Marty Balin left Jefferson Starship in 1978, not long after "Miracles" gave the group a Top Ten soft rock hit in 1975, thereby providing a window into the world the singer inhabited when he went solo in 1981 with Balin. He largely abandoned songwriting -- he collaborated on one song on the record -- in the pursuit of being an AOR superstar. The 1981 eponymous album was indeed a hit thanks to the gorgeous soft rock staple "Hearts," written by longtime friend Jesse Barish, as was a good chunk of the rest of the album. Some of Balin follows the direction of "Hearts" -- "Atlanta Lady" and "Music Is the Light" both softly shimmer -- but the album overall plays like a sampler of the mainstream rock sounds of 1981. On "Spotlight" and "I Do Believe in You," guitars are cranked up to 11 so they can fill an arena, "Tell Me More" cops some of Michael McDonald's Doobie Brothers disco-soul, and "You Left Your Mark on Me" and "Elvis and Marilyn" flirt with new wave while "Lydia!" outright embraces it, sounding a bit like Donnie Iris. Maybe this hodgepodge didn't do much to establish Balin as a recording star at the time -- certainly it didn't please some Jefferson Starship fans -- but as an artifact of early-'80s rock, it's wildly fun and somewhat compelling.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine