Friday, September 26, 2014

Survivor - Vital Signs

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Vital Signs, the fifth studio album from the American rock band Survivor. It was the first one by the group featuring their new lead singer Jimi Jamison. The album spent sixty-one weeks on the US Billboard Album chart, peaking at number 16.

Side one opens with “I Can’t Hold Back”. As the lead single, it went to number 93 in Australia, number 80 in the UK, number 13 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and number 1 on the US Mainstream Rock chart. It starts with a simple acoustic accompaniment for the first verse, then it explodes with all of its arena rock goodness. Before it is done, I am singing right along with the band and playing my air guitar and drums.

The second single, “High On You”, hit number 8 on both the US Billboard Hot 100 and Mainstream Rock chart. Paired with the lead track on Rock Block weekends, this song was a solid second punch for Survivor. Both songs take me back to my sophomore year of college.

“First Night”, the fourth and final single, faltered at number 53 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Admittedly, I hardly remember this one from back in the day.

“The Search Is Over”, the third single, went to number 60 in Australia, number 4 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and number 1 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. This beautiful ballad was a slow-dance favorite in early 1985. I have always liked the arrangement which sweeps the listener away into a bliss-filled oasis.

The B-side to the second single was “Broken Promises”. This mid-tempo rocker gets down-and-dirty as it recalls a failed relationship from the past.

Side two begins with “Popular Girl”, an upbeat ode to a guarded young woman whom everyone wants to be around. It has a very catchy chorus.

Things slow down again with the ballad “Everlasting”. The vocal harmonies here really work well.

“It’s the Singer, Not the Song”, with its motivational message, was released as the B-side to the third single.

“I See You In Everyone”, the closing track, was also the B-side to the first single.

I already had the hit singles from Vital Signs in my music library. For the deeper tracks, I had to go to Spotify for a listen. Overall, I really liked this Survivor album and definitely plan to add a few more tracks to my collection soon. It is right in line with how I liked my album-oriented rock at the time – melodic and not too loud.

For more reviews of albums by Survivor, click here.

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