Album Recommendations: TRIXTER – “Hear!” (1992)

“Damn Good”

Hooked yet? You should be. I do really hope you clicked “play” and listened to that throat-grabbing glam metal track from the early ’90s. By the end of this publication I sincerely hope that you will get off the chair, go find your CD of “Hear!” and play it for old time’s sake. Even better if this is the first time you hear about this album and the band – what a way to get to know them, really!

I will try to be brief and let the music speak.

trixter

Most fans know the New Jersey band Trixter because of that smashing debut album, featuring the fan-favorites “One in a Million”, “Line of Fire”, “Give it to me Good” and “Surrender”. The guys created quite a fuss around themselves at the end of the ’80s and finally hit the record stands with their 1990 self-titled album. It was all great – MTV, endless tours, sharing a stage with the biggest names of the industry…what a kick-off! But hey, they totally deserved it.

In 1992 (yes, that incredible year of rock music), Trixer released their sophomore album, titled “Hear!”. The album is just as good and their debut but…it was impossible for a new-coming band to survive the Seattle “wrath”, or as we know it – the grunge movement. MCA records dropped them (unbelievable…) after the release of “Hear!”. MTV stopped caring as well…and BAM – all hopes and dreams got crushed as quickly as they arrived. I hate it.

Let’s go back to the album…

Hard and heavy. Everything is a killer and there’s not even a single filler!

Personal favorites – “Power of Love” and “Damn Good”. You had the chance to listen to “Damn Good” so check out this other energizing track. I am absolutely inlove with the drums on this one. Mark “Gus” Scott is damn good!

“Power of Love”

This song right here should give you a clear idea of why this band is featured on my blog and why they are worthy of checking out. There’s just something more there, you know. The mere definition of “underrated” – Trixter and this explosive heavy metal tornado of a track – “Rockin’ House”. Don’t you even get me started on Peter Loran – what a voice of steel!

“Rockin’ House”

Some more song for you to check out:

“Road of a Thousand Dream”

“Runaway Train”

“What it Takes”

Tell me what you think and what memories you have with this album?

Or if this is the first time you are checking these songs out, what do you think? Feel like this might be just for you? Comment below and subscribe to my blog to keep great music alive!


References:

Band photo, retrieved from http://www.theglamnationnetwork.com/trixter.html

THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

For My Love for Sophomore Albums: MR.BIG’s Lean Into It (1991)

Me, Mr. Big and Lean Into It

mr big lean into itThere we go again with the well-established trend I observe in me with most of the rock bands out there. The thing is that somehow I always fall for the sophomore releases; Not entirely sure why but I guess that’s when a band showcases growth and it is so appealing to witness and experience how musicians evolve into a better version of themselves. By the way, since we are talking about sophomore releases, I wrote an entire blog publication about it which you can check at My Top 10 Sophomore (Rock) Releases

Obviously, what I’m trying to get to is that once again, this time with Mr.Big, I fell for the sophomore release. You see the thing is that I didn’t even know. First two songs I heard from them back in the day were “To Be With You” and “Just Take My Heart” and I was hooked immediately. Got the album and the rest is history. Don’t get me wrong, their self-titled debut is pretty solid but I just love this one a little bit more. Let’s talk more about it and play some tunes!

mr big 1

What you need to know about this release is that basically it was Mr.Big‘s golden ticket to stardom. Things changed drastically for them after one of the songs, that “little” tune called “To Be With You” topped the charts. Single #2, “Just Take My Heart” left its mark as well. 

If I have to introduce Mr.Big to someone who has never heard of them, this is where I will start it. Why? Well, I will be brief. First of all, the most thrilling thing about “Lean Into It” is that it offers a mixture of pop rock, blues & hard rock (but not that hard), all wrapped up under a cozy, charming and familiar atmosphere. Second of all, this album is overflowing with talent. Vocalist Eric Martin was at his top game; oh, how much i love his soothing vocals! Paul Gilbert is an excellent shredder guitarist who maybe couldn’t spread his wings in entirely on this album, but still – tons of mind-spinning riffs. Ultimately, there’s no way in hell you wouldn’t appreciate this album’s artistry after just one listen.

