve heard it’s good. This is a quintessential Nantucket album; memories of small town America or Canada can come to mind with almost any of the tracks. You’ll be sure to rock out on a few, and even can relate to some of his lyrics.

Singles from Mad, Mad World:

Life is a Highway

No Regrets- Canada only.

Sinking Like a Sunset- Canada only.

Washed Away

3/5

Sammy P.

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