Bulletproof Heart

Grace Jones

Capitol, 1989


REVIEW BY: Mark Millan


The 1980s proved to be an incredibly productive and rewarding decade for Grace Jones. Not only did she forge a successful and trailblazing pop career, she also managed to carve out an interesting to say the least movie career, which culminated by Jones landing a part in Roger Moore’s last outing as 007 in 1985’s A View To A Kill. She also took the starring role as Katrina in Richard Wenk’s cult classic vampire film of 1986, Vamp. Although her acting parts paid well enough and gave her exposure to a wider audience, it was always Jones’ music that saw her reach her full creative potential as an artist. 

A string of great albums that began at Compass Point under the production of Sly & Robbie and continued throughout the decade aided by equally creative and challenging production teams helped Jones stamp her authority on the decade that just kept on giving. Having said all of that, by the end of the decade, Jones had married producer Chris Stanley and tried to settle into family life along with her young son Paulo from her previous relationship to Jean-Paul Goude. It was either by design or fate that Jones almost disappeared from the radar following the release of her ninth studio album, Bulletproof Heart, and she would not resurface for another 19 years until 2008’s stunning Hurricane.

As soon as the 80’s were over, so was Jones, and apart from a couple of bit parts and the odd song or two, Jones was rarely seen save for the fashion set of Europe throughout the 1990’s. All of this was a bit of a drag because the album that Jones departed the pop world with was her worst ever effort and utterly forgettable to boot. Produced by Joes and Stanley along with help from a selected few, including members of the then hot C&C Music Factory, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Bulletproof Heart is a flat, uninspired, and unimaginative piece of work that fell flat on its face and never recovered.

Lots of artist dropped terrible albums during the ’80s and with this one, Jones joined the ever-growing list at last. Aside from the uber-cool cover shot, nothing barely memorable happens during the entire 10 track set, and not even a 2004 reissue (including bonus tracks) could offer redemption. The overall production is clunky and messy, which is reminiscent of movie soundtracks at the time – the B-grade movies, though. Jones voice is actually a pretty versatile instrument but she really struggled to find way to use it here. 

Songs like opener “Driving Satisfaction” and “Kicked Around” are up-tempo, run-of-the-mill R&B/pop tracks of the day, which aren’t horrible but offer Jones nothing to really sink her fangs into. “Love On Top Of Love,” clocking in at over six minutes, is a boringly indulgent dance track that finds Jones voice buried in the dreadful mix. “Paper Plan” sounds better but is formulaic and sappy (“Marriage of the heart / Nothing’s gonna keep us apart”). Rapper Freedom appears on “Crack Attack,” which finds Jones trying to endear herself to the fledgling hip-hop scene; needless to say, she never bothered again. It’s a lame attempt at an edgy anti-drug song that was almost completely ignored by all who heard it upon the album’s release.   

The title track is probably one of the stronger songs here, but it’s clearly a rip-off of Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel” from his patchy but mega-selling Bad LP from 1986. “On My Way” is the one song here that I actually like. Closer “Someone To Love” is also much better than the previous tracks, but following fluff like “Dream” and “Seduction Surrender,” it’s a case of too little too late for me.

Bulletproof Heart was for almost two decades the multitalented Jones’ last album, which was a shame considering it doesn’t even come close to displaying said talents. Hurricane was a very welcome return, and word is that Jones is still working on that record’s follow-up, so it seems that this one was just a case of burnout. Hopefully, it will continue to stand alone as the only dud album Grace Jones has ever released.

Rating: D

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