Hiatt Rocks Like a Real Man
Leroy Norton | West Roxbury, MA | 05/23/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"John Hiatt wasn't well-known outside of select music industry circles at the time of this recording (1983?). Although a well-respected writer with at least 3 previous albums to his credit, Hiatt may still have been better known for his stint in Ry Cooder's band (& you've got to be a pretty dang good guitar player to get a paycheck from Ry). This album was probably an attempt by Geffen Records to get John into the mainstream with slick, punchy production emphasizing Hiatt's elastic vocals and considerable guitar skills. But the songs are what grabs you here. "The Usual" is an edgy driving twist off a mellow-down-easy groove. "She Said the Same Things to Me" was destined to be an unknown classic for Johnny Adams. "Living A Little" is a stirring duet with Elvis Costello. "I've Got a Gun" should be an anthem for abused women, but there's a little too much malevolence to vengence to make it to prime time. "Burning Down the Zero House" and "Warming Up to the Ice Age" may sound a little too early 80's for some folks, but Hiatt's passion and playing carry way too much weight to be lost in production values. This is a great, full-out rocking record by a top shelf songwriter who can also sing & play "Like a Real Man"."
You put the crush on me
Tim Brough | Springfield, PA United States | 09/05/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Of the three albums Hiatt recorded for Geffen, this is the least interesting. The main culprit is Nashville producer Norbert Putnam, who used the kind of synth arrangements that carbon dated all the albums in the 80's that used them in an attempt to sound of the day. The highlights remain, as usual, the terrific songwriting. "The Usual" was covered by Bob Dylan, and "When We Ran" by Linda Ronstadt. Two other great compositions are here, the humorous "She Said The Same Things To Me" and the classic "The Crush." The "American Elvis Costello" tag finally comes with a payoff, as EC joins Hiatt on a soulful cover of the Spinners' "Living A Little, Laughing A Little." The overproduction here has often made me long for rerecorded versions of a few of the songs (I'd love to hear the title track or "I Got a Gun" stripped down). But as far as Hiatt albums go, "Warming Up To The Ice Age" is even less characteristic of the artist than the oft-slagged "All Of A Sudden.""