Hi Infidelity (1980)


1. Don't Let Him Go 2. Keep on Loving You 3. Follow My Heart 4. In Your Letter 5. Take it on the Run 6. Tough Guys 7. Out of Season 8. Shakin' it Loose 9. Someone Tonight 10.I Wish You Were There


 

It was a really nice thing to see REO Speedwagon continue their strong momentum and put together a solid album of great tracks front to back. With their success in the past, or more accurately, the lack of it - it is surprising that this record would produce a plethora of hit singles and climb all the way to number one on the charts. What is also incredibly surprising is that this record went on to be the biggest selling album of the entire year of 1981. Truth be told, these guys deserved it. I can't think of many bands that paid their dues like these guys, and the album really was a great one - only building on the quality of their last couple albums that were very strong in and of themselves.

The biggest difference here is that the guys seem to be going for a bit of a more radio friendly sound. The harder edge of this band has been toned down slightly, and they've managed to include a couple of power ballads that, unknown to anyone at the time, would actually be the band's strongest selling point. Keep On Lovin' You is unmistakably the best well known song from these guys, and justifiably so. The song screams "arena rock" and it's become such an anthem, that this band would still manage to stay together and sell tickets thirty years in the future - even though they never quite replicated the success of this song, or the overall album, ever again.

The word "infidelity" doesn't seem to be an accident. All of the songs here seem to be somewhat related to relationship struggles, and to be honest, the sentiments are at times kind of juvenile. Perhaps this is why critics largely wrote this piece off as inconsequential. The songs don't sound necessarily like they're written by grizzled ten year veterans of the road, but more like they're coming from heartbroken high-schoolers. Then again, this is probably the main audience that this album resonated with, anyway. So whereas long time fans of this band (and there weren't that many) may have been screaming "sell-out", you couldn't really fault these guys since they've been trying so hard for so long to make any kind of impact.

Most of these songs found their way onto some sort of billboard chart, and Take it on The Run and Don't Let Him Go joined Keep on Lovin' You as the band's "all time greats" that would never be forgotten by anyone who happened to be listening to music at the time. Some songs sound a bit kitchy - In Your Letter suffers a bit from cuteness, but it is awfully catchy. Same can be said about Tough Guys with that oh-so-annoying Our Gang/Little Rascals introduction. Bruce Hall proves that his "one-shot" song from the last album was no fluke, and provides a nice semi-change of pace with Someone Tonight. If the band flaunted their bubble gum sound a bit too much, you could always count on Bruce Hall to give the band a slight leaner and meaner edge.

Yes, this was the ultimate REO Speedwagon album. They never did anything close to this caliber again, but with the huge impact that this record had along with the band's prolonged career, they could safely pay the bills with this success for the rest of their career.



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