Song Review: Heart – “Stranded”

“Stranded” was released as the third single from Heart’s 1990 album, Brigade. The single was released in September 1990 and peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

I was 15 years old and just starting my sophomore year of high school when “Stranded” was released. I fell in love with this song the first time I ever heard it on the radio. It was a beautiful, yet melancholic ballad that featured Nancy Wilson on lead vocals. The lyrics to this song are so relatable, and Nancy’s vocal delivery and performance makes the listener believe that she means what she’s singing. To be honest, I love this song just as much now as I did when it first came out. To me, it’s the strongest single to be released from Brigade, and it ranks among my all-time favorite songs by Heart.

The music video intercuts footage of the band with shots of Nancy Wilson lip-syncing the song. In most of Nancy’s shots, she’s on a bridge on a slightly foggy night. The lighting and cinematography of these shots of Nancy effectively capture the mood and feel of the song. I especially like the opening shot on the bridge, where the camera is at a tilted angle at first, until Nancy comes into frame. Once Nancy appears, the camera angle straightens back to normal. There’s also some random shots of Nancy with an acoustic guitar (a couple of times, she’s seen playing the guitar as she’s lip-syncing, and a couple of shots show her stretched out on the ground with the acoustic guitar next to her). But overall, it’s a good video for what it is.


Song Review: Heart – “I Didn’t Want to Need You”

“I Didn’t Want to Need You” was released as the second single from Heart’s 1990 album, Brigade. The single was released in July 1990, and peaked at number at number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

I was 15 years old, and was enjoying my summer vacation between 9th and 10th grade when this single was released. I loved Heart, so it’s not surprising that I ended up liking this song. It was uptempo and rather catchy, and I thought it had a memorable hook. Back in 1990, I was surprised by how this song performed on the pop chart, because I was so sure it would have performed better than it did. Unfortunately, it didn’t have controversy behind it, which is what I think ultimately helped the previous single, “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love to You,” perform as well as it did. I still enjoy this song 25 years later, and wish that pop radio programmers and listeners would have been more willing to give “I Didn’t Want to Need You” more of a chance.

The music video for the song is primarily concert footage, although there are the occasional backstage shots, as well an the inexplicable inclusion of someone riding a jet ski. The video is nothing spectacular, so I wonder if that may have affected the song’s performance. It’s not a bad video, but there was really nothing that made it stand out.

Song Review: Heart – “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love to You”

“All I Wanna Do Is Make Love to You” was released as the lead-off single from Heart’s 1990 album, Brigade. The single was released on March 14, 1990, and peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

I was in the ninth grade, and just about to turn 15 when this single was released. I liked Heart’s material from the mid-to-late 1980s, so I was excited to hear that they were releasing a new song. Musically, it wasn’t what I was expecting, but I still thought it sounded great. But I think what attracted me the most to this song is the fact that the lyrics tell a story (what I refer to as a “story song”). By 1990, “story songs” weren’t being released as much, so that helped to make “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love to You” stand out. The story of the song tells about a young woman who has a one-night stand with a good-looking young man, with the intent of trying to become pregnant because the man she’s in love with is unable to father children.

The music video intercuts footage of the band performing with footage that tells the story of the song. This video is rather well done, and it almost has a film-like quality to it. I watched the video right before writing this up, and it’d been several years since I had last seen it. I was very pleased to discover that it really doesn’t look that dated and that it still holds up just as well as it did 25 years ago.

Band Review: Heart

While my parents owned a couple of cassettes of Heart’s music from the 1970s, my first real memory of hearing the band comes from the mid-1980s, when I was hearing the songs from the self-titled album on my local CHR/Pop station.  The first song I distinctly remember hearing was “These Dreams,” and I fell in love with it instantly.  I was about ten years old at the time, and the sound of the music and lyrics just grabbed me as a pre-teen.  I also remember hearing “What About Love” and “Never” at that time; I would hear “Nothin’ At All” and “If Looks Could Kill” a few years later, after purchasing a copy of the self-titled album on cassette.

A couple of years later, during the summer of 1987, I remember hearing “Alone” from the follow-up album, Bad Animals.  This was the summer before I started the seventh grade, and I remember falling in love with this power ballad when I first heard it.  I have to admit that I didn’t care for “Who Will You Run To,” the follow-up single, at the time; however, it’s a song that I have since come to enjoy a lot.  The third and final single I heard from the album would have been the mid-tempo “There’s the Girl,” which is another song I really liked when I first heard it.

In the spring of 1990, when I was in the ninth grade, Heart released their next album, Brigade.  The lead-off single, “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love to You,” was a big hit, and at the time I liked the song; however, it’s become one of the songs by Heart that I just don’t listen to as much anymore.  The follow-up single, “I Didn’t Want to Need You” didn’t fare nearly as well, but it’s a song that I liked.  The third single, “Stranded,” was the big power ballad on the album.  It’s my favorite single from Brigade, and it’s still one of my favorite Heart songs of all-time.  The final single, “Secret,” didn’t have much success at CHR/Pop, but I personally liked it.

In the fall of 1993, which was during my first year of college, Heart released the Desire Walks On album.  The lead-off single, “Will You Be There (In the Morning)” had some chart success, and it’s a song that I like.  The follow-up single, “The Woman in Me” didn’t really have any chart success.  It’s not a bad song, but it just wasn’t as strong as some of their previous singles.

I have to admit that after Desire Walks On, I had lost track of Heart.  However, after that album was released, I finally heard some of Heart’s material from the 1970s, such as “Barracuda,” “Dog & Butterfly,” “Crazy on You,” “Magic Man, and “(Love Me Like Music) I’ll Be Your Song.”  While these songs have a much different sound from the material Heart released between the mid-1980s and mid-1990s, these songs are still very good in their own right.