Real Life


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One of the strongest -- and most unappreciated -- albums of the new wave era, Heartland is an album so good, it launched a single that charted twice. The track is -- of course -- the infectious "Send Me an Angel" -- and it's clear from Richard Zatorski's opening keyboard lick that this is an instant classic. Unfortunately, that track also pigeonholed Real Life as a one-hit wonder, which is criminal. Heartland is a powerhouse of a synth pop record -- and one that should have garnered Australian guitarist/singer David Sterry's group the longevity of a Pet Shop Boys or New Order. "Catch Me I'm Falling" is the best track -- built on a beautiful descending chorus of "Catch me I'm falling/Down again/I know it's a dream/But just the same..." and frenetic choruses. Beware, however: the most commonly known version of this song is the "single remix" which starts with a vocoder aping the chorus -- the best version of the song begins with the irresistible guitar hook starting from scratch. And the rest of the collection is nothing to dismiss. The title track is a stirring, brooding anthem, worthy of U2's powerful early new wave days, complete with wailing guitar solo. "Broken Again," "Breaking Point," and "Openhearted" are built on solid pop hooks, while the album's closer, "Burning Blue" is a melancholic summation of a great record. The fact that Real Life have been relegated to the status of one-hit wonder is easily dismissed by one listen to this solid album. File under "shoulda been a classic."

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