Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Romantics - In Heat

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of In Heat, the fourth studio album from the American rock band the Romantics. This one charted at number 33 in Sweden and number 14 on the US Billboard Album chart, their highest climbing album to date.

The line-up for the band included Coz Canler (lead guitar and vocals), Jimmy Marinos (drums and lead vocals), Wally Palmar (lead vocals, rhythm guitar and harmonica) and Mike Skill (bass, guitar and vocals). The quartet had additional assistance from Pete Solely (keyboards) and Irene Cook (vocals).

Side one opens with “Rock You Up” with a steady beat and a promise of an exciting night. It was the B-side to the first single yet it also charted at number 49 on the US Mainstream Rock chart on its own.

On “Do Me Anyway You Wanna”, the guy lets his lady know he is so attracted to her that he is open for whatever she has in mind. This song reminds me of how much of a phrase “do me” was back in the 80’s. It was chosen as the B-side to the second single.

“Got Me Where You Want Me” opens with a guitar riff that reminds me a lot of “Summertime Blues” by the Who.

“One in a Million”, the second single, went to number 37 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 22 on the US Mainstream Rock chart. This one continues the theme of focusing on love and devotion with this tale of love at first sight. I do remember this one getting a good bit of radio airplay at the time, especially around the college campus. It has a catchy melody to it.

“Open Up Your Door” changes it up slightly with a song that has a bit of a 60’s feel to it. From the guitars to the keyboards to the chorus vocals, I really get that British Invasion inspiration from it.

Side two starts with “Talking in Your Sleep”, a huge track thanks to a popular MTV video and lots of radio airplay. As a single, it went to number 14 in Australia, number 5 in Sweden, number 3 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 2 on the US Mainstream Rock chart and number 1 on the US Billboard Dance chart. For many, it is the Romantics’ signature song. I would not be surprised if nearly every campus party I went to my freshman year (September of 1983 through May of 1984) played it; it was a crowd-pleaser guaranteed to get folks dancing. I think I still remember how to do the sign language for the chorus (my college RIT – Rochester Institute of Technology - shared its campus with NTID – the National Technical Institute for the Deaf). The UK band Bucks Fizz had a hit single with a cover of the track in 1984, scoring at number 22 in Poland, number 15 in the UK and number 14 in Ireland.

“Love Me to the Max” is a tune about a devoted boyfriend who gets very little in return. My favorite line has to be “I get you hot but you treat me cold”.

“Diggin’ On You” is up next.

“I’m Hip”, with its confident bravado, has a bit of a classic rockabilly vibe to it.

The band closes out the album with “Shake a Tail Feather”, a cover of the 1963 soul hit by the Five Du-Tones. It is always a fun dance song with a lot of energy to it. The cover here seems a little bit held back; I would have liked to have seen just a bit more from the Romantics on this one.

While I knew the hits from this record, In Heat was not one that part of my music library back in the day. The Romantics had a good middle-of-the-road rocking sound, and this one does have some standout tunes. For me, it starts out a bit too repetitive with so many songs back to back about the same topic. I might have shuffled the tracks up to break things up some. For the band’s best selling album, I was surprised that it was not readily available for digital download or through the usual streaming services.

1 comment:

HERC said...

My girlfriend back then used to love "Talking In Your Sleep". I bought the album for her and she gave it back when we broke up a few weeks later.

As a fan of the band's previous three albums, In Heat did nothing for me - it wasn't the power pop I had grown to expect from Wally and the boys. It was too polished, too watered down. I can't remember the last time I listened to that album and I'm not about to start now. I do listen to the first album quite a bit though and now I'll have to see if I ripped the second and third albums into my digital library.