Heart: Magazine SACD
Our friends at Audio Fidelity Records return with another Super Audio CD (SACD) of a classic rock album. This time, from 1977/78, it's Heart's Magazine, an album with more than a little history and controversy surrounding it's publication, thanks to the band's legal battles with their label.
Heart 1978 Band Photo
As for that history and controversy, you can read the Wikipedia article about Magazine. Regarding the nature of a SACD, you can read my brief description in the review of the Alice Cooper Billion Dollar Babies SACD.
My first only question is, why this particular Heart album? Sure, it was a big seller, going platinum, but it's likely one of my least favorite Heart albums, up there with Bebe le Strange. I would have opted for the iconic Dreamboat Annie and one of the records from the Eighties big hair years, Heart or Bad Animals.
Heart: circa 1978.
Since Magazine was developed under the duress of legal issues, it's more like mish-mash of songs rather than consistent whole. I think I really like only two songs on the album: Heartless and the Badfinger cover Without You, where Ann Wilson soars. The two live songs, actually three as Mother Earth Blues is a medley of two songs, at the end are so over polished, you wouldn't think they're live until you catch the slight smattering of applause. Just the Wine and Magazine simply make me yawn. But that's just me. Hey, they sold millions of copies, because their fans did indeed like it.
Alternatively, what this album does prove is Heart's deftness and skill at playing blues-based hard rock, a staple of the Seventies, and how really good Ann Wilson can sing. She has few equals even to this day as does the band, pioneering female-fronted rock bands. (And don't go all Janis Joplin or Jefferson Airplane on me with that statement.) Of course, because of the inherent clarity of the SACD format, all this is heightened and enlarged, boosting the sound from a day when musicians played through amps with tubes and their music was recorded in analog. In other words, it sounds really, really good. For it's history and place in Heart's catalog, this Limited Edition SACD of Magazine should please the diehard Heart fan.
by Craig Hartranft