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.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Heaven 17 - How Men Are (1984)

Note: this release was originally purchased as a LP, later replaced by a CD. My copy is the 2006 release with 4 bonus tracks.

Not my favorite H17 album for the simple reason that, to my ears, it didn't come close to its predecessor, The Luxury Gap.  It's not necessarily bad, it just doesn't have a single that comes close to either Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry or Temptation.  So it got a little playing time back in 1984, but not as much as it probably deserved.  In my defense, that fall was a time of being inundated with new-to-me music from new dorm friends, girlfriends, and most importantly, music classes and ensemble rehearsals. 

Heaven 17 never hit it big in the US, but for those of us that did listen to the group faithfully, How Men Are is definitely one of those albums that we (and the critics) can't seem to agree on.  I couldn't find many starred reviews of this album, but the ones I did find were widely varied in their ratings, from ★★ in the Virgin Encyclopedia of Eighties Music to ★★★★½ at Allmusic.  For me, it's good, not great - so much so that I didn't even bother with the 1986 follow-up, Pleasure One.  Fortunately, the band never quit and would eventually bounce back nicely, particularly with 2005's Before After.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: Did not chart

Tracks:  My favorites haven't changed in 30 years: Five Minutes To Midnight, Sunset Now, Shame Is On The Rocks, and Flamedown.  Likewise, the song I want to skip hasn't changed in 30 years:  And That's No Lie, a song that doesn't even get started yet still doesn't know when to end.

Bonus tracks: an okay b side and mostly forgettable remixes with the exception of the extended mix of Sunset Now.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD:  This album immediately takes me back to my freshman dorm room in Berry Hall (below).  I was buying and playing stuff like Heaven 17 and Spandau Ballet while my roommate Steve preferred his Don Henley and REO Speedwagon albums.  Nevertheless, Steve was a great guy and we got along famously.

Previously revisited for the blog:
Before After (2005)
Retox/Detox (1998)
Bigger Than America (1996)
Higher And Higher: The Best of Heaven 17 (1993)
Endless (1986)
The Luxury Gap (1983)
Penthouse and Pavement (1981)

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