RADIO COMEBACK FROM 80'S ROCK HERO
T. Shane McMeans | Deep South, USA | 10/02/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"**** 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ****
Billy Squier became an instant radio and MTV superstar with his first two solo albums: 1981's Don't Say No and its 1982 follow-up Emotions in Motion. While videos drove his success in the early 80's, it was his "dancing and prancing" in the video for the hit "Rock Me Tonite" from his 1984 album Signs of Life that began the downward trend of Squier's career. With each ensuing album, the talented singer/songwriter received less and less support from his label, Capitol Records, and thus less aiplay on radio and TV alike.
With the release of Hear & Now at the end of the decade, however, Billy Squier became a rock-radio staple once more. The single, "Don't Say You Love Me" was the first true hit he had had in years, and the video was shown often in the MTV rotation. Fans who had never deserted Squier and new fans alike enjoyed a very strong, guitar-led album which rocked a little harder than his last couple of releases:
(1) Rock Out/Punch Somebody" sets the stage for a hearty serving of straight-ahead rock n' roll. Squier's easily-identified vocals are as charged as ever, and the guitar solos are still above par.
(2) "Stronger" is a solid pop-rocker with Squier's oft-used mix of relationships and emotions.
(3) "Don't Say You Love Me", as mentioned above, is a powerful, no-frills rocker, and has an "Everybody Wants You" kind of vibe.
(4) "Don't Let Me Go" is a slower, thoughtful, and solid rock ballad. A cool, somber video exists for this one (check youtube) - the anti-video to "Rock Me Tonite".
(5) "Tied Up" picks up the pace with some solid rock riffs added to Billy's love-em-or-leave-em lyrical poser.
(6) "(I Put A) Spell On You" is the surprise gem of Hear & Now. With the title borrowed from Screamin' Jay Hawkins' 50's blues/rock lament, it is a song that brings you back again and again to hear something a little different.
(7) "G.O.D." is much more a tribute to female charms than to theology, and gathers force as it moves through some well-written lyrics and competent riffs.
(8) "Mine Tonite" is a decent love song, but a forgettable one in Squier's extensive catalog.
(9) "Work Song" has some catchy lyrics and a good rhythm, but isn't one of the strongest here, either.
(10) "Your Love is My Life" is a beautiful, touching ballad, and is a refreshing love-song "with no stings attached", unusual for Squier.
Overall, Hear & Now launched a nice mini-comeback for a very underrated artist, although it marked the beginning-of-the-end for Billy Squier's relationship with Capitol. His next two albums, 1991's Creatures of Habit and 1993's (completely overlooked) Tell the Truth would receive little support from the label, and would lead to Squier walking away from the music business for years. For a brief moment, however, he relived the success of the early 80's, much to the delight of his fans.
While only "Don't Say You Love Me" may be familiar to the casual fan, Hear & Now is a must-have for die-hard fans of Squier. His amazing songwriting skills, powerful voice, and outstanding guitar work are all here for any real rock n' roll fan to enjoy.
- an admitted, long-time, die-hard Billy Squier fan
Last Good Rockin' Album By Billy Squire
kevin conen | raleigh nc | 04/01/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was an excellent album, the last true rocker Billy Squire released. The whole thing is good. If you like Billy Squire at all, you should get this one. It's my favorite Squire album.
"Dont say you love me" was all over the radio in 1989, a lot of the remaining songs should have been too."