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4.5 stars - Heart's transition between two decades,
This review is from: Bebe Le Strange (Audio CD)
Bebe Le Strange (1980.) Heart's fifth album.
By 1979, Heart had released four albums. On every album, they demonstrated excellent musical ability and diversity. They were one of the few bands of the day that could do both hard rockers and folksy tunes, and practically everything in between. But with the transition from the seventies to the eighties, the music industry was fast changing. Many of the classic seventies rock bands attempted to change with the times - and very few succeded. Following the transition between the times, Heart basically disappeared from the charts (although they'd resurface in a big way about half way through the decade.) Read on for my review of Bebe Le Strange, Heart's first album of the eighties.
As my review title states, this is Heart's transitional album between two decades. And accordingly, you get plenty of diversity here. There is plenty of classic seventies-style rock that you had come to expect from the band in that decade, along with some of the folksy tunes. But what really makes this album stand out is the new elements that the band incorporated into their sound starting on this album. Nancy Wilson's guitar playing here is faster and more aggressive than what you had heard on earlier albums - the guitar work here is comparable to that of many of the early punk rock bands that were popular in the day and age. This, in many ways, serves as a premonition of the band's popular mid-late eighties material. This album's diversity is arguably its greatest strength. Unfortunately, though, the album was not one of the band's more popular releases, and the album never achieved the same kind of popularity as, say, Dreamboat Annie or the band's 1985 self-titled smash. The two albums that followed this one up gained even less popularity and are relatively unknown. This album marks Heart's entry into a new decade - and it didn't get half the audience it deserved.
Heart's classic three Portrait albums Little Queen, Dog And Butterfly, and Bebe Le Strange all got remastered and rereleased. And the new versions of the albums feature expanded liner notes, track-by-track commentary, and even some rare bonus tracks! Do yourself a favor - if you don't have the albums yet, get the remasters.
Bebe Le Strange was the beginning of a new age for Heart, and despite it not being one of the band's larger commercial successes, it was still a very strong release. Although I wouldn't recommend this album for a fan who was just getting into the band, I would certainly recommend it to any tried and true Heart fan.