1975, Music

Dreamboat Annie (1975) by Heart

There was so much blues-based rock and hard rock in the 1970s, it’s hard to know what to care about in the 21st century. So much stuff that was raved about at the time now seems entirely inconsequential given the (relative) death of rock music in the 2010s.

But the thing is, there really wasn’t another hard rock band like this – fronted by two women, sisters, and playing all-original material. Even if I may not like their material as much as I may like other material by less unique contemporary hard rock bands, this one feels like a trailblazer, especially given the number of female “rockers” that followed in their wake.

My appreciation of this album is also helped by having only ever heard their pretty generic self-titled massive hit record from the ’80s. That thing is not good and so this sure stands out in comparison.

Two of their three biggest ’70s hits are here, which helps. I’ve heard “Magic Man” and “Crazy on You” more times than I can count, given their presence on ’90s classic rock radio. (I’ve heard “Barracuda” more, I suspect, however.) You’ll be shocked to hear that the rest of the material isn’t as strong, whether it’s not as catchy or whether it’s softer (as they are still prone to ballads at this early stage).

They manage to have a relatively diverse instrumental pallette, especially due to Ann’s flute. (She pulls an Ian Anderson at one point!) That definitely helps.

At their softest and slickest, they are definitely too slick for my tastes. Not anywhere near as bad as on their self-titled record from a decade later, but still too slick for this genre. But, at their hardest, they have enough edge, there is distortion on the guitars and sometimes Ann really strains her voice like a rock singer should.

It’s certainly very respectable and it’s easy to see the appeal of a sororal songwriting duo fronting their own band and doing a better job than (some) all-male bands. But it doesn’t really make me want to dig into their discography, as they are just too polished for ’70s rock for my liking.


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