Billy Squier

Signs of Life

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AllMusic Review by

Squier adds a little bit of keyboard color to his otherwise guitar-driven repertoire on 1984's Signs of Life, his fourth album that comes on the heels of his solid Emotions In Motion release two years prior. His highest charting single, "Rock Me Tonite," is a pulsating array of Squier's pent up energy amidst the cliched candor of bright synth and electric guitar. Although it's well worth its number 15 chart setting thanks to its explosive chorus, the remaining offerings from the artist quickly lose themselves in 1980's pomposity, which could be felt when the album was fresh, and is even more obvious today. His usual thrusts of guitar energy are overlapped with an onslaught of unnecessary production and overly-resilient synthesized rhythms. Songs like "Another 1984" and "Eye on You" try hard to carry out their science fiction motifs, but lose themselves in an overabundance of keyboard wash. "All Night Long" does exemplify Squier's trademarked vivaciousness, reminiscent of his work from his last album or 1981's Don't Say No, but this is where his enthusiasm runs out. What lacks on Signs of Life is the over-the-top approach that Squier usually adds to his music, made up of jump-start riffs and hollow but appeasing guitar loudness. Except for "Rock Me Tonite," this album fails to represent Squier as the bonafide rocker he really is.

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