By 1987 the REO Speedwagon flame was on the verge of being extinguished. The rot had set in and as a result, there’s nothing really of note to be found on this album.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: REO Speedwagon
ALBUM: Life As We Know It
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Kevin Cronin – acoustic guitar, rhythm guitar, lead vocals (Tracks 1-8, 10), backing vocals, chorus, production * Gary Richrath – lead guitar, electric guitar, rhythm guitar, production * Neal Doughty – organ, synthesizer, piano, keyboards (emulator sax) (Track 6), Hammond organ * Alan Gratzer – drums, tambourine, backing vocals, production * Bruce Hall – bass, lead vocals (Track 9)
TRACK LISTING: 01 New Way To Love * 02 That Ain’t Love * 03 In My Dreams * 04 One Too Many Girlfriends * 05 Variety Tonight * 06 Screams And Whispers * 07 Can’t Get You Out Of My Heart * 08 Over The Edge * 09 Accidents Can Happen * 10 Tired Of Gettin’ Nowhere
WEBLINKS: Site Link
It would be safe to say that by 1987 the REO Speedwagon flame was on the verge of being extinguished. Apart from the 1980/81 hit album ‘Hi Infidelity’, the band only had two other albums to show for their efforts during the 80s decade, in 1982 and 1984. This was a far cry from their 70s output which was quite prolific by contrast.
Unfortunately, the rot had set in and as a result, there’s nothing really of note to be found on this album. It is quite a disappointment to be fair. REO Speedwagon spent most of 1986 in an L.A studio working on this. It is a mixed bag, the quality of the songwriting is average, and there’s nothing really to grab on to, nor the splashomatic album cover.
The barroom boogie of ‘New Way To Love’ is an awful way to kick things off. Please no. ‘That Ain’t Love’ is only marginally better, with lots of acoustic guitar adding the melodic quota. Give ‘In My Dreams’ a miss, a ballad of inconsequence, in stark contrast is the sassy rocker ‘One Too Many Girlfriends’ which though very energetic lacks the hooks of previous REO Speedwagon hits from their back catalogue. Neal Doughty synths get a workout on ‘Variety Tonight’, one of the better tracks here.
There is more acoustic strumming on ‘Screams And Whispers’ which also rises like cream to the top, which is not difficult on an album like this. ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Heart’ reminds me of REO’s better moments from the 80’s decade, though the annoying synth motif on the chorus was offputting. ‘Over The Edge’ is a bog-standard rocker fit for the fast forward button. By now, the album is caving in on itself, ‘Accidents Can Happen’ and ‘Tired Of Gettin’ Nowhere’ both poor efforts to conclude this album and to conclude REO Speedwagon’s achievements for the 80’s decade.
This album was the end of the road for two of REO’s mainstays. Within the next two years we saw the departure of Gary Richrath in early 1989 and the retirement of drummer Alan Gratzer. However the REO Speedwagon story didn’t end here. The band returned in 1990 once more for Epic, and their strangely titled but rather excellent ‘The Earth, A Small Man, His Dog And A Chicken’ put paid to the bad memories of this album. You’d only be checking this out if you are a sucker for punishment.
That Ain’t Love