Published on October 17th, 2020 | by Justin G.
Mark Spiro: 2 + 2 = 5: Best Of + Rarities (Frontiers, 2020)
If you’re thinking “Mark Spiro, that name sounds vaguely familiar,” it’s probably because he wrote a good portion of the soundtrack to your youth. The melodic rock singer/songwriter is the man behind soundtrack staples like Cheap Trick’s “Mighty Wings” and “Axel F” from Beverly Hills Cop, and made a name for himself working with artists from Selena to John Waite to Giant to REO Speedwagon. Now the Frontiers label has put together a collection of Spiro’s solo material and other rare gems titled 2 + 2 = 5: Best Of + Rarities, and it’s a real treat for melodic rock connoisseurs.
2 + 2 = 5 is an interesting set. It skips right over Spiro’s early solo albums (I suspect due to rights issues) and grabs the highlights from his 1996-2012 albums. It sucks to miss the ’80s material, but his later solo material is still really solid stuff. The real draw of this set are the 13 previously unreleased tracks that feature early collaborations with artists like Dan Huff, Michael Thompson and Jim Vallance. Spiro was so plugged in to what made the ’80s and early ’90s melodic rock sound work that this collection is the perfect time capsule of that era. The melodies, the drama, the heart and soul…Spiro had it all, and was such a presence on so many classic songs from that era.
Even though this set desperately needs some songs from early in Spiro’s career (side note: why are those early albums not available on CD?), it’s still a fantastic showcase of one of the finest songwriters in the melodic rock scene. It gives you a solid overview of his later solo material as well as some real diamonds that no one has heard before. If you’re a die-hard melodic rock fan, and especially if you’re into artists like Giant, House Of Lords, Brett Walker, Arti Tisi and Mark Baker, 2 + 2 = 5 is a must-have collection.
Summary: Great collection of melodic rock gems