Richard Marx's new album Beautiful Goodbye is his first collection of all-new, non-Christmas material in a decade, and it's a bit of a departure for him: instead of singing about relationships and romantic love, he's singing about sex and lust. Richard says he never went there in the past because he was a married man, but now that he and his wife of 25 years have split, he's experiencing what he calls "a liberation."
"The heyday of my recording career, my kids were really small," he tells ABC News Radio about steering away from anything too sexual in the past. "And it doesn't mean that I wasn't a man, but I don't know -- I think I monitored it. It wasn't about the fan base or feeling like, 'Oh, I don't want to alienate them or shock them'...It was more out of respect for my family a little bit. I probably would've written edgier lyrics if my life wasn't what it was then."
But that was then, and this is now, as Richard points out. "Now my kids are grown and I'm single: there's really nothing that I would second guess putting in a song, unless I thought it was too invasive of me personally," he tells ABC News Radio. "There's a liberation now. And I've had a couple people go, 'Did you say that?' And I went, 'Yeah.' And they go, 'Oh. Oh my. Really?'"
Summing up the theme of Beautiful Goodbye, Richard says, "You know, I've written these songs about forever, and eternity, and until the end of time. And these songs are really more like, 'What are you doing for a couple hours, or a couple weeks?' And I think that within that framework, within that concept, there's a lot of stories to be told."
But suddenly finding himself single and on the dating scene at age 50 wasn't the only reason he decided to tackle this topic.
"Yeah, sure, that certainly fueled it and informed a lot of the stuff I was writing," he says of his divorce. "But once I figured out the theme of the album, the rest of it was sort of just drawing on my own experiences, my own fantasies, my own pictures in my head. And even sometimes it's just writing little movies: little musical movies."
Richard calls Beautiful Goodbye probably his favorite album that he's made, which is odd, since he didn't even set out to make a record in the first place. He was just writing songs with people for a variety of different projects, and realized he was on to something.
"I just completely accidentally listened to these couple of songs back to back and I went, 'Wow. Those songs really go well together,'" he tells ABC News Radio. "It just lit the fuse, and from that point on, I knew exactly what I wanted the album to sound like and what I wanted it to be about...it was just fun to write all these songs that are basically all different versions of seduction."
The lyrics aren't the only thing that's different about the album: Richard also incorporated some new sultry sounds into the music itself, including a lot of Latin influences and, surprisingly, electronic dance music.
"I've been listening to a lot of EDM the last couple of years because my sons turned me onto it. The trance music and the more melodic stuff: it's dead sexy music. It's really sexy music," he says. In fact, he says he'll be happy if people start telling him that they're using the album as, shall we say, "baby-making music."
"That's why I made it!" he laughs. "And it doesn't have to be for baby-making. Just use it for practice!"
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