Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pat Benatar: In the Heat of the Night

Review # 43
Artist: Pat Benatar
Title: In the Heat of the Night
Format: LP
Label: Chrysalis
Year: 1979
Songs: 10

I'm back for more Pat Benatar, with her album preceding the one I wrote about in review #42. I wouldn't describe this as greatly different from the follow-up, although I do think "Heartbreaker" is a better tune than "Hit Me With Your Best Shot," so as far as the radio hit goes, this record has one up on Crimes of Passion. Otherwise, this is more cheesey, over the top songs about love and lust, as well as some cliches about how gritty urban life can be that are the lyrical equivalent of the smokey pool hall featured in so many music videos in the 1980s.

All of that said, I actually like  this record a little better than Crimes of Passion, the reason for this being that it's actually a little MORE over-the-top and cheesey. If I'm going to listen to over-produced hard rock from the late 70s and and early 80s, I want as much silliness and false bravado as possible, because that what makes this music fun to listen to from time to time. There's definitely a bit more of this going on here than on the follow-up. From the "I've got a bad attitude" feel of "No You Don't," the swagger of "Heartbreaker," the soaring emotionality of the power ballad "Don't Let It Show," and the sex-symbol posturing of "Rated X," this album is about drama, bravado, and cheese from beginning to end. It's got less thematic complexity than high school poetry but it's a lot more fun to listen to.

I would also be remiss here not to mention the ridiculous outfit that Benatar wears on the album cover, best appreciated on the back of the sleeve, where she is positioned "seductively" with one foot up on a radiator heater in a pose that looks nearly as uncomfortable as it does unnatural. The halter-top and puffy pants combo (or is it overalls?) is really a piece of work. With the heavy eye-liner, she sort of vaguely resembles a goth version Jasmine from Disney's Aladdin. Don't you mess around with her.

In short, this is some good cheese if you're in the mood for that. It is innovative one way--this record nailed 80s cheese in 1979. Perhaps it was influential in this respect, as the cliches found herein were repeated frequently in the decade that followed.

Total songs listened: 551

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