Rick Springfield - Ovations Live!, Chandler - Saturday, October 5Okay, five reasons "Jessie's Girl" is a perfect pop-rock song: 1. The slow build. I can't vouch for how it sounded in 1981, but in 2013 the first verse has a kind of built-in swagger to it that makes this a perfect wedding reception song--you know it's "Jessie's Girl," and Rick Springfield knows it's "Jessie's Girl," but you're still going to cut that first chorus short and go back into the quiet, desperate verses. 2. The guitar tone, which marks the moment before that clean '80s tone tipped over into the kind of hyperbaric self-parody that only makes sense over gated snares. 3. The subject matter, which is weirdly self-loathing for a bright, unstoppable pop song and doesn't exactly cast Rick Springfield as the hero of the love triangle. 4. The barely-there synth riff in the chorus. 5. The solo, which has to compete with an enormously recognizable verse and chorus melody and still inspires air-guitaring. Honorable Mention: The completely ridiculous Working Class Dog album art--literally a dog in work clothes, with a glamour shot of Rick Springfield in his front pocket--showing up every time you play it on iTunes.
Rick Springfield has other hits, and he will be playing them Saturday, but "Jessie's Girl" is probably enough. -- Dan Moore