New album releases this week include:
Heart, Beautiful Broken. Ann and Nancy Wilson offer two fine new songs and redo a handful of tracks from Bebe Le Strange (1980), Private Audition (1982) and Passionworks (1983) that they felt they didn’t get quite right the first time. Johnny Moon, a seeming thematic twist on Helen Reddy’s quirky Angie Baby, benefits the most from the new, musically organic approach as it strips away the ’80s gloss.
But the best of the bunch is the new I Jump, a Led Zeppelin-flavored rocker with all the mood and mystery intact. The pretty Ne-Yo composition, Two, sung by Nancy Wilson, would be a hit single if radio still played Heart.
Metallica’s James Hetfield joins Ann on vocals for the pile driving title track, which originated in a different Hetfield-free version as a bonus cut on Heart’s 2012 Fanatic. Heaven, the other “new” song, first appeared on a live from Seattle CD in the early 2000s.
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Not every song improves. While Sweet Darlin’, originally from Bebe, gains a less shrill vocal from Ann Wilson and a warm string arrangement from Paul Buckmaster, Down on Me is too close to the already solid 1980 original to merit a redo. Ditto One Voice. City’s Burning was technically too manic on Private Audition, with a “show-offy” vocal set in an impossibly high key. But the new, slower, funkier version misses the edge of the frantic original.
The marvel above all is how well Ann Wilson’s voice has maintained 40 years after Heart made its bow on Dreamboat Annie.
Steven Tyler, We’re All Somebody from Somewhere. We’ve been hearing about the Aerosmith singer’s first Nashville country album for seemingly forever.
Kidz Bop, Kidz Bop 32. Kidz Bop Kids cover Cake by the Ocean, Out of the Woods and sing an original track, Life of the Party.
Need to Breathe, Hard Love.
David Nail, Fighter.
Good Charlotte, Youth Authority.
Soundtrack, Ghostbusters. 5 Seconds of Summer, Zayn and Fall Out Boy pick up where Ray Parker Jr., The Busboys and Laura Branigan left off 30 years ago in the original film.
Jeff Beck, Loud Hailer.
Diana Ross, Diana Ross. Vinyl reissue of 1976 LP, in honor of its 40th anniversary and its hit single, Love Hangover.
Dirty Heads, Dirty Heads.
Nonpoint, The Poison Red.