SHOCK/DENIAL/ANGER/ACCEPTANCE is only Rick Springfield's second album in sixteen years, following 1999's strong KARMA. However, anyone expecting the tough pop of Springfield's 80's work is in for a rude awakening. S/D/A/A is an in-your-face, oft-times frantic, hard-edged rocker, with some of the darkest, most pained lyrics to be penned in ages. At almost fifty minutes, it goes on around ten too long - dropping two or three tracks would have tightened the disc up - and, as per this year's new rule, I'm shaving off half a star for not including the lyrics (If EVER an album needed lyrics to be provided...!) but, ultimately, S/D/A/A is a disc well worth having. Opening with the thrashing, tough-edged power pop of "Perfect", you can't help but believe Springfield when he sings "Hey, hey, my, my/Said my perfect love would never die/Perfect love, perfect sin/There is no perfect anything." Next up is the manic "I'll Make You Happy." With it's power chord guitar riffs and shouted vocals, this is rock at it's most exhaustive! "Will I?" is a guttsier, more grown-up version of "Jesse's Girl" - "Jesse" after a decade or two in the real world! - while "God Gave You To Everyone", with it's pounding beat and soaring chorus, is both infectious and heartbreaking. "Idon'twantanythingfromyou" is also hard to listen to...it's almost like reading someone's diary. With it's powerhouse riffs and unbridled anger and pain, this is bare-boned rock at it's rawest. Next is the pounding, militaristic "Jesus Saves." With lyrics like "When I said I'd die for you/I didn't mean for you to write the eulogy", it's obvious Springfield is exorcising some demons by the time he arrives at the venomous chorus. "Beautiful You" is a much-needed break....more pop-leaning, the song features a powerful lead vocal and a soaring arrangement, including some intoxicating piano work from Derek Holland that floats in and out at just the right moments. A hit single waiting to happen! "Wasted" would have been nicer if they had stayed with the opening acoustic vibe, but there's no denying the song's strength. "Shoot Your Guru" is an instrumental interlude that could have easily been eliminated, as could the jazzy "Alien Virus." "Angels Of The Disappeared" is honest and unaffected, while "Eden" is captivating, whatwith it's electronica strings, minimal guitars and sequenced vocals. "The Invisible Girl" has a breezy quality to it, but the lyrics are just as pointed ("I put a band-aid on a bullet wound/And ignore the infection"). "My Depression" is another manic, island-tinged autobiographical number that reinforces the thought that the sins of the parent are often passed on to the child. "Every Night I Wake Up Screaming" is one of S/D/A/A's more unique cuts. One quarter Metallica, one quarter Jackson Browne, one quarter Red Hot Chili Peppers and a final quarter classic Springfield, the song comes together in a way you just wouldn't expect. Rounding out the CD is "Open My Eyes." With it's wistful, delicate groove and angelic Eagles/Beach Boys-like vocals, the song is simple and sparse, with only the title's three words (along with "to you") repeated over and over. However, much like Fleetwood Mac's "When I See You Again" from TANGO IN THE NIGHT, it works, and works well! It end's SHOCK/DENIAL/ANGER/ACCEPTANCE on a note of hope and, as good as the CD is, there's not a lot of that to be found throughout the disc's seventeen pained, powerful tracks.