Dreamboat Annie


Capitol Records, 1976


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Has it really been nearly 25 years since Heart came out with their debut effort Dreamboat Annie? Although Ann and Nancy Wilson have kept relatively low profiles over the last few years (save for their stint with The Lovemongers), their music is still played on a daily basis, cementing their importance in the rock and roll fabric.

But going back to Dreamboat Annie, one has to wonder if there's anything past the two hits that have been overplayed to death by rock radio. Sadly, the answer is: not much of substance is left.

Let's get the two hits out of the way early. I'll freely admit that I'm so sick of hearing these songs on the radio that every time they come on, I change the station. (I'm developing carpel tunnel syndrome from the amount of times I change the radio station in the car.) But hearing them in the environment they were created in, it sounds a lot more natural, and the songs regain the glory that has been wrung from their chord structure. The acoustic guitar intro on "Crazy On You" is still a tremendous piece of playing, and it helps to put the whole piece in perspective.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Granted, I've never been a big fan of the guitar solos on "Magic Man," and Heart would make this song weak in comparison to some of the works they'd pen. But there's still something intriguing about hearing it, keeping this song fresh.

That leaves eight songs on Dreamboat Annie -- and three of them are used for variations on the title track. Can we say "overkill"? No, better yet, can we say "filler"? I mean, the whole disc is only 40 minutes long, for crissake. One version of the track was more than enough, thank you very much.

Then again, after hearing some of the efforts on Dreamboat Annie, methinks I'm complaining about the wrong thing. Some tracks, like "Soul Of The Sea," take a long time to develop, but they prove to be worth it. Others, like "(Love Me Like Music) I'll Be Your Song," are decent enough, but sink in their own sugar-sweetness. Then there's tracks like "Sing Child," which fall under the heading of "it seemed like a good idea at the time." These should be avoided.

Am I being too harsh? After all, this was a first effort, and every band needs some amount of space to grow. Maybe that's true in the case of Dreamboat Annie. But when it comes down to asking yourself whether it's worth investing in this disc these days, you do have to look at all the aspects of it. When you get right down to it, the answer is that this is a disc that's really for the diehard fans only. If you want the hits, there's a number of greatest hits and live albums out there that they can be found on. Otherwise, Dreamboat Annie isn't quite the Titanic, but it sure ain't the QE2.

Rating: C

User Rating: B+


Chris, Chris, Chris. Are you being too harsh? Yes. The singles were overplayed because, um, they're really good songs. That happens sometimes and does not diminish the quality of the songs, only your ability to appreciate them. I would agree that "Soul Of The Sea" is the best of the ballads but am surprised you overlooked "White Lightning & Wine," another strong rocker, and simply disagree with your assessment of "Dreamboat Annie," reprises and all. It's an extraordinarily melodic piece of autobiography that serves as a frame for the whole album, which I give a solid B+.
Listen to "Stairway To Heaven" non-stop for 10 years and see if your tolerance level for the song changes. I'm not denying the singles off "Dreamboat Annie" are good, but radio, in its infinite wisdom (or lack thereof) has so beat them to death that I honestly cringe when I hear them start up. Had radio given other songs on this disc (or any non-singles from ANY Heart album) a fair spin, it would have at least been trying to return balance to the cosmos. But, then again, that would be allowing people in radio to *think* - and we can't have that, now, can we?

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