Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Kim Carnes - Café Racers

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Café Racers, the eighth studio album from Kim Carnes. This one peaked at number 97 on the US Billboard Album chart.

Side one begins with “You Make My Heart Beat Faster (And That’s All That Matters)”. As the second single, it reached number 54 on the US Billboard Hot 100. This one has an urgent pulse to it, thanks to the keyboards of Bill Cuomo and guitar of Chas Sandford. The music video for this one was shot at the Riverside Raceway in California and featured driver Steve Webb and his royal blue Formula Ford.

“Young Love” tells the tale of a clandestine love affair from the point of view of the other woman.

Cuomo switches over to the synthesizer for “Met You at the Wrong Time of My Life”. Carnes gives a tender, heart-felt vocal on this ballad.

If the last track was the calm before the storm, the next one “Hurricane” blows in with a mid-tempo dance floor fury.

The album‘s title comes from a line in “The Universal Song”, a slow and almost hypnotic tune about the common thread that runs across all of humanity.

Side two opens with “Invisible Hands”. As the first single, it peaked at number 40 on the US Billboard Hot 100. The song earned Carnes a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Vocal Performance Female, losing to Pat Benatar’s “Love Is a Battlefield”.

“I Pretend”, the third and final single, went to number 74 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 9 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. The lyrics tell of a woman who is in love with a man who is not available, so she carries on a love affair with him in her mind. Jerry Peterson delivers the saxophone solo on this one.

The beautiful piano ballad “Hangin’ On By a Thread (A Sad Affair of the Heart)”, written by Carnes herself, was the B-side to the second single.

“A Kick in the Heart” speaks to a painful side of being in love.

The closing track “I’ll Be Here Where the Heart Is” was featured on the soundtrack for Flashdance earlier in the year (click here for that review) and also was the B-side to the first single.

While I knew the radio singles from Café Racers, this was my first listen through on the whole album. Unfortunately, I really had to work to listen to this one as it is currently not available for digital downloading or for streaming. The hunt was worth it though as I liked it well enough. Kim Carnes has a smoky vocal style that stood out from others at the time.

Here are a few more of my reviews of Kim Carnes’ albums:

- For 1981’s Mistaken Identity, click here.

- For 1982’s Voyeur, click here.

No comments: