Get Lucky (25th Anniversary Edition)
REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/02/2011
My first concert was Dokken opening for Loverboy. I often read essays about someone’s first concert being a mind-blowing experience. Loverboy was not that way for me. It was 1986 and I can’t even tell you any of the songs they played that night. I remember more about opening act Dokken, thanks mainly to a bootleg of the performance I witnessed, than I do about Loverboy. I do remember a couple of tracks from this album in their setlist, though, and when I saw it in the bargain bin at Best Buy for a measly $4.99, I knew it was time to replace my dusty dubbed cassette version with a shiny plastic version. The fact that I can now listen to four demos, all previously unreleased, was just a bonus.
Kicking off with the lead single “Working For The Weekend” and following it with the synth intro of “When It’s Over,” Loverboy, back in the day, had everything going for them. Vocalist Mike Reno’s swagger is undeniably self-assured. “Working For The Weekend” has made its imprint on American society as a theme song for the working class, and as an album opener, it is perfect. Third track, “Jump,” which pre-dates the Van Halen song by three years, is my favorite song on this disc, even if it never got airplay or a lot of attention. The cockiness in Reno’s delivery of lyrics about needing to move quickly if they are found doing unmentionables is appealing.
On the other hand, I don’t have a lot of use for “Gangs In The Street,” and the fifth track “Emotional” sounds out of place. Call it the most experimental track on this release with a Rolling Stones-y vibe. “Lucky Ones,” which features a blistering syncopated ride cymbal part around the 3:00 mark, is my second favorite song on this release.
One thing I look for in a reissue or anniversary version is detailed liner notes. The liner notes for this release ranks right at a D. There’s a little bit of information about a couple of the songs, but there’s no track-by-track recollection. I criticized Queensryche’s Empire release for the “Uh, I really don’t know why this track was omitted from the original release” themed commentary about previously unreleased songs. I don’t like the way Loverboy did it either. The only mention of the previously unreleased demos is this unhelpful blurb: “The bonus material comes straight from [guitarist Paul] Dean’s own archives and sounds right at home among the already known tracks.” I’d rather look at empty space than read pompous text like that. Maybe, someday, a band will get the liner notes right. I want to know why the songs didn’t make the original, who was in favor of them, who was not, etc. Give me something to tap into the inner workings of a band that has reason to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their release.
In the end, though, these songs have just as much of an appeal as they did when I heard them shortly after this album’s release in 1981. Over the years, my interest in the band has gone up and down like a pogo stick. Having purchased this release, it makes me want to go through the rest of their catalog and re-listen to their material.