“The Best Year of My Life”
Written by Eddie Rabbitt and Even Stevens
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
December 14, 1984
#1 (1 week)
January 12, 1985
Eddie Rabbitt was dominant at radio earlier in the decade, and he would remain popular on the airwaves until the end of it.
But the No. 1 hits are becoming less common. Radio Romance had produced two No. 1 singles, but a hits collection that followed included two new tracks that both barely cracked the top ten. He returned to the top five with “B-B-B-Burnin’ Up With Love,” the lead single from his 1984 set, The Best Year of My Life. The title track was released next, and returned him to No. 1.
“The Best Year of My Life” captures a familiar dilemma that befalls established artists who are associated with a specific sound. Rabbitt was an Urban Cowboy king, but that style was on its way out. This single finds him trying to move away from that signature style, but not quite making his escape.
He simply can’t resist some of those pop flourishes, despite their being more acoustic instrumentation than the usual for him. They don’t distract from the song, which is a solid composition, but they don’t add anything meaningful to the record, either.
The biggest misstep here is Rabbitt’s approach as a vocalist. He leans into his higher register at multiple points, and it simply doesn’t work. He sounds like he got caught in his zipper when he goes for those notes, like he noticed mid-song that his fly was open and he had to remedy it quickly without wasting recording tape.
He’s fine on the rest of the track, but those high notes bring things down too low for me to recommend this one.
“The Best Year of My Life” gets a C.
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