Friday, August 1, 2014

HEART-Heart (1985)


Even at the end of a day or week of exploring new artists and new music I've never heard before, my heart is always still in the 80's, so I thought I'd share some love for one of my favorite female-fronted rock bands from my favorite decade: HEART. I love whenever I get the chance to rave about an artist whose music I grew up with, and Ann Wilson and company had grown on me after every time I heard any one of their hits playing on the radio. Their self-titled 1985 album is the one I get excited about the most, because three out of my five all-time HEART favorites are right here—each a timeless, unforgettable classic that brings back so many warming memories from my childhood. Can you guess what that trio is? Mentioning 'radio' was probably already a dead giveaway, so if you've been a listener to the family easy-listening stations or the hard rock stations, you already have your answers. If not, then I'll give you a little hint: they play back-to-back-to-back on this album. #1 would be the power ballad "What About Love?". 'What about love, don't let it slip away.....' I feel like singing it right now! And yeah, is powerful alright; just where did Ann get that voice of hers? Love that voice especially in the climatic waning moments when she keeps screaming 'love' and that one show-stopping moment when that voice soars off the scale! Great sound all around! Then #2 is a jam that I've literally been playing over and over repeatedly in my own mental jukebox for the better part of a month now: "Never". I will never get tired of listening to "Never"! I love this song so much that I don't even need to be listening to it before I just bust out singing it, word for memorable word:

'.....if we stay any longer, surely we will never get away'
oh-oh, anything you want, we can make it happen
stand up and turn around, never let them shoot us down
Never! Never! Never! Never run away

And I like when sister Nancy adds in the 'no!' on backing vocals in the second and third passes of that amazing chorus! Oh, and I love that line in the second verse that goes 'now walk those legs right over here', plus the closing moments of the song, too, where they keep repeating 'we can't go on, never!'. The best place on this jam to sing right along! And now I feel like singing this one, too! Another sign of super-addiction? I'm never gonna get this song out of my system. And neither will I ever break free of what I'd say is one of THE signature soft rock hits of the 80's: "These Dreams". My #3 in my trio of favorites is like the perfect soft rock radio song—not too loud—even though I really like to hear Ann Wilson when she's loud—and pleasing to everyone's ears. That familiar sweet, hazy melody and Ann's soothing vocals against slow, graceful rhythm make me smile every time. And that hook with those memorable lyrics? 'These dreams that sleep when it's cold outside, every second of the night, I live another life.....'—absolutely fabulous! Can I start singing "These Dreams" as well without the actual music needing to be playing through somebody's speakers? You betcha! I could toss in a #4 along with that trio of favorites, even though the memory factor isn't quite the same: "Nothin' At All". I'm sure I've heard this lesser hit on the radio a bunch, but I always remember it as being an instant catch the first time I even played this album. As for the more energetic, harder-rockin' jams, you can't go wrong with the killer opener, "If Looks Could Kill" (yeah, that Ann Wilson was a hot rockin' diva back in her day), "The Wolf" (yeah, she's howling like a wolf alright, with those roaring vocals of hers!) and the final cut, "Shell Shock". A couple of other tunes I like but didn't remember too much until I decided to help myself to a listening of them in the wee hours of this morning are "Nobody Home", which has a similar warming feel to it along the lines of "These Dreams", and "What He Don't Know", which I love largely because of its melody. So have a heart, in the words from a song by bluesy rock sweetie Bonnie Raitt, and relive these heart-felt music memories from this album with me:

1. If Looks Could Kill
2. What About Love?
3. Never
4. These Dreams
5. The Wolf
6. All Eyes
7. Nobody Home
8. Nothin' At All
9. What He Don't Know
10. Shell Shock

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