Saturday, August 28, 2010

Classic melodic rock CD of the week

By Stephen Kasenda

HEART "Heart" (1985)

Following a formation change in Heart's camp and the commercial failure of the two albums in early 80s, the Wilson sisters made a strong return with their eponymous album, which was the first on Capitol Records. It spawned 4 successful singles and nailed 5 million sales in the US alone. This is the pinnacle of their entire career and this album sealed the top Billboard 200 spot on late 1985. Musically, Heart began to show a huge pop/AOR influence, leaving most of their 70s hard rock element behind.

Honestly, there's no dull moment inside, especially if you're into AOR, from the heavy rockers of "If Looks Could Kill", "The Wolf", and "Shell Shock", to the passionate power ballads of "What About Love", "Never", and "These Dreams", Heart delivered their affecting performances flawlessly. Ann Wilson's voice is undoubtedly enthralling and magical, but what surprised me is how Nancy took the lead singer role on their number one single, "These Dreams", and her heartwarming voice is so pure. I've read somewhere that she caught a cold fever at that time this song was recorded and you can hear how the illness ironically wrapped her voice with a raspy feel that made her vocal even better.

Unfortunately, the production is quite poor. The volume is very thin and it's hard to hear the bass, but other than that, this album is completely stunning. The songs are nostalgic, beautiful, and after 25 years old, it never gets old and rusty. While I also kinda like their newer releases such as "Brigade" and "Bad Animals", this is definitely their greatest album.

Read more of Stephen’s features at MetalMusicArchives.


Real Gone said...

I'd love to know what went wrong regarding the CD pressing of this. The mix used makes 'If Looks Could Kill' virtually unlistenable.

Bill's Music Forum said...

Agreed - this CD is long overdue for the reissue treatment! With luck, it will get remastered and resissued with some bonus tracks from the era!