LOVERBOY – Wildside [Rock Candy remastered & reloaded] (2022) HQ *Exclusive*
There’s no arguing that LOVERBOY were one of Canada’s most successful exports during the ’80s, racking up a string of platinum albums at home and the USA and having several hit singles as well. With four huge selling albums under their belt the band refocused their attention by returning to Vancouver’s Little Mountain Studios to cut Wildside, utilizing the original production team of Bruce Fairbairn, with engineers Bob Rock and Mike Fraser.
For their fifth album “Wildside“, just remastered & reloaded by Rock Candy Records, LOVERBOY once again fully opened up to the opportunity to work with outside songwriters, including names like Bryan Adams that had graced previous tracks, and several new contributors: notably Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora. There were less famous names on the selection as well such as Todd Cerney, Gerald O’Brien and Alfie Zappacosta (all well known amongst the melodic rock cognoscenti).
This RC remaster sounds full, powerful, and while there’s misprint – track #11 “Don’t Keep Me In The Dark” not mentioned / listed on the back inlay or in the credits – it is included into the CD.
Once again the production and arrangements were razor sharp, confirming the band’s penchant for showcasing solid and catchy melodic hard rock.
Song-wise, the record should be the more ‘mature’ Loverboy album, yet plenty of catchiness. The songs are mostly written / co-writeen by Dean & Reno, but there’s few outside contributors such as the vigorous lead off track ‘Notorious’ (co-penned by Jon Bon Jovi / Richie Sambora) and the cool ‘Hometown Hero’ (Bryan Adams).
The really strong ‘Read My Lips’ exhibits a gratifying intro, and I also enjoy how Dean’s guitar solo starts off menacingly while at the song’s conclusion you’ll be impressed with the skillful, rapid-fire drumming from Matthew Frenette.
‘Can’t Get Much Better’ is another highlight, a midtempo anthem with a true ’80s AOR spirit, and I always loved album closer ‘Don’t Keep Me In The Dark’, a fantastic power ballad in the way only Loverboy can make it. One of my favorites from the band ever.
In a true Loverboy fashion, throughout there is a nice combination of guitar and keyboard work from Dean and keyboardist Doug Johnson, especially remarkable on ‘Walkin’ On Fire’ and ‘Love Will Rise Again’, both delicious 80s AOR tunes.
Scott Smith’s bass guitar playing is also noticeable like never before creating a more ‘pumping’ output typical from the era. Just check ‘Break It To Me Gently’, a song also displaying a sprightly chorus.
“Wildside” is the more pure Eighties AOR Loverboy album in history with a polished production, ‘that’ sound and some of the strongest tracks of their career. For many, especially rabid AOR fans, this is their best effort.
A must in your ’80s AOR collection. (contributors get lossless)
You’ve seen it first at 0dayrox
01 – Notorious
02 – Walkin’ On Fire
03 – Break It To Me Gently
04 – Love Will Rise Again
05 – Can’t Get Much Better
06 – Hometown Hero
07 – Wildside
08 – Don’t Let Go
09 – That’s Where My Money Goes
10 – Read My Lips
11 – Don’t Keep Me In The Dark
Mike Reno – lead vocals
Paul Dean – guitar, backing vocals
Doug Johnson – keyboards
Scott Smith – bass
Matt Frenette – drums