LOVERBOY — Loverboy (review)

LOVERBOY — Loverboy album cover Album · 1980 · Hard Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
While the NWOBHM was just getting started as the 70s was laid to rest and the new decade was beginning, so too was a cuter and more cuddly training bra friendly form of heavy rock that took heavy metal guitar and mixed it with the new wave sounds that were becoming a trademark sound of the 80s that incorporated ample supplies of modern synthesizer sounds with super catchy pop hooks. Bands like Journey, Toto and Cheap Trick fit this bill but one of the most 80s bands of all was just getting started as the decade of Pac-Man and MTV had just seen the odometer switch from the 70s to the 80s.

Anybody who lived through the 80s would’ve surely been bombarded by the sounds of Canada’s LOVERBOY no matter where they lived. This band that ushered the decade in with this self-titled debut managed to string up a whopping ten top 10 hits on the Billboard charts before fading into obscurity by decade’s end but not without releasing four multi-platinum albums and a fifth that went gold. The band was also a staple of 80s arena rock selling out stadiums with other 80s acts like ZZ Top, KISS, Def Leppard and Journey. Not to mention the string of never-ending videos that mesmerized or more likely haunted addicts of the first generation of MTV (when they actually played music!)

LOVERBOY got its start in Calgary, Alberta in late 1979 and it didn’t take much time at all to find a home on Canada’s Columbia / CBS Records label after bedazzling record execs with the band’s keenly crafted hard pop charm that was perfectly suited for the modern era. This debut album was an instant hit and spawned two of the band’s best known tracks of its career, such as the fiery opener “The Kid Is Hot Tonite” which displayed the band’s hard rock prowess and displayed some Iron Maiden guitar gallops fused with the keyboard rich new wave style of bands like the Human League or Duran Duran.

The opening track was the second single and minor hit but was dwarfed by the massive popularity of the second track / first single “Turn Me Loose” which to this day remains a daily staple on any given classic rock radio station across the planet. This one showcased a more heavy rock prowess with a thumping bass groove, guitar hooks complete with bluesy hard rock solos and the feminine charm of the constant oooo-oooo’s of the backing vocalist Nancy Nash, a famous indigenous recording star, well at least in Canada. The other single that tried but failed to crack the top 40 perhaps signifies the band’s 80s connection most of all and displays all the cheese and pomp of arena acts like LOVERBOY. It was titled “Lady Of The 80s.”

While the rest of the album can’t compete with the instant addictive ear hooks of the first two tracks, the album hosts a decent number of catchy hooks augmented with the hard rock guitar bombast of the main songwriter Paul Dean and the new wave keyboard 80s sounds of Doug Johnson. While the bassist Scott Smith and drummer Matt Frenette got the job done, their roles are quite subordinate to the magical spells cast by the guitar and keyboard combo affect. Another big ticket item for LOVERBOY’s sound was surely Mike Reno’s somewhat whiny vocal style but his dynamic range and knack for capturing all those 80s-isms with his charismatic stage presence ensured the perfect stage presence for the band’s musical style.

It’s fair to say that the first side of the album is the more memorable however the second half of the album isn’t horrible by any means. The tracks range from the bluesy shuffle of “Little Girl” to the synthpop funkified “Prissy Prissy” and the more laughable attempt to be serious with the track “Teenage Overdose.” The track “D.O.A.” runs on pure new wave mode and sounds more like something The Cars would conjure up than anything better known from LOVERBOY. The closing “It Don’t Matter” captures another addictive groove but relies on a more subdued guitar and focuses on the bass driven groove and surprisingly ends the album with a saxophone solo by Wayne Kozak making the album sound more like a new romantic band like ABC or Spandau Ballet!

While LOVERBOY has never even come close to being a main staple in my musical diet, i cannot deny the appeal they must’ve had for the musically uninitiated and those who love super catchy pop hooks with a little hard rock bombast. It’s not unthinkable that the catchy hooks were irresistible to some. While i’ve only really owned a greatest hits album called “Big Ones” which contains the first two tracks on this album which are excellent and perhaps the best of LOVERBOY’s entire career, this debut album is an interesting slice of early 80s hard pop rock that has somewhat of an edge but never for once strays into territory that is not radio friendly. Geez, i was all ready to give this only 3 stars but i too have been hooked by the addictive ear worms that LOVERBOY was so famous for so 3.5!
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siLLy puPPy wrote:
23 days ago
Yeah, i get it. Was surprised they were here but to be honest they had enough heavy rock material to be here. I have heard their entire 80s albums but whatever. The site will go on with or without :)
666sharon666 wrote:
23 days ago
They may be here but very much under review with every chance of being removed. Just to warn you for when you post reviews for artists you may not have expected to find on MMA.
siLLy puPPy wrote:
23 days ago
Me neither until i decided to review it on RYM and then looked here and voila!!!! Take THAT Metal Archives :D
Vim Fuego wrote:
24 days ago
Did not know we had THIS band here... You have me curious now.

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