11 February 2014

Pat Benatar - Precious Time

My first conceptions of Pat Benatar as an impressionable ten year old on hearing Love Is A Battlefield about the mid 1980s for the first time was a real rock chick competing with the likes of Debbie Harry and Joan Jett. Sometimes your imagination can really run riot! But even then some things run true up to adulthood, and I just loved the said song and one of the first waves of inspiration that made me want to pick up a guitar and start strumming it. And also I feel she's probably the most underrated female vocalist I've listened to. Born, Patricia Mae Andrzejewski, she decided to keep her married name when she was divorced from husband and serviceman Dennis Benatar. Since then, she's tied the knot with bandmate and guitarist Neil Giraldo who now gets equal billing and have never looked back since.

Precious Time is Mrs Benatar's third album, recorded in Sound City, Los Angeles, and a running theme for all the bloggers here at ATTIWLTMOWOS as we're attempting to review as many albums as we can by the artists who cut their music in the legendary recording studios. She turned her back on a promising classical career at a time when post punk was in its heyday and on both East and West Coasts, the airwaves were embracing Hall And Oates, Styx and other M.O.T.R. pop snippets. First track is Promises In The Dark, and as well may be expected, it deals with her personal woes, ably backed up by her new flame's six string which I guess has some sharp shots in the song. Then there's Fire And Ice, which runs along a rhythm and beat not dissimilar to Neil Finn or Joe Jackson. As a pop snippet I guess it's reasonable, but the backup band really don't much justice to PB's upper notes.

Neil Giraldo takes centre stage with the instrumental breaks on Just Like Me, which is a Paul Revere And The Raiders Cover. Now I haven't heard their version so I'm withholding my judgement on that, in reality it really doesn't do it for me. However, the guitars take a giant leap of improvement in the title track and there's also less running commentary in the storytelling, and it's much more illustrative, so a strong thumb up from me. Tuff Life has a reggae flavour in the verses changing to pacier beats in the chorus, certainly Sting inspired I'm sure. The album's only getting going up to this stage, Take It Any Way You Want It, Blondie influenced no question about it while Evil Genius takes a break from the self pitying tracks by telling the tale of an intelligent child gone bad. But doing narratives I'm afraid however is not one of Mrs Benatar's biggest selling points.

Hard To Believe I do enjoy, it has a Go-Go's effervescence feel about it although the shredding cadenza is rather bizarre towards the end, while Precious Time signs off with The Beatles' Helter Skelter. Not much more than a frame by frame homage to Paul McCartney if you like and nothing more than an album filler either. And my problem with the album is that there's just not enough topical variety in the songwriting, it's largely all charting Pat Benatar's personal struggles and her social commentary is below par I'm afraid to say. Also Precious Time, while having a couple of good tracks on it, doesn't light the fuse for me even if her vocal range is put to its full capacity. In mitigation, I've never been a fan of M.O.R. rock, save for maybe Split Enz and Sniff n' The Tears, but again for me the album hasn't brought about too much sparkle to elevate it up to the next level.

4 out of ten. Well it is alright, but still.....
Best track : Precious Time

Buy Precious Time here on Amazon
Listen to the album here on Spotify
Official Website here (although her bandmate Neil Giraldo receives equal billing too)

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