Wednesday, March 23, 2011
REO Speedwagon - Hi Infidelity
By request from one of my Twitter followers...
Hi Infidelity, released in 1980, was the ninth studio album by REO Speedwagon. The band was formed in the late 60's and had growing success in the 70's. But it was this album that represents the peak of their career, going nine-times platinum in sales in the US alone, five-times platinum in Canada, and even more so world-wide. Six singles were released from the album with four making it into Billboard's Top 40 and one achieving the number 1 spot.
Growing up, it wasn't too difficult for me to hear this album. My brother had it on vinyl (even though he focused a lot on classic rock acts like the Who and the Stones). The Top 40 stations were playing the single releases. The album rock stations were playing all of the cuts, even the deep ones. Girls loved this album, and even the heaviest of rock listeners would acknowledge it (if for no other reason than girls loved the album). You couldn't escape it if you wanted to - and why would you? The songs were very pleasant.
As I've noted before, a lot of times one side of an album will get more play than the other. I can say, for me, this was again true with this album. Side one tended to get the repeat listens on Hi Infidelity.
The album kicks off with "Don't Let Him Go", the first single from the album. I like the drum beats on this one; it gives it a solid foundation upon which the guitars and the vocals build upon.
"Keep On Loving You" is next. This was the number 1 chart topper from the album, and it was a go-to slow dance number. Rather ironic too since the guy is talking about how he'll remain loyal to his girl even though she's been with others. Go figure. Try to explain why "Stairway To Heaven" was a go-to slow dance number. We were just kind of crazy back then.
"Follow My Heart" holds the center spot. It has a great guitar-rhythm to it. This is one of those deep-tracks that album rock stations loved to play, especially when top 40 was playing the hits. It differentiated them. This is a solid tune.
"In Your Letter" has a throwback feel to classic 60's songs. It sounds like it could have been written for and performed by one of the classic girl groups. It adds a nice variety to the record. It was the second single from the album.
"Take It On the Run" ends the side. This was one that everyone sang along too back in the day. Another top 20 single here.
Side two kicks off with the final single release "Tough Guys". Everyone liked how it started out with that dialogue bit from the Little Rascals episodes. As kids we used to watch those all the time, so having it appear in front of a rock song was kind of a cool juxtaposition.
"Out of Season" was another single from the album that didn't do so well (it didn't break the top 40 at all). It is a solid rocker that never really caught on as much.
"Shakin' It Loose" has the middle spot on side two. It is pretty catchy and was nice to throw into a dance set, just because it wasn't as over-exposed as other tracks on the album.
"Someone Tonight" is another strong rocker with a solid opening. It differs from the other songs because Bruce Hall sang the leads (as opposed to Kevin Cronin who sang most of the big hits). I think it makes this song stand out a bit, and perhaps lead it to be less played just because of that "infamiliarity".
"I Wish You Were There" ends the side and album. It is more of a slower ballad. Again, a solid song but just not as popular.
All in all, this is an outstanding album. It fits nicely in that period that bridged the 70's and the 80's. It feels at home in the former decade but also has hints of what was to come in the later decade. For me, personally, it takes me right back to those early high school days - of school dances and hanging out with friends with the radio on in the background.