Desire Walks On


Capitol, 1993

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Following Heart’s return to the spotlight in 1985, their career seemed to be a cycle of hits and misses in terms of their studio work. For the return to form that was Heart, there was the stumble out of the gate that was Bad Animals. Likewise, for the power that was Brigade, there was a “what do we do now?!?” vibe with Desire Walks On, which is not the worst album in Heart’s discography, but is easily the most confusing.

In a sense, one can’t blame Ann and Nancy Wilson for musical confusion, as the scope of popular music had turned towards grunge -- a totally different Seattle flavor than what Heart had been offering up for nearly 20 years -- and their style of rock didn’t really seem to fit with the popular scene. But Heart had seen cycles of popular music change often in their careers; one could argue that they should have known how to ride this one out as well.

But one my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 can blame the Wilsons and their expanding crew of songwriters for selecting a batch of songs that presents Heart in a very laissez-faire mood, as if they’re merely going through the motions, hoping to keep some of the momentum they built up with Brigade going. Too bad this approach fails.

Ignoring the two short snippets of music that bookend this disc, the opening salvo of “Black On Black II,” “Back To Avalon,” and “The Woman In Me” just fails to capture any of the power and emotion that Heart had become known for at the high points of their career. “Black On Black II” is an ear-shredding nightmare that showcases Ann Wilson demonstrating how loud she can shriek. That approach didn’t work on Private Audition, and it certainly doesn’t work on this one.

The first ray of hope that this disc has is a track with the unfortunate title of “My Crazy Head.” I know the title means little, but building a song around a chorus with these words is a little off-putting; fortunately, the rest of the songwriting and the performance are strong enough to carry it through. Likewise, I know that “Will You Be There (In The Morning)” is basically a photocopy of “Who Will You Run To” merged with “I Didn’t Want To Need You,” but the thing is, the formula still works, and it works well. Had this track been the lead-off on the disc (as well as the first single), chances are that the rest of the disc might have had a better flow, and the album would be actually remembered.

What is a shame is that these are the only two standout tracks on Desire Walks On. It’s not that this is a bad disc, it’s that the music is so bland and forgettable that despite some decent musical performances, it fails to excite the listener the way that other Heart songs and albums have had the power to do. Heart was a band built on the raw emotion and power of rock music, and was able to convey this, even in their ballads, on a good portion of their recorded output. Sadly, they’re not able to even get themselves excited on this one.

Of all Heart’s albums, Desire Walks On counts as their biggest disappointment. The band had so much promise of great things to come in what was the latter half of their second coming. It’s such a shame that they let it slip through their fingers and strings.

Rating: C-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2009 Christopher Thelen 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 Capitol, and is used for informational purposes only.