Released: 2004, Atenzia Records
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
Glen Burtnik is a singer/songwriter who was born and raised in New Jersey. He was a part of the Asbury Park music scene during the early 80’s and often shared the stage at the infamous Stone Pony with artists like Bruce Springsteen, Southside Johnny, Little Steven and Bon Jovi. Strangely, Burtnik doesn’t live in Hollywood as his new album’s title indicates, he actually lives in New Jersey with a wife, three kids and three cats.
As a solo artist, WELCOME TO HOLLYWOOD marks Burtnik’s fifth album. His first two albums, TALKING IN CODE and HEROES & ZEROS, are considered melodic rock classics.
Most people may remember Burtnik as the man who replaced Tommy Shaw in Styx and contributed some material for the EDGE OF THE CENTURY album. That album was followed by a longer tour through throughout the USA, Europe and Japan. Burtnik has also written material for Alias and John Waite to mention a few.
The biography I was sent says that Glen writes his lyrics as small novels, just like Bruce Springsteen for example, and he does it with memorable hooks and melodies. Since I only have a promotional copy and no lyrics I can’t say for sure if this is true.
I should start of by saying that I don’t have any info on which studio was used or when WELCOME TO HOLLYWOOD was recorded. I don’t have any info on what other musicians were involved either. I think though that it’s Glen who wrote the sixteen tracks on the album.
Plinky Giglio and Glen Burtnik produced WELCOME TO HOLLYWOOD together and they have done a pretty good job. The soundscape gives a shattered impression to say the least, but I guess that’s how Burtnik wanted it to sound. By a “shattered impression” I mean that it sounds like Burtnik does too much at the same time and so he can’t really make up his mind in what musical direction he should go. The music includes everything from melodic hard rock to slower ballads to up-tempo ballads to explosive rock ’n roll to high school punk rock.
Burtnik has a very appealing voice that fits the music, but he doesn’t really impress me that much. He says that this album is the heaviest album he’s ever done (I’ve never heard him before so I don’t know if that’s correct) and he describes it as “snapshots of life in the cult of American celebrity and a postcard from 5 years touring through the U.S.”
This album is nothing out of the ordinary at all. Sure, it’s well-written material but the whole album gives a shattered impression. The first edition of the album contains a limited edition DVD and that’s something for the fans, so they’re not going to be disappointed.