when we sit by the fire
I realize how lucky I am
When I look in your eyes
I pinch myself twice
Then I reach out and take your hand
I've got so much to give
Is forever enough?"
One Word Review: Heartfelt
Dial 818 888-8638 was a chance purchase at a festival and turned out to be a lucky strike. It made me discover Stan Bush, and for that, I am forever grateful. If you like AOR and Melodic Rock the slightest, you should check out his albums. Aside from having created a slew of songs used on various movie soundtracks and TV Shows, like songs for the Transformers cartoon movie back in 1986 ("The Touch" and "Dare") or the ones for the Jean Claude Van Damme action movies Bloodsport ("Fight to survive") and Kickboxer ("Never Surrender", "The Streets of Siam"), and even the 1996 Olympics ("Capture The Dream"), he has released 12 solo albums which are all worth checking out, my favorite being the absolutely brilliant, In This Life, from 2007.
This 1993 release will quell the hunger of anyone with a strong craving for stadium rock. Stylistically Stan Bush fits in somewhere between Bon Jovi and Bryan Adams, holding his own against either. This here is melodic rock with a strong guitar performance and not too much keyboard. Simple and effective, the album has a positive vibe, sing a long choruses, strong melodies and a voice that expresses energy, vigor and emotion.
Beside that, Don Kirkpatrick delivers a great performance on guitar. The guitar sound is sharp and catches the attention right away with plenty of good detail.
The music wears its feelings on its sleeves and doesn't hide behind anything fancy. What you hear is what you get.
Similar for most songs is choruses with a ton of backing vocals, which Stan successfully sings off. Many great harmonies are created this way and it also gives the album a special energy.
Lenny Malacuso and Wayne Cook are the main songwriters along with Stan himself and looking at the writing credits I find myself favoring the songs written with Wayne Cook.
The album opens with four strong songs, each rising in quality. I got it bad for you has an unbridled passion that works very well. The wailing guitar adds to this and with a steady beat the album is off to a good start.
One kiss away has a mid tempo groove that suits it. The chorus is the clear highlight where Stan uses the background vocals to create some soothing harmonies. The excellent production creates a wide but focused sound stage, clearly evident here during the chorus sections, where Stan's voice is dead center and the background vocals are spread wide.
If you aren't taken by the album at this point I'm sure that Total Surrender will do the trick. As a piano melody sets the song in motion I get a clear Steinman vibe off this song. Great guitar work and Stan's warm voice let the untamed passion run wild, conjuring up the vision of one perfect summer night.
Come to me draws you close with an alluring opening verse, before the chorus locks you inside and doesn't let go until the song is over. Absolutely wonderful harmonies are created in the chorus, with Jana Sorenson providing some superb backing vocals. The voices blend in perfect harmony here. The emotional guitar solo is just the icing on the cake. One of the best songs on the album.
The verse sections of Hold your head up high have a wonderful way of building to the "hands held high" chorus with guitar and keyboard bringing extra intensity. A great song bursting with positive energy.
A few songs try too hard.
Are you over me hooked me right from the first listen. The chorus is infectious and the way Stan sings the words "Are you over me" overflows with emotion. However, upon repeated listens the song looses some of its initial impact and just becomes too much, even for me.
In Hero of the heart the up beat mood becomes just a bit too much. The entrance to the chorus again doesn't work completely. The melody that begins with "Destiny in your hand..." is wonderful though and it feels like the song could have been better with a bit more work.
On a much more positive note, the acoustic ballad In The Name of Love lives, breathes and survives on the strength of Stan Bush's wonderful voice. He sings with so much emotion, that he makes the already moving lyrics come to life in a completely convincing way. A very special song in more ways than one.
Slow moving verse sections and an upbeat chorus with a total 80'ies vibe succeed in making Take This Heart another highlight. The guitar solo has a free flowing feel to it and it perfectly sets up the stage the last chorus where everything has been turned up another notch, with added background harmonies and everything. An excellent way of giving the song extra impact.
Take My Love ends the album with another fantastic vocal performance.
As mentioned earlier, Stan Bush has become one of my favorite voices in rock. His music is stuck in the 80'ies and that is meant as a compliment. The constant 80'ies reference mostly serves as a way to say that a certain timeless charm stick to these songs. They are comfortable, pretty straight forward, send off positive vibes and hold a whole lot of melody. It didn't take many listens before I found myself singing along. All in all a great album, filled with heart and feel-good emotions.
Written By Steen
Online: Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Come To Me
In The Name Of Love