Finally, in 1980, Suzi Quatro bit the bullet and returned to form. Gone was the two album adventure into country pop. With `Rock Hard', the Queen of Rock and Roll clearly decided to reclaim her crown. With Mike Chapman again at the helm, this album delivers guitar and attitude-heavy rock with just a whiff of new wave and the chilliness of 80s production.
Things kick off with the title track and single, a simple, straight-forward rocker that signals the Quatro of old is back, complete with don't-mess-with-me attitude and full throated scream. The energy and attack continues into track 2 with `Glad All Over'- albeit a boring choice of cover - and continues pretty much straight through the 11 songs of the set. Quatro and guitarist husband, Len Tuckey, flex their writing muscles on five songs, all of which are not only among the best on the album, but among the best of their partnership. `State of Mind' is a glorious stop-start hard rocker that sees Quatro delivering some of her sexiest vocals. `Woman Cry' is a soulful slower piece with thunderous drums and spartan musical accompaniment. `Ego in the Night' and `Lay Me Down' are fine, fast-paced pieces of pop rock. And `Lonely is the Hardest' is the record's emotional centrepiece, a moody ballad about the isolation of life on the road.
The Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn-penned `Rock Hard' and `Lipstick', both singles, are strong with the spoken versed latter the better of the two. The remaining three tracks are by other composers, but `Hard Headed' is a polished and infectious high point.
This album should have been a fine come-back for Quatro. Its sound and quality make it appear like the 80s would have been looking bright for her. But, for some weird reason, the only place it sold well was Australia. Thus, it effectively spelled the end of her career. That aside, it is a fine example of late 70s/ early 80s pop rock and an absolute must for anyone with even a passing interest in Suzi Quatro. (The horrible cover art on this disc is not the original.)