Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Loverboy - Keep It Up

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Keep It Up, the third studio album from Canadian rockers Loverboy. Like their earlier releases, this 1983 album went multi-Platinum in both Canada and the US. It charted at number 18 in New Zealand, number 9 in Canada, and number 7 on the US Billboard Hot 200.

Performing on the album were Mike Reno (lead vocals), Paul Dean (guitar and vocals), Matt Frenette (drums), Doug Johnson (keyboards) and Scott Smith (bass and vocals). Additionally, Nancy Nash provided some vocals and Jean Piche played synthesizer.

Side one opens with “Hot Girls in Love”, the album’s first single. It reached number 11 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 9 in Canada, and number 2 on the US Mainstream Rock charts. I love how this one revs right out of the gate and barrels forward for the entire four minutes, thanks to the guitars and drums. This one was a perfect candidate for the soundtrack of teenaged lust and hormones in overdrive.

“Strike Zone” is all about not psyching yourself out even before you step up to the plate and take a shot. I can remember the album-oriented rock stations playing this one a lot; it is a strong six minute song.

Things slow down with “It’s Never Easy”, a synth heavy ballad about coping with heartbreak.

“Chance of a Lifetime”, the B-side to the second single, closes off the first half. This bouncy rocker warns that hesitation might cost you happiness; you just have to seize the opportunity when it is presented as you might not get a second shot.

Side two begins with “Queen of the Broken Hearts”, the tale of a girl who searches for Mister Right but is reluctant to take a chance because she has been previously hurt. As the second single, it rose to number 28 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 22 in Canada, and number 11 on the US Mainstream Rock charts.

“Prime of Your Life” opens with a grinding guitar solo, which is soon joined by trumpeting synths.

“Passion Pit” has a try-anything-once attitude towards sex.

“One-Sided Love Affair” is next. It tells of a guy who is inspired musically and romantically by a woman who does not respond in kind.

The final track “Meltdown” was also the B-side to the first single. Musically, it winds things down quite well.

The Buffalo album-oriented rock station reached a wide audience, both in the States and Canada. Thus growing up and listening to it, I definitely got a large exposure to Loverboy. My high school years corresponded to the release of their first three albums. Thus, it is no surprise I would become a fan.


HERC said...

Martin, thanks for another blast from the past. Please keep 'em coming.

Did you ever consider a ✪✪✪✪ rating system for your reviews? Or is the whole point of no ratings to get people to read the review? Genius.

My name is HERC and I love the music of Loverboy. Thought I'd share the four collectibles related to this album from The Hideaway's Audio Archives:

1) A Japanese 7" of "It's Never Easy" b/w "One-Sided Love Affair" with picture sleeve

2) A US promo 12" of "Passion Pit" with an Extended Club Version b/w an instrumental version. The remix is by Francois Kevorkian and runs 5:45.

3) a double 7" single pack with picture sleeve from the UK that features the 45RPM single of "Queen Of The Broken Hearts" b/w "Chance Of A Lifetime" and a second 7" EP that plays at 33⅓RPM and features Journey's "Chain Reaction" and Loverboy's "Lucky Ones" on one side and the single edits of Aldo Nova's "Fantasy" and Saga's "On The Loose" on the flip.

4) A single edit of "Strike Zone" was the b-side to "Almost Paradise", Mike Reno's duet with Ann Wilson from Footloose. While the album version was, as you noted "a strong six minute song", the single clocked in at a mere four minutes.

By my count, that's at least three bonus tracks for a potential remastered Keep It Up plus there are probably some demos as well as live versions of album tracks to be had. And they could fudge it and put the rarely heard "Nothing's Gonna Stop You Now", their theme from the 1984 Olympics, on there.


What is your preferred source for release dates? Don't give away any secrets - I'm just curious.

The four sources I use (see below) give a range of dates although the consensus seems to be late Summer 1983.

According to the index card I filled out when I bought it, Keep It Up came out in August. (I have two wooden fileboxes of index cards I filled out for every record and CD - both albums and singles - I bought from 1977 until 1987.)

Wikipedia states a much later November release date but cites no source.

Rolling Stone reviewed the album in their August 18, 1983 issue but my experience is that they maintain a two to four week lead time - just got the July 4th annual Summer Double Issue this past weekend.

On Billboard's Top 200 album charts, the album debuted in the week ending July 2, 1983.

Martin Maenza said...

Herc, thanks as always for other interesting tidbits and trivia to add to the mix.

As you know, release dates can be a tricky thing. There is Wikipedia but anyone can update there so I take those with a grain of salt. I even see conflicts between pages (band discography vs. album detail) as far as info.

Another source I look to a lot is http://rateyourmusic.com/ which is a good source for album art and track listings too.

And, you mentioned Rolling Stone magazine which I also reference. I have the DVD-ROM set that came out that covers the magazine from inception through the early 2000's. It has every issue, fully scanned in. So, I look to when an album might have gotten reviewed if I need to narrow down a nebulous ball park.

Finally, I tend to share my reviews on various Facebook fan pages as well as my own FB page for Martin's View. If fans or even band members let me know of a correction (band members especially are pretty reliable) I will make adjustments accordingly.

HERC said...

Thanks for the insight into your research methods; I'm always looking to improve my own and I have never visited rateyourmusic, so I'll give it a looksee.

As for the Rolling Stone Cover To Cover discs, I have them too and they are nifty but once the magazine opened up their complete online archives to print subscribers like myself a few years back, I uninstalled them and haven't looked back. The box now sits on the shelf next to other Rolling Stone books.

Don't get scared:) because I won't be (reading or) commenting on your posts for the next few days - taking a road trip. Just finished making and caching a mammoth 10GB 1028 song playlist for the occasion on my phone. Should be back before Monday and I look forward to a Martin's View marathon upon my return. Don't miss me too much. Ha!