Get Nervous

Pat Benatar

Chrysalis, 1982

REVIEW BY: Michael R. Smith


Crimes Of Passion may have received the lion’s share of attention and Precious Time boasted commercial success, but Get Nervous was the best Pat Benatar album since her 1979 debut In The Heat Of The Night

For this, her fourth studio release, Benatar made a daring leap by incorporating New Wave elements into her overall sound. And before anyone could accuse her of losing her mind, the cover photo featured her in a straitjacket, with her hair looking as though she had stuck her finger in light socket. Benatar was determined to have the last laugh on this album and, in turn, helped to put the fun back in rock music.

Produced by Peter Coleman and husband Neil Geraldo, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Get Nervous starts off with a mid-tempo power ballad of the highest order, “Shadows Of The Night.” From that point on, the pace rarely lets up. Even the two slow songs (“Fight It Out” and “Tell It To Her”) have tremendous muscle behind them. In those moments you can hear how much Benatar has been influenced by Kate Bush and The Police. You can even detect the sound of early U2 on “The Victim,” which is also the track that makes the strongest impression here.

Back in the day, a woman had to have the utmost confidence in herself if she had any hopes of succeeding in the male-dominated arena of rock music. Don’t let Benatar’s small frame fool you; she could rock out with the best of ’em. Songs like “Looking For A Stranger” and “Silent Partner” show off her expressive vocal range and her variation as an artist. 

The Benatar song that I hold closest to my heart is “Little Too Late,” in which an ordinary pop song is taken to a whole new and exciting level with its great percussion elements and synth flourishes. Speaking of the synthesizer, the title track “Anxiety (Get Nervous)” shows the world just what cool things can be done with the instrument of the 80s.

There are really no filler tracks or subpar songs to be found on Get Nervous, though “Looking For A Stranger” and “I Want Out” do tend to have the shortest shelf life. And, despite the fact that “I’ll Do It” is the type of song you play at full volume while cruising down Main Street in a convertible at night, its interlude is a little on the weak side.

But those are minor complaints, especially when Get Nervous is taken as a whole. After releasing three more albums, Benatar’s career would come to a screeching halt at the start of the 90s. Pat’s always a welcome guest on VH1, however, and is now considered as a pioneer in her field. A talent like hers cannot be denied for long, and if a full-fledged comeback isn’t on the horizon, then surely an invitation for the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame is. This disc shows why.

Rating: A-

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© 2007 Michael R. Smith 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 Chrysalis, and is used for informational purposes only.