Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Romantics - In Heat (1983)


Note: this release was originally purchased as a cassette tape, later replaced by a CD.

First off, that's a great album title if you're a horny, teenage male (and in 1983, I was).  Secondly, I hadn't listened to this album in almost 30 years and I had forgotten how good it is.  Sure, it's not as rowdy and fun as their first album when they were trying oh so hard to be the Kinks.  I had that one on vinyl and loved the cover of She's Got Everything (still do).  This album is a bit smoother with it's production, but the power pop songwriting is so damn catchy.  For once, Village Voice critic Robert Christgau and I are in full agreement:
I was annoyed at first by the loud drums and big echo, which tend to dwarf their simple pop-rock, but daily doses of "Talking in Your Sleep" destroyed my resistance. Really, fellas, anything you say, I'll stop thinking altogether if that's the ticket. Just give me another HOOK! B+
I love it when I haven't heard something in many, many years and yet I remember every word to every tune.  For some reason, this tape didn't get any playing time after I graduated high school (maybe it had been replaced by constant playing of The Reflex and Hello Again), but finding it again just sent me scrambling for my senior yearbook.  I had big hair back then, but nothing like these guys.  And they didn't even offer their hairdresser a credit in the liner notes.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #14
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #15

Tracks:  The fantastic opener, Rock You Up is cross between ZZ Top's Gimme All Your Lovin' and Farmer John by The Premiers (like I tell my students, if your writing is going to be derivative, the least you can do is pick good source material.  These guys did.).  Even the filler (Diggin' On You, for example) has at least one hook in it.  The album closes with a fun cover of Shake A Tail Feather, which has been a favorite song since I heard Ray Charles crush it in the Blues Brothers movie.  This is one of those albums where the singles (Talking In Your Sleep and One In A Million) don't sound much like the rest of the album.  Don't get me wrong - they're great singles and I enjoy them - but they seem overproduced, popish, and synthy when compared to the rest of the material.  I'm guessing a record executive had something to do with that and, to his credit, that decision helped the bank accounts of all involved.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD:  During the spring of my senior year in high school, two cassette tapes never left my car: The Romantics' In Heat and Thompson Twins' Into The Gap.  During lunch, my buddies Brett and Roy would pile into the Markmobile and we'd scramble off campus to grab something from a local fast food place before stopping by the convenience store to stock up on candy and gum for our afternoon classes.  This cassette was usually blasting loudly as we rode around our small town like we were Ren and Willard in a VW bug riding around Bomont.

On a side note, having open campus during lunch for seniors seemed like a fantastic idea when I was 17.  Thirty years later, with two sons, I'm thankful for closed campuses.


2 comments:

  1. Had this to say about In Heat in September 2013, when it was featured over on Martin's View: "My girlfriend back then used to love "Talking In Your Sleep". I bought the album for her and she gave it back when we broke up a few weeks later.

    As a fan of the band's previous three albums, In Heat did nothing for me - it wasn't the power pop I had grown to expect from Wally and the boys. It was too polished, too watered down. I can't remember the last time I listened to that album and I'm not about to start now. I do listen to the first album quite a bit though and now I'll have to see if I ripped the second and third albums into my digital library.
    "

    I have since listened to the album a few times and though my position on it hasn't changed, it has softened. MRS. HERC likes it a lot.

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  2. Herc, thanks for the plug of my blog review. Here's the link: Martin's View: The Romantics - In Heat.

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