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Heart - Beautiful Broken


by Kevin Wierzbicki

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Hold tight there magic man! When Heart first burst onto the scene in the '70s with back-to-back hit singles, jaws dropped. Listeners weren't used to hearing lusty rockers like "Crazy on You" and "Magic Man" sung by a woman, let alone a woman with a voice as captivating as Ann Wilson's. By now all the accomplishments of Ann and her sister Nancy are well-documented and Heart has achieved a firm place in the history of rock; still Beautiful Broken is a look to the past, in a couple of ways. The title cut, one of three new songs on the album, is a catchy and taut rocker that would have fit nicely on Dreamboat Annie or Bebe Le Strange, and Ann's voice is as strong and commanding of attention here as it was in those days. With guest vocals from James Hetfield of Metallica, "Beautiful Broken" looks not so much at a hot relationship like portrayed in "Crazy on You" as it does the fallout from such; the woman Ann sings about here is a "naughty girl" but also a "drama queen," she's beautiful but broken. It is not a coincidence that "Beautiful Broken" rocks like the old days. The Wilson's have gone back to their early catalog and chosen half a dozen songs that they felt weren't, for one reason or another, done justice the first time around, and they present newly recorded versions here. If you have Private Audition, Bebe Le Strange and Passionworks, you have the original versions of these six songs. Don't think though that these remakes are clones; "City's Burning," for example, is slowed in tempo from the original and heightened in sassiness thanks to a newfound funky strut while "Down on Me," already steamy in its original form, is a perfect example of how sensuous a song about devotion to a lover can be. Similarly impressive are new takes on "Johnny Moon," "One Word," "Sweet Darlin'," "Language of Love". All of the above already make Beautiful Broken a spectacular offering, but there's more, including a delicate reading of Ne-Yo's "Two" that's sung by Nancy, and the album's third new song, "I Jump," a cut that reflects Heart's well-known fondness for Led Zeppelin. Beautiful Broken is a very potent reminder of just exactly why fans fell in love with Heart in the first place.

Heart - Beautiful Broken
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