RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Heart – Beautiful Broken  
Concord Records

Rating: B

Ann and Nancy Wilson have done with Beautiful Broken what many old school Heart fans have hoped they would do for many, many years… they returned to their classic sound!  The title track features a heavy guitar hook, a nasty, attitude filled vocal and an appearance from a guy in Metallica (James Hetfield). This tune is one classic bad-ass Heart song and it is the first single from the release... and it is the best song on the album.  To be fair, this one sounded like classic Heart back in 2012 when it was a bonus track on their album Fanatic.  Now, it sounds way heavier and is a better version of the song.

Part of the reason this has a classic Heart sound is that seven of the ten songs are from past albums.  Aside from the title track, Heart fans get “Sweet Darlin'” and “Down on Me” from 1980’s Bebe Le Strange, “City’s Burning” and “One Word” from 1982’s Private Audition and “Johnny Moon” and “Language of Love” from 1983’s Passionworks.   The ladies never felt ‘right’ about how these songs were recorded so they decided to rethink them and see if they can, with retrospect, recreate the magic they were missing.  All in all, they did a fine job, which is best heard in the rockin’ title track and the guitar heavy “Cities are Buring.”  How this failed to light up the airways is a mystery… this sucker rocks and is filled with, ahem, pardon the pun… heart!

In the press release for the album, Nancy shares her thoughts on this endeavor.

“There is really a seventies feel to this record both in the sound, and the way we got to the emotional core of each song,” says Nancy Wilson. “We picked songs that we always wanted to re-do, plus we’ve added three new tracks. On both new and old, we have the band playing together the way we used to. This is classic Heart.”

Nancy explains her reason for the new renderings, “I felt these songs were poetic pieces that were lost in translation with the sounds of the eighties, which was harder and more digital. We wanted to drape them in velvet, and make them shine.”

There are three new songs on the album including a tune Nancy sings titled “Two” which she heard as a demo for a TV show.  She liked it so much she reached out to the songwriter, R&B talent Ne-Yo and asked if she could record the song.  “I went to work begging for the song,” she says. “Ne-Yo said, ‘sure.’ It ends up he’s a Heart fan. He may still release his own version at some point, but to me the song feels like mine now.”

The sisters Wilson co-produced the album with Heart’s current bass player Dan Rothchild.  The result is an album that will be well received by the group’s fan base.  Of course, naysayers will complain that they would rather have new songs… and, to be honest, I agree.  But… that said… this is a fine album.  The seven songs really were not captured the way they needed to be the first time around.  Hearing how the tracks sound now will make a believer out of anyone who thinks the gals are out of ideas. 

This is a very cool idea that was done in the right way to make it a success.

Track Listing:
Beautiful Broken
Sweet Darlin'
I Jump
Johnny Moon
City's Burning
Down On Me
One Word
Language Of Love

By Jeb “Magic Man” Wright