Now That's What I Call Power Ballads

Various Artists

Sony, 2016

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/26/2016

Well, the folks at the never-ending NOW! Corporation have finally gotten around to releasing yet another compilation of ‘80s and early ‘90s power ballads. This is the type of music I grew up with, and though I’ve gotten some ribbing about it from others on our distinguished staff, I can’t help it. Some of these songs are still favorites of mine and allow me to harken back to my youth.

Relying on some of the always-great standouts like “I Remember You” by Skid Row and Extreme’s “More Than Words,” this compilation has tried its best to stand out from the rest. But it doesn’t really succeed because, let’s face it, who cares about “Almost Paradise,” a track from the my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Footloose soundtrack featuring the singers of Loverboy and Heart? Because the song sucked then, and it really sucks now. Other songs don’t really stand the test of time either, like Cinderella’s “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)” and Warrant’s “Heaven,” which sounds even cheesier now than it ever did. Other songs are just laughable and cringe-worthy, like the icky “To Be With You” or Bad English’s “When I See You Smile,” which is just the nadir of all hair band power ballads!

True, there are some great tracks like Queensryche’s “Silent Lucidity,” which has always been one of my favorites, and Kix’s underrated “Don’t Close Your Eyes.” But there are also some glaring omissions like Saigon Kick’s “Love Is On The Way, Winger’s “Headed For A Heartbreak” and Steelheart’s “I’ll Never Let You Go (Angel Eyes).” Adding these tracks and subtracting some of the weaker and laughable ones would’ve made this record much more definitive than it is.

One song, Slaughter’s “Fly To The Angels,” is a song I haven’t heard since I was a kid, and it fills me with memories of watching these videos on MTV and not having a care in the world. That’s what power ballads can do – take you back to a period in time when young love was the greatest thing and your hair was everything!

The presence of bands like Journey, Boston and Cheap Trick is interesting, because although songs like “Open Arms” are ballads, they don’t really fit in with bands like Extreme and Tesla. Those songs would’ve been better suited on a different, more classic rock themed compilation.

In essence, while this is a decent record, one would be better off owning Monster Ballads, a record that came out over a decade ago and contains all the classic tracks in one nifty disc. With some tweaking to the track listing, this one could be better, but it ends up falling short.

Rating: C

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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