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”

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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
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[PLAYLIST] ’80s GLAM ROCK Through the Music of 10 Great Bands

10-glam-rock-albums

Welcome to the ‘80s – the hair was too big, the fashion was outrageous but the music was GREAT!

Inspired by ‘70s British glam rock artists, such as David Bowie, T.Rex and Roxy Music, glam/pop metal became the biggest monster genre trend on the music scene in the States throughout the ‘80s. Kicking things off with bands such as Cheap Trick, Kiss, Van Halen and of course Alice Cooper and evolving into rock acts, like Cinderella, Ratt, Warrant, Dokken and so many others, the glam/pop metal domination was simply out of control. Not that this was a bad thing – on the contrary. The ‘80s gave birth to some of the most talented and exceptional musicians of all time. The looks played a huge role, I can’t argue with that. However, once you go beyond the heavy make-up and tight spandex pants, all you are left with is awesome music, crashing guitar riffs and catchy melodic hooks that bring you nothing but fun, excitement and tons of feelings and emotions of all kinds. Looks and music aside, places once again were significant for the popularization of a specific musical culture. The LA music scene and in particular that sinful Sunset Strip where all the rock bars and nightclubs were located, turned into the mecca of the entertainment industry. Basically, that “little” 2.4km stretch of Sunset Boulevard became the hottest place to be!

Back to the music talks, the glam rock frenzy was probably the best thing that could’ve happened in the ‘80s, at least to me. I can’t really imagine my life without representatives of the genre, such as Cinderella, Danger Danger and Dokken, for instance. These bands and their electrifying rockers, stunning power-ballads, tough attitude and weird, but still appealing music videos will always play such an important part of my life. Unfortunately, it all came to an end when grunge acts started appearing one after another. Don’t know what you got, till it’s gone, right?

Since I was in the mood for some serious hair metal power, I prepared this little playlist of 10 songs by famous (or not so famous) bands, which I have always considered as the best among all glam rockers of the ‘80s. Some of them are even among my most beloved bands of all time (like Cinderella, for instance). I have gathered tunes that I believe are the perfect example of the glam rock wave that flooded the music scene in the USA, especially in the second half of the ’80s. If you are a dedicated fan, you most certainly know them. If you are making your first steps towards the genre, this is a good place to start. [My Rock Mixtapes] gives you ’80s GLAM ROCK through the Music of 10 Great Bands.


Cinderella – Shake Me (1986)

cinderella-night-songs-2

In 1986, one of the most distinguishable and talented hard rock bands debuted with an album that put to shame even the rock veterans. Vocalist and lead songwriter Tom Keifer is one of the reasons why this world is such a great place! “Shake Me” was their debut single and I thought that it’s a very good place to start our glam rock discussion and playlist. The MV is iconic and the song that accompanies it is just brilliant! Tom is a killer, one-of-a-kind vocalist and “Shake Me” is a great uplifting and energizing tune that begs you to crank it up!


White Lion – When The Children Cry (1987)

white-lion-pride

New York’s White Lion, led by Danish singer Mike Trampand and guitarist Vito Bratta debuted in 1983 but it was their sophomore album, titled “Pride” (1987) that drove them to stardom. I’ve always considered White Lion, along with Cinderella, as two of the most talented and worthy examples of glam rock bands. That sophomore album by White Lion is filled with outstanding rockers, including classics like “Wait” and “Tell Me”. This time, though, the focus would entirely be on the beautiful mellow rocker, “When the Children Cry”. This song proved (and still keeps on proving) my point – glam rock bands created some really meaningful and timeless compositions and it most definitely wasn’t all about the looks and the ladies!


Giuffria – Call To The Heart (1984)

giuffria-giuffria-1984

Giuffria (led by keyboardist Gregg Giuffria) debuted with a splendid self-titled album in 1984. Armed with breathtaking songs, like “Do Me Right”, “Don’t Tear Me Down” and of course “Call to The Heart”, no wonder the impact of that album was so colossal. “Call to the Heart” is I believe the greatest song of their career (not to mention a personal favorite). Vocalist David Glen Eisley should’ve been bigger. His voice strikes quite the resemblance with Steve Perry, actually. Anyhow, I stand by what I said – this album and this tune are amazing and should NOT be forgotten!


Great White – Once Bitten Twice Shy (1989)

great-white-twice-shy

Although it’s a cover version of a popular song by Ian Hunter, I decided to include “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” by Great White because I think it’s much better (and more influential) than the original. On top of it all, it’s the song that defined Great White’s career like no other, reaching top 10 positions in both UK and the States. “…Twice Shy” (1989) was the crown jewel of Great White’s career, I believe. This song, along with classics like “The Angel Song” and “House of Broken Love”, also featuring on their fourth studio album, are absolute staples of the pop rock / glam metal musical phenomenon in the late ‘80s.


Warrant – Heaven (1989)

warrant-dirty-rotten

Power ballads were a must for any hard rock band. No power ballad = no chance of getting signed to a label or releasing an album. Those were the rules of the game and Warrant just knew how to win it. “Heaven” was the second single from their 1989 debut album, “Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich”. It didn’t take that long for the track to became a sensation and turn into the band’s most commercially successful song of their career. The fans, the radio stations, the critics – everyone loved it and there’s a reason why, believe me. Jani Lane brought so much passion and beauty into a world full of songs about partying hard and drinking all day and all night. It’s definitely Warrant’s best song one of the best power ballads of the ‘80s.


Ratt – You’re In Love (1985)

ratt-invasion-of-your-privacy

I can’t talk about glam rock and not mention Ratt! Their sophomore album, titled “Invasion of Your Privacy” (1985) is a premium example of an album, following the musical trend and one of the best of its kind, as a matter of fact. Classics like “What You Give Is What You Get” and “Lay It Down” could be heard on that second release of theirs. For this playlist, however, I chose their second single “You’re in Love” because I love the strong vibe that comes out of this tune. One listen and you’re absolutely hooked. Moreover, I wanted to illustrate the various themes and topics, as well as types of songs glam rock bands were producing back in the day. Vocalist Stephen Pearcy is bringing so much to the table on this one. The MV is groundbreaking!


Skid Row – 18 and Life (1989)

skid-row-skid-row-debut

Moving on to Skid Row, I think this song right here is where all discussions about the band should begin. Don’t get me wrong, they have so many songs that deserve recognition (and got way more of it compared to this one), but I think if we have to choose just one, it has to be “18 & Life”. Released as a single from their debut self-titled album, the rocker quickly turned into Skid Row’s biggest hit and ultimately a turning point in their career. I am a huge fan of Sebastian Bach and I even though this tune wasn’t written by him, it’s his vocal performance that made me fall inlove with this band in the first place.


Poison – Nothin’ But A Good Time(1988)

poison-open-up-and-say-ahh

If for a moment there we don’t look at that bizarre and ridiculous album artwork, we can actually find some excellent glam rock gems inside the album. The first single from “Open Up and Say… Ahh!” (1988) carries the laid-back title Nothin’ but a Good Time”. I chose this song, because it sums it up quite well: the ‘80s, the glam metal, the music, the bands – it was all about having nothing but a really good time. It’s a fun tune, capturing the essence of the genre – both lyrically and musically. Vocalist Bret Michaels is doing some pretty decent job too!


Dokken – Into the Fire(1984)

dokken-tooth-and-nail

“Tooth and Nail” (1984) is an absolute masterpiece and one of my most beloved albums of all time. The strength and musical brilliance of the album were born out of the hardships Dokken had to go through before releasing it. It was a tough time to be a glam rock artist in the late 80s – a period dominated by the early grunge movement. Despite all, the album materialized and thank God it did otherwise we wouldn’t have songs like “Into the Fire”. I am highly biased but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong. The album and the song are perfect!


Danger Danger – Naughty Naughty (1989)

danger-danger-album

We had a good time, we listened to some gorgeous power ballads and lyrically-rich tunes but now it’s time to wrap things up on a less-meaningful note. Danger Danger are the glam metal band to listen if you just want to have fun and forget about it all! Their self-titled debut album spawned some great songs, designed to bring you nothing but a sweet enjoyment! The debut single of their eponymous album bears the catchy title “Naughty Naughty” and as you suspected, it just can’t be taken seriously. That doesn’t mean it’s bad or unworthy. Not at all – it’s a super fun, sexy and exciting track. The guys are pretty good too! Ted Poley is a great vocalist too!


The playlist contains 10 Glam Metal tracks, selected based on my personal preferences and in accordance with the idea I am trying to deliver through this publication. There are plenty of other bands and artists who are representatives of the Glam Rock scene of the 1980s, but according to my opinion, the above 10 are some of the most notable ones. Please keep an open mind! Cheers

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~

 

[’80s Rock Album Focus] HELIX – Long Way To Heaven (1985)

helix-long-way

Released: November 9, 1985
Genre: Heavy Metal / Hard Rock
Duration: 36:25
Label: Capitol
Producer(s): Tom Treumuth

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OVERVIEW

If you are already in possession of Helix“Long Way to Heaven” or you just got your hands on it for the first time, there’s only one thing to do with it – CRANK IT UP and LET IT ROCK! The Canadian heavy metal rockers hit it quite big with their 1984 release Walkin’ the Razor’s Edge” so fans were pretty excited to see whether their third album for Capitol records will be as mighty as its predecessor. Don’t let the angelic album cover fool you – “Long Way to Heaven” is everything but innocent! The year was 1985 – the glam metal scene had already become an endless ocean where every 10 seconds a new band was trying to make its way between the shoals. That didn’t stop Helix from writing some top notch compositions and rocking the hell out of the ‘80s! Helix were never just about the hair, the glam, the big venues and the ostentatious music videos. They were a laid-back band that just knew how to make good old and highly enjoyable rock&roll. “Long Way to Heaven” doesn’t really stand out with its flashy production qualities, complicated arrangements or lyrics that can dig a hole in your heart. This album is all about having fun, drinking a beer and living life at its fullest!

“Long Way to Heaven” is one big ball of energy. It opens with “The Kids Are All Shakin’” – a worthy appetizer that builds up your excitement for what’s coming. Number two on the tracklist is the power ballad “Deep Cuts the Knife”. Released as the first album single (I love it when the first single is a ballad), the moving tune turned into one of the biggest radio hits from “Long Way to Heaven”. No surprises there – a bit heavier than your ordinary ‘80s power ballad which is exactly why it’s so good! What follows is a great playlist, featuring dangerously compelling rockers, like “Ride the Rocker”, “Long Way to Heaven” and my personal favorite “House on Fire”! I have previously expressed how much I adore a song with a persuasive guitar intro and “House on Fire’s” first 37 seconds just blew my mind! Every band had a song, named after a girl’s name. For Helix, it was “Christine” – another memorable, well-written moment, coming out of their fifth album!

Well-crafted hard rockers, superb vocals by Brian Vollmer and loads of straightforward hard rock spirit are the reason why “Long Way to Heaven” achieved the platinum status in Canada. Believe me, with this album the way to rock&roll is not that long! Cheers and take all the pleasure!


Long Way to Heaven

It’s a long way to Heaven
But only three short steps to Hell…

House on Fire

Deep Cuts the Knife

Christine

…or listen to the entire album here:


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~