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Hi Infidelity [30th Anniversary Edition]

REO Speedwagon 7/19/2011


Many albums have scaled to the top of the American charts, many of them not so good, but few have been as widely forgotten and spurned as REO Speedwagon's Hi Infidelity. In a way, the group deserved this kind of success. They had been slogging it out in the arenas of the U.S., building up a sizeable audience because they could deliver live. And then, in 1980, they delivered a record that not just summarized their strengths, but captured everything that was good about arena rock. This is the sound of the stadiums in that netherworld between giants like Zeppelin and MTV's slick, video-ready anthems. This is unabashedly mainstream rock, but there's a real urgency to the songs and the performances that gives it a real emotional core, even if the production keeps it tied to the early, previsual '80s. And so what if it does? This is great arena rock, filled with hooks as expansive as Three Rivers Stadium and as catchy as the flu. That, of course, applies to the record's two biggest hits -- the power ballad "Keep on Loving You" and the surging "Take It on the Run" -- which define their era, but what gives the album real staying power is that the rest of the record works equally well. That's most apparent on the Bo Diddley-inspired opener, "Don't Let Him Go," whose insistent beat sent it to the album rock charts, but also on such great album tracks as "Follow My Heart," the sun-kissed '60s homage "In Your Letter," and "Tough Guys." What's really great about these songs is not just the sheen of professionalism that makes them addictive to listen to, but there's a real strain of pathos that runs through these songs -- the album's title isn't just a clever pun, but a description of the tortured romantic relationships that populate this record's songs. This is really arena rock's Blood on the Tracks, albeit by a group of guys instead of a singular visionary, but that makes it more affecting, as well as a killer slice of ear candy. It's easy to dismiss REO Speedwagon, since they weren't hip at the time, and no amount of historical revisionism will make them cool kitsch. And, let's face it, their records were usually hit-and-miss affairs. But they did get it right once, and it's on this glorious record; if you need proof why arena rock was giant, this is it. [The Deluxe Edition of the album released in 2011 features a nicely crisp remastering job plus a fascinating bonus disc of demos. Before recording the album proper, the band hit a cheap studio in Hollywood and laid down rough versions of nine of the ten songs that ended up on the album (only "Out of Season" is missing). After attempting to recapture the magic they found in the crummy studio in fancy studios, and failing, the band ended up using about half the original demo performances on the final album and added overdubs to the rest. While it might have been fun to hear some of the failed attempts as well, hearing the entirety of the Crystal Demos is a powerful experience and makes this new edition of the album (even more) absolutely essential.] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine & Tim Sendra
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Don't Let Him Go REO Speedwagon 3:45
  3. 2 Keep on Loving You REO Speedwagon 3:19
  4. 3 Follow My Heart REO Speedwagon 3:48
  5. 4 In Your Letter REO Speedwagon 3:16
  6. 5 Take It on the Run REO Speedwagon 3:59
  7. 6 Tough Guys REO Speedwagon 3:49
  8. 7 Out of Season REO Speedwagon 3:6
  9. 8 Shakin' It Loose REO Speedwagon 2:25
  10. 9 Someone Tonight REO Speedwagon 2:40
  11. 10 I Wish You Were There REO Speedwagon 4:27
  12. 1 Someone Tonight [Crystal Demo] REO Speedwagon 2:48
  13. 2 Tough Guys [Crystal Demo] REO Speedwagon 3:34
  14. 3 In Your Letter [Crystal Demo] REO Speedwagon 4:7
  15. 4 Follow My Heart [Crystal Demo] REO Speedwagon 3:55
  16. 5 Take It on the Run [Crystal Demo] REO Speedwagon 3:58
  17. 6 Don't Let Him Go [Crystal Demo] REO Speedwagon 4:18
  18. 7 Keep on Loving You [Crystal Demo] REO Speedwagon 3:29
  19. 8 Shakin' It Loose [Instrumental][Crystal Demo] REO Speedwagon 2:31
  20. 9 I Wish You Were There [Crystal Demo] REO Speedwagon 4:59

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