The Songs

mr big to be with youWe gotta start our discussion with the ultimate sing-along anthem, “To Be With You”. One listen, that’s it! That’s all it takes for you to get hooked and sing it for the rest of your day. What truly impressed me were the lyrics – “Hold on, little girl
Show me what he’s done to you. Stand up, little girl. A broken heart can’t be that bad.” I’m sure you know what follows…

“Just Take My Heart” is the moment you realize that there’s a lot going on on this album and purchasing it was most certainly the smartest decision of your life! I included a few more songs on the playlist below, including “Green-Tinted Sixties Mind” and my personal favorite, “Never Say Never”

Comment below and tell me what’s your favorite song from “Lean Into It” and what do you think about it? Before you do that, crank up some Mr.Big!

“To Be With You”

“Just Take My Heart”

“Green-Tinted Sixties Mind”

“Never Say Never”

buy-from-amazon


References:
Album Artwork, retrieved from: https://www.amazon.com/Lean-Into-MR-BIG/dp/B000002IQS
Band Photo, retrieved from https://www.pinterest.com/adidjohari/what-i-ve-been-listen-since-elementary-till-now/
“To Be With You” Cover Photo, retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/To_Be_with_You
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

Bringing Back the ’80s with TOTO’s Classic Seventh Album (1988)

Toto and The Seventh Album

toto seventh oneToto is a household name when it comes to classic rock music and no one can change that. The best time to play their timeless classics? Well, that would be anytime! Is there actually a person out there who has never heard of “Africa” or “Rosanna” or “Hold the Line”? I don’t think so. Late ’70s and early ’80s were unquestionably the heydays of Toto. From their smashing 1978 debut to their fourth release in 1982 which is basically synonymous with ’80s rock music, the band was just at the top of the game.

toto straight
TOTO – Straight for the Heart (Photo retrieved fromhttp://www.45cat.com/record/3807945)

I grew up with Toto IV and that album will always have a very special place in my heart. I think the majority of fans would also pick this album as their favorite and for a reason! As I was getting older and had more chances to experience and understand music and formed a solid music personality, I discovered that when it comes to Toto, their seventh studio album goes right at the top of the list of my personal favorites. I don’t think it’s a popular opinion because neither the original voices of Toto, Bobby Kimball or Steve Lukather (who I adore so much) are the ones taking the lead on this one;. When Toto were re-introduced in my life at a later point, I used to listen to “Straight for the Heart” all the time, every day! This is till today one of the most upbeat and bright songs I have ever heard of. I got the album eventually and here we are – to a point where I can, with certainty, state that this is my favorite Toto album and not only because of that one song I love so much; there are just so many things happening on it! 

 

Before we get to the seventh one, let’s go back further in time. The mid-’80s was a turbulent time for Toto. Boby was fired, his replacement Fergie Frederiksen was also dismissed from the band so as you can imagine time was ticking and the stakes were high. Show had to go on, though. In 1986, Toto released Fahrenheit – the first album with new vocalist Joseph Williams and an album I really love (surprise, surprise). “Fahrenheit” couldn’t make a splash despite all the hopes and hard work put into it.

Two years later, in 1988, The Seventh One was out and the situation was even worse. It’s funny how my favorite Toto album is the lowest-charting album of their career (not that it matters). On a positive note, the album was very well-accepted by overseas audiences, especially in Europe and Asia. My love for vocalist Joseph Williams is satisfied on two* classic albums only. Unfortunately, after The Seventh One, he was also fired because of  troubles with his (gorgeous) voice. It took the band about 4 years to re-assemble but as we all know it, the music industry was very different in the ’90s so even the great Toto couldn’t stand a chance. 

*Just FYI, Joseph Williams did come back to Toto for Toto XIV, released in 2015.


The songs

I want to say it so I’m just going to say it – this album is so much better than their fourth one (in my opinion of course). The rhythmic, groovy, dance/pop sound of the record is unbeatable!

We gotta start with “Pamela” which remained the only top40 hit from the album. I don’t understand why American audiences were so unwelcoming to this single (and the album as a whole) but Asian and European fans embraced it so warmly? For one reason or another this mysterious, brilliantly performed track didn’t get the attention it deserved and is one more reason to back up a statement I’ve been saying for years – chart positions mean nothing!

“Straight for the Heart” is a cheerful, sunny, pop/rock track, capable of conquering absolutely anyone out there! For me that song was a turning point – a new singer was added to my “favorite vocalists of all time” list and the rest is just history. There are many songs that makes you wanna smile, dance and forget about it all, but this song right here does all these things on a whole new level. I just love the melody and lyrics so much!

“Stop Loving You” is a very interesting track because it features my beloved Jon Anderson (vocalist of YES) on backing vocals. Not only that, but the entire song is such a blissful experience for my ears. I was listening to it while writing this and unconsciously I started moving! Seriously! I just love songs that provoke a physical reaction in you. So much live and character, what a tune!

