I understand why so many arena rockers from the 1980's are reluctant to release new material. They're faced with the dilemma of whether to record an album that will please fans of their classic sound, thereby ignoring the last two decades of musical progress, or instead releasing a more modern sounding album and risk alienating the same old school fans who keep coming to their concerts. It's easy to understand why some bands would rather not make that choice at all, opting instead for endless "greatest hits" tours.
Fortunately Loverboy, easily one of the titans of the AOR era, was willing to take that chance by releasing Just Getting Started, their first studio album since 1997's underrated Loverboy VI. Perhaps their recent VH1 exposure nudged them in this direction, but whatever the reason I'm glad they're back.
So what do we end up with, classic Loverboy or modern Loverboy? The answer is both. Just Getting Started builds on the classic Loverboy sound, with plenty of great melodies, catchy songs, and Mike Reno's fantastic vocals. At the same time it is a more mature, more modern sounding album, and I mean that in the best possible sense. At this stage in the band's career I don't think anyone is really looking for Working for the Weekend Part II. This is a smarter, tighter Loverboy album that expertly straddles that fine line between 80's AOR and modern mainstream rock artists like the Goo Goo Dolls or Matchbox Twenty (this decade's Journey).
It's a shame so many people will no doubt dismiss this album as a holdover from the 80's, since it has enough going for it that it should appeal to a much wider audience than those of us who still obsessively follow this kind of music. Is there a radio destination for this kind of music? Adult contemporary perhaps? With the right kind of exposure this could be major comeback album for Loverboy. The Hot Topic crowd will never be convinced, but if the people who were "raised on radio" with bands like Journey and REO Speedwagon heard this, I'm sure they would love it.