Wednesday, September 22, 2010

LezGetReal: Review of Red Velvet Car

It has been six years since the release of Jupiter’s Darling, and as with that album, I was nervous and concerned about the announcement of a new Heart album. I began listening to Heart back in 1984 with the release of their self titled album Heart, and I have not stopped listening to them ever since even though I have changed how I listen to them. When Jupiter’s Darling came out, I preordered the CD. When Red Velvet Car came out, I downloaded it to my computer and played it on my iPod.

The songs of Red Velvet Car range across the spectrum. The songs range from slow ballads such as “Sand” to harder rock driven songs such as “WTF”.  Perhaps the best song on the album is the melodious and dream-like “Sand”, which actually had me closing my eyes and just enjoying the flow of the song. “Sand” is one of those songs that has the power to pull the listener in and transport them somewhere else with its simple lyrics and its acoustic flavor. The song is a tribute to Ann’s late gardener. It is reminiscent of their song “Love Alive,” or more accurately, of their song “Too Long A Time”, which has only ever been heard in a bonus track on Little Queen. It is Heart at their best.

Unlike so much music today which seems poorly mixed with an emphasis more on upping the loudness than anything else, Red Velvet Car had a stronger emphasis on the harmony of the music and the vocals of Ann Wilson, whose voice is as strong as it has ever been as Heart goes into the last half of its third decade in production.

Included in the download are three specials. There is the video for “WTF”, which is mostly concert footage, and two live classic Heart tracts. The live tracts are “Magic Man” and “Never”. The latter is often not heard in live compilations.

Ultimately, Red Velvet Car is stronger than their last album, Jupiter’s Darling. Its mix of different styles suits Ann Wilson’s voice beautifully, and the songs, for the most part, compliment each other.

Heart continues to be a strong recording force. As one of the first female-fronted Rock bands, they blazed a trail for many later artists. While there were many problems for them in the beginning, the group, which has featured sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson since their first album Dreamboat Annie, has managed to shift and survive through changes in the music scene. Let us hope that we do not have to wait another six years for the next Heart album.


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