Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Review of Pat Benatar's Tropico

I always had a musical crush on Pat Benatar. As a teenager i loved hearing her songs on the radio, or seeing the videos on MTV. But of course my friends wouldn't have known that. She was one of my guilty pleasures. I didn't start buying her records until recently, and the few i have picked up are vinyl copies, because it just seems right to hear her music from a turntable.

Although her songs are at times lyrically sappy, i still think they are sincere. And that is halfway to making me like a song. The other half is that i always thought her sound had a nice metal edge, and in a non-hair-band kind of way, and was a cut above the rest of the hard rock that was on Top 40 radio then, which was basically a lot of hair bands.

When her 1984 release Tropico came out, i was still a closeted fan. But by then i worked in a record store so i got to hear the album a lot. I hadn't heard it since those days, until i just put it on the other day, and it was a refreshingly better listen than i remembered it being. The performances are strong, the songs are well crafted, and the production is high quality without being over-produced.

The single, We Belong, got heavy rotation on MTV, and i always used to watch it in my twenty year old glee. I thought the song was a new level of sophistication for her, and to me it still holds up as one of her better singles. The trilly rhythm bed that supports the song has a nice texture, easy on the ears, and the chord changes and melody are solid and catchy. The lyrics are still a little on the sappy side, but then that had become a bit of a trademark for her by then. The song was actually written by the songwriting/performing duo of Lowen & Navarro, but it definitely fits in with the other tracks from the Tropico album, which were mostly written by Pat's husband, guitarist Neil Geraldo, along with Pat or other band members.

So i am finally out of the closet as a Pat Benatar fan. And revisiting Tropico, in my opinion her best record, after all these years seems to have been the catalyst. Perhaps now i'll get around to reviewing my favorite Linda Ronstadt album. Ooops did i print that.

1 comment:

Kelly O said...

My guilty favorite Pat Benetar song: "Hell Is for Children." Who can resist singing along? In my head I always picture Debbie singing it, though.