July 06, 2004
Beat Goes On

Album Review

Great Britain's Beat Goes On label does its usual bang-up job on this two-fer from fiery songstress Pat Benatar and continues its reissue series of her seminal '80s records. This pairing is rather unusual because they don't add up chronologically, but it hardly matters because they are so well suited to one another. Live from Earth was released in 1983 as a way of offering fans highlights from her star-making tours of America and Europe during the period of her greatest popularity. The hits are here, especially the poignant and unbelievably hard rocking "Hell Is for Children" and "Hit Me with Your Best Shot," with its timely new wave structure that combined roots rock and the newer synthetic sounds of the era. The power ballad "Love Is a Battlefield" is also present in perhaps its finest version. 1988's Wide Awake in Dreamland was chronologically separated from this set by five years and two studio albums, as Benatar's star power began to fade -- but that had nothing to do with her talent, or the inspired material found here. Benatar was transitioning as an artist, trying to become a first-rate pop singer and to write more topical and widely accessible material -- thanks to her producer and musical partner Neil Geraldo. They may have played the marketplace hunch wrong, but they got the artistic merit right. This set is among Benatar's most personal, spiritual, and uplifting recordings. And while some of the sounds are dated -- most '80s records are plagued by this -- the material and her performance are nothing less than inspired. Check out "One Love (Song of the Lion)," "All Fired Up," and "Suffer the Little Children" for evidence. This is a great package with stellar sound and good liner notes by Mark Chatterton.
Thom Jurek, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Fire and Ice [Live]
  2. Looking for a Stranger [Live]
  3. I Want Out [Live]
  4. We Live for Love [Live]
  5. Hell Is for Children [Live]
  6. Hit Me with Your Best Shot [Live]
  7. Promises in the Dark [Live]
  8. Heartbreaker [Live]
  9. Love Is a Battlefield [Live]
  10. Lipstick Lies [Live]
  11. All Fired Up
  12. One Love (Song of the Lion)
  13. Let's Stay Together
  14. Don't Walk Away
  15. Too Long a Soldier
  16. Cool Zero
  17. Cerebral Man
  18. Lift 'Em on Up
  19. Suffer the Little Children
  20. Wide Awake in Dreamland