The gorgeous ballad “Anna” (the other lady on the album), the dynamic “Stay Away” and the reggae-inspired ,“These Chains” are some of my other personal favorites on the album. The style, the atmosphere – this has to be Toto’s most energetic and groovy release so far. I am insanely happy that Joseph is back with them and cannot wait to see what the future holds! For now, enjoy these…

“Straight for the Heart”

“Pamela”

“Stop Loving You”

“Anna”


References:
Album artwork, retrieved from: https://www.pinterest.co.kr/pin/519251032017554090/
“Straight for the Heart” artwork, retrieved from http://www.45cat.com/record/3807945
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

ZINATRA – a Dutch Rock Band, Worthy of Discovering

You know how much I love digging up late ‘80s/early ‘90s hard rock bands that unfortunately didn’t last that long for one reason or another (mostly because of the grunge fever spreading all over the place.) I am the kind of person who just listens to these forgotten AOR/hard rock bands because judging by experience, some of them are worthier than many of the big names of the industry.  Unearthing buried music is a very rewarding experience, believe me. Swimming through the YouTube videos of AOR music with fewer than 1,000 views is something I recommend to everyone! That’s how I found this band I will talk about today – Zinatra. Don’t stick to the usual suspects, let yourself explore the bands that couldn’t hit it that big; thankfully, we have the Internet so use it!

A few things about the band before we jump into the music;

What you need to know about Zinatra (what a cool name, I wonder how did they come up with it) is that they are a hard rock band from the Netherlands, consisting of five members.

The band was formed in 1986 and disbanded in 1991 after the release of just two albums. Some of the highlights of their career include opening up for David Lee Roth on his “Skyscraper” tour and a top20 hit – “Love or Loneliness” from their debut album. Moreover, the band achieved success in Asian and South-American territories where they embarked on tours, filled venues and topped charts with songs like “Hero”.

The sophomore release featured a new keyboardist (Robby Valentine) and a solid determination to make an even bigger splash this time. The album was very well-received, especially in Japan (I love how much Japanese people were into ’80s hard rock music); Unfortunately, it just wasn’t enough. Vocalist Joss Mennen kicked off his solo activities and Robby Valentine got a signing deal with Polydor so this was basically it for Zinatra. Just wasn’t meant to be I guess. The changing musical climate were in my opinion the biggest factor that drove the guys away.

zinatra band
ZINATRA

1988 Self-titled debut

Zinatra debut album

I have included three songs which I believe best represent this album. Hopefully you will check the rest of it all, after you hear it. “Love or Loneliness” is undoubtedly their most famous track. The other two are equally appealing. I am very fond of “Hero” and that’s not just because I’m a softie. The ballad is absolutely gorgeous! To me, it’s always been all about the melody and this album right here is full of beautiful melodies that can satisfy any fan out there, like myself. This album is nothing phenomenal or unheard of but it’s something you just gotta experience. Vocalist Joss Mennen is just a bliss for my ears. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


“The Great Escape” 1990

Zinatra Album artwork

This album and the catchy “There She Was” introduced me to the band back in the day. I actually saw this album in its original Japanese packaging which led me to the music and to writing this now. I like the debut but this album I like a little bit more and I think that’s because Robby Valentine was added to the line-up; he was not just a keyboardist, he also contributed as a songwriter which clearly hit the spot for me. The album is melodic/pop rock at its finest. In addition to the entertaining bright track, “There She Was”, I included two more songs for you to check out – the rocker “Only Your Heart” and the power ballad “Too Blind to See”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


References:
Album artwork, retrieved from: https://www.pinterest.co.kr/pin/377246906263230272/
Album artwork #2 retrieved from http://ohrenbalsam.blogspot.bg/
Band photo, retrieved from https://heavyharmonies.com/cgi-bin/glamcd.cgi?BandNum=896&CDName=Zinatra
“Zinatra” on http://melodic-hardrock.com/bios/zinatra/
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

Remembering Jimi Jamison and his Final Album – “Never Too Late” (2012)

I don’t think I will ever get over the fact that Jimi is no longer with us. Yes, I do get the chance to listen to his magnificent voice on a daily basis, thanks to the huge legacy he left us with (with Survivor and his solo years); however, the mere thought that this gorgeous artist who had this out-of-this-world talent is gone, makes me feel so emotional, every single time.

