Sunday, November 24, 2013

Corey Hart - First Offense

Today (November 24th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of First Offense, the debut album from Canadian singer Corey Hart. It was recorded in Manchester, England, a year earlier and was produced by Jon Astley and Phil Chapman. The 1983 release went to number 31 on the US Billboard Album chart and number 6 in Canada, where it also achieved triple-Platinum sales status.

Side one starts with the iconic 80‘s track “Sunglasses at Night”. An edited version was released as the second single from the album, and it went to number 7 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 4 in Canada. The opening synth hook ping-pongs from speaker to speaker, setting an ominous mood. The video for the track, featuring Hart on the run in a futuristic police-state won the Juno Award for Video of the Year.

Andy Hamilton sprinkles in the saxophone throughout “Peruvian Lady”, an ode to a South American seductress.

“Lamp at Midnite”, a mid-tempo pop-rock number, is next. It has a little bit of an INXS sound to it.

The first single was a remixed version of “She Got the Radio”; it peaked at number 40 in Canada. The subject matter of the song is a break-up between a couple.

“It Ain’t Enough”, the third and final single, went to number 17 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 4 in Canada. The opening synth simulates a beating heart that is slowly breaking in this love song.

Side two opens with “Does She Love You”, a song where one friend questions another about the faithfulness of the woman he is dating. Clearly, the other guy has feelings for her as well.

Set to a slight reggae rhythm, “Cheatin’ in School” settles in for a little bit of high school drama.

“The World is Fire” tries to summarize the feeling of discontent with someone who previously broke your heart. It is like you are seeing them in a different light, no longer blinded by feelings of infatuation that you had before you really got to know them.

“At the Dance” goes back to that school setting as a young man watches a girl he is attracted to, trying to work up the nerve to ask her to dance.

The closing track “Jenny Fey”, a beautifully sorrowful ballad about a young woman who grows old alone, features the legendary Eric Clapton on guitar. I like the simple piano accompaniment that opens the song.

The Canadian vinyl release of the album included an extra track “Araby (She’s Just a Girl)”, the B-side to the first single. It never showed up on any other releases of the record.

First Offense is a straight-forward pop-rock record with a couple real highlights. Corey Hart definitely shows the raw potential as a singer-songwriter here (he penned all the tracks). I think it could of used just a bit more polish.

1 comment:

HERC said...

This is another one of those "girlfriend" albums - a record bought under the influence or in the company of a girlfriend. Funny how MRS. HERC is still influencing the music purchasing decisions here at The Hideaway.

Say what you will about Hart's voice or the lyrics, the record sound good; it is produced well.

You picked up on a couple of the sonic features that captured my attention but still it has been awhile since I've heard "Sunglasses At Night",let alone the rest of the album. Unfortunately, it's not on Spotify so that means I have to go digging for it. And I just got me new headphone cable yesterday so I'll be enjoying it shortly.

Thanks for the reminder.