Friday, October 30, 2015

Pat Benatar - Seven the Hard Way

Today (October 30th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of Seven the Hard Way, the sixth studio (and seventh overall) album from Pat Benatar. This 1985 release rolled on up to number 69 in the UK, number 42 in France, number 36 in Canada, number 32 in Sweden and number 19 in Australia. Here in the US, it spent twenty weeks on the Billboard Album chart with a top spot of number 26.

Side one starts with "Sex as a Weapon". As the second single, this up-tempo rocker peaked at number 67 in the UK, number 33 in Australia, number 30 in Canada, number 28 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 26 in New Zealand, and number 5 on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. The chorus is extremely catchy, and the echoing effects on vocals and the instruments are a cool touch. This was a fun song to dance to back in the day.

The third single "Le Bel Age" ("the beautiful age" in French) went to number 86 in Australia, number 54 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and number 19 on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. I heard a good bit of this one on rock radio back in the day, again thanks to the whole "double-shot" concept and the fact that it backed up to a huge hit on the same side of the vinyl. This one too has a catchy chorus hook; Pat's voice really rings out on the title words.

The B-side to the third single was "Walking in the Underground". It has a jazzy, noir theme that runs in the background through out.

"Big Life" boldly bounces in next, with a new wave sound that harkens back to the early 80's.

"Red Vision" was the B-side to the second single. The percussion takes center stage on this one, with a primal urgency; Pat's vocals mirror that ferocity. It is a sound experiment that works well.

Side two begins with "7 Rooms of Gloom", a cover of a 1967 hit by the Four Tops. The lyrics cover feelings of loneliness and abandonment. The band does a great job spinning this with a rocking rendition and updating the sound over the original R&B version.

The mid-tempo "Run Between the Raindrops" has an almost military cadence to its backing percussion. Pat's guiding vocals are like those of a guardian angel from the heavens above.

"Invincible", the theme from the 1985 drama The Legend of Billie Jean which starred Helen Slater and Christian Slater (no relation), was the album's lead single. It hit number 53 in the UK, number 23 in Australia, number 18 in the Netherlands, number 15 in New Zealand, number 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 6 in Canada, and number 4 on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. The song was also nominated for a Grammy Award. The track has a solid beat and an unrelenting force to it, critical for a defiant anthem and perfect for a big screen experience.

"The Art of Letting Go", a song about getting over the past and moving on, closes out the record. For me, this is the weakest of the nine tracks here; I just don't connect to it as much as the others.

Back in the 80's, I really was only familiar with the first two singles from the record thanks to radio airplay and the videos on MTV. It wasn't until just last year that I picked up a copy of Seven the Hard Way on digital format. Overall, I find this to be a very solid record and a worthy addition to the band's catalog.

For more from Pat Benatar, click here.

1 comment:

HERC said...

Loved Pat's first four albums but she lost me a little bit with 1984's Tropico and then a little bit more with Seven The Hard Way The Way the following year. Not that each album didn't have its merits, they just didn't command my listening attention like those first four always have.

I kept buying her albums though and almost got to attend one of her concerts but tickets literally sold out two people oahead of me in line.

Just checked the Archives and I have a whopping seven Pat Benatar hits collections on CD. That might be a record!