Pat Benatar

Bel Chiasso Records, 2003


REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


I admit it. Whilst I was indulging in puberty and my teenage years, I had a huge crush on Pat Benatar. She could rock and roll, and she was just cute as heck. Somewhere in there, though, Pat and I both got older, and I lost my interest in her (I think I moved on to Kate Bush at that point). Even now, however, I'll turn up the radio if someone plays some of her stuff; she has always had a wonderful, fierce voice and competent musicianship to back it up.

However, I am always leery of comeback CDs. For every one that's interesting, there are five that make you wonder why in the world the artist didn't just stay retired and work on their golf swing or something. So it was with some trepidation that I approached the first Pat Benatar CD in six years, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Go. Could Pat pull it off, or was this another comeback attempt that should have stayed on the shelf?

First off, let's get one thing out of the way; this is not just a Pat Benatar CD. Husband, guitarist, soulmate, and longtime band member Neil Giraldo has co-writing credits on all the tracks on Go, and his churning guitar is in the evidence from the first track. That minor quibble satisfied, I am pleased to report that on the whole this is a pretty darn tasty piece of work.

Benatar rocks hard on Go; perhaps harder than she has since 1988's Wide Awake In Dreamland. Sure, there are a few softer songs plainly intended for radio and mainstream consumption, specifically "Brave" and "Please Don't Leave Me," but most of Go is straight-ahead rock and roll, heavily laced with Giraldo's incendiary guitar work and competent, albeit undermixed, percussion. The centerpiece is really Benatar's vocals -- she hasn't lost a metaphorical step, and on songs like "I Won't" and "Have It All," she is alternately precise and purring and snarling and driving. The vocal transformation on "Have It All" is worth especial note; she starts the song in a gentle, almost delicate, breathy vocal, and in the space of three words becomes a valkyrie of volume. Impressive.

Other tracks worthy of mention include the almost-waltz of "Out Of The Ruins"; the blues-driven "In My Dreams"; the wistful "Tell Me"; and "Sorry," whose ephemeral acoustic guitar intro turns into a driving, throbbing flamenco tour de force.

There is one glaring miscue on the CD -- thank whatever gods you serve that it's the 'hidden track', the maudlin, puerile, and saccharine "Christmas In America." While I understand that it's a September 11 and New York City tribute, couldn't we have come up with something that didn't sound like the musical background for a 700 Club animated Christmas card? Yecch. With that one exception, however, Go is an excellent effort and shows that Benatar still rocks. It comes highly recommended.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2003 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Bel Chiasso Records, and is used for informational purposes only.