Although their later albums produced better-known hits, this debut offering from Loverboy is one of their best albums. Despite their later reputation as AOR hitmakers, Loverboy was marketed as a new wave group early on and this album makes it easy to see why: plenty of the songs feature the herky-jerky yet dance-friendly tempo associated with many new wave groups and sleek synthesizer textures form a central part of the group's sound. The most impressive songs are the ones that earned the band their early airplay: "The Kid Is Hot Tonite" is a radio-ready rocker that slickly balances mid-tempo guitar riffs with surging synthesizer lines, and "Turn Me Loose" is a clever multi-genre hybrid that blends hard rock guitar, a disco-ready beat, and new wave keyboard flourishes into a final product with across-the-board appeal. The remaining songs are just as interesting as the hits because they hop from genre to genre with style and energy: "Teenage Overdose" blends gritty heavy metal guitar riffs with snarling punk-style lyrics and a pop melody, while "Little Girl" filters rockabilly through new wave sonic techniques to create a retro-styled power pop tune worthy of Cheap Trick. These ambitious hybrids are performed with style and economy by the band, and special note should also be taken of Mike Reno's vocals: whether he's paying tribute to Elvis Presley on "Little Girl" or hitting the peak of his falsetto range in "Turn Me Loose," he tackles every number with energy and verve. The end result may be kitschy, but it is undeniably well crafted and makes perfect car stereo listening (the ultimate compliment for an AOR record). In short, Loverboy is a must for the group's fans and an excellent pick for anyone who enjoys the pop/rock of the 1980s.
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AllMusic Review by Donald A. Guarisco