I Wanna Be With You/Goin' Nowhere Tonight
Released 1972 on Capitol
The Seth Man, September 2000ce
“I Wanna Be With You,” the second in Raspberries’ Trilogy of Horniness, was their third single from their second album “Fresh.” It’s the middle panel of the perfect Raspberries triptych, linking the first great joy of teenage love (“Go All The Way”) and the boomeranging flight path back to the Goddess (“Ecstasy.”) This track evokes the ever-yearning eternity of time between the first and second primal act with HER. In terms of passage of time, it’s a light year. In terms of anticipation, it’s a ceaseless, aching agony. And in terms of pop music, this single nails it with a huge Merseybeat hammer. A loud snare roll announces the opening of this desire-torn piece, the reverb studio production magnifying the Rickenbacker-esque jangle rhythms (Guitarist and Who fanatic Wally Bryson switching to a Les Paul after years on a Rick with The Choir) ring outs and Jim Bonfanti’s tom-tom dependent Ringo/Moon drum splashes in an exultant teenage war/love cry. Eric Carmen’s lead butterscotch vocals practically chant the title as 1963 Fab Four style call and response harmonies, beyond the mere corn this comparison suggests, propels yet another seamless series of pop hooks that are soon flying fast and furious. In the chorus Carmen belts out the magic word “Tonight” only to be loudly echoed by his harmonizing bandmates at the far end of the cavernous studio in a fully strident call to arms for the teenage love rite to commence -- and as quickly as possible. Then Carmen (he of the precariously tall hairstyle evocative of early Deep Purple) starts flipping between near-falsetto and masculine pronouncements more yearning than macho in the bridge (where they start to rock out behind session saxophones, shoring up the guitar rhythms) where it all rocks open. Especially with Carmen’s perfectly interjected “HAH!” in the middle of the verse captures all the pulse of a live rock out. Exchanges such as these were present even on their demo as they’d call out to each other “Que pasa!”/“Hey, mama!”/etc. not thinking one bit and too wrapped up in the moment to care. Yes, Raspberries were pop all the way and tight to boot, but were one of the rare instances when a pop band of their era were tighter still when they rocked out. Bizarrely, they only seemed able to do so within the confines of single A sides, the ultimate pop territory.