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Heart - Passionworks (1983)

Discussion in 'Album Reviews' started by TheWhalerfan, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. TheWhalerfan

    TheWhalerfan Lovus My Avatarus

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    May 1, 2011
    Saskatchewan, Canada

    General Info

    Released: 20 August 1983
    Recorded: March-June, 1983
    Genre: Hard Rock
    Label: Sony/Epic Records
    Producer: Keith Olsen

    The Band

    Ann Wilson – lead & background vocals
    Nancy Wilson – lead & background vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar
    Howard Leese – electric guitar, synthesizer, background vocals
    Mark Andes – bass guitar, background vocals
    Denny Carmassi – drums

    Track List

    1. "How Can I Refuse" (A. & N. Wilson, Ennis, Leese, Andes, Carmassi) – 3:52
    2. "Blue Guitar" (A. & N. Wilson, Ennis, Leese, Andes, Carmassi) – 3:54
    3. "Johnny Moon" (A. & N. Wilson, Ennis) – 4:00
    4. "Sleep Alone" (A. Wilson, Ennis) – 4:12
    5. "Together Now" (A. & N. Wilson, Ennis) – 3:50
    6. "Allies" (Jonathan Cain) – 4:44
    7. "(Beat By) Jealousy" (A. Wilson, Ennis) – 3:18
    8. "Heavy Heart" (A. Wilson, N. Wilson, Ennis, Keith Olsen) – 3:50
    9. "Love Mistake" (N. Wilson) – 3:28
    10. "Language Of Love" (A. Wilson, N. Wilson, Ennis) – 3:38
    11. "Ambush" (A. Wilson, Ennis) – 3:14

    With Private Audition having sold very poorly, the Wilson's reloaded with a new bass player, drummer, and a yet again a new sound. While the last few albums still offered a glimpse of classic era Heart, Passionworks was pure 80's rock complete with the use of electronic drums. While not as experimental as Private Audition, fans who hoped that the new album would return to a 1970's style would again be disappointed, as the new direction of the band was here to stay.

    How Can I Refuse - Keeping in line with all their previous offerings, Passionworks offers a great opening track to get the listening experience underway. The best song on the album, it begins with Judas Priest sounding guitar, bass, and drums before the vocals kick in. Standard "you make me hot" lyrics are entertaining to listen to because of Ann's passionate voice and great harmony with Nancy. A fun song to turn up loud, it rocks hard enough to earn a regular spot on my playlist.

    Blue Guitar - Softer rock number about a woman falling in love with a guitar, the lyrics are different but the music is too standard to keep the listeners attention for long. Not terrible, but sounds too much like a million other songs of the time.

    Johnny Moon - Slow paced song that is interesting instrumentally, but fails due to ridiculous lyrics about either a forward thinking day dreamer or acid tripper, take your pick it is all bad. Ann's vocal effort is wasted on this forgettable track.

    Sleep Alone - After two misses the Wilson's score with another great song, my second favorite on Passionworks. The hardest offering on the album, Sleep Alone features a cool galloping guitar riff and great drumming by Carmassi. Ann voices her lyrics of a woman missing her lover with perfect emotion. Great music, great vocals, overall great track.

    Together Now - This track gets a mixed review from me. Most of the song features standard 80's rock much like Blue Guitar, but from 1:46 to 2:19 there is a very non-Heart section where Ann almost talks rather than sings. Sounds odd but it does improve the song, saving this generic relationship number from constantly being skipped.

    Allies - Allies took me a few listens to get into, but now I find it one of the better offerings on Passionworks. Written by Jonathan Cain of Journey, Allies speaks of relationships lasting through times of crisis, no matter what may happen. Ann gets an A+ for using the full range of her voice, and the use of piano is welcome. A good song.

    (Beat by) Jealousy - Starts off with slow distorted guitar riff following Ann's lyrics about a jealous lover, then increases to harder rock tempo midway through. Decent song again brought down by substandard lyrics, the word Jealousy is overused and becomes irritating. Some potential here for a good song, but still needs work.

    Heavy Heart - Not much to recommend here, just another generic snoozer about failed relationships. Decent vocal harmony is wasted on a bland song, and by now Denny Carmassi's electronic drum kit is becoming very annoying. Filler.

    Love Mistake - Bad lyrics plus bad music equal a bad song. A cheesy ballad with more of Denny's headache inducing drum sound, this boring track is the worst offering on Passionworks.

    Language of Love - Ugh, more of the same drippy filler. I like softer songs, but they have to be good, and this definitely doesn't qualify. Like Heavy Heart and Love Mistake, this track is very poor and not worth discussing further.

    Ambush - Wash, rinse, repeat. Hey, we have had three crappy songs in a row, might as well have a fourth. Ambush differs from the previous three tracks by having the most prominent use of synthesizer sounds, but since they are terrible this isn't a good thing. Fromage lyrics return again, as well as every other feature that make the bad songs on Passionworks painful to listen to. Bleh.

    Despite my thrashing of most of the second half of Passionworks, not all is wrong with the album. How Can I Refuse, Sleep Alone, and Allies are very good songs deserving of regular play from any fan, and unlike Private Audition the poor tracks on Passionworks are not weird or anything, just boring. For having more good tracks than their previous effort but still too loaded with filler, Passionworks gets a 6/10.

    Best song, and a cool video. Sure it has laughable effects, but it is still fun to watch and scores interest points for being the last time Ann is featured as the sex symbol (2:06 :D) of the band. After this album she would be buried under a ton of clothes as the focus switched to Nancy.

    Sleep Alone

    Last edited: Jun 15, 2011
    recgord27 likes this.
  2. Balance

    Balance Senior Member

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    Mar 30, 2011
    Re: Heart - Passionworks

    Great post Whalerfan. I recall back in the day... I used to rewind (yes... cassette back then :)) HOW CAN I REFUSE over and over again in my car stereo heading to High School. Sighhhhhhhhhhhhh.... were did my youth go? ;)
  3. Rockperson

    Rockperson Senior Member

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    May 9, 2011
    Worcestershire, England
    Re: Heart - Passionworks

    Excellent review mate, I played this for the first time in ages the other day, I really like this album and judging by reviews around the web, I`m in the minority as Johnny Moon is my favourite track. :)
  4. LG

    LG Fade To Black

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    Apr 20, 2009
    Re: Heart - Passionworks

    Don't own a copy of this one Whaler, but another well written informative Heart review.:cheers:
  5. Groovy Man

    Groovy Man I'm Not Like Everybody Else

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    Jan 18, 2010
    Long Island, N.Y.
    Re: Heart - Passionworks

    This is an underrated Heart album, and I'd rate it a 7/10.
  6. runtfan

    runtfan Senior Member

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    Mar 23, 2006
    Re: Heart - Passionworks

    I rate Passionworks fairly high - probably a 7.5/10...far and away their best album of the 80's ( well, maybe after Bebe Le Strange). The worst part of the album for me is the awful drum sound...from Michael Derosier to this?
  7. ANF

    ANF Senior Member

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    Jul 13, 2011
    Re: Heart - Passionworks

    This album was a victim of bad timing. Had it come out a few years later "How Can I Refuse" would've been another in the long line of smash hits they had in 1985-1990.

    A lot of hidden gems on this one. Ambush and (Beat By) Jealousy are two ones I enjoy a lot.

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