Jimi 4I don’t think I’ve shared this before but me and Jimi go way back – way before I even truly knew what rock&roll was. Just like every ’90s kid out there, I was also part of that “Baywatch” frenzy that spread all over the world, including in my home country of Bulgaria. Surely, I had little idea of what was really going on on that show – I was what, like 4 or something, I don’t remember. What I always remembered though (besides the red swimming suits and the beautiful lifeguards) was of course, the opening song – “I’m Always Here”. I couldn’t speak English back then but I was loving this track so much! I didn’t know who Jimi Jamison or Survivor were but I knew how to sing those lyrics with my broken kiddo English/unknown language haha – you should’ve seen me. Many years later when Survivor became one of my most beloved bands of all time and I found out that the frontman was this exact person who sang one of the songs of my childhood, I was mind-blown. It all just fell into place and I guess destiny played its role. That’s one of the many reasons why I love and miss Jimi so much. Way before Def Leppard, Journey, Pink Floyd and the other favorite bands of mine, it was just him. He was always there and he will always be here – in my heart.


I do listen to Survivor on a daily basis and it’s been like this for many years. I personally don’t believe that there will ever come a time when I will get tired of albums like “Vital Signs”, “When Seconds Count”, “Too Hot to Sleep”, “Reach” or his solo albums, “Empires”, “Crossroads Moment” and of course the album I wanted to talk about today, “Never Too Late”. I really want to convey with words how much he and his music mean to me but I don’t think it’s possible. I just know that every part of my existence will love him and forever be thankful for his songs who were there when I needed them.

In 1984, Jimi Jamison joined Survivor, after Dave Bickler left the band….& the rest is history – a solid line of monumental releases, endless tours, going back and forth with Survivor, many collaborations…he was even asked to be the frontman of Deep Purple! He never truly left Survivor, though; Jimi took some time off to work on his solo stuff but ultimately, he was touring with the band till his dying breath.

jimi jamison never too late“Never Too Late” is the last solo album he released. It came out in November, 2012, via Frontiers Records (of course). No one knew that this was going to be his last release but I don’t think we could’ve gotten a more beautiful farewell than this one. The inspiring title, the touching words and and heart-melting songs are just a few of the reasons why I consider this album to be one of the purest, most angelic pieces of music I have ever heard. “Never Too Late” is an album with a message – you need to follow your dreams and despite the hardships of life, despite your broken heart, despite the endless fear – you need to keep going and don’t turn back! There’s just so much soul, so much character and passion within those notes; from start to finish, this album is one fantastic, life-changing, if I may say, melodic rock adventure you can never get bored of. One more thing – just look at the album artwork – it’s astonishing! The eagle is a symbol of freedom, opportunity, progression, determination – all important qualities needed to succeed in life. I think it perfectly suits the sonic atmosphere of the album.

Another amazing thing about “Never Too Late” is that it sounds like a vintage Survivor album from the ’80s. The title track could easily be mistaken for a “Vital Signs” single (it reminds me so much of “The Moment of Truth”). That’s not all!

I don’t know where to begin talking about the mesmerizing tunes you can find on this album. There’s absolutely no way you wouldn’t fall inlove with the playlist (unless you have a heart of stone). Jimi poured his soul out on each one of those tracks and because of his artistic sincerity, the connection is instantaneous (or at least it was with me).

The album opens up with “Everybody’s Got a Broken Heart” – a mid-tempo, spirit-lifting melodic bliss of a song with a beautiful message. Don’t even get me started on his soaring vocals. The title track starts similarly with a distinctive gentle piano, progressing into a motivational, day-brightening melody and a voice you could listen to for days and days… “I Can’t Turn Back” is my personal favorite; I get goosebumps every time I hear its opening – his voice is capable of playing with emotions like nothing else in this wold, I swear. Besides, the lyrics have been haunting me ever since I played it for the first time – “…I can’t turn back I can’t move on I cannot fight the feeling Though I know it’s wrong With the sweet lips of an angel The devil claims my soul I can’t turn back…”
All the tracks stand out with sensational intros – just pick any and you will see for yourself.  Magnificent songs like “Street Survivor”, “The Air That I Breathe”, “Bullet In The Gun” share this characteristic – a captivating intro that plays with your feelings right from the very first second. I almost forgot!!! “Hot Tonight” is another one of my personal favorites – the rhythms, the lyrics…this song keeps getting better and better with every listen!

I wish there was a possibility for me to deliver the entire spectrum of emotions I experience every single time I play a song from this album. I get sad, of course, because I miss Jimi so much; but I’m grateful, so grateful that I found him and he left me and everyone else out there with these beautiful gifts of art. I wish he was still here, releasing new albums, touring with Survivor…but that’s life and we have to accept it. He will never be forgotten.

