Friday, November 22, 2013

Kool & the Gang - In the Heart

This week (November 21st) marks the thirtieth anniversary of In the Heart, the seventeenth studio album from Kool & the Gang. This one peaked at number 32 in New Zealand, number 29 on the US Billboard Album chart, number 19 in Germany, number 18 in the UK, number 17 in the Netherlands, and number 5 on the US Billboard R&B chart.

Side one opens with the title track. “In the Heart” is an up-beat celebration of being in love.

The hit “Joanna” is next. As the second single, it went to number 45 in Australia, number 35 in the Netherlands, number 18 in Germany, number 7 in New Zealand, number 4 in Ireland, number 2 in the UK and on the US Billboard Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary charts, and number 1 on the US Billboard R&B chart.

Also a big chart hit was “Tonight”, a coming-of-age tale. As the third single, it went to number 48 in the Netherlands, number 13 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 7 on the US Billboard R&B chart and number 2 in the UK. I have always liked the heavier, funkier groove here that made it a solid dance floor tune.

“Rollin’” keeps the party going with an up-tempo beat and a catchy chorus hook.

The first half ends with the ballad “Place For Us”.

Side two starts with “Straight Ahead”. As the first single, it only got to number 103 on the US Billboard Hot 200 and number 49 on the US Billboard R&B charts. However, it did climb all the way to number 15 in the UK and number 11 in the Netherlands. While it does have a strong dance beat, it is a fairly straight-forward track; I think it lacks that added boost that the other two singles contained.

Things slow down again for the ballad “Home Is Where the Heart Is”.

“You Can Do It” has a positive, motivational message that any dream is attainable with the right amount of effort.

The record closes with the bittersweet ballad “September Love”.

Despite having a number of big hits and some decent deep tracks, In the Heart is one of those Kool & the Gang albums that are difficult to track down. Besides its initial vinyl release, it got a CD release in the late 80’s and that has been it. Some foreign markets have imported versions of it, but the prices are high and the quality is questionable.

For 1982’s As One, click here.

For 1984’s Emergency, click here.

1 comment:

HERC said...

Had forgotten about this one.

"Tonight" was my jam. Pretty sure, yup, I have the CD.

Ugh, "Joanna" - maybe that's why I put this one out of my head.

Big Break Records in the UK has been reissuing Kool albums with bonus tracks - they've done the ones from 1979-1982 so maybe In The Heart is on tap. I know there was a 12" remix of "Tonight".