Released in 1980, Mad Love featured Linda Ronstadt taking on new wave with mixed results. At this point, her albums with producer Peter Asher became routine and repetitive. This album's predecessor, Living in the U.S.A., hit the cutout bins, so a change was in order. While many may miss the customary Ronstadt here, most of Mad Love does indeed work. The insinuating "I Can't Let Go" and the playful "How Do I Make You" do help Ronstadt attain a certain cuteness and freshness. The biggest hit, the cover of Little Anthony & the Imperials' "Hurts So Bad," has a great vocal and is made even better by Danny Kortchmar's emotive guitar solos. While the originals and style of guitarist Mark Goldenberg did predominate, Mad Love is mostly known for its three Elvis Costello covers. Although the often pitch-perfect Ronstadt is more than antithetical to Costello's angst, she more than connects with "Party Girl." Costello's "Talking in the Dark" closes the album on an oddly sweet note. The strange thing about Mad Love is that it did include a lot of players from Ronstadt's previous albums. Kortchmar, Russ Kunkel, Andrew Gold, and Nicolette Larson's great backing vocals all appear here. For the most part, Mad Love stood the test of time and is certainly different from the Ronstadt albums that preceded and followed it.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Elias