CD Review: Heart

(amazon.com)

Heart
Strange Euphoria
Epic/Legacy
By David Chiu

Heart’s new boxed set isn’t so much an exhaustive retrospective crammed with the familiar hits, although some of them are present. Rather, it goes for something far deeper through previously unreleased early demos, live recordings, side projects and album tracks/non-singles to offer a broad overview of Ann and Nancy Wilson’s extraordinary career. Fans of the early incarnation of the group will feast on rarities such as “Through Eyes and Glass” from ’69, recorded by Ann Wilson and the Daybreaks; the demos of “Magic Man” and “Crazy On You,” and a live performance of “Barracuda” from ’77. Definitely the first disc captures ‘70s Heart at their stadium rock zenith, while the second disc marks the group’s transitional period where Heart achieved success the second time around with the great power ballads in “These Dreams” and “Alone.” (Those two tracks and a stripped-down version of “Never” with Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones are the only known hits from that mid to late ‘80s pop period on this set). The third disc includes material from the Lovemongers side band, individual solo projects, and more recent tracks from the last studio Red Velvet Car (“Hey You,” “Queen City”). The DVD portion contains a live performance from 1976 a la the Dreamboat Annie period. Strange Euphoria makes a very strong case of how varied Heart’s music (i.e. pop and folk) is underneath that Zeppelin-influenced hard rock exterior as well as the talents of Ann and Nancy as artists and songwriters. Hopefully this is the evidence to get them a spot the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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