Huey Lewis & The News

Huey Lewis & The News

Chrysalis, 1980

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


If you query most people, they’d probably believe that Huey Lewis And The News’s career began with the 1983 album Sports. But Lewis and the band had two albums prior to their breakthrough success, and while 1980’s debut Huey Lewis And The News doesn’t quite have the muscle to show what the band was truly capable of, it’s not only pleasant enough to listen to as background music, but has a moment or two where the band is surprisingly edgy.

The album is probably best known for the song “Trouble In Paradise,” a live version of which was included on the my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 We Are The World record. But while Lewis and crew definitely have their sound dialed in and are tight as a musical unit, the material proves to be the disc’s undoing. Simply put: it’s good, but not great.

A contradiction, you may say? Perhaps. But take songs like “Stop Trying” or “Don’t Ever Tell Me That You Love Me” as examples. Musically, they sound crisp; Bill Schnee’s production work is definitely top notch in that regard. As a band, they’re so tight you could bounce a quarter off of them. But they were still developing as songwriters, leaving these efforts a bit sub-par—not bad, but not worth praising the heavens about. And as tight as the band might have been, without strong source material, talent can only go so far.

There are rays of hope, however. “Who Cares?” is a song that sure sounds like a mild curse word was edited out of the chorus (and the song leaves no doubt what that word is). Ironically, it’s the idea of Huey Lewis And The News being mildly profane that provides the first real excitement of the disc, and the song takes on almost a mystical atmosphere as a result. Similarly, the disc’s closer “If You Really Love Me You’ll Let Me” has the band speeding through the track at a pace they normally didn’t showcase in their works. But despite a lengthy title, the track offers up the strongest evidence on the disc that this was going to be a band worth paying attention to.

If Huey Lewis And The News had contained some more solid songwriting, this disc might have made them household names three years before they suddenly got discovered by people turning on MTV and seeing videos from Sports, or hearing them on the radio. It’s not a bad first effort, by any means. But it’s what the album could have been that ends up dooming it. Still, it’s worth checking out.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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