Key To Music Grades

A - You will never be whole without it
B - Highly recommended
C - Flawed, but still pretty good
D - It's your money, not mine
F - Why couldn't this have been burned in Fahrenheit 451?

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Heart - Dreamboat Annie (1976)

When asking what to review next, April expressed displeasure at my lack of "chicks" (her words, ladies) in my posts. I dig chicks; I really do. Predominately, they possess inordinately superior vocal abilities over their lesser halves. Ella. Janis. Fiona. Sadly, for brilliant technical vocalists, such as Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston, they've trapped themselves in an unfortunate pop format wherein the melody, lyrics and particularly that shitty studio accompaniment don't exactly inspire the kind of performances you would expect from them. Now, the Wilson sisters -- they hold a very special place in my heart (no pun intended) simply because they'll bake you a fucking cake and let you eat it with your hands. They've got a great set pipes and Nancy can shred without abandon, on acoustic or electric. Ok, they obviously like Zep, but that's not too bad because they sing too well to imitate Plant's verbal gyrations and drooling moans.

Unfortunately, for all their strengths, inconsistency plagues most of Heart's albums, and it differs no more or less than on Dreamboat Annie. It starts well enough with the FM staple "Magic Man," a kicking song that the press subsequently used to dub the sisters as satanic witches. Geez. The second song, "Dreamboat Annie (Fantasy Child) begins the first third of the Dreamboat Annie suite and it's a nice segue into Heart's best song, "Crazy On You." Here's the thing, though: if you're a loser and use the radio as your musical feeding ground, shame on you. In the past thirty years you've had time to buy the LP, the 8-track, the cassette, the CD, the digital files -- so shame on you, you rock and roll poseurs. What I'm getting at is this: the radio version of "Crazy On You" completely omits the first 35 seconds of this phenomenal acoustic section.

You would know that if you weren't such a poseur and were content with buying greatest hits packages. The next song, "Soul Of The Sea" is a dud. Skip it. Then listen to "Dreamboat Annie," which continues the melody of the suite with some changes and includes some nifty banjo playing. "White Lightning & Wine" is a great song, too, but it's depressing, because when I listen to the album, after this song is where I shut it off. The remaining four tracks are weak and aren't worth your time. The last song is "Dreamboat Annie (Reprise)" and you'd think if you liked the suite so far, you'd like this one, right? Well, not so. The added piano and ethereal quality makes it feel way too poppy and annoying. A solid band with the right recipe and ingredients -- the cake just doesn't turn out good all the time. B-

A quick afterthought: check out Ann and Nancy doing a cover of Zep's "Battle Of Evermore" here. This is amazing. Sorry Zep; their version totally kicks your ass.

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