Everybody’s Got A Broken Heart

Never Too Late

I Can’t Turn Back


P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

Album Recommendations: Shadow King’s 1991 Self-Titled Debut

I love giving life back to old-school rock gems by reminding people of their greatness. One of my favorite types of publications is “ALBUM RECOMMENDATIONS” because I get the chance to not only share some of my all time favorite less-known releases but I also introduce them to readers from all over the world who don’t know much abut these albums or don’t know about their existence at all. This week, I chose a special but short-lived band, named Shadow King because the members of this band (especially two of them) are very dear to my heart; on the other hand we have a pleasing hard rock record which deserves our attention. Let’s go!

Shadow King

Supergroups are highly intriguing, at least to me. There’s nothing cooler than having a bunch of well-known musicians, members of your favorite bands, teaming up for a project. You witness how pieces of different puzzles become a whole new piece and in most of the cases, the results are so satisfying! This was also the case with Shadow King. We have the founder – Lou Gramm, the voice of Foreigner, guitarist Vivian Campbell (Dio, Whitesnake, Riverdogs and now Def Leppard), bass player Bruce Turgon (Foreigner, Black Sheep, eventually the Lou Gramm Band) and drummer Kevin Valentine (Breathless, of Donnie Iris and the Cruisers and eventually also in the Lou Gramm Band); obviously there was a lot of talent in that band and under different circumstances, I’m sure they would’ve lasted for more than just a single release.

Lou Gramm had previously worked with Vivian Campbell and Bruce Turgon on his solo releases so the frontman knew quite well how to assemble a winning team. However, it seems to me that all members of the band were in some kind of a transitional period in those early ears of the new decade and that’s one of the reasons why I think they went their separate ways after this album. “Shadow King” ended up as an “in-between” project till the guys decided which way to go.

Shadow King were supposed to embark on an extensive tour and move on to new projects, however fate got in the way; Vivian became a member of (the greatest band in the world) Def Leppard; Lou and Bruce rejoined Foreigner in 1992 and they both, along with Kevin Valentine went on to become members of The Lou Gramm band in the early 2000s.

What’s in the past is in the past, though; Short-lived or not, I’m still grateful that they released this one album, full of breathtaking gems and glorious rock tunes.

The Self-Titled Debut

shadow kingI will try to be as straightforward as possible because when you have one of the strongest, most iconic rock vocalists of all time as a frontman, you can’t but expect the best. The most surprising thing, though, is that despite Lou‘s fame and worldwide recognition, many fans don’t really know this album and project even existed! Why, though? – The sound is maybe a bit too similar to Foreigner (well duh, Foreigner was founded by Lou) and people think they are just listening to the classic rock band; the time period was unsuitable – you know, the early ’90s wasn’t the best time to be a hard rock act and release an album that wasn’t “alternative”. Ultimately, I don’t know why people often forget about “Shadow King” but here I am, writing about it with the hopes of reviving it. And no, I’m not going to refer to it as Lou’s third solo album.

Most of the songs are written by the talented songwriting team of Lou Gramm and Bruce Turgon who skillfully crafted a catchy, highly enjoyable melodic rock playlist. Objectively speaking, the album cannot really compete with Foreigner’s earlier works, despite sounding a lot like a Foreigner album. Don’t be surprised – Lou was behind Foreigner’s iconic sound and classic songs. The difference is that now we have Vivian who changes the game for me; I may be a little bit biased but Viv is a top-notch guitarist and he can produce some of the greatest guitar sound out there.

The Songs you Must Hear:

Well, I am definitely recommending the entire album – from start to finish; however, if my words didn’t persuaded you to do so, I’m going to let you enjoy just a few songs from the self-titled release, to get a little idea of what’s going on (and why I’m so right).

The playlist didn’t get enough radio play despite sensational AOR classics like, “I Want You” and “Anytime, Anywhere”. There’s not even a single disappointing song on this record and I’m not just saying it for no reason. 

Have a listen at the beautiful melodic rock gems below and let me know what you think; I sincerely hope you appreciate the tunes and the album as much as I do.

