Being a huge fan of Shooting Star, I was so disappointed with this, ranks as one of the premier letdowns in AOR history.
Written by: Dangerzone
ARTIST: Shooting Star
ALBUM: III Wishes
LABEL: Virgin (UK), Epic (USA)
SERIAL: V 2235, FE 38020
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Gary West – vocals, keyboards * Van McLain – vocals, guitars * Ron Verlin – bass * Steve Thomas – drums * Charles Waltz – violins, vocals
TRACK LISTING: 01 Are You Ready * 02 Standing In The Light * 03 Heartache * 04 Where You Gonna Run * 05 Do You Feel Alright * 06 Turn It On * 07 Weary Eyes * 08 Couldn’t Get Enough * 09 Let It Out * 10 Whole World’s Watching
WEBLINKS: Site Link
As huge favourites here at Glory Daze, there isn’t much that hasn’t been covered about legends Shooting Star, so it was with trepidation that I decided to review their third album. Having only heard ‘III Wishes’ recently for the first time, and being a huge fan of Shooting Star, I was so disappointed with this that it surely ranks as one of the premier letdowns in melodic rock/AOR history. I’m not the only one who thinks so.
Van McLain himself admitting it was their weakest recording among others. When taking the brilliance of their self titled debut and ‘Hang On For Your Life’ as comparison, I think this is the prime reason ‘III Wishes’ falls so flat. The vitality is missing, the melody is lukewarm and the guitar work is flat and hardly a factor. A shame, as everyone with any knowledge of the band knows this was the make or break moment for Shooting Star, and due to the albums failure the momentum was never quite recovered, commercially not musically.
Listening to this repeatedly it’s fascinating to hear how disjointed the band became in just a year. Much criticised was Kevin Elson’s production and admittedly it’s botched, lacking the crispness and bite of such favourites like ‘Tonight’, ‘Bring It On’ and ‘Hang on For Your Life Tonight’.
‘Are You Ready’ is one of the few highlights, but the violin is far too prominent and kills the songs sense of urgency. It is one of the few ready made rockers on offer in an album lacking such genuine moments. The problems begin in earnest with ‘Standing In The Light’, which sums the album up, melodic yes, but where’s the heaviness that characterised the band beforehand?
‘Heartache’ saw the band using keyboards more heavily, dominating this ballad, leaving it watered down. Waltz adds lead vocals to ‘Where You Gonna Run’, more ordinary softer material that barely resembles an AOR band. Again, a tad too much violin. The guitar production on ‘Do You Feel Alright’ is exceedingly raw and unpolished, again lacking vibrancy as a whole. ‘Turn It On’ is a brief rocker that works well, but ‘Weary Eyes’ might as well be off a John Mellencamp album, that organ work is disastrous. ‘Couldn’t Get Enough’ is yet another power ballad, but these are only fine in doses, not quantity.
The only true highlight is an AOR classic, ‘Let It Out’ with some Alan Parsons Project type keyboard work and finally some thrilling guitar pieces that pierce the ears, saving this from being a total flop. A true indication of what a great band this was. A shame the rest didn’t follow suit. ‘Whole Worlds Watching’ ends with a sentimental ballad that probably is far from what fans were expecting, or wanting in 1982.
Truthfully the only letdown of an otherwise great career for Van and his troops, which McLain attributed here at Glory Daze by trying to record a hit and falling short, disrupting the basics of the bands whole approach to AOR. The production is another stain, perhaps rushed and needing a final touch to make the songs jump out that little bit more. As a result the steam fails to rise, and while the album has grown on me, it’s primarily because of ‘Let It Out’. Aside from that a display in how the pressure of the industry can lead to compromising a bands vision.
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Agree that this album was perhaps the letdown of Shooting Star’s discography. I’ll be giving those first 5 albums a listen over the Xmas break.