Pretty Maids – Red Hot And Heavy
I didn’t hear this album until the early two thousands. I had “Future World” on LP, however any other release by the band was available via an expensive IMPORT price of $50 to $70 Australian. And then Napster came along, and then Audio Galaxy, LimeWire and cloud sites like Rapid Share. Suddenly, people’s music collections were available everywhere and at any time.
For this album there was no dropping the needle, it was all about putting on my headphones, plugging them into the computer and pressing play to the mp3 tracks, lined up WINAMP.
It kicks off with what I know as the “Excalibur” theme, and others know as ‘O Fortuna’.
“Back To Back” and “Cold Killer” have cool riffs and show off their NWOBHM influences.
“Red Hot and Heavy” shows off it’s Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest and Scorpions influences.
“Waitin’ For The Time” and “A Place In The Night” are AOR Melodic Rock to a tee.
And that’s why I always enjoyed the albums from “Pretty Maids”. Like Dokken and Y&T, they lived somewhere in between heavy metal and hard rock and melodic pop.
Rush – Grace Under Pressure
Ernest Hemingway said “Courage is grace under pressure.”
And when you are pushing towards the mid 80s, Rush showed true courage in delivering another album full of synth rock. Hell, talk about courage, some songs don’t even feature any bass guitar.
“Distant Early Warning” has a keyboard riff which sounds excellent played on a distorted guitar.
“Afterimage” is my favourite track and “Red Sector A” has this riff from about the 1.10 mark, which makes me press repeat on this track.
This is also the track which has no bass guitar
“Are we the last ones left alive? Are we the only human beings to survive?”
And its these first three tracks which still get played to this day.
The Alan Parsons Project – Ammonia Avenue
The album came out in February 1984 and it was meant to capitalize on the platinum success of “Eye In The Sky”. And although it went Gold, the album was seen as a failure. MTV was a game changer and if you looked like a studio band, you didn’t stand a chance with a new empowered generation of rock and metal heads.
But to me there are always a few cool tracks on APP albums which I can relate to.
On this one, “Let Me Go Home”, “Dancing On A High Wire” and Pipeline” are stand outs.
Chris DeBurgh – Man On The Line
Chris DeBurgh doesn’t get enough credit as a Rocker because his ballad, “Lady In Red” was so huge, it dwarfed everything else he released. Then again, each album he did release always had more ballads than rockers.
“The Ecstasy Of Flight (I Love The Night)” is the song which stood out for me and I remember hearing it on a music video show and taping it.
Midnight Oil – Red Sails In The Sunset
They write songs about Australia, our environment, our history, our culture and our attitudes.
And it resonated and connected with people.
“Kosciusko” and “When The Generals Talk” are the standouts here.
Meatloaf‘s “Bad Attitude” didn’t have anything earth shattering on it, but the title track and “Surfs Up” are derivative versions of previous Meatloaf songs and are a cool listen.
Billy Squier – Signs Of Life
It all comes back to the “Rock Me Tonite” video.
Cheesy; yes, terrible idea; yes, but did it really kill Squier’s career because in the 80s there was a lot of cheesy bad videos for artists.
Squier like many others had some success early on and then struggled to duplicate it. Twisted Sister comes to mind immediately and so does Quiet Riot. That’s not to say this album doesn’t have good songs, it’s just the audience had moved on.
“All Night Long” is excellent while “Reach For The Sky” has a feel and groove borrowed from The Police and Gotye used a similar groove and feel for “Somebody That I Used To Know”. Quick call the lawyers.
“Hand Me Downs” borrows from “Long Way To The Top” in the verses. Quick call the lawyers again.
Don Henley – Building The Perfect Beast
“The Boys Of Summer” was everywhere and what a song. I didn’t hear the rest of the album until the late 90s. Other tracks which stand out to me are “Not Enough Love In The World”, “Driving With Our Eyes Closed” and “Land Of The Living”.