What Would It Take

Once Upon A Time

I Want You


References:
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

Overview of REO SPEEDWAGON’s Smashing Hit Album,”Wheels Are Turnin'” (1984)

REO Speedwagon

A story…

A few weeks ago I went to this huge bookstore where they sell CDs and Vinyl records; I was looking for a REO Speedwagon CD and I asked one of the staff about it. (Not) Surprisingly, the person I asked had no idea who they were and while searching for the CD, they asked me about the band. I thought about it for a second – like, how do I introduce this American old-school rock band to a young European who doesn’t know anything about them. I just said that they are a melodic rock band and moved on (they didn’t have the CD I wanted either ways).

This made me think about it. Similar bands like Foreigner, Journey, Boston, etc. were quite popular in my country (and still are) but somehow REO Speedwagon didn’t really become a thing over here. Anyhow, I just really felt like dedicating a little something to one of my most beloved melodic rock bands and the first album of theirs I heard back in the day. My American readers would of course be well-aware of the band and their career but for the others, I hope you discover something life-changing!

REO Speedwagon formed in the late ‘60s even though many people might think that they are just one of the many ‘80s melodic rock bands. Yes, the early-to-mid ‘80s were indeed the heydays of their career, but they go way back! It would be somewhat difficult to go through every stage of the band and the numerous line-up changes that occurred throughout the years. Ultimately, what you need to know about them is that their early years were quite shaky (but very charming) and REO Speedwagon often reo speedwagon hi infhad a different frontman for every new release. The bell of success rang in the late ‘70s with their “You Can Tune A Piano, But You Can’t Tuna Fish” album. Their melodic rock/pop turn was fully made by the early ‘80s with staple rock albums like “Hi Infidelity” and “Good Trouble”. Both these albums, especially “Hi Infidelity” (1980) set the tone for the early ‘80s music scene and brought tons of recognition to the band. It was that same album that arguably defined the career of the band and remained their most beloved and critically acclaimed release.

“Wheels Are Turnin'”

reo speedwagonStill, if someone who has never heard of REO Speedwagon asks me to recommend him/her an album to start with, I’d pick “Wheels are Turnin’” in a heartbeat. Not only it’s one of their best-selling albums but it also contains some of the catchiest, most uplifting classic rock tunes that came out in the ‘80s. As a matter of fact, it was the first REO Speedwagon album I grabbed and where it all started from me.

The album did make quite the splash on the charts and spawned evergreen rock classics, including that “ballad” everyone knows the words to, “Can’t Fight This Feeling”. Many fans refer to “Wheels are Turnin’” as a “guilty pleasure” – back in the day, releasing a synthesizer-oriented album that early in the decade was still frowned upon; still, I’m certain that everyone was criticizing it but secretly listening to it ( you just cannot NOT fall for those magical melodic rock hooks). Keyboardist Neal Doughty wasn’t just your regular keyboardist; he was a true visionary and his elegant keyboard style was one of the main reasons why REO Speedwagon caught the attention of fans all over the world.

“Wheels are Turnin’” is so much more than the smashing hit single “Can’t Fight This Feeling”. I won’t argue though, this song is one of the main reasons why I was sold back in the day. The moment you hear “I can’t fight this feeling any longer…and yet I’m still afraid to let it flow,” you just start singing and you feel your heart filling up with joy and happiness. Every song on that album has a similar effect on me. The opening track, “I Do’ Wanna Know” is a personal favorite maybe because it has that early-REO Speedwagon vibe, mixed with modern elements. It’s actually the best of both worlds – raw and melodic. It’s most certainly a song that should’ve gotten more attention and recognition. “One Lonely Night” is another worthy track; Kevin Cronin was just born to sing for this genre. “Rock ‘N Roll Star” is an often forgotten rock anthem despite being a fantastic piece of a puzzle. The rest is just as appealing; from start to finish, “Wheels are Turnin’”, is a beautiful melodic bliss. If you are in a mood and need a little cheer, don’t go to the store for a huge box of ice-cream; instead, play REO Speedwagon’s “Live Every Moment” which has to be one of the liveliest and most positive songs I’ve ever heard. The album wraps things up with the title track which to me sounds as if it was made in the mid ‘70s, (that’s a great thing, of course). I’m unconditionally inlove with the piano touches and the riffs on this one.

REO Speedwagon flourished on their 11th studio album, “Wheels are Turnin’”. The guys just wanted to craft a satisfying piece of rock music and they did it. The album is breezy and atmospheric, overflowing with fantastic instrumentation, gratifying riffs and superb vocals. This album is as warm as an afternoon coffee with extra marshmallows.

Now, it’s time to listen to it….


“One Lonely Night”

“Can’t Fight This Feeling”

“I Do Wanna Know”


References:
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~