REVIEW: Rik Emmett – Absolutely (1990)

RIK EMMETT – Absolutely (1990)

Alright, to be fair, with 20/20 hindsight now we all know that Rik Emmett wanted to be a jazzbo. Back in 1990, those of us that weren’t expecting the second coming of Triumph were at least hoping for something with some balls. Either alternative would have been acceptable, but Absolutely is so middle of the road, so directionless, so antiseptic, so horridly contrived and ill-conceived, that we just had no idea where the man’s head was at.

Absolutely is purportedly a rock album, but the sterile cover reveals the terrible secret within.  Absolutely is glossy and clean; overloaded with ballads and lite-rock dreck.  You’re left with only a couple real rock songs. “Drive Time,” which deceptively opens the album, is a Van Halen speed boogie.  (Drummer Randy Cooke is frickin’ amazing.)  “Big Lie,” the second song, has a bit of that latter day pop-Triumph sound. It also has decent lyrics which are more relevant than ever today.  On side two, there’s a song called “Heaven Only Knows” that has some hard rock trappings. But that’s where it ends.

“The disappearing forests should be no cause for alarm, the greenhouse effect won’t do you any harm.”

The single “When a Heart Breaks” is sappy crappy, the kind of boring ballad that was too common at the beginning of the 90’s. The rest of the album is just shamelessly pop rock. That’s not always a bad thing, I enjoy quite a bit of pop in my life, but this isn’t even good pop rock.  “World of Wonder” makes me want to retch.  I mean, wait until you get to “Smart, Fast, Mean & Lucky”. Think that title sucks?  Wait till Rik starts rapping. When Rik raps, it’s like the Bartman. Hey, at least it was current for the time, but why did rock bands think they had to start rapping in the early 90’s?  (Kip Winger, I’m looking at you.)

For fans of Rik’s guitar, there’s just not enough. A song like “Stand and Deliver” has some smoking guitar work, but it’s drowned out by claptrap and clutter.   It’s a shame. I’m glad that Rik is now doing what he loves, and even found time to do a mini-Triumph reunion. Anything to forget this misguided solo project.

2/5 stars



    1. Yeah some. Although my fondest memory is him playing Toronto the same day as New Kids. He was on MuchMusic and there were massive crowds (not to see him!) He said he would play his concert when the screaming died down over at the New Kids show.


  1. Eeeeeeeeeew….totally agree with ya here Mike. Bought this on cassette thinking maybe a good hard rock n roll record. Nope it was Emmet doing a AOR release. Geez you know I was bummed and filed this one away quickly and it may have joined tour Savatage collection at the landfill! But my donation was warranted whereas yours was done by someone with spite!
    But seriously this is just Rik doing top 40…not for me fella!
    This is like the Sport Of Kings part deux….
    God if When A Heart Breaks was on a Triumph record I could picture Gil coming down off of his Tamara drums and singing this just like that one ballad from SOKs!
    And I ain’t naming that track again!!!
    That’s probably why I really looked forward to Triumphs release Edge Of Excess a few yrs later cuz I knew it had have a bit more ummmmmph to it…actually the sound of it had way more ummmmmph to it!
    Good to see ya digging around in your collection for reviews!!!

    Randy Cooke was drumming for the Four Horsemen when I caught em on the Barely getting Good At Barely Getting By tour……
    Dudes good!


    1. Randy Cooke is a cool guy. I’ve talked him to him a few times and he always appreciates the people who say things like, “God that Horsemen record you did was awesome!”

      Also I had the same pink hat the Randy has in the Big Lie video.

      It was the early 90’s…neon pink hats were the thing.

      I bought this and one other solo album in the same Columbia House order — the other was Dickinson’s Tattooed Millionaire. One I loved, the other I was beyond disappointed and embarrassed in.


        1. I built a lot of collections from them. For certain bands, they were great. But for the longest time there were many bands that you couldn’t get through them.


  2. Thanks to this review, I believe I can steer clear. Shame, the Dude’s a great guitarist.

    Rap. Hell, even Rollins did a kind of, um, rap in the 90s. Remember Wartime? The writhing in the wter has gotta be something he wishes he could take back…



  3. Triumph was one of the best ‘almost really good bands’ of the era. Even their good stuff I would say had a sterile sound to it. But I was and am a fan of some of the old stuff!`


  4. Here here…actually Mike a buddy just gave me a few days ago a ripped copy of A Night Of Triumph just the audio.
    Remember it’s the one from Much music that was filmed in Halifax yeah Halifax the rock n roll capital of the world according to Mike Levine!
    Amazing that they play 12 songs clocking in over at 90 minutes!
    I haven’t listened to it yet but it’s on my iPod ……
    Gonna get there man…..


  5. Nope, the Sport Of Kings Tour…
    They open with Tears In The Rain…that is why I gotta wrap my head around this whole SOKs deal,again…hahahahaha….
    At least it’s live!


  6. Didn’t know anything about his solo career until I found this cassette… big mistake. Boring songs one after another. “Stand And Deliver” has a vague Triumph sound but most of this stuff is forgettable.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I like Rik Emmett no matter what shape it takes. I bought this album and enjoyed it on its merits, even though it was lighter compared to “Surveillance.” I appreciated the fact Rik had to play corporate games in order to survive in those days. I recently rebought it on CD and still listen on occasion. Very little of it causes me to cringe, I guess because I’m a musical realist. I would still take this over anything being recorded in the present-day by so-called artists.


    1. Hi Jeffrey, thanks for the comment. We can’t all like the same things. Realist or not, I have been playing this occassionally this year and probably like it more now. Don’t ask Popoff what he thinks though!


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