Released: August, 1984
Label: Scotti Bros., Volcano
Producer(s): Ron Nevison
Singles: “I Can’t Hold Back”, “High on You”, “The Search is Over”, “First Night”
My “Vital Signs” CD
I am extremely biased when it comes to Survivor and especially this phenomenal 1984 AOR classic. Survivor’s music is like magic to me – it’s capable of instantly putting a smile on my face and lifting my spirits. I don’t think I can objectively review this album, because to me, this pure gold, titled “Vital Signs” has absolutely no weak point and it was definitely 100% matching what I love and seek for in music. So, I will just try to explain why I love this album so much and why is it one of the most essential albums of the 80s.
Dave Bickler, Survivor’s initial vocalist, had to be replaced due to vocal problems. Jimi Jamison joined the band and with his outstanding vocal abilities completely blew the roof off everyone. I often refer to him as the greatest rock vocalist. It’s such a shame that we lost him.
Every song, featuring on “Vital Signs” is an absolute melodic rock hit. It’s definitely not as hard as their previous albums; however that’s not a bad thing. On the contrary, the effective formula that combines peaceful acoustic guitar, gentle and emotional vocals, calming riffs and tender melodies is what make the album so brilliant. Harmony, instruments, rhythms, lyrics – they go together in such an unimaginably good style that for a moment there we forget that this is in fact a very commercially-crafted album. And here, I should say that there’s nothing wrong with being commercial, as long as what you do is tasteful and beautiful. “Vital Signs” (along with other 80s rock albums such as Bon Jovi’s “Slippery When Wet”, Def Leppard’s “Hysteria”, TOTO’s IV and many more) is one of the examples of a commercial but fabulous album!
Let’s talk about the songs.
The slow “The Search is Over” is the song that made me completely fall in love with Jimi’s voice. The lyrics are bringing you nothing but hopes and a strong desire to find your destined love. The lines “You followed me through changes and patiently you’d wait…’Till I came to my senses through some miracle of fate” are melting my heart…
“Popular Girl” is my favourite song from the record – it’s catchy, uplifting and so easy to sing along with. Most importantly, it creates a visual story inside your mind when you listen to. You can always recognize a good song if it activates your imagination. “She walks down the street, knocks ’em dead on their feet with a casual nonchalance…When she’s breaking your heart, she’s the state of the art…” – I mean this is just incredible!
“It’s The Singer Not The Song” is a track I truly wish more people would listen to and appreciate as much as I do. I mean, lyrically speaking this song just beats all the others on the record. “It’s the man behind the music…It’s the singer not the song” is an unforgettable line.
“High on You” was one of the first Survivor songs I’ve ever listened to. Needless to say it was love at first listen. I knew I would become a huge fan of the band from the first note… Romantic, harmonious and filled with such beautiful words and lovely keyboards – no wonder this song became one of Survivor’s major hits. “Piercin’ eyes, like a raven, you seemed to share my secret sin. We were high before the night started kickin’ in…” is my favorite line from the track…
Then we have the gentle “I Can’t Hold Back”; the building-up energizing “First Night”; the hard-rocker “Broken Promises”; the sweet ballad “Everlasting” and my second favorite song from the record – “I See You in Everyone” which even after the 1000th listen still gives me the chills…
Many people consider Survivor as a two-hit band (those two hits being “Eye of the Tiger” and “Burning Heart” from Rocky) but think again, fellas! Survivor are so much more than that. Also, after all those years I still cannot understand the constant comparison with Journey. Yes, both of those bands are the absolute “American-favourites”, however Survivor’s style and attitude is completely different and let’s not fight on who’s a better singer – Jimi or Steve, because “Vital Signs” makes it quite obvious, I think…
“Vital Signs” is a must-listen and a must-have record if you are a fan of melodic hard rock from the 80s. God bless Jimi and his one-of-a-kind voice…I truly miss you…
“I Can’t Hold Back”
“High on You”
“The Search is Over”
“It’s the Singer Not the Song”
“I See You in Everyone”
“Moment of Truth”
I Can’t Hold Back
The Search is Over
High on You
I See You in Everyone
It’s the Singer not the Song