Wednesday, October 3, 2018


Thirty years on, Love Junk sounds just as good, if not better. Better, because we can appreciate what a remarkable achievement it was and how much it outpaces most other music of that year. This baby holds up, outside of trends and techniques. It rocks, rocks a lot. And it's well-written, both lyrically and musically, great blasting pop songs with smart and fun lyrics. Dig it out again, or get this expanded deluxe reissue, and you'll be surprised.

It's the home of THAT song, I'm An Adult Now, the insanely catchy and buzz-worthy cut that won the band much coveted airplay on MuchMusic at the height of its power. Cut as an indie single and self-produced video, the band went from nothing to national heroes, and even sparked a U.S. bidding war for their services. Signing with Chrysalis Records, Moe Berg was asked who he'd like as a producer, and in the same way one might blurt out "George Martin" or "Quincy Jones", he named Todd Rundgren. To this day, Rundgren calls Love Junk one of the very best albums he ever did, and he did Bat Out Of Hell and We're An American Band and a whole bunch of other million-sellers. By all accounts it was a perfect relationship, Rundgren making the young group sound great, but leaving their unique qualities intact. letting them play much like a live band.

After THAT song, there's not a weak track on the album, and very little similarity among the cuts. Just think of the three best-known cuts; Adult, She's So Young and Hard To Laugh, each with a completely different tempo and structure. This is a master class in songwriting, How To Mix It Up. Then there's the connective material, the stuff that defines the band. What always stands out to me is the vocals, Berg's everyman delivery along with the slightly off-kilter harmonies from Kris Abbott and Leslie Stanwick. There are great dynamics, with choruses that slap and shine, huge sugary blasts that last. It's super-punchy and sneaky loud.

Well, I could go on, it's one of my favourite Canadian albums and yours too, eventually going platinum. This anniversary edition adds a second CD worth of more excellent cuts, including finished cuts not used on the album but completely worthy, some pre-Todd demos, live cuts and the renowned first version of I'm An Adult Now, the hit single take. There's also a very good booklet featuring memories from all the band members, written by long-time fan, Rolling Stone contributing editor David Wild. The band still does occasional dates, which rock of course, so catch 'em if you can.

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