Mad Love

Linda Ronstadt

Asylum, 1980

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


The year 1980 found Linda Ronstadt at the height of her popularity, as her albums were selling millions of copies and she was headlining large concert halls across the United States.

No one can ever accuse her of not taking chances as despite her massive appeal, she abruptly changed musical directions. While 1979’s Living In The USA sent her in a rock / pop direction, Mad Love, released during 1980, embraced the new wave style of rock.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Three compositions by Elvis Costello and three more by Mark Goldenberg of The Cretones gave evidence of this new direction. Her fan base would follow as the album reached number two on the American charts and earned her another platinum sales award.

The title song, written by Goldenberg, which is also the album’s first track, is my least favorite. While it does establish her new style, it is just too over the top for my taste. She fares much better with his “Justine,” which contains one of the more powerful vocals of her career.

Two of the Elvis Costello covers are outstanding. “Party Girl,” from his Armed Forces album, is a song that just builds. Her take on “Girls Talk” is the best I have heard this side of Dave Edmunds.

The remaining tracks are both eclectic and in most ways successful. The only track that totally veered from her new musical direction was a fine cover of the old Little Anthony & The Imperials classic “Hurt So Bad.” She would deliver a powerful and soaring vocal which would enable it to become a top ten single in The United States.

The album contains several other hidden gems. “How Do I Make You” is a rocker that she gets just right, and it was also a top ten single. “I Can’t Let Go” was an old Hollies hit from the Graham Nash days. She gives it a different feel with a strong vocal. Her rocking version of Neil Young’s “Look Out For My Love” just draws you in.

Mad Love has aged a bit since its release as its music and Linda Ronstadt have long since moved on. Her rock phase may have lasted only three albums, but it managed to produce some interesting work. If I wanted to listen to some of her music, this isn't an album I would normally turn to -- but still, it was nice to see a major artist actually take a few chances.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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