Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Glen Burtnick-Heroes & Zeroes (1987)


With my mind having wandered back into the awesome 80's again, I felt it was a perfect time to dig up something else from my favorite decade that was influenced by a recent new music recommendation, among many. Despite my love for 80's hair-band rock and my fairly widespread knowledge of a pretty big chunk of artists from that category, Glen Burtnick's "Heroes & Zeroes" served as one more good reminder that there's still an even bigger chunk of 80's rock that I've yet to make an impact on with my music listenings, No recollection whatsoever of exactly how and when I got acquainted this rocker, although I realized I had already featured his "Talking In Code" album here at "The Music Spectrum" a couple of years ago. Then I'd completely forgotten Glen was a long-time member of the legendary rockin' bunch called STYX, another hair-band that I've largely missed out on over the years. Somewhere down the road—perhaps in the immediate foreseeable future, even—I'll have to break out a STYX album or two; in the meantime, I broke more new ground in the bottomless cavern of 80's rock with this second Glen Burtnick effort. Those gritty-voiced rockers—they're always the best, and that's why my ears and I had been immediately impressed listening to his first album, "Talking In Code", just as I was immediately impressed upon taking in this album's energetic opener, "Follow You". The absolute perfect classic 80's rock jam to get the juices flowing—that's what "Follow You" is. Everything's gonna be alright if he follows the one he loves, as he states throughout, and everything I love about 80's rock was right on point with the big hook and Glen's loud, soaring vocals leading the way. "Spinning My Wheels" keeps those rockin' engines running; it's one where I found Glen's wild and roaring vocals to be an exceptional highlight! There are always those rock jams that are totally fun and totally capture the spirit of the carefree 80's. "Stupid Boys" is one of them, whose words of 'stupid boys and stupid girls are all around the world' being suckers for love speak the absolute truth about the whole game of love that's still being played by millions all across the globe today. "Heard It On The Radio" is a second one; it is indeed like the perfect classic 80's rock jam to hear through the radio speakers while driving around in your car, thanks largely due to the extremely catchy hook featuring the collective background voices singing title lyrics over and over. Then there's "Abalene", a very delightful song about a special woman that is beautifully arranged with its more softer, easy-listening approach. It had occurred to me while listening that songs about women was a recurring theme back in my favorite decade amongst rock bands. And why not? They were often a huge success. Keeping me and my ears hooked to this album further were the respectively catchy hooks of "Walls Came Down" and "Love Goes On", but nothing dug its hooks any deeper inside of me than the terrific gem that is "Here Comes Sally". Shades of that 60's punk era can be heard amidst the high-tempo, energetic beat, which has a skippy, happy-go-lucky vibe about it that makes me happy while taking in the tale of a potentially troublesome woman who has suddenly popped up back into the songwriter's life. And that glitzy sound of the jingly keyboard accompaniment, plus the instrumental break midway through featuring the harmonica and the banging drums? Very, very nice! A surprise for my ears stepped in with the concluding cut, "The Day Your Ship Gets Thru". Was immediately impressed with Glen's mellow, soothing acapella in what beings as a tender, piano ballad (I found the lush harmony of the backup vocalists added even more sweetness to the song's already sweet story) before the music suddenly shifts with the loud rock guitars screaming throughout the closeout sequence. Glen Burtnick: he's all the 80's rock hero and a whole lot more than zero:

1. Follow You
2. Spinning My Wheels
3. Walls Came Down
4. Stupid Boys
5. Love Goes On
6. Heard It On The Radio
7. Abalene
8. Here Comes Sally
9. Scattered
10. The Day Your Ship Gets